What is a Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries are those which are so severe they result in long-term or lifelong pain, disability, impairment and/or permanent disfigurement. Any type of accident could potentially result in catastrophic injuries, although the most common types of accident which results in these severe injuries are auto accidents—car, truck and motorcycle. Catastrophic injuries are those which exceed the expected recovery period or even result in a permanent loss of function or a physical impairment which was not present prior to the accident.
Such injuries can be mental or physical with severe, chronic pain also qualifying as a catastrophic injury. The more “typical” injuries sustained in car accidents are such things as broken and fractured bones, whiplash, minor back injuries, bumps and bruises. Catastrophic injuries include brain trauma, partial or complete paralysis, blindness, severe burns which lead to chronic pain and disfigurement, spinal cord injuries and the loss of limbs.
How Will a Catastrophic Injury Affect Your Life?
Individuals who survive their catastrophic injuries may find their life has changed in ways they could not even have imagined. If you are the victim of catastrophic injuries, you may find yourself unable to return to work, or even to participate in your own life in a meaningful manner. Your normal day-to-day routines may have disappeared, and you may never again experience the “normalcy” of life as you knew it. Catastrophic injuries can leave you emotionally, physically and financially devastated.
Although finances were probably not your first concern, in fact even those with health insurance could reach their limits quickly following a catastrophic injury, leaving you responsible for high levels of medical expenses. The very nature of catastrophic injuries dictates that these medical expenses can be expected to continue for a significant length of time—or perhaps even for the rest of your life. Catastrophic injuries generally require different types of rehabilitative therapies, resulting in additional expenses. If you were the primary wage earner in your family, even your regular monthly expenses may be going unpaid.
Accidents Which Can Result in Catastrophic Injuries
As noted, vehicle accidents are the primary cause of catastrophic injuries, particularly head-on collisions and crashes which occur at a high rate of speed. Other types of accidents which can result in catastrophic injuries include:
- Burns and electrocution;
- Construction accidents (falling from heights, being struck by an object);
- Defective product injuries (defective brakes, defective airbag, etc.);
- Medical malpractice (surgical errors, medication mistakes, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose);
- Recreational activity accidents (contact sports, diving, horse jumping);
- Petrochemical accidents, and
- Other work-related accidents.
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Catastrophic injuries leave victims with permanent disability and pain as well as psychological trauma. The nature of catastrophic injuries dictate that the victim will require specialized care for a significant length of time, or for the rest of his or her life. Catastrophic injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries, including partial or total paralysis;
- Traumatic brain injury, leading to problems with cognition, memory, behavior, speech and mobility;
- Permanent disfigurement;
- Leukemia and other cancers caused by toxic substances in the workplace;
- Infectious blood diseases;
- Loss of hearing or sight;
- Burn injuries, which can cause severe, lifelong pain and disfigurement;
- Amputations which can require victims to make modifications to their home and re-learn many skills, and
- Damage to internal organs.
Traumatic brain injury can cause the victim to have lifelong cognitive deficiencies, difficulty concentrating, significant memory loss, reduced mental capacity, and severe, chronic headaches. In its most severe form, traumatic brain injury can result in the patient being in a permanent vegetative state. The severity of catastrophic injuries can leave victims and their loved ones with a quality of life which has been forever altered, and medical expenses related to the injuries which are catastrophic in themselves.
Spinal cord injuries are equally traumatic, and are often the result of a car accident, a fall from a height, a diving accident and even a trampoline accident. Neck and spinal cord injuries can be debilitating, while paraplegia and quadriplegia can leave victims with partial loss or total loss of the use of their torso and limbs. In addition to the initial physical injury, those who are victims of spinal cord injuries face a traumatic, lifelong battle, which can bring emotional trauma as well. Long-term medical care, physical therapy and psychological therapy may all be a part of the aftermath of a spinal cord injury.
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Following a catastrophic injury, the most crucial information to the case could be the information collected immediately following the accident. Unfortunately, those who are catastrophically injured are not in any physical shape to attempt to gather this important information. This means that the sooner you have a highly qualified personal injury attorney on board, the sooner an investigation will be launched, and the better chance you have of being compensated for your catastrophic injuries. Because extremely high damages are common following catastrophic injuries, you need a Mississippi personal injury attorney with a proven track record of success and a stellar reputation.
Your attorney will work hard on your behalf to deal with insurance companies as well as the many legal issues associated with a catastrophic personal injury claim. It can be extremely difficult for you and your family to deal with the devastation of your catastrophic injuries while worrying about how your medical expenses—and your regular monthly expenses—will be paid. The insurance company may pressure you to accept a quick settlement which is unlikely to take your future medical expenses into consideration and may even fail to properly compensate you for lost wages and lost future earnings. Having a personal injury attorney with the resources to bring in medical and financial experts to testify on your behalf regarding the severity of your injuries and your inability to make a living is crucial following catastrophic injuries. Catastrophic injuries can be particularly difficult to overcome because unlike “regular” injuries, you rarely get progressively better, rather you will live with the impact of your injuries for the rest of your life.
If you or someone you love has suffered catastrophic injuries in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Meridian, or anywhere in the State of Mississippi, the best thing you can do is to contact an experienced Mississippi injury attorney who will protect your rights and assist you in receiving a fair settlement for your injuries.
At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for injured Mississippi accident victims – to ensure that they receive the money they need to fully recover. We can help you obtain the money you need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 265-7766.