The long-term impacts of a catastrophic injury from a car accident in Indiana can be life-altering. Catastrophic injuries can result in a permanent disability, an inability to work full-time, a need for lifelong care, to require medications for life, or the use of prosthetics or assistive devices like wheelchairs or walkers. They can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that force you to relearn common, everyday functions, or change your personality, forever altering your relationships.
Catastrophic injuries typically lead to permanent physical damage and limitations. They also alter your family life, work-life, and overall ability to enjoy life.
Common Car Accident Injuries That Can Be Catastrophic
Here is a look at the most common car accident injuries that can become catastrophic for the victim and their family.
TBIs are usually the result of a violent blow to the head. Serious TBIs result in torn tissues, bleeding, and other damage to the brain. Many people who suffer from TBIs are unable to return to work. While they may appear normal after a recovery period, they may experience:
- Memory loss
- Personality changes
- Mood swings
- Inability to concentrate
- Inability to handle finances
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries, which include damage to the spinal cord as well as the nerves at the end of the spinal cord, often cause changes in strength and body functions below the site of the injury.
After a car accident, numbness or paralysis may occur immediately or occur gradually as bleeding or swelling begins. These injuries can result in a loss of bladder or bowel control, difficulty with balance or walking, or impaired breathing. Victims who suffer from spinal cord injuries may be faced with permanent paralysis that completely alters their lifestyle and causes them to become wheelchair-bound for the remainder of their lives.
Amputation of a Limb
While less common than other kinds of catastrophic injuries suffered by car accident victims, when this disfiguring injury occurs, it creates a lifelong disability. The victim may be wheelchair-bound or require a prosthetic limb to perform everyday activities.
Sometimes fires happen as a result of car accidents, causing serious burn injuries to one or both of the parties involved. Generally, these types of injuries occur when a car catches on fire, and a person is inside or when someone comes into contact with hot gas or oil after a collision. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the four types of burn injuries that can occur are:
- 1st-degree burns: this burn only impacts the outer layer of the skin, causing redness and pain
- 2nd-degree burn: this type of burn can cause swelling as well as red, white, or splotchy skin. It can cause blisters to develop and possibly scarring.
- 3rd-degree burn: this type of burn reaches the fat beneath the skin, destroying nerves and causing numbness.
- 4th-degree burn: this is when the bones, muscles, or tendons are burned. The burn site appears white or charred, and there is no feeling in the area.
Severe burns can leave the burn victim with the loss of a limb, disfigurement, scarring, loss of mobility, or recurrent infections. They can also cause muscle or tissue damage that can affect every system of the body. Burn injuries cause emotional trauma as well, resulting in nightmares and flashbacks.
Damages That Victims Can Recover After Catastrophic Injuries
Every accident is different, and the types of damages victims can recover after receiving a catastrophic injury in a car accident can vary. Some of the common types of damages victims recover after these types of injuries include:
These can include ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s examinations, months of physical therapy, medical assistive equipment like wheelchairs, and prosthetics. You also may be entitled to recover the future cost of your medical care. Medical expenses can also include the cost of a caregiver in your home.
After a catastrophic injury, you can miss months of work and possibly be unable to return to the type of work you were doing. You may be able to recover lost income, the cost of future earnings, and employment benefits.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering allow you to recover compensation for the physical pain and mental anguish you experienced as a result of your injuries.
In cases where the victim’s injuries were so severe that he or she did not survive, the family of the victim may be able to recover compensation for their losses. The damages that they may be entitled to, as a result of their wrongful death claim, include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Wages and benefits that were formerly provided by the victim
- Medical expenses left to the family to pay after death
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of support and protection
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
If you or someone you love is facing long-term impacts of a catastrophic injury from a car accident in Indiana, contact Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. at (317) 636-7777 for a free, no-risk review of your case.