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Types of Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Posted By Brian Shapiro
Types of Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Each year, roughly five million car accidents occur in the United States. Roughly 1.6 million of those accidents will result in serious injury. While some walk away with mere scratches, others are not as fortunate, sustaining catastrophic injuries that alter lives in an instant. A catastrophic injury has severe consequences, often leading to permanent disability, long-term medical conditions, or even death. Understanding these injuries is crucial, not just for those affected but for the families that must now care for them and help them move forward into a new future.

Head and Brain Injuries

The repercussions of head and brain injuries from car accidents extend far beyond the immediate aftermath of the incident. For survivors of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), the journey may unfold over years or even a lifetime. Concussions can lead to persistent cognitive difficulties, affecting memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities, thus impacting one's ability to work and engage in social activities. More severe TBIs may result in profound personality changes and permanent neurological deficits, leaving individuals reliant on various forms of therapy and, in some cases, full-time care.

The costs for ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation, and personal care can quickly escalate into hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars over a lifetime. Individuals may face loss of income if they cannot return to their previous employment, and their families may also bear a financial burden due to lost wages and the possible need to provide care. 

Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis

Spinal cord injuries sustained in car accidents can be catastrophic, often leading to long-term or permanent changes in an individual's physical capabilities and quality of life. Paraplegia and quadriplegia, two potential outcomes of spinal injuries, can confine a person to a wheelchair, requiring modifications to their home environment, specialized transportation, and assistive technologies that enable daily living. The psychological toll is also considerable, as individuals must adjust to a new way of life and potential dependence on others for care and support.

Lifetime care for spinal cord injuries can amount to millions of dollars, depending on the severity of the injury and the age at which the person is injured. Immediate costs often include surgery, hospital stays, and early rehabilitation. Over time, ongoing expenses such as personal care assistance, physical therapy, medical equipment, and treatment for secondary conditions related to the injury add up. 

Internal Injuries

The force of a car crash can cause internal organs to tear, rupture, or bleed. These injuries may not be immediately apparent but can be deadly without prompt medical attention. Liver lacerations, kidney damage, and splenic ruptures are common during high-impact collisions. Additionally, thoracic trauma can lead to a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) or bleeding in the chest cavity (hemothorax), while an aortic dissection can be instantly fatal.

Beyond the acute phase, these injuries can lead to chronic health issues that require ongoing medical management. For example, individuals may face a lifetime of dialysis for kidney damage or continuous monitoring for potential complications from liver or spleen injuries. 

The financial toll of such care is substantial; it includes not only the direct medical costs of continuous treatment and periodic hospitalizations but also the indirect costs related to lost wages and reduced earning capacity. 

Orthopedic Injuries

Compound fractures are at high risk for infection and often require multiple surgeries and prolonged antibiotic therapy. Crush injuries may lead to amputation, bringing about a lifetime of physical adjustments and the need for prosthetics. Dislocated joints, especially in weight-bearing areas like the hip, may never regain full strength or range of motion, resulting in chronic pain and mobility challenges. 

The financial implications of these orthopedic injuries are substantial. Medical expenses can balloon with the cost of surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and any necessary medical equipment. If amputation is involved, the cost of prosthetics and the modifications required for accessibility in homes and vehicles add to the economic burden. 

Burn Injuries

Third and fourth-degree burns penetrate deeply, destroying not just the outer layer of skin but also affecting muscles, tendons, and bones. These burns require extensive medical treatment, including multiple surgeries and skin grafts, and carry a high risk of infection and complications. The healing process is often prolonged, necessitating long-term hospitalization and rehabilitation. Psychologically, individuals may struggle with the trauma of the accident and the distress associated with disfigurement and scarring, which can lead to conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Financially, the costs associated with treating severe burns are immense. Initial acute care, surgical procedures, rehabilitation, and potential follow-up surgeries for scar revision can result in astronomical medical bills. The need for specialized care, such as burn centers and plastic surgery, adds to the expense. Moreover, burn injuries often require a substantial recovery period during which the individual may be unable to work, resulting in lost wages and, in some cases, a complete loss of employment if the individual cannot return to their former job. 

Disfiguring Facial Injuries and Scarring

Broken facial bones, dental injuries, and injuries to the eyes and ears are devastating. These injuries often require complex reconstructive surgery to restore function and appearance, as well as ongoing treatment from specialists.

The cost of surgeries, long-term rehabilitation, specialized care, and potential future corrective procedures can accumulate rapidly, imposing a heavy financial burden on individuals and their families. In many cases, facial injuries require ongoing psychological support to help individuals cope with their altered self-image and the social challenges that can arise from disfigurement. 

Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or someone you love suffered a catastrophic injury in San Bernardino, we are here to help you through this ordeal. The personal injury attorneys at William D. Shapiro Law, Inc. want to make it easy for you to get through this and rebuild your life. Call our law firm at (909) 890-1000 or fill out our confidential contact form

About the Author:

Brian Shapiro

Brian Shapiro is a dedicated advocate for injured victims and is committed to pursuing challenging claims on their behalf. He is especially passionate about representing individuals with spinal, brain, and other serious injuries, as well as families of those who have suffered due to the negligence of others. Brian handles a wide range of cases, including those involving auto and trucking accidents, premises liability, government liability, medical malpractice, and insurance denials and bad faith. He is meticulous in his approach, taking the time to carefully consider each case and issue before taking action. Brian has secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for his clients.Outside of his legal practice, Brian is actively involved with various professional organizations, including the Consumer Attorneys of California, which advocates for the rights of individuals against powerful industries such as insurance companies. He is also a member of the San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange County Bar Associations and volunteers his time providing pro bono legal services for the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino.Brian is licensed to practice law in California state courts as well as federal district courts in the Central District of California. He is a detail-oriented and passionate advocate for his clients and is dedicated to securing the best possible outcomes for them.... View full business profile here: Brian Shapiro