Catastrophic injuries are a very unique type of injury. They are more serious and often result in permanent injuries or even disabilities. In addition to physical injuries, catastrophic injuries can be emotional and economic. They most often have a more significant impact on the victim and the victim’s family. Catastrophic injuries can be the result of trauma or a serious disease or illness. For instance, the body’s impact against a hard surface or exposure to fire can cause catastrophic injuries. Traumatic catastrophic injuries include burn injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, organ damage, broken bones, and amputations.
What makes an injury catastrophic?
While there is no standard legal definition of “catastrophic injury,” it is generally agreed that a catastrophic injury is one that severely injures someone and leads to long-term, if not permanent, disability or disfigurement. Catastrophic injuries typically require a difficult recovery, multiple surgeries, and most likely a lifetime of medical treatment. Victims of catastrophic injuries may not be able to return to work for an extended period of time, if at all.
Why are Spinal Cord Injuries Serious?
Regardless of the cause, the consequences of a spinal cord injury are usually overwhelming for a victim and his or her family. The medical expenses alone, over the course of the victim’s lifetime, can be astronomical. According to some reports, auto accidents account for more than 40% of all spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord consists of the nerves that connect nearly every part of your body to your brain. As a result, an injury to your spinal cord can result in a very broad range of serious injuries to various parts of your body, from paralysis to the inability to breathe on your own.
Common causes of Spinal Cord injuries in the U.S.
According to the Mayo Clinic, motor vehicle accidents, both auto and motorcycle, are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries every year. Accidents account for more than 35% of spinal cord trauma. Falls cause more than 25% of spinal cord injuries each year, with the majority of those occurring in individuals over the age of 65.
Acts of violence account for approximately 15 percent of spinal cord injuries, including gunshots and stabbings. Athletic activities, such as impact sports and diving result in around 9 percent of spinal cord injuries.
Damages in spinal cord injury cases
The typical damages recovered in catastrophic spinal cord injury cases include medical expenses (both current and future), cost of rehabilitation services, lost wages (both current and future) when applicable, permanent disability coverage, and compensation for pain, suffering and mental anguish. For those who suffer a catastrophic injury, the first step is to reach the highest level of recovery possible. When full physical recovery is not possible, as is usually the case with catastrophic injuries, rehabilitation services and vocational programs are available to help you obtain the best quality of life possible.
If you have questions regarding spinal cord injuries, or any other catastrophic injury issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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