What are the most common types of catastrophic injuries?

‘Catastrophic injuries’ are those that occur suddenly and without a warning, leaving the victim temporarily or permanently disabled. Some of these injuries demand years of medical treatment, multiple surgeries, and leave the injured person in extreme emotional trauma and distress. These are best described as injuries that demand intensive medical care and may force you to quit your job.

Several factors could cause a range of catastrophic injuries. Most often, these are caused due to car accidents, particularly a collision with a giant, heavy vehicle, such as a bus or truck. In the last few years, the annual numbers of motor vehicle collisions causing death or personal injuries in Ontario have risen significantly. Besides, workplace accidents and boating accidents also account for various catastrophic injuries. Catastrophic injury lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal system and get the best compensation possible.

Listed below are the most common types of catastrophic injuries you need to know about –

1.     Traumatic brain injuries

Traumatic brain injury is caused due to a sudden blunt force trauma to the head. This could lead to the inflammation of the brain, bruising, bleeding and swelling. Victims may bleed from the head or suffer a range of symptoms, such as nausea, pain and dizziness. They may even slip into a coma. Long-term consequences of the accident may include –

  • Difficulty understanding language
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of memory
  • Impaired senses
  • Tinnitus
  • Personality changes
  • Inability to concentrate or recognize familiar faces or objects
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Pedestrians and bicyclists have greater chances of suffering this type of injury during a head-on collision with trucks and cars.

2.     Spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries are often caused due to a traumatic blow to the spine resulting in a fracture, dislocation or compression. Injuries to the spinal cord could lead to the partial or complete loss of sensation or movement. Paraplegia (paralysis of the lower limbs) and quadriplegia (paralysis of all limbs) are common to a person sustaining these injuries. Fall from height and car accidents are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries.

3.     Burn injuries

Third-degree and fourth-degree burn injuries covering a large portion of the skin are considered catastrophic injuries. These affect the skin layers, known as dermis and epidermis, as well as the adipose tissue beneath the skin, and may further penetrate the organs, bones, and muscles. Victims may sustain permanent damage to the nerves, scars and disfigurement, chronic pain and an impaired range of motion. The condition may take several months to recover following multiple surgeries, medications, and skin grafts.

4.     Amputations

There could be several reasons why a limb may require amputation. Sometimes the reason could be a medical necessity, such as in an attempt to stop or prevent the spread of a serious infection in any of the limbs. Other times, it is due to a negligent situation resulting in a limb being amputated or severed. For example – following a car crash, where the frame collapses and the edges of a sharp metal cling to the skin of your limb, leaving you with no other option than to get it severed.

The following circumstances may be termed ‘negligent’ regarding the cause of amputation and injury –

  • Preventable infections
  • Freak accidents – vehicle accidents, industrial explosions, accidents involving heavy machinery etc.

5.     Compound fractures

Compound fracture or ‘open fracture’ refers to a fracture, where there is a break or an open wound in the skin near the site of the broken bones. The wound is typically caused by a bone fragment breaking through the skin at the time of the injury. These types of injury may leave the injured person permanently disabled despite surgical corrections.

Catastrophic injuries have a disastrous effect on the victim’s life and are certainly not easy to overcome. Unlike other injuries, you don’t simply get progressively better. Most often, the victims and their families are forced to live with the consequences of the injury for the rest of their lives. Therefore, you will need to recover your medical expenses, emotional trauma as well as future medical care, as you will need a helping hand performing routine tasks.

When someone’s willful misconduct, carelessness, and negligence contribute to another’s grave injury, it is time to hire an expert lawyer, who can assist you navigate the complexities of the legal system and receive a high and the best compensation for the loss and damages arising out of such an injury.