Every year, thousands of individuals suffer catastrophic injuries caused by the negligence of another person or organization. These injuries can range from broken bones and spinal cord damage to traumatic brain injuries and even death. Unfortunately, the effects of these life-altering injuries often extend far beyond physical pain and suffering; victims may be left with psychological trauma, a loss of income due to an inability to work, and skyrocketing medical bills. But what are some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries? Let’s take a look.
What Makes an Injury “Catastrophic?”
Catastrophic injuries are defined as those that cause:
- Permanent physical disability
- Other long-term impairments.
Generally, the severity of an injury is determined by the amount of medical care, recovery time it requires and how much of an effect it has on your life. For example, a broken bone may involve a cast and several weeks of healing before the full range of motion is restored. On the other hand, catastrophic injuries, like amputations, can require months or even years to recover from, and the victim is never the same.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Though all catastrophic injuries are life-altering in some way, certain types are more common than others. These include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): TBIs occur when trauma causes damage to the brain and can vary in severity. Common symptoms include memory loss, headaches, dizziness, mood swings, impaired speech/vision, confusion, and more.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI): SCIs occur when trauma causes damage to the spinal cord and can lead to partial or complete paralysis. Symptoms range from chronic pain and muscle spasms to a lack of coordination and difficulty breathing.
- Burns: Burns are often caused by fires, chemical exposure or electrical shocks. Depending on the severity of the burn injury, victims may be left with permanent disfigurement or mobility issues.
- Amputations: Amputations occur when an appendage is severed from the body due to trauma.
Top Causes of TBIs
Traumatic brain injuries can occur in a variety of ways. Some of the most common causes include:
- Motor vehicle accidents - Car accident victims often experience whiplash, concussions or cerebral contusions.
- Workplace accidents - TBIs sustained in the workplace often involve being struck by a piece of equipment or a worker slipping, falling and hitting their head.
- Falling objects or debris - Common in the construction industry, tools or pieces of construction equipment can fall from higher levels and strike a worker.
- Violent assaults - TBIs can result from violence in the form of domestic violence, gunshot wounds and even child abuse.
Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The most common cause of spinal cord injuries is motor vehicle accidents. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 17,810 new cases of spinal cord injury each year in the United States. Of these, about 38.6 percent are caused by motor vehicle accidents. Other common causes of spinal cord injuries include falls (32.2 percent), violence (14 percent), and sports injuries (7.8 percent).
While the exact mechanism of injury varies depending on the type of accident, the vast majority of spinal cord injuries involve some degree of traumatic impact on the spine. This can result in fractures, dislocation, or compression of the vertebrae, which in turn can damage or sever the spinal cord itself. The resulting loss of function can range from partial paralysis to complete quadriplegia. In many cases, spinal cord injuries result in permanent disability and require lifelong medical care.
What Causes Burn Injuries?
The most common cause of burn injuries is exposure to heat or flames. This can include contact with hot surfaces such as stoves, ovens, and irons, as well as fires and explosions. Chemical burns are another common type of burn injury and can occur when the skin comes into contact with cleaning products, acids, or other corrosive materials. Electric burns are less common but can be just as serious, often occurring as a result of shock or electrocution. Finally, radiation burns can be caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or other sources. While any type of burn injury can be painful and debilitating, prompt medical treatment is essential to minimize the risk of infection and long-term scarring.
How Do Amputations Happen?
The most common cause of limb loss is an accident. Every year, thousands of people lose limbs in workplace accidents, car accidents, and other accidents. In many cases, the limb is severed cleanly and can be reattached surgically. However, in other cases, the limb is crushed or mangled beyond repair, and amputation is the only option. In either case, limb loss can be a devastating injury. Many amputees suffer from chronic pain, phantom limb syndrome, and other problems. There are also a number of physical and psychological challenges that come with living without a limb. As a result, it is important to seek prompt medical attention if you have suffered a severe injury to a limb. Amputation may be necessary to save your life.
Catastrophic Injury Attorneys at Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn
Catastrophic injuries can have a profound impact on victims’ lives, both physically and emotionally; however, having the right representation by your side during this difficult time can make all the difference in achieving justice for your suffering. An experienced catastrophic injury attorney has the necessary knowledge and skill set when it comes to navigating complex personal injury claims like yours. Don’t wait; contact an attorney today if you or someone close to you has suffered a catastrophic injury due to another party’s fault or negligence!
Call us today at (415) 940-7176 or fill out our form online for a free consultation.