What are Catastrophic Injuries?

doctor looking at brain scan

The moment you suffer an injury because of negligence, it’s easy to understand that plenty of questions will come to mind. What do I do next? How bad are my injuries? How do I move forward in life? Unfortunately, thousands of people suffer injuries each day because of someone else’s negligent actions.

Personal injury law allows you to pursue justice and compensation for any injuries you sustain stemming from a person’s reckless behavior. However, some injuries can be much worse than others, causing a lifetime of pain and suffering. These are referred to as catastrophic injuries in the civil justice system and they are often seen as the most serious when determining the amount of compensation you can recover.

If you suffer a catastrophic injury, you may need lifelong medical care, specialized medical equipment, modifications to your home or vehicle, and you may be unable to earn an income. It’s for these reasons that the following catastrophic injuries require unique care and legal representation.

Catastrophic injuries are the following:

To learn more about each of these types of catastrophic injuries, either click the links above or read below.

If you suffer catastrophic injuries, we encourage you to call our firm today at (503) 543-1114.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

If you or someone you love suffers a traumatic brain injury, it can lead to some of the most severe symptoms possible. While there’s always physical pain that you may endure, a TBI can lead to many developmental and cognitive issues. Typically, traumatic brain injuries can involve the following situations:

  • Loss of oxygen to your brain resulting from stroke, suffocation, cardiac arrest, or drowning. It can cause the damage or death of brain cells, leading to long-term problems.
  • Trauma to your brain and/or head and skull that causes bruising or significant bleeding. The pressure can lead to severe pain, and swelling may persist.
  • Penetration injuries can occur when an object goes through the skull and into the brain. For instance, a sharp object falling from a high level on a construction site where hardhats are not present.

Many traumatic brain injuries don’t have a cure. You can treat the pain with medication or certain medical procedures, and therapy can help deal with some of the cognitive and developmental effects of a TBI. However, the necessary treatment can cost a significant amount of money over the years.

If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, you could pursue compensation from the negligent person who causes your harm.

Spine Injuries

Spine and spinal cord injuries can create a significant number of problems for you. Spine injuries can involve your vertebrae or the spinal cord and the nerves within the area. It’s vital to recognize how serious spine injuries can be.

Spine injuries can involve herniated discs resulting from too much pressure on your vertebrae. This type of injury is more common when you already suffer from degenerative conditions that impact your spine. Bulging discs and other problems can also cause severe pain and require surgery or other procedures to relieve some of the pain.

Spinal cord injuries are most often the most devastating injuries because they can lead to paralysis. Depending on the level at which the injury occurs, you may suffer from either paraplegia or quadriplegia, as well as incomplete or complete paralysis.

  • Quadriplegia results in paralysis of all four limbs, disabling your use of arms and legs.
  • Paraplegia results in paralysis in the limbs below the level of the injury, most often both legs.
  • Incomplete paralysis can impact your body function below the area of the injury, but you may still have some movement (e.g., the use of one side of your body).
  • Complete paralysis impacts full body function below the area of the injury and no movement exists.

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries may not always stem from negligence, but it’s important for people to understand when someone else’s actions can lead to you suffering this type of harm. A burn injury can occur in a number of different ways, including but not limited to:

  • Someone spilling scalding hot liquid on you that causes you to suffer a burn in the area where the burn occurs.
  • Arson in which someone deliberately starts a fire in an area and the flames burn your skin.
  • Motorcycle accidents in which you may not have on the right equipment. If a car sideswipes you and you slide on the floor, this can create a friction burn commonly referred to as road rash.
  • In a workplace in which harmful chemicals are used but you are not provided proper safety gear.

Burn injuries are considered catastrophic for more than one reason. They can cause a severe amount of pain, but they also cause lifelong scarring that can impact your emotional state. It becomes vital to recognize your rights to file a lawsuit after a burn injury so you know what types of damages you may recover.

Burn injury severity (categorized by degrees) can determine the type of symptoms you may suffer from after the burn.

Other Catastrophic Injuries

There are other types of catastrophic injuries a person can sustain including internal organ damage and amputations. These types of injuries can cause long-term pain for you should you suffer either of them. You should understand how these types of injuries occur and what your ability is to pursue legal action against a negligent person.

  • Amputations: Many situations involving amputations are done because of medical conditions or illnesses. However, surgical errors and trauma can also lead to amputations in which you may lose a limb. For instance, if you are misdiagnosed with a medical condition, the doctor may opt to amputate a part of your body, even if you don’t need the procedure.
  • Internal organ damage: This type of injury can result in severe internal bleeding and cause long-term health problems. Some of the common causes of internal organ damage include severe car crashes, medical errors, and acts of violence. If you have an organ shut down because of the trauma, it can lead to fatal injuries.

In any situation involving a catastrophic injury, you should recognize where negligence may have played a role in causing you harm. When negligence exists, you may have the right to file a claim or legal action against the person responsible for your injury.

At The Gatti Law Firm, we are committed to protecting your rights if you suffer a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. These types of injuries can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to recover and receive the care you need. You shouldn’t have to endure the financial, physical, and emotional hardships that may arise because of someone else’s actions.

Our Salem personal injury attorneys make it a point to provide you with the compassionate care and respect you deserve. We know how hard it can be to endure a lifetime of issues because of an incident involving someone else’s actions. We’ll do whatever we can, always working to go the extra mile, to protect your rights.

We proudly offer free consultations so you can get answers to your questions without financial obligation. We also offer our services on a contingency fee, so you only pay when we recover compensation for you. Call us today at (503) 543-1114.

About the Author - Christopher R. Best

Attorney Chris R. Best

Attorney Christopher R. Best is a shareholder at The Gatti Law Firm. He has a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. He has been involved in a number of very significant motion practices in the fields of tort, defamation, and other complex areas of law. 

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