Accidents and minor injuries are part of our everyday lives. For the most part, we brush them off and move on. But those unfortunate enough to suffer a major accident also often suffer major consequences.
Catastrophic accidents are considered to be those that leave major and debilitating injuries that create permanent changes and may leave the victim without the ability to work. They are marked by the enormous impact they leave on victims. However, if these accidents are caused by the negligence of someone else, it may be possible to seek legal compensation from those responsible.
While the details of each injury vary as much as the people that suffer through them, most catastrophic injuries fall into a few broad categories.
Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of catastrophic injuries. More than 6 million accidents occurred in 2015 and were responsible for more than 35,000 fatalities. Among the most common injuries suffered were those to the soft tissue, head, neck and back, chest and limbs. Other common causes of catastrophic injuries are workplace accidents, medical malpractice, intentional violence and slip-and-fall accidents.
Among the most common catastrophic injuries are those to the brain. Known as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), these injuries are dangerous because anything that affects the brain may affect the rest of the body, from movement to cognitive ability. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that more than 1.5 million people suffer from TBIs.
Injuries to the spine are often potentially catastrophic. As the spine is the conduit for messages from the brain to the rest of the body, injuries to the spine may affect the rest of the body. The largest danger comes from the risk of paralysis, whether partial or total. It's estimated that more than 17,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries each year.
Accidents that injure the organs may become life-changing events, as well. Because internal injuries are not easily seen, they may go undetected until permanent damage has been sustained. Damage to an internal organ, including the lungs and heart, can debilitate an individual and not just be life-changing but life-threatening.
No matter the cause or the specific injury, the common thread is that catastrophic injuries have a profound effect on victims and their families and will inevitably lead to major medical and rehabilitative expenses. Because of this, an attorney's services are indispensable.
While there is no law prohibiting an individual from filing a suit and representing themselves, it's important to note that even attorneys hire counsel to serve their legal needs. Law is a complex and ever-changing field, and it is important to have the help of an attorney who has experience in handling situations like yours. Additionally, there are many mundane duties like simply filing claims and submitting the correct forms that can be confusing to a layman, but an experienced attorney can help smooth the way.
It is also important to remember that most insurance companies have teams of attorneys who have experience in personal injury cases. People who have suffered a catastrophic injury need a strong support system, including an attorney who will fight for their full and fair compensation.
Overall, an experienced and competent attorney will explain the client's options, helping them evaluate and choose the course that will best suit their needs and is most likely to result in the compensation they deserve.