An accident can leave you with nothing worse than a few bumps and bruises -- or it can cause catastrophic injuries.
What exactly makes an injury "catastrophic" in nature? Catastrophic injuries are the kind from which you never fully recover. To a certain extent, you can heal, but your life won't be the same as it was before you were injured.
Some of the most common catastrophic injuries include:
- Burns, which can cause disfigurements, the loss of limbs, chronic infections and permanent disability
- Spinal cord damage, like the kind that can happen after a fall from a ladder or a bad tumble on a gym mat, leaving the victim paralyzed
- Traumatic brain injuries, including those from car accidents or the kind incurred during a rough game of football
- Amputation, whether due to the accident itself or as a result of infection caused by someone's negligence
- Birth injuries, caused by negligent medical care during pregnancy or delivery that can leave a child unable to develop normally
There are other types of catastrophic injuries, but these are some of the most familiar to people. All of them share one thing in common: They create a lifelong disability for the victim.
Any catastrophic injury is going to be expensive. Aside from the initial period of hospitalization, some of the usual expenses you can expect include:
- Visiting nurses
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Counseling and psychiatric care
- Adaptive medical equipment (beds, walkers, etc.)
- Adaptions to the home and car for ease of use or access
- Nursing home care
The expenses can be hard to imagine when you first start adding things up. For example, if a 25-year-old accident victim is left paralyzed, it's estimated that he or she will experience more than $2 million in lifetime costs associated with his or her condition. More than $500,000 will be incurred within the first year.
This is why it is so important to work with an attorney who understands the needs and long-term struggles of catastrophic injury victims as you seek compensation for your losses.