Catastrophic injuries can affect anyone who experiences damage around the skull, neck, spinal cord, or back. Often mistaken for an actual type of injury, catastrophic injuries are defined as the anticipated impact the injury has on a person’s life. A catastrophic injury may describe a disability, disease, or even fatal outcome that could or has already come from the injury itself. It is defined this way because the injury may impact a person in a way causing them to seek medical care the remainder of their life. Though most often found in adolescence or adults, severe catastrophic injuries involving infants could negatively affect the way they develop long term. Due to the severity of these types of cases, this type of injury must be handled differently both medically and legally.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Due to catastrophic injuries being defined as having anticipated impact, there is no definite type of injury that can be defined as specifically catastrophic. Medical and legal associates can examine injuries and help determine whether a person will be affected with a catastrophic injury. Below is a list of injuries that could potentially lead to a sever catastrophic injury.
Spinal cord injury
This injury is caused when areas of the spinal cord or surrounding nerves are damaged. A catastrophic injury in this area may lead to loss of strength or paralysis.
This type of injury could affect the surface of the face and its surrounding areas including the mouth, eyes, and nose. A person’s face may become obstructed, requiring them to have permanent special care to perform everyday functions.
Neck or back injury
This type of injury affects the neck and surrounding nerve areas that could also affect parts of the spinal cord. A catastrophic neck or back injury most often negatively affects nerves and muscles in and around the body parts. Damage to these areas can
cause sensory and neurological loss.
Brain or Skull Injury
This type of injury affects the cranium and brain. Injuries to these specific areas may cause paralysis, nerve damage, psychological damages, and even permanent or fatal damage. This is one of the most severe types of catastrophic injuries due to the increased risk of death.
Conditions Causing Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries can be caused by both oneself or an external force. Injuries that could have been caused by an external force’s negligence may include
– Auto accidents
– Blunt force trauma
– Medical malpractice accidents
– Negligence in a place of work or care
When to Seek Medical and Legal Care
If you or someone has been injured, the first step is to receive medical attention.
If the injury is due to an external force, seeking legal help is optional to find remedies for costs of medical, legal, and life-long care. Both a medical and legal examiner can assist in determining whether the injury is catastrophic and if further action should be taken. It is important to have the details of the impact, medical records and examinations, and any medical and legal advice and information recorded to determine if you are eligible for compensation due to a catastrophic injury.
Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anyone who experiences impact to the brain,
skull, or surrounding areas of the head. There can be both mild and severe cases of traumatic brain injuries, however both can cause temporary or permanent damage. If you or someone you know believes they have experienced a brain injury due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to receive compensation by the services of a personal injury lawyer.
Types of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries, usually resulting from impact, can erupt in many different places of the cranium. Injuries can be classified as mild, severe, and even traumatic, however if you believe you are dealing with any type of injury, it should be further checked by a medical professional in order to avoid any further or permanent damage.
Common Brain Injuries May Include:
Concussion- a traumatic injury, usually by impact, that causes damage to the temporal lobe which can affect memory, attention, alertness, and everyday activities
- Skull fracture- An injury that causes a fracture or break in the skull. There are four major types of skull fractures.
- Linear Skull Fracture- When there is a break in the skull but not including any movement of the bone.
- Depressed Skull Fracture- This type of fracture is when the skull becomes indented or there is an intrusion into the brain.
- Diastatic Skull Fracture- This type of fracture happens when the sutures of the skull become widened, typically found amongst infants. Basilar Skull Fracture- This fracture happens when there is a break in the skull bone at the base. This is one of the most severe types of fractures and you should be under direct supervision of a medical professional.
- Penetrating Brain Injuries- PBIs are one of the most severe and most common brain injuries in young adults. This happens when the brain is penetrated by any foreign object such as a knife, bullet, or other objects inserting the brain. This does not include blunt force trauma to the outside of the head.
Conditions That May Cause a Brain Injury
There are many different issues or accidents that may cause a brain injury, however, listed below are a few injuries that could have been caused by others, resulting in a personal injury lawsuit that may include:
- Falling in a public or private place, likely resulting from another person’s negligence
- Vehicular Accidents
- Assault that includes blunt force trauma or penetration into the brain
It is not necessary for one to hit his or her head to be a victim of brain injury. For example, oftentimes brain injury can occur as a result of a non-contact injury such as whiplash. Furthermore, a person can suffer severe brain damage as a result of a stroke or heart attack. Medical emergencies, such as a stroke and a heart attack can distress the brain’s blood and oxygen supply, causing localized or even extensive brain damage. Additionally, the brain may be injured by a stroke or heart attack due to severe oxygen starvation that is caused by choking or cardiac arrest. It is crucial to understand that traumatic brain injury is vastly different from these types of anoxic brain injuries, where there is not enough oxygen going to the brain. Unlike anoxic brain damage, which results in brain cells dying because of oxygen starvation, traumatic injuries can result in bruising or swelling of the brain.
A major brain injury can drastically affect a person’s ability to live a normal life. The person may suffer physical and/or behavioral effects, depending on the location and severity of the brain injury. A severe brain injury may affect a person’s life in many aspects: the ability to work, to learn new material, to be independent and even to interact with his or her loved ones.
When to Seek Medical Care
If you or someone you know believes they have experienced any type of injury to the brain or skull, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Typically, trauma or injury is followed by symptoms that may include bruising, confusion, inattentiveness, nausea or vomiting.
Diagnosing and Treating Brain Injury
Recognizing and proving permanent brain injury can be a difficult task; especially due to the fact that the associated changes in a person’s behavior or personality can often be subtle. In order to provide the best medical treatment for a brain injury victim, it is crucial to get diagnosed by a medical professional as soon as possible. Our personal injury lawyers can help guide you through this process as our law firm is experienced with many experts to work with.
Rehabilitation for brain-injury victims depends upon the severity and cause of the injury. For instance, a person may require both physical and occupational therapy in order to not only condition muscles but also to re-adapt and re-learn daily activities. In general, the earlier the treatment initiation, the better the recovery.
Establishing your case
It can be difficult for a plaintiff to prove his or her case due to the fact that brain injury cases entail many unique issues. Bringing in a brain injury lawsuit may be difficult especially if there is a delay in diagnosis and treatment. A delay in detection and confirmation of such injuries may make it look like the injuries are not that severe. Additionally, since brain injury victims for the most part appear “normal” it can create a further obstacle in establishing the victim’s injuries and damages to the jury. Furthermore, diagnostic tests, such as CT scans and MRI’s often do not detect many closed head injuries and minor brain trauma, making it even more difficult to prove to the jury. Also, people with brain injuries oftentimes experience memory loss and do not recall the incident that caused the injury. If the victim experiences difficulties remembering the incident that left him or her suffering from such injuries, the attorney may call individuals who witnessed the accident to testify. Besides the accident witnesses, the plaintiff will likely need to call other witnesses that played an important role in the victim’s life, such as family members, friends, and coworkers, to testify about the plaintiff’s condition pre and post-accident. Witnesses may testify about the plaintiff’s problems with his or her memory, coordination, feelings, reading, communication, sleep, pain, etc.
Defenses to Brain Injuries
The defendant may try to raise the argument that the plaintiff is not suffering from brain injury. This argument normally takes one of two approaches: The defendant may try to argue that the plaintiff’s injuries are the cause of a mental or emotional condition or that it’s just plain exaggeration. Defendants may also argue that the brain injury was caused before the accident date or his suffering was not entirely caused by the accident that is the focus of the lawsuit. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are prepared for all of these issues at all times.