In the U.S., a disabling injury occurs every second, and a fatal injury occurs every 4 minutes. There are many reasons that injuries may happen — but when they are catastrophic they change their victims’ lives as well as the lives of those who depend on them. This fact comes into stark context when one considers that nearly 50 percent of all mortgage foreclosures are caused by disability.
If you or your family have fallen victim to a catastrophic injury or wrongful death, the lawyers at McEldrew Young Purtell invite you to discuss your case with them. Our law firm is fully committed to helping accident victims recover the full value of their losses. Every client we serve benefits from prompt and direct access to the founding attorney, so the guidance you receive is that of a seasoned professional with an outstanding reputation for results and integrity.
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What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
There are several definitions of what constitutes a catastrophic injury — but all can be life-altering.
The American Medical Association classifies a catastrophic injury as a severe injury to the spine, spinal cord or brain. The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research breaks catastrophic injuries down into three categories based on outcome: fatal injuries, those causing permanent disability and those causing severe head or neck trauma with no permanent disability.
In practical terms, catastrophic injuries can be responsible for three main types of ongoing disability: physical, spinal and cognitive injuries. Physical injuries often result in visible disabilities. Spinal injuries can create permanent mobility challenges for those affected. And cognitive injuries can be among the most consequential, creating unseen challenges that may be even harder to integrate into post-injury life than physical limitations.
The Most Impactful Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries can have both internal and external causes — when the causes are external, their responsibility is often at least partly shared by someone outside of the victim.
- Amputation injury: Car accidents, defective products and employer negligence may be partly to blame.
- Aortic dissection injury: Aortic dissection is a complication which may occur when an aortic aneurysm is not properly diagnosed and treated by a health professional.
- Birth and neonatal injury: Birth injuries may occur when a physician fails to properly evaluate and respond to conditions during labor or at the time of birth.
- Brain injury: About 2.9 million Americans are afflicted by traumatic brain injuries each year, leading to around 55,000 deaths.
- Child injury: When a child sustains injury, the likelihood of negligence being at fault is much higher than when an adult is injured.
- Compartment syndrome: This is a medical emergency usually caused by severe injury; if it’s not promptly diagnosed it may lead to permanent muscle damage.
- Dog bites and animal attacks: About 4.7 million people are victims of dog bites each year, most of them children.
- Dram shop and liquor liability: When a drunk driving accident leads to tragedy, more parties than just the driver are sometimes at fault.
- Drowning and related injury: Statistically, an unattended swimming pool is 100 times more likely to kill a child than a gun kept in someone’s home.
- Electrical injury: High voltage shocks are sometimes caused by property negligence, exposure at work and defective products.
- Eye damage, vision loss and blindness: More than 20,000 workplace eye injuries happen each year, costing more than $300 million in lost time.
- Necrotizing fasciitis: This is a rare and deadly bacterial infection that spreads quickly and is often caused by bed sores, a frequent byproduct of nursing home negligence.
- Radiation injury: The average person today will be exposed to seven times as much radiation during his or her life than in previous generations, which can carry life-altering consequences.
- Spinal cord injury: These are some of the most devastating catastrophic injuries, often leaving sufferers severely impacted.
- Thoracic outlet syndrome: These neck-centric injuries are often caused by car accidents or repetitive stress injuries.
- Testicular torsion: Proper diagnosis and prompt action are necessary to mitigate this injury’s effects.
Lifelong Costs of Catastrophic Injury
The practical consequences of catastrophic injury are some of the most difficult to predict, or receive compensation for. Long after the accident, those injured may develop respiratory problems, blinding headaches, memory loss or unseen difficulties which make it hard for them to keep jobs and maintain personal relationships.
In such cases, medical and practical costs should be a part of adequate injury compensation. These costs can include:
- Continuing medical care
- Visiting nursing care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Medical equipment
- House renovations for increased accessibility
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Cosmetic surgery
When to Consult with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If your family needs advice about your legal options in the aftermath of a catastrophic injury, contact our experienced Philadelphia law firm. Most of the cases our firm handles involve one or more of these characteristics: serious or disabling injuries, multiple defendants, insurance coverage problems, disputes as to liability, or highly complex or technical facts that require expert analysis and testimony. At McEldrew Young Purtell, we offer free consultations, and we can usually advance the expenses involved in the investigation and proving of your claim. We only recover our expenses if we successfully resolve your claims through settlement or trial.
Our attorneys have more than 30 years of trial experience with complex personal injury litigation in Pennsylvania. Over the years, they have developed close working relationships with outstanding medical professionals, whose evaluation and expert conclusions about what caused the injury could become an essential feature of your claim. Get a free confidential consultation now by filling out our form or calling us directly at 1-866-721-8431.