Common Catastrophic Injuries in Car Accidents

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Many car accident victims walk away from their collisions with hardly a scratch and the most serious injuries they sustain can be shock and upset. On the other hand, car accidents also have the potential to cause extremely serious catastrophic injuries. Catastrophic injuries are commonly described as injuries that affect the brain or spine or that result in life-changing effects.


The costs of sustaining a catastrophic injury are high, as these injuries generally require extensive medical care and can leave victims permanently disabled or even dependant on others for their care. Victims are often unable to work for some time and may require costly medical equipment. Because of the extreme expense of a catastrophic injury, car accidents victims who are badly injured should always discuss their legal rights with a highly experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.


The following are some examples of catastrophic injuries that can result from a car accident and the effects the injuries may have on victims.


Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)


A traumatic brain injury occurs when the delicate brain tissue is damaged because the brain hits against the skull. The most common cause of a TBI is direct trauma to the head. Damage can occur on the side of the brain where the trauma occurred but also on the opposite side if the brain knocked back and forth inside the head. Brain injuries can also be exacerbated if there is bleeding on the brain or significant intracranial pressure.


Severe brain injuries can have many devastating effects on victims. One of the major signs that someone has suffered a severe TBI is loss of consciousness. Victims may even be in a coma for days, weeks, or months following their injury. Some victims never fully regain full consciousness and comprehension of their surroundings and they must remain in care facilities for the rest of their lives.


Even if a severe TBI victim wakes up from their coma, they have a long road to recovery ahead of them. Brain injuries can affect the following and more:


  • Communication abilities;
  • Balance, coordination, and physical movement;
  • Emotional control and inhibition;
  • Focus and ability to comprehend instructions; and
  • Memory.


Often, a TBI victim may not be able to regain their previous abilities and may have to change jobs or rely on disability benefits.


Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)


Damage to the spinal cord can be just as catastrophic as damage to the brain, as the spinal cord controls the communications between the brain and the rest of the body. When these communications are disrupted due to damage to part of the spinal cord, the functions of various body parts can be affected.


The body parts that may be affected by spinal cord damage depends on the location of the injury on the spine. For example, the following are the potential results of certain types of spinal injuries:


  • Lower spinal cord injury — Paralysis and loss of all sensory abilities in the legs and possible loss of bladder, bowel, and sexual abilities; and
  • Upper spinal cord injury — Paralysis and loss of all sensory abilities in the arms, trunk, and legs as well as possible loss of function in the bladder, bowels, sexual organs, lungs, digestive system, and more.


Victims of serious SCI may never walk again or may even need assistance with basic functioning such as breathing. Many of these patients require lifelong treatment, care, and assistance.




Many car accident victims suffer serious burn injuries. Burns can occur if a car or truck catches on fire, especially if a motorist is trapped inside for a period of time. Friction burns can also occur if a person is ejected from a car and skids across the roadway at a high speed. In either event, burns can cause serious damage to all of the layers of the skin and sometimes to muscle, bone, and other tissue underneath the skin.


Burns can completely change a victim’s life as they may need months or years of medical treatment. They may require multiple surgical procedures, may lose digits that were too badly damaged, and may be left seriously scarred and disfigured. For this reason, burn victims can also suffer severe emotional and mental effects, as well, which can keep them from working or even being social.  



Some car accidents can result in the amputation of an extremity or limb of a victim. This can happen in different ways. For example, a person’s body part may be severed from debris from the accident, in a rollover crash, or due to the impact with part of the vehicle. In addition, a person may have a bone that is completely crushed or shattered and is unrepairable, so doctors decide amputation may be necessary.


Losing a body part can be extremely traumatic and life-changing. Amputees often have to relearn a wide variety of tasks and may have limited abilities for the rest of their lives. Though a prosthetic can help with abilities, prosthetic limbs are extremely costly and can require significant therapy to learn to use. In addition, nerve pain can persist for years for an amputee.


Internal Injuries


Another catastrophic injury that commonly results from a car accident is damage to internal organs. Such damage can result in the emergency removal of certain organs or the need for a transplant. In addition, internal bleeding can occur and doctors may have to perform emergency surgery to stop the hemorrhaging as soon as possible. Any internal organ injury can be life-threatening and can affect a victim for years to come.


Contact a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney For a Free Consultation


Cases involving catastrophic injuries can be extremely complex and a lot of money can be at stake. Victims deserve to recover for their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, emotional trauma, permanent disabilities, and more. At the law office of The Law Offices of Steven M Krause PA, our Anderson, South Carolina car accident attorneys have helped many victims with catastrophic injuries fully recover for their losses financially. We know how to handle these serious cases, so please call today to discuss a possible case for free.



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