Dealing with the aftermath of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence can leave you feeling incredibly frustrated. Dealing with catastrophic injuries, on the other hand, can change the entire course of your life. Do you know how to identify catastrophic injuries and what they could mean for you?
Defining Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries include injuries that lead to permanent medical needs and long-term deficits. Frequently, catastrophic injuries prevent the individual from working or generating an income and may prevent the individual from engaging in activities with friends and family members or favorite hobbies the way they did before the accident. In short, catastrophic injuries include those that will change the victim’s life.
While in some cases, victims of catastrophic injuries may eventually fully heal from those injuries, or regain most of their former functionality, catastrophic injuries usually involve a years-long road to recovery.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
While catastrophic injuries may fall into a variety of categories, there are some injuries that occur more commonly than others.
Head injuries, or traumatic brain injuries, can prove extremely complex. Often, they impact multiple areas of a victim’s life, interfering with focus and concentration or creative problem-solving in a way that can make it virtually impossible for patients to take care of their normal work duties. Short-term memory issues can impact both work and leisure, making it hard for patients to function.
In addition, traumatic brain injury can cause problems with emotional regulation, which can make it very difficult for patients to deal with emotional stimuli or relationships. While some victims with traumatic head injuries will go on to make a full recovery, even victims with minor TBI symptoms may show symptoms more than a year after the initial incident. Victims with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, on the other hand, may have symptoms that continue to impact them for the rest of their lives.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries may result in partial or full paralysis below the site of the injury, depending on the extent of the injury. In addition, many victims with spinal cord injuries lose some organ function below the site of the injury. Spinal cord injuries may lead to many permanent changes in the victim’s life: while incomplete spinal cord injuries can show some signs of healing over time, complete spinal cord injuries rarely heal.
Spinal cord injury victims may have the opportunity to pursue many dreams and engage in many activities. However, they may need to take their limitations and challenges into consideration for the rest of their lives.
Spinal cord injury victims may have to spend life in a wheelchair, using assistive devices for mobility. Victims with injuries high on the spinal cord may lose the use of their hands and arms as well as the use of their legs, which can make many tasks, including self-care tasks, more difficult.
Loss of Vision or Sight
Loss of one of the senses can permanently change the activities a person can get involved in and how they can interact with the world around them. Often, victims who have lost vision or sight lose the ability to work in their previous jobs. They may also have a hard time enjoying the activities that once brought them pleasure, especially if those activities relied on the missing sense.
Losing one of the senses, or losing a great deal of one of the senses, can feel incredibly daunting and isolating. Many people who have lost their sense of sight feel as though they have been cast adrift, and it may take considerable time for them to learn how to perform even tasks that were very commonplace before the incident. Furthermore, many people who suffer from loss of vision will need to spend time in occupational therapy to help them learn how to cope with those limitations.
Permanent limb amputation can cause serious complications for many patients. While many amputees choose to use prosthetic devices to make it easier to get around, those prosthetics may mean serious, ongoing expenses for the rest of the victim’s life. Furthermore, it can take considerable time to become entirely comfortable with a new prosthetic device.
Many victims spend a long time in physical and occupational therapy as they learn to cope with the limitations posed by limb amputation. Furthermore, in some cases, limb amputation may make it unsafe for people to complete their former job responsibilities, which may mean that they can no longer work in their preferred industries or that, in some cases, they cannot work at all.
Some amputees struggle heavily with self-care or independence in the immediate aftermath of their injuries. While occupational therapy can help victims relearn how to perform many tasks, some victims end up requiring ongoing assistance.
Burn victims often suffer excruciating pain and considerable scarring. Regardless of how the burn occurred, victims may find themselves needing to stay in a specific burn unit to help reduce the risk of infection and complication. In spite of those precautions, however, many burn injury victims find that they face a high risk of infection. Burn victims often require multiple skin grafts and other treatments and may need plastic surgery to help regain some normal appearance.
Most people assume that “burns” primarily mean heat burns. However, burns can occur in a variety of ways, including friction, extreme cold exposure, chemical exposure, electrical exposure, and radiation exposure. Other types of burns can cause the same types of complications that a victim might experience due to a heat burn, though they may have their own unique complications.
Electrical burns, for example, can result in injuries throughout the victim’s body, not just at the site of the initial exposure, while chemical burns may require special treatment in order to reduce the odds of further damage.
Contact a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer After Your Accident
Dealing with catastrophic injuries can be frustrating enough even before you start trying to handle a personal injury claim. If you suffered catastrophic injuries due to another party’s negligence, contact a catastrophic injury lawyer to learn more about your right to compensation.