It is very common for serious car accidents to result in physical and emotional injuries, as well as economic loss. However, a catastrophic injury is quite different from typical physical injuries. Catastrophic injuries are significantly more severe and often involve long-term care or permanent disability. The impact of a catastrophic injury is also more significant for the family members of the victim. This article will discuss some of the basic information regarding a catastrophic injury and how to handle your claims.
Is There a Legal Definition of a “Catastrophic” Injury?
No, there is no specific legal definition for the term “catastrophic” as it relates to personal injuries. However, in legal terms, it is basically understood as a serious injury that results in long-term, maybe even permanent, disability or disfigurement. A catastrophic injury usually leads to a difficult recovery, multiple surgeries, and long-term medical treatment. It is not uncommon for victims suffering catastrophic injuries to be incapable of returning to work for an extended period of time. A catastrophic injury commonly makes some of the most basic daily tasks too difficult to deal with alone.
All of these factors mean that catastrophic injuries result in a significant amount of medical expenses which puts enormous strain on the victim and their families. On the other hand, a personal injury claim based on a catastrophic injury can also lead to considerable compensation when a successful personal injury claim is brought in court with the help of our personal injury attorneys.
Examples of Some Common Catastrophic Injuries
Some of the most common examples of catastrophic injuries resulting from serious car accidents include back, neck and brain injuries. Spinal cord trauma and brain damage, for example, usually result in permanent physical or cognitive injuries. Serious burns can also occur after a serious car accident and those burns can result in nerve damage and permanent disfigurement.
Multiple bone fractures and injuries to internal organs are also a common result of a catastrophic injury. Bone fractures result in long-term recovery and extensive medical expenses. Unfortunately, many victims never fully regain strength or mobility of their broken limbs, leading to long-term physical disability. Amputations are another catastrophic injury that causes victims to be unable to return to work and to incur substantial medical expenses. Whether there are partial or complete amputations, prosthetics can be expenses.
Car Accidents are Not the Only Cause of Catastrophic Injuries
While car accidents are common causes of catastrophic injuries, they are not the only cause. These types of serious injuries can also be the result of industrial and construction accidents, sporting accidents, and injuries from falling or flying objects. Other causes include injuries resulting from medical malpractice.
Potential Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
The first step in receiving the compensation for your catastrophic injury is being able to prove the nature and extent of that injury. Not only is this the first step, but it can often be a challenging one. There are so many types of damages that may need to be proven. Your damages could include both present and future medical expenses, the cost of rehabilitation services, lost wages (both past and present), and compensation for disability, pain, suffering and mental anguish.
If you are the victim of a catastrophic injury, the first step you should take is to obtain the highest level of physical recovery that you can. If full recovery is not possible in your situation, as is often the case with catastrophic injuries, then you should use rehabilitation services and vocational programs in order to obtain the best quality of life possible.
The Importance of Documenting Residual or Degenerative Injuries
Long-term and residual injuries are a crucial part of your personal injury claim and are unfortunately overlooked by some. Make sure that your health care providers make a notation in your medical records that you may have a residual or degenerative condition if that is the case. These notations in your medical records will be very important in supporting your claim for these types of damages. The simplest way to get your physician to include such a notation in your records is to simply ask.
If you have questions regarding catastrophic injuries, car accidents, or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (800) 364-8305.
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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