What is a Catastrophic Accident?
A catastrophic accident is something you never want to experience in your lifetime or watch a loved one suffer. Unlike an injury you may recover from, catastrophic injury resulting from an accident may forever change your life.
What do we mean by catastrophic?
By definition, a catastrophic accident is one that results in severe injury to the brain, skull, spinal cord, appendages or senses. It may mean the injuries are permanent and the victim is unable to return to work or even function in the world as he/she previously did due to the serious long-term effects.
Unlike some personal injury cases, the injured individual may need a lifetime of care due to his/her impairment.
A catastrophic injury usually happens without warning. It can result from an auto or trucking accident, a boating or motorcycle accident, a backyard trampoline accident, an accident on-the-job, injuries from a fall or a fire, or medical malpractice, among other causes.
A catastrophic accident can result in severe injuries, such as:
* Spinal cord injury
* Traumatic brain injury
* Nerve injuries that result in paralysis
* Severe burns
* Loss of Limbs
In a catastrophic injury, someone may lose their sense of sight or hearing, lose an arm or an eye, or may never walk again. The victim may no longer recognize his/her loved ones.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is considered a catastrophic injury because it can change the way the brain functions. We often find that individuals who do not wear a seat belt and are thrown from the car suffer a TBI.
Cognitive and emotional problems can be symptoms of TBI, making it difficult to understand and interact with other people. Sometimes, a brain injury can be so severe that it is impossible to return to doing simple tasks such as walking, talking, bathing, or feeding oneself. This often means that loved ones are suddenly thrust into the caregiving role.
There are a number of secondary medical problems that can develop from a catastrophic injury. For example, deep vein thrombosis, a pulmonary embolism, cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, and pneumonia can develop when one is seriously impaired.
According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, some of the most dangerous sports in which catastrophic injuries can occur are football and cheerleading, where collisions and spine trauma are most common.
Long-Term Care for a Catastrophic Injury
As we touched on previously, because of the long-term nature of a catastrophic injury, the family may need to become full-time caregivers. That means adjustments, not only financially, but in terms of resources that must be accessed now and in the future.
Legally, it is important for us to define that this is a catastrophic accident with permanent injuries that prevent the individual from being gainfully employed. It will be important for us to define what caused the catastrophic accident to determine if it was due to the negligence of others.
We also need to measure the amount of financial loss the individual or family has suffered following a catastrophic injury to determine the settlement amount that is needed to cover that loss. A life care plan is one way to determine the long-term financial needs of the injured party.
You will need an experienced law firm to explain the Alabama legal standard known as “contributory negligence.” According to this standard, if the injured individual “contributed” at all to the underlying accident, he/she may lose any avenue to recovery. There are some exemptions for children and young teens.
Because contributory negligence is a very high bar to clear, it is absolutely necessary that you have an experienced firm by your side to advocate on your behalf.
If you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic injury, you should know that we work on a contingency-fee basis and there is no cost to discuss your options. The future of your loved one may depend on the experience and sensitivity of the law firm you work with. Call the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, L.L.C. at 251.473.6691 to schedule your free consultation. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.