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What Is Considered A Catastrophic Injury?

While any injury has the potential to feel traumatic and serious, there are only a handful of injury types that experts classify as “catastrophic.” Catastrophic injuries aren’t only those that cause severe amounts of physical harm, but those that are disabling or disfiguring as well. At the law office of Powers & Santola, LLP, our experienced catastrophic injury attorneys can help you to understand your rights and legal options if you’ve been involved in a serious accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Call our law firm today to learn more about how we can help.

Types Of Catastrophic Injuries

Various sources define catastrophic injuries in slightly different ways, but most experts agree that catastrophic injuries are those that are fatal, cause permanent disability, or are permanently disfiguring.
Typically, the types of injuries that are classified as catastrophic include:

  • Traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury happens when the brain is impacted with force, is deprived of oxygen, is shaken rapidly or subjected to rotational forced, or is penetrated by an object. All traumatic brain injuries have the potential to be serious, although some can be more severe than others. Traumatic brain injuries have the potential to be fatal, or to affect a person’s cognition, thinking, memory, emotions, sensations, and more. While some people may make a full recovery following a traumatic brain injury, others will suffer from permanent disability and require long-term care. 
  • Spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are arguably the most devastating catastrophic injury type. When a spinal cord injury occurs, the spinal cord is impacted with force (often as a result of a vertebral fracture). This injury type disrupts the spinal cord’s ability to send messages between the brain and the rest of the body. When this occurs, the result will be paralysis from the site of the injury downwards. For example, if the spinal cord injury occurs in the lumbar spine, then a person may suffer from partial or complete paralysis of the bowels and legs. One of the most devastating facts about spinal cord injuries is that these injuries are permanent, meaning that the victim will be impacted for life. 
  • Limb amputation. For anyone, losing a limb would be a catastrophic and life-changing injury type. Even for the non-athletes amongst us, the idea of not being able to walk without medical assistance, write one’s name, or pick up one’s child due to a missing limb is tragic. While prosthetics and physical therapy can often be used to help restore one’s quality of life after a limb amputation injury, nothing can be done to actually restore one’s hand, arm, leg, or foot after a severe accident.
  • Burn injury. Burn injuries are considered catastrophic for a multitude of reasons, including that burn injuries are some of the most painful injury types, burn injuries can be life-threatening, burn injuries often result in long-term mobility and disability issues, and that burn injuries are very disfiguring. 
  • Skull or spinal fractures. Fractures to the skull or the spine (as well as other severe fractures to other parts of the body) are often characterized as catastrophic. Skull and spine fractures are primarily categorized in this manner because of the potential for brain or spinal cord injury that they present. Further, treatment for these fracture types is also very risky and specialized – a small error could result in a more severe injury. 

Causes Of Catastrophic Injuries

The causes of catastrophic injuries are varied. Our lawyers are most familiar with the following catastrophic injury causes: 

  • Motor vehicle accidents;
  • Bicycle accidents;
  • Pedestrian accidents;
  • Commercial vehicle accidents;
  • Sports accidents;
  • Assault;
  • Medical Malpractice;
  • Defective products; and 
  • Dangerous premises accidents. 

If you think that someone else was to blame for your injuries, please call our law firm. 

Legal Action After A Catastrophic Injury

If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, working with an experienced lawyer is in your best interests. At the law offices of Powers & Santola, LLP, we can help you to understand your rights after you are seriously harmed, including your right to pursue legal action for damages against the at-fault party. While nothing can restore you to the same physical and emotional state that you were in prior to the accident, filing a legal action can help you recover compensation for your pain, suffering, medical expenses, property damage costs, diminished quality of life, therapy and rehabilitation costs, and more. 

Contact Our Law Firm Today

To schedule a free consultation with our New York personal injury lawyers, please call our law firm today or send us a message. We are here to support you and advocate for your right to compensation. 

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