No matter how well you plan your life out, a catastrophic injury can turn it upside down. Catastrophic injuries are those that are so severe, they have a long-term effect. Something that happens in the blink of an eye can keep you from performing any gainful work for the rest of your life.
A catastrophic injury doesn’t just affect you. It has a devastating impact on your entire family and every area of your life. It isn’t just the financial impact of no longer earning an income. It’s the added stress and responsibilities that you and every member of your family will shoulder. They must do the things you can’t do any longer. In addition, they might supervise you, drive you to doctor’s visits, help you with therapy, or assist you with bathing, grooming, or going to the bathroom.
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
This type of injury often results when something causes harm to the brain and/or spinal cord. These areas form the central nervous system, which controls the movement of the body and the mechanisms within. A catastrophic injury occurs when something interferes with the ability of the CNS to send messages or the various areas of the body to receive and interpret them. This type of damage can happen to any area of the body, but some of the most common injuries include:
- Birth Injuries
- Serious Brain Trauma
- Amputation of a Limb
- Severe Burns
- Multiple Bone Fractures or Crushed Bones
- Eye Injuries Resulting in Loss of Sight
- Scarring or Disfigurement
- Neurological Issues Including Chronic Pain
Injuries which occur to the brain and/or spine can result in partial or total paralysis. They can also leave someone mentally incapacitated. Catastrophic injuries are typically permanent. They may require ongoing therapy or treatment to prevent your condition from worsening but they never go away.
Some of the most common causes of catastrophic injuries are accidents involving two or more vehicles. The injuries from a large truck hitting a regular passenger vehicle are the most severe. The same is true when vehicles hit motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
Injuries at sea are often catastrophic. Sometimes these injuries result from boating crashes, falls from extreme heights, fires and explosions, or blows from heavy equipment. When a seaman or passenger incurs a catastrophic injury while on a sea vessel, maritime law applies. Although it is often the result of a personal injury, maritime personal injury cases vary somewhat from those that occur on land.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury is one that results from another person’s or entity’s negligence or intent. When someone else causes your injury, they are responsible for financial compensation. If you require medical treatment, have lost wages, and experience pain and suffering, you can recover damages for all of your financial needs.
When a personal injury is catastrophic, all of those needs are magnified. Initially, you might require surgery, extended hospital stays, rehabilitation, special devices or equipment, ongoing medication and/or therapy. More severe injuries usually result in more expensive medical costs. Many people can’t afford to pay these expenses out-of-pocket, and they shouldn’t have to.
Most people will never return to the same job that they held prior to their injury. Many won’t be able to perform any type of work. A personal injury claim allows you to pursue compensation for your lost wages. That’s money you need for your recovery and for your family.
If you get a catastrophic injury, the physical changes in your life will be overwhelming. The emotional damages resulting from the accident and injury can be even more devastating. You deserve compensation for all of your injuries including those that are physical and emotional.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
If you’ve been injured but aren’t sure if someone else was at fault, an attorney will evaluate your case. If your injury occurred at sea, talk with a maritime personal injury attorney who is familiar with the laws at sea. Maritime workers and cruise ship passengers and crew members all fall under the heading of maritime personal injury. Accidents occur on these types of vessels frequently. Workers on offshore oil rigs are among some of those at the greatest risk of ending up with catastrophic injuries due to the equipment and settings they face every day.
Many industrial settings place workers in high-risk environments. In addition to drilling rigs, other dangerous settings include gas and oil refineries, mines, factories, warehouses, and construction sites. The employer has the responsibility of creating the safest possible workplace. When they cut corners or fail to follow safety policies, the workers pay the price. Any time an employer puts an employee at a greater risk of catastrophic injury to save a few dollars, they are being negligent. This makes them responsible for paying for their employees’ care and rehabilitation.
Paying Your Medical Bills While You Wait
The process of filing a personal injury claim takes time. Your catastrophic injury can’t wait for medical treatment. Even with health insurance, paying for your medical treatment is a big expense. Co-pays, limits, deductibles, and uncovered procedures make it difficult to get the treatment you need. This adds an even greater burden on your financial worries.
Many doctors and treatment facilities understand the burden medical treatment puts on patients. Putting off much-needed treatment until your case is settled should never be an option. Ask about programs, financial options, and your ability to get coverage from Medicare and Medicaid.
If your injury occurred while you were on the job, you may be able to get workers’ compensation. Almost every employee is covered by workers’ compensation. Try every avenue available to you to ensure you get the medical treatment you need without waiting for a resolution to your claim.
Work isn’t the only place where you might endure a catastrophic injury. Even those that occur on the road, at play, or in public places are often due to someone’s negligence. Some examples include:
People of all ages engage in organized sports, from elementary students to adults. The issue of catastrophic injuries is so common that the Consortium for Catastrophic Injury Monitoring (NCCSIR) has been developed to survey, report, and monitor the occurrence of injuries. The end goal of the organization is to prevent, evaluate, manage, and rehabilitate injuries related to sports.
The majority of us believe that football causes the greatest number of injuries overall. When considering all levels of injuries, basketball leads football in sports-related injuries. But the aggressive, high-impact nature of the game puts football in the lead for the number of catastrophic injuries caused each year. Playing football is also four times more likely to result in a catastrophic injury during college than in high school.
This fact isn’t surprising to most people. The contact sport puts players at risk for concussions, cervical spine injuries, fractures, and joint damage. What is surprising is that the injuries are just as likely to occur due to heat-related illness, cardiovascular conditions, and dehydration. In some cases, serious injuries, and even death have occurred during practice in high temperatures.
Although football is the leading sport for causing catastrophic injuries, they can occur during almost any sports-related activity. Negligence on the part of the trainer, athletic director, or another party responsible for athletic functions can occur at many levels. For starters, they might fail to have athletes cleared medically for the sport. Failing to provide adequate medical care at the time of the injury might result in a more severe injury. Failing to provide the proper safety equipment or enforcing its use are also negligent acts.
Injuries in Public Places
We all visit public places regularly with the expectation that we are safe. When you go to the grocery store, you don’t expect to slip and fall. When you go to the bank, you don’t expect to be robbed and/or assaulted. If you take your dog to the vet, you don’t expect someone else’s dog to bite you. If you pay for a much-anticipated luxury cruise, you don’t expect to get food poisoning, burned in a fire, or fall overboard. You expect these businesses to take the necessary steps to protect you and keep you safe. When they fail to meet this obligation, they are negligent. When their negligence results in a catastrophic injury, they are responsible for your related expenses.
Car Accident Injuries
We use the term “car accident” every time there’s an impact involving one or more vehicles. In spite of calling them accidents, these wrecks are almost always due to someone’s negligence. If the brake’s go out in your car, it might be due to poor manufacturing, neglected maintenance, or poor design of the car’s braking system.
If a driver runs a stop sign while they are texting or are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it’s the driver’s negligence that causes the impending crash. When the driver is driving a semi-truck, the company the driver works for might also be negligent.
Like other types of catastrophic injuries, those that are medically-related can come from a person’s negligence, carelessness, or the poor manufacture of a device. We all put a lot of faith into the professionals we entrust with our health. When they make a mistake or fail to provide the needed care, it can result in a catastrophic injury.
Medical malpractice is only one area where medical injuries occur. Physicians might misdiagnose or fail to diagnose a condition that gets worse. They might perform a procedure inaccurately or fail to recognize the signs of a drug allergy.
Sometimes lawsuits result when a drug causes an injury after the manufacturer failed to inform the public of its risks. Others occur when a pharmacy provides the wrong medication.
Many people rely on medical devices for various medical conditions. When those devices don’t perform properly, the resulting injury could lead to a more severe injury that impacts their life to a much greater degree. Anyone in the healthcare process might be liable for the injury. Anyone providing care, prescribing medications or the use of devices, or the manufacturers who supply them might be negligent.
Many catastrophic injuries are preventable if the responsible party meets their expectation of duty. Conditions that are either treatable or manageable can become severe and permanent when a single mistake is made.
When a Catastrophic Injury Results in Wrongful Death
A personal injury is one that occurs due to another person or entity’s negligence or carelessness. When that injury is severe and permanent, it is a catastrophic injury. Some injuries are so severe that they result in death. Wrongful death is the loss of life due to a severe personal injury.
Catastrophic injuries often occur in settings governed by maritime law. Workers in the maritime industry are exposed to dangerous environments on a regular basis. The risk of events such as explosions or falls from extreme heights makes it more likely that their injuries will result in death.
Some catastrophic injuries require extensive medical treatment. Surgery, extended hospitalization, and the use of medical devices are all expenses that the person might incur prior to their death. Even if their death occurs months after the incident which caused their injuries, it is still considered a wrongful death.
When a personal injury becomes a wrongful death, the immediate family has the right to pursue compensation to pay their loved one’s medical bills. While financial recovery can’t bring back the family’s loved one, it can help reduce the financial burden caused by their loss.
Any injury can impact yours and your family’s lives. The severity of a critical injury amplifies that burden in every way. It’s easy for the victim to experience emotional distress when they are no longer able to care for their family. Getting financial compensation can help by providing the best possible medical care. It can’t replace your position as the family provider. But it can replace the income that you no longer have available.
If you received a catastrophic injury at work or play, on the water, or on the land, learn your options for getting compensated today. Contact the Law Offices of Charles D. Naylor and take the first step towards getting the compensation you and your family deserve.