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What Counts as a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury can change a victim’s life in an instant. While many catastrophic injuries involve the most complex systems in the human body, such as the central nervous system, there are other catastrophic injuries that affect different parts of the body.

Below, our Louisville personal injury attorneys explain what constitutes a catastrophic injury and what to do if you have experienced one.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury is on that is so severe that it forever prevents a victim from returning to their pre-injury state of life.

An injury of this severity does not only affect the victim. Often, the victim’s family has to step in to care for the injured individual because, in many cases, the victim can no longer care for themselves or return to work.

As such, a catastrophic injury does not only involve the immediate financial losses of emergency treatment and hospitalization, but also the cost of ongoing or lifelong medical care and support.

Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries

While catastrophic injuries mostly affect the brain and spinal cord, they can involve any part of the body. Common types of catastrophic injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often happen after a blow or jolt to the head. When the head experiences sudden acceleration or deceleration, such as in a car accident, the brain may be slower to catch up to this sudden movement. When the brain ultimately does catch up to this movement, it may bounce against the inside of the skull, resulting in bruising, bleeding, and an injury.

Common situations in which this happens include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Auto accidents

  • Slip and fall accidents

  • Sports accidents

  • Assaults

TBIs may also occur as a result of oxygen deprivation. As the most complex system in the human body, the brain requires a steady stream of oxygen. When the brain experiences hypoxia (a lack of oxygen to the brain) or anoxia (no oxygen to the brain), brain cells begin to die. This may result in brain damage and a subsequent TBI.

Common situations in which this happens include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Drowning

  • Suffocation

  • Strangulation

  • Serious complications or infections during surgical procedures

Depending on the severity of the accident and injury, TBIs may be mild, moderate, or severe. A victim’s recovery prognosis will vary greatly depending on their injury classification.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries may result in permanent damage to a person’s strength, sensation, and bodily functions. They may also result in paraplegia or quadriplegia.

Common causes of spinal cord injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Auto accidents

  • Falls from heights

  • Defective and dangerous products

  • Medical malpractice

Amputation Injuries

Amputation injuries are some of the most devastating injuries a person can experience. While rehabilitation, therapy, and prosthetic devices may help improve a person’s coordination and mobility, these treatments do not come cheap. Someone who has gone through an amputation will be living with its effects for the rest of their life.

Common causes of amputation injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Auto accidents

  • Medical malpractice

  • Defective products

Can You Prevent a Catastrophic Injury?

While it’s not always possible to prevent a catastrophic injury—particularly if another person’s negligence caused an accident—there are some measures you can take to reduce your chances of experiencing such an injury. These safety measures include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • When driving, always wear your seatbelt and drive at the posted speed limit.

  • When bicycling, always wear your helmet and ride in designated bike lanes.

  • When playing sports, always wear proper safety equipment.

  • Keep an eye out for hazards on the floor, including puddles, exposed cords, unsecured rugs, and more

Recovering Damages for Catastrophic Injuries

There is no doubt that a catastrophic injury can throw a victim and their family into physical, emotional, and financial turmoil. Catastrophic injury victims can expect to spend the rest of their lives receiving treatment and therapies. Often, these individuals can never return to work and require live-in care. All of these unexpected costs can throw a victim and their family into bankruptcy.

However, by working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover compensation for the following damages from any and all liable parties:

  • Past and future medical bills

  • Past and future lost wages

  • Pain and suffering

  • Loss of consortium

Suffered a Catastrophic Injury? Contact Us Today

At Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, our Louisville personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping clients across Kentucky who have had their lives impacted by catastrophic injuries. We handle cases including car accidents, truck accidents, defective products, railroad accidents, medical malpractice, and more.

Our team has the experience and resources needed to take on large corporations and their insurance companies. We have a reputation for handling the most challenging cases, and many attorneys turn to us with particularly complicated claims involving catastrophic injuries. In fact, the majority of our cases are attorney referrals. Our Louisville catastrophic injury lawyers know how to take on the most formidable opponents and are passionate about securing complete compensation.

We encourage you to contact Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC today at (502) 242-8872 to learn how our team may be able to assist you after a catastrophic injury.

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