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What Is A Catastrophic Personal Injury?

An accident can leave you with injuries that range from minor cuts and bruises to severe fractures, burns, and broken bones. A serious accident may result in life-changing injuries. The majority of accident victims who suffer from such injuries never fully recover. Their life after the accident is usually marked by some type of permanent limitation or disability that requires ongoing medical treatment and home-care.

Injuries that require lifelong medical and nursing care are called catastrophic injuries. A catastrophic personal injury is one that is caused due to the recklessness or negligence of another individual.

Types Of Catastrophic Personal Injuries

These are some of the more common types of catastrophic personal injuries caused by somebody else’s negligence or carelessness:

Spinal Cord Injury

An injury to the spinal cord can result in chronic pain, spasms, circulatory and respiratory problems, partial or complete paralysis, loss of bladder and bowel control, or partial or complete paralysis.

Loss Of Upper Or Lower Limbs

The loss of limbs may result directly from the accident itself or it may be because of surgical amputation as a way to stop infection from spreading.

Severe Burn Injury

The repercussions of a burn injury could range from infections and disfigurement to loss of limbs or even lifelong disabilities such as loss of vision, depending on the extent and location of the burns.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is never mild. Any injury to the brain can result in severe consequences. Depending on the location and extent of the brain injury, it may result in permanent mobility restrictions, abnormal speech, memory loss, emotional difficulties, or cognitive dysfunction.

Ruptured Organs

Ruptured organs are more commonly seen in car crashes and other accidents wherein there is a direct impact to the abdominal area. The impact may rupture the liver, kidneys, spleen, or bowel.

Permanent Loss of Vision

Whether it’s caused by broken glass shards during a car accident or because of accidental contact with a corrosive liquid, permanent loss of sight and vision can make life challenging both for the victim and for their families.

Common Causes Of Catastrophic Personal Injuries

Catastrophic personal injuries can be caused by any type of accident, even a seemingly mild accident.

You could slip on a wet floor in a supermarket or trip over a pothole in the pavement and hit your head, resulting in brain injury. However, such severe injuries resulting from mild accidents are relatively rare. They are more commonly caused by major accidents.

Catastrophic personal injuries are commonly seen at construction sites and factories where employers have neglected to follow safety regulations and workers usually work under precarious conditions. Accidents at these two workplaces can result in almost all types of lifelong injuries, from loss of limbs and permanent blindness to spinal cord, brain, and severe burn injuries.

A road or rail accident could result in ruptured organs or brain or spinal cord injuries. Broken glass shards could cause permanent blindness.

Falls from height usually cause spinal cord or brain injuries.

Accidents while participating in recreational or sporting activities may result in spinal cord or brain injuries or ruptured organs.

Medical negligence may result in any type of catastrophic personal injuries depending on the exact type of treatment being provided at the time of the negligence.

Understanding The Consequences Of Catastrophic Personal Injuries

A catastrophic personal injury can cause the accident victim to experience tremendous physical and emotional pain and suffering. This is made worse by the knowledge that these challenges will most likely be lifelong. Dealing with the short term pain and inconvenience of an injury can be difficult by itself but it’s the permanent nature of these injuries that makes them so much more difficult to deal with.

Many times, one type of injury can cause other subsequent injuries long after the accident occurred. For example, someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident may experience other difficulties such as blinding headaches, cognitive challenges, or memory loss. This can make it almost impossible for them to maintain personal relationships, hold a job, or live a “normal” life after the accident.

When an accident victim suffers a permanent disability, most often they are not the only ones affected. Their families also suffer from the consequences. If the accident victim was the sole earning member of the family, there’s the worry about their financial welfare. This is exacerbated by the accident victim needing almost round the clock care depending on the type of injury they’ve suffered. The emotional stress at such times can be unimaginable.

Lifelong Expenses Associated With Catastrophic Personal Injuries

It would be unrealistic to think that money should be the last thing on a person’s mind after any type of injury. The fact is several factors can financially devastate an accident victim financially.

These are just some of the costs that are often associated with a catastrophic personal injury:

  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Ongoing medical care
  • Prescription medicines
  • Regular diagnostic tests and follow-ups
  • Transportation to the hospital and back for ongoing treatments and tests
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Full time or visiting nursing care
  • Counselling
  • Cost of mobility equipment such as a wheelchair
  • Cost of fitting the home with a lift or other changes to accommodate the injuries

In addition to these actual costs that the victim and their family have to bear, there’s also the lost income or diminished earning capacity that compound the financial losses.

What You Should Do After A Catastrophic Personal Injury

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic personal injury, you should consider consulting an experienced personal injury solicitor to explore your legal options to file for compensation. Any family member can call a solicitor for expert legal advice on behalf of their loved one. While the exact award amount may vary from one claim to another, your solicitor will help you at every stage and ensure that you or your loved one receives the maximum compensation allowed under the law.

Most personal injury solicitors will help you pursue a compensation claim using a No Win No Fee agreement, which waives their retainer fee. This allows you to get expert legal advice on a catastrophic injury claim and representation without being out of pocket at any time.

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