Every day, thousands of people are injured all across the United States. Many of these injuries are minor and don’t require medical attention. More severe injuries require a doctor visit or even a hospital stay. And then there are catastrophic injuries; catastrophic injuries are life-changing. These injuries change injured individuals’ quality of life and their ability to complete day-to-day functions. Most of the time, these injuries don’t just affect the victim, but also have a tremendous effect on the victim’s entire family. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a catastrophic injury, contact Groth Law Firm to find out how we can help.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
There is no legal definition for a catastrophic injury. However, most legal professionals generally agree that a catastrophic injury includes any injury that has long-term consequences and requires extensive medical intervention to return a victim to his or her pre-accident capacity. In many cases, a patient may never fully recover from the injury.
Catastrophic injuries are different from serious injuries. With a serious injury, the victim is usually able to return to their normal lifestyle after the accident, even if it takes months of recovery. Catastrophic injuries usually involve permanent partial or total disability.
Examples of Catastrophic Injuries
An injury that qualifies as catastrophic can vary from person to person, but the common denominator is the same. A catastrophic injury changes a person’s life forever. Examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Spinal cord injury: A fall or a sudden impact can bruise or impinge the spinal cord. This can cause full or partial paralysis. Victims of spinal cord injuries must use assistive devices, such as wheelchairs to get around.
- Traumatic brain injury: Every year there are approximately 235,000 hospital visits related to traumatic brain injuries. As the major command center of the human body, the brain relays messages throughout the body. When a traumatic brain injury occurs, the most severe cases may include memory loss, sensory deficits, or the injured individual may remain in a persistent vegetative state.
- Burns: Burns can become catastrophic injuries when they cause severe and permanent damage. Third-degree burns can leave permanent, painful scars and can affect the underlying bones, nerves, and muscles. Which warrant serious medical attention and legal expertise from a burn injury lawyer.
- Crushed or severed limbs: A crushed or severed limb can result in the loss of the use of the affected limb. The patient may choose to live without the limb or elect to use a prosthetic device.
- Loss of vision or hearing: Humans rely on their senses to make decisions and process what is happening around them. A loss of sight or hearing can have a traumatic effect on someone’s ability to get around on their own. Adaptive devices and rehabilitative services are usually needed after these types of injuries.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Some accidents consistently contribute to catastrophic injuries and pose a higher or injury. These include:
- Motor vehicle accidents: In 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation reported 3,492 motor vehicle accidents involving serious injuries. This number is the highest the state has seen since 2012. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are some of the most common injuries caused by serious motor vehicle accidents.
- Workplace accidents: Falls, chemical spills, and crush injuries are some of the injuries that can occur in the workplace. An employer can be found responsible if its negligence contributed to the injury.
- Slip and fall accidents: Slip and fall accidents at a place of business can lead to serious injuries. Injuries can occur as a result of spills, inclement weather, or other hazards.
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents: Pedestrian and bicyclists can become injured when they are hit by a car or collide with another hazard. In 2017, there was an average of 25.82 pedestrian injuries per 100,000 residents and 14.47 bicyclists injured per 100,000 residents in Wisconsin.
The Costs Associated With Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries may require months or years of treatment. Often, the injured party will require care for the rest of his or her life. These expenses can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s why we care so much about helping our clients get the compensation that they deserve. A tragic accident shouldn’t leave you trying to figure out how you are going to pay the bills. Many factors come into play when settling a personal injury case, including:
- Medical bills: With most catastrophic injuries, victims will have a claim for past and future medical expenses including doctor visits, rehabilitative services, surgeries, medications, and medical devices.
- Lost wages: A catastrophic injury can make a victim unable to return to work. When this happens, the at-fault party can be found liable for the person’s loss of earning potential.
- Home modification: Most catastrophic injuries require some sort of home modification. This may include wheelchair ramps, handrails, and other assistive devices.
- Pain and suffering: Catastrophic injuries are life-changing. In addition to physical pain, catastrophic injuries can lead to anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
- Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium generally applies to marital relationships or parent-child relationships. The term refers to a person’s inability to exercise the usual functions of a loving relationship. This can include loss of affection, loss of companionship, and loss of sexual function.
Contact Our Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Today
At the Groth Law Firm, we understand that dealing with a catastrophic injury can be an emotional experience. Our staff will handle your case with compassion and patience as we work to secure you a fair and just settlement. We believe that a personal injury case is not just about the money, it’s about taking the steps to help you move forward. Whether you need help finding a doctor, working with insurance, or need help figuring out what’s next, our legal team is here to help. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, contact our office at (414) 240-0707, or fill out our online form to learn more about your rights.