What Is Considered A Major Injury In A Car Accident?

February 21, 2024 | Car Accidents

Suffering a major injury in a car crash could leave you permanently disabled, in chronic pain, or unable to care for yourself or your family – forever. Car accident claims when someone suffers a catastrophic injury are more complex than other types of accidents and may create more legal concerns than victims and their families think. An experienced, knowledgeable Colorado Springs car accident lawyer can help you pursue a claim for damages after a severe car accident injury.

We’re the law firm to call when the unthinkable happens. The car accident attorneys at Earl & Earl, PLLC, know that a major injury affects all areas of your life and relationships. We advocate for your interests and pursue justice on your behalf.

The Types of Major Injuries Car Accident Victims Suffer

In violent collisions, many car accident victims suffer multiple injuries. Healing and rehabilitation can be long and painful, with no guarantee of a full recovery. Even one of these major car accident injuries can leave you permanently disabled or in chronic pain.

Head and Brain Injuries

A concussion or a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) ranges from mild to severe. A mild concussion may heal with a few days of rest, but a moderate to severe TBI or concussion can leave the victim with permanent brain damage. They could lose cognitive abilities, undergo major personality shifts, or be unable to live independently.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Partial or total paralysis is common in high-impact car crashes. You may be unable to walk anymore, suffer muscle spasms, and have permanent nerve damage after a spinal cord injury. Herniated or slipped discs are also common major injuries. Each vertebra is separated by a cushioning disc. If that disc tears or ruptures, it places pressure on the spine, impacting your ability to walk or move and causing chronic pain.

Orthopedic Injuries

A compound fracture, where the bone protrudes from the muscle and skin, requires surgery to fix. Severe breaks may leave the victim incapacitated for months, facing a long road to recovery. Your car accident settlement can cover the cost of a hospital stay, surgery, and physical or occupational therapy to rehabilitate your muscles once the break heals.

A dislocated joint, like your shoulder or hip, may also require surgery. Trauma-induced dislocations often tear the muscles, ligaments, and tendons; even after those heal, that joint may be more prone to dislocation.

Internal Organ Damage

Internal organ damage and internal bleeding are sometimes referred to as “hidden injuries” in a car crash because the symptoms don’t present immediately. An emergency medical exam can detect this serious, often fatal, damage.

If you experience abdominal swelling or discoloration within a few hours of the wreck, seek immediate medical attention. This is a symptom of internal organ damage or internal bleeding. Without prompt treatment, you may have permanent organ damage or turn septic.

Severe Burns

Burns from a fire started when the vehicles collided or burns from touching hot metal carry an extremely high risk of infection. Second, third, and fourth degree burns permanently damage the dermis and could affect the muscle tissue beneath. As your burns heal, you may require a series of invasive, extremely painful skin grafts.

Victims of burn injuries run high risks of developing mental health problems, too. The permanent scarring and disfigurement from the burns can cause depression or anxiety. The trauma of getting burned may lead to the onset of PTSD. Healing from burns may require both mental and physical treatment and therapy.

Legal Implications of Major Injuries in Car Accidents

The value of your claim will rest primarily on the extent of your injuries, your recovery prognosis, and whether you’ll be able to work or live independently once you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement. Your attorney uses your medical records in multiple ways:

Establishing Liability

The crux of a car accident claim is proving that one party was negligent, and their negligence caused the wreck and your injuries. Your lawyer builds a case against the at-fault party using things like their cellphone data, the vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, witness statements, and photos or videos of the crash scene.

You have the right to demand a settlement to cover your past, present, and future medical care. You may need extensive treatment to heal from your injuries or have complications that require more medical care. Some victims may need accommodations in a skilled nursing facility to heal and recover.

An expert medical witness may be needed to explain the extent of your injuries and your prognosis. Expert witnesses describe how the accident caused your injuries and interpret your physician’s findings to explain to a jury what kind of future medical and personal care, or rehabilitative therapy, you will need and estimate its cost.

Proving that the other driver was liable is critical to proving that they are responsible for compensating you for all losses you suffered from the crash.

Legal Recourse for Victims of Major Injuries

You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Their insurance company may offer a pittance for a settlement – if it doesn’t deny the claim outright! An experienced car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you need for all your expenses, avoiding placing a heavy financial burden on your family.

You may also need mental health treatment. The trauma of a violent crash can manifest itself in a number of ways, affecting your quality of life and relationships. Or, if you’re permanently disabled or disfigured, therapy could help you heal emotionally and move on from the traumatic event.

Have You Been Seriously Hurt in a Car Crash? Our Lawyers Want to Hear Your Story

The last thing you want to do as you’re in pain and recovering from a major jury in a car crash is worry about the legal process of getting compensation. The legal team at Earl & Earl, PLLC, can help you get the compensation you deserve, handling your car accident claim and negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company for full and fair compensation to cover your current and future medical care. Ready for help? Contact us online for a free consultation with a Colorado Springs car accident lawyer.