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Which Injuries Are Considered Catastrophic?

A person’s life can change in an instant due to one quick act of negligence. It’s an unfortunate situation and those injured are often left with long-term effects and questions about what they can expect to come next.

No matter the situation, any person who has sustained an injury can consider it serious. However, under personal injury law matters, some of the injuries sustained may be considered worse than others. These are labeled as catastrophic.

Catastrophic injuries are those that have a tremendous impact on the injured party’s life, often resulting in the need for lifelong care. Below, we detail the various forms of catastrophic injuries, the acts of negligence that may cause them, and what steps those injured can take to pursue justice.

This includes the following:

If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury due to negligence, call our firm today at (800) 900-0863.

For more information on these types of injuries, continue reading below.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

The idea of suffering a traumatic brain injury can be daunting for anyone. In some cases, this can be as simple as a concussion, but there are some forms of TBIs that can be much more catastrophic, including intracranial hematomas, skull fracture, contusions, diffuse axonal injury, and more.

TBIs are most likely categorized in two ways: penetrating or closed. A penetrating brain injury is one in which the outer layer of the meninges is penetrated—such as when objects enter the skull. A closed brain injury occurs when the dura stays intact and are further broken down into mild, moderate, or severe.

mild traumatic brain injury is often associated with the following symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness—usually lasting a few seconds or minutes
  • Headaches
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty with speech
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

moderate traumatic brain injury may include physical symptoms such as:

  • Loss of consciousness—usually lasting minutes or hours
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Numbness in fingers or toes
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech

severe traumatic brain injury may have symptoms including:

  • Coma
  • Memory loss
  • Damage to sensory functions
  • Emotional changes
  • Sleep disorders
  • Difficulties with cognitive functions

Negligence is a leading cause in a traumatic brain injury. This includes motor vehicle accidents, acts of violence, medical malpractice, birth injuries, and even slip and falls. This means those injured, and their families, have legal rights following the injury to pursue legal action against.

Spinal Cord Injury

When a fracture, dislocation, compression, or other damage occurs to the protection around the spinal cord, the party subject to the damage may suffer a spinal cord injury. While many forms of trauma can lead to a spinal cord injury, there are plenty negligent actions that can cause an SCI.

Spinal cord injuries vary, but it’s critical for those injured to understand the outcomes and what type of SCI they have sustained based on the location of the injury. Here are the different types of spinal cord injuries that may be sustained:

  • Cervical Spinal Cord Injury: An injury between the C1 and C8 can result in a cervical spinal cord injury, which may result in quadriplegia. This is the area of the spinal cord responsible for sending signals to the neck, shoulders, arms, back of the head, and hands.
  • Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury: A thoracic spinal cord injury is the result of a T1 to T12 injury. These injuries are not as common because of the location, but they can result in paraplegia—or paralysis or weakness of the legs.
  • Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury: An injury between the L1 and L5 can result in paraplegia, which can cause the injured individual to experience sensation loss and difficulty with bowel and bladder control. Most of the time, the upper extremities will not be affected.
  • Sacral Spinal Cord Injury: When damage occurs between the S1 and S5, the individual may experience some weakness or paralysis in the legs and / or hips. The primary damages, though, result in loss of bowel and bladder functions.

Typically, spinal cord injuries may be categorized as complete or incomplete. Complete means that the individual experiences a full lack of function below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury means that there may be some possible movement below the level of injury as not all communication to the brain is lost.

Burns and Other Catastrophic Injuries

Burn injuries have the potential to have a lasting physical and mental impact on the injured party. Depending on the severity, the burn may cause significant damage to multiple layers of skin, as well as the muscle and tissue beneath the skin, and even bones or internal organs—depending on the cause.

Burns often leave visible scars and may require skin grafting to help the injured party recover. Typically, burns are categorized as first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree depending on what symptoms are being exhibited.

A burn may be considered thermal, radiation, chemical, friction, or electrical.

Other injuries that may be catastrophic include significant internal damage or amputations. In legal matters, they are any injuries that can cause long-term disability requiring exorbitant medical expenses, lost income, years of rehabilitation or psychological therapy, and more treatment.

Your Rights Moving Forward

If you or someone you love was catastrophically injured as a result of negligence, know that you have rights that need to be protected. You can seek compensation for the physical and emotional damages you sustained because of someone else’s reckless actions.

At Caputo & Van Der Walde, we take these cases very seriously because we know what it means to victims and their families. Dealing with any injury is difficult enough—when it’s considered catastrophic, the long-term impact can seem almost impossible to endure on your own.

Our San Jose catastrophic injury attorneys are prepared to stand by your side every step of the way. Trust that we are focused on your best interests and are completely dedicated to helping you secure the outcome you need and deserve.