Any accident that causes injuries requiring medical treatment is a serious accident, but what makes an accident catastrophic? Even though the term is used frequently in personal injury law, there's no standard definition for what it is exactly.
Generally, an injury is considered catastrophic if it prevents a person from being able to engage in gainful employment. We take a look at what kinds of medical conditions could be considered catastrophic and explain how our team can help get the compensation you deserve if you've experienced a life-altering incident.
Massachusetts Catastrophic Injuries
A particular injury affects people differently, so while whiplash, for example, may not be debilitating for one person, it could be for another. What makes each case so unique is the way your body is impacted—this is more important when determining the severity than the injury itself.
The following types of injuries have the potential to be catastrophic for some people:
- Traumatic brain injury. A brain injury can result in permanent cognitive dysfunction, limited motor skills, impaired speech and language, and emotional difficulty.
- Spinal cord damage. When the spinal cord is severed, the victim could be paralyzed from the point of injury down. This kind of damage is irreversible, and they'll require life-long care.
- Back injuries. A slipped, bulging, or ruptured disc along the backbone can lead to excruciating pain and a complete lack of mobility. Sometimes, surgery can help, but often a victim struggles for many months.
- Severe burns. Infections, loss of limbs, chronic pain, scarring, and disfigurement can result from 3rd- or 4th-degree burns, seriously impacting a person’s quality of life.
- Bone fractures. It takes time to heal multiple compound fractures and in many serious cases, a complete recovery isn't possible. This might lead to a disability that limits work options.
- Amputations. When a motor vehicle accident victim loses a limb, they have a long road of rehab and therapy ahead before being able to function as they did before the accident.
- Neck strain. Some people who suffer a neck injury in a car accident or fall experience debilitating pain and mobility issues for the rest of their lives.
When these injuries are severe, they require months—if not years—of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy. Some victims will never be able to return to work, and may need daily assistance with simple tasks. This kind of ongoing care is extremely expensive. When an injury claim is filed, these potential long-term costs must be taken into consideration.
Accidents That Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries
In reality, you can sustain a catastrophic and even fatal injury by slipping in your bathtub. Accidents can happen anywhere, and the results are often devastating. However, when you're seriously injured because another party was negligent, this person or business should be held responsible for your losses.
The following types of accidents are often the fault of a negligent party:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
How an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
In the first few days or weeks after a catastrophic accident, there's no way to know what the patient’s future medical costs may be. Experienced injury attorneys inherently understand that it's best to wait until more is discovered about the prognosis before settling on a value for the case. Your attorney may advise you to wait until you achieve maximum medical improvement before demanding compensation from the negligent party.
Then, your attorney makes sure all of the following costs are covered:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Medical equipment such as a wheelchair or in-home hospital bed
- Costs of modifying the home to accommodate needs
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
The personal injury attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas have helped many victims of catastrophic accidents, and they'll bring their many years of experience to your case to help get the full compensation you deserve. Contact our Framingham office today to speak with an attorney. We're here when you need us.