A catastrophic injury is any serious injury that causes a person to suffer long-term or permanent disfigurement or disability. A person who suffers a catastrophic injury will most often need emergency medical attention as soon as possible, assuming the injury is noticeable. According to the American Medical Association, a catastrophic injury is a severe injury to the spine, spinal cord, or brain and may include skull and spinal fractures. Moreover, severe burns are also classified as catastrophic injuries.

Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

ambulance transporting a patient with catastrophic injuries to the hospital

Common causes of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Car Accidents 
  • Slip and Falls
  • Trip and Falls
  • Sporting Injuries
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Boating Accidents; and
  • Workplace injuries

Regardless of how the injury occurred, Tona Law’s attorneys will know the next step in getting you what you deserve.

How is a Catastrophic Injury Diagnosed? 

A catastrophic injury that is visible often requires immediate medical attention. However, some catastrophic injuries are not always apparent after the injury is sustained. Symptoms related to catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, do not always present themselves right away. Therefore, it is vital that the injured party seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if they do not feel like they are seriously injured. 

Additionally, individuals who have been involved in a serious accident should document their symptoms. This includes recording the onset of symptoms, the severity of their symptoms, and how often their symptoms occur. Also, the injured party should keep track of how their symptoms limit or hinder their ability to engage in normal activities, including going to work or participating in a beloved hobby. 

Spinal Cord Injury

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines a spinal cord injury as damage to the ball of cells and nerves that send messages to the brain. Spinal cord injuries are considered catastrophic due to the significant impact on the body’s ability to regulate itself properly. Over four million Americans suffer a spinal injury yearly, many of which will result in long-lasting symptoms. 

The spinal cord is generally divided into four sections starting from the lowest part of your back to the neck: the sacral spinal cord, the lumbar spinal cord, the thoracic spinal cord, and the cervical spinal cord. Generally speaking, trauma to a specific part of the spinal cord affects limbs and other parts of the body below the injury. 

A spinal cord injury results from a direct injury to the spinal cord. In addition, the spinal cord may be injured indirectly when the vertebrae are damaged. A herniated disk, or slipped disk, is one of the most common types of spinal cord injury. 

woman with a spinal cord catastrophic injury visiting with her doctor

A herniated disk is an injury to one of the rubbery cushions, or discs, that sit between the vertebrae that form the spine. Individuals who suffer a herniated disc in the lumbar portion of their spine may feel a sharp pain that travels down the leg. This pain is the result of a disc pressing on the sciatic nerve. Aside from the sensation of pain, other symptoms include numbness, weakness, or tingling sensations. When individuals suffer injuries to the upper back and neck, known as the cervical spine, they can experience symptoms, including sharp pain in their arms and neck. 

Aside from the above-referenced symptoms, a spinal injury can also result in loss of motion or complete paralysis of part of the individual’s body. Other symptoms include muscle spasms, sexual dysfunction, and digestive issues. If you feel any of these sensations, you must see a medical professional to assess the injury and prevent further damage.

Each year, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (“NPCISC”), there are roughly 12,000 new cases of Americans who are diagnosed with either paraplegia or quadriplegia. Most spinal cord injuries result from sudden and severe physical trauma, although even a relatively less impactful incident could cause long-lasting damage if the impact occurs in direct impacts to the spine. 

The most common cause of spinal injuries is traumatic motor vehicle accidents. In fact, according to the NPCISC, approximately 38% of spinal cord injuries occur as a result of car collisions. If you were in a car accident and are subsequently diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, the knowledgeable attorneys at Tona Law are a free consultation away from recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Severe Burns

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 300,000 individuals die each year after severe burns. Beyond fatalities, many more individuals are severely injured, disfigured, or disabled after enduring a burn injury.

Burns are classified into six degrees depending upon their severity and the parts of the body that are injured. For example, first degree burns are classified as superficial while sixth degree burns are considered catastrophic and often result in fatalities. 

man with a catastrophic injury of severe burns sits in a hospital bed

The treatment for a burn depends on how significant the injury is. Typically, individuals who suffer minor superficial burns can treat their burns at home without professional medical attention. However, a second-degree burn may be deemed moderate or severe and require medical attention if the burn covers over ten percent of the patient’s body or affects a sensitive part of the body, such as the hands or face. Generally, patients that suffer a burn on a significant portion of their body have a poorer prognosis. 

While there are a huge number of circumstances that can lead to a burn-related injury, many of these incidents take place in the home. For example, a landlord’s failure to follow fire safety standards could lead to a dangerous accident, injuring someone living in the apartment building or dwelling. Similarly, a landlord or homeowner’s failure to cover an exposed heating or hot water pipe could cause severe burns to someone unlucky enough to touch the pipe. Another water-related issue that could lead to injury involves negligent safeguards over the temperature of water—a tenant or guest could experience a severe burn if the water from a sink, shower, or bath jumps to an extreme temperature without warning, 

Aside from housing issues, there are other ways that a victim could become subject to a catastrophic burn, such as a motor vehicle accident caused by a product defect. No matter the cause, the experienced attorneys at Tona Law are here to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury that affects how the brain functions. Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by countless events such as a serious car accident, a bad fall, or sports-related injury. Traumatic brain injuries vary in severity. Thus, depending upon the severity of the injury, TBI symptoms may last a few weeks or result in life-long symptoms. 

Traumatic brain injuries can have a wide array of physical and psychological symptoms. Physical symptoms include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Psychological symptoms include loss of consciousness, mood swings, and memory issues. Further, these symptoms can appear immediately following the accident or weeks later. A traumatic brain injury is considered catastrophic due to the sensitive nature of the brain. 

imaging of a brain that can determine the extent of a catastrophic injury

Over a million Americans are diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries each year. These injuries are usually caused by direct trauma to the head, which has a devastating impact on the blood vessels and tissues which allow the brain to function. The two most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls and motor vehicle accidents.

After a head injury, the injured person must seek emergency treatment. This is the case because even in situations where the skull is not fractured, and there is no external bleeding, the internal tissue of the brain could be damaged to the point where the injured person’s life is in immediate danger. In those scenarios, the internal lining and tissues of the brain could become torn, resulting in a range of dangerous conditions, including an internal brain bleed which, in turn, causes the brain to swell. Depending on the exact circumstances of the injury, this could be known as either a subdural hematoma or an epidural bleed. This serious chain of events is life-threatening.

Regardless of the cause of your traumatic brain injury, the attorneys at Tona Law know the best way to represent your interests and win your case.

Limb Amputation

An individual may experience a significant injury that results in the amputation of a limb. While the physical impact of an amputation is devastating, the victim may also experience crippling psychological symptoms as they adjust to their new reality. The true effect of a limb amputation must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For example, while losing a pinky finger may not be a traumatic injury for some, it would be devastating for a concert pianist. 

While there are many ways an amputation could happen, the most common result is a motor vehicle accident or an injury sustained due to faulty machinery. Amputations are life-changing events and are emotionally significant to anyone who experiences it. If you were the victim of an accident, the attorneys at Tona Law can assist you in seeking the compensation you deserve for the injury.

Seeking Compensation After a Catastrophic Injury

An individual suffering a catastrophic injury will often incur thousands of dollars in debt due to extensive medical bills. Based on the severity of the injury, the injured party may require rehabilitation for weeks, months, or even the remainder of the individual’s life. Moreover, catastrophic injuries often result in the injured individual being forced to leave their job because they can no longer perform the basic elements of the job that they had been able to perform prior to the accident. As a result, those who suffer catastrophic injuries have trouble finding and keeping a job, which causes the individuals more financial stress. 

However, the losses an individual suffers are not purely economic. The injured party typically suffers non-economic damages, including physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of companionship, and the loss of enjoyment brought by activities they used to engage in. For example, an individual who once enjoyed playing tennis but now cannot due to their catastrophic injury has lost an activity that once brought them joy. The inability to live life to its fullest is a serious issue that you can seek compensation for.

Hire an Attorney Who Specialized in Catastrophic Injuries 

At Tona Law, we understand the pain and difficulties our clients go through after they have been injured. Whether your injury results from another’s negligence or a workplace injury, we can help you recover medical costs, lost income, and peace of mind. 

With over twenty years of experience, our office is familiar with the deceitful tactics insurance companies utilize so they can pay you less than you deserve. However, at Tona Law, our clients know their attorney is working tirelessly to get them the settlement they deserve. 

For these reasons, you need a New York personal injury attorney who will ensure you receive compensation for your injuries. For legal services ranging from personal injury and no-fault collections to business litigation, call Tona Law toll-free today at 1(833) TONALAW or text 1 (631) 780-5355. 

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I would highly recommend Dianna and her team for all your legal matters.Teresa DesimoneTeresa Desimone ★★★★★ I called Tona Law not knowing what to expect after my car accident. They were very kind and patient, made me feel very comfortable about the process while still undergoing surgeries. I know it isn't much, but when I came home from the hospital my husband showed me a little get well package that they sent. It made me feel like they cared that they went that extra step. Lauren and Jayda answered every question I had in a timely manner and if they weren't sure, one of the lawyers would call and would further explain it until I understood. Healing is already a stressful time, Tona Law made it a little bit easier. Thank you to everyone who helped.Bernhard SengstockBernhard Sengstock ★★★★★ Great people! So happy to know that they can be trusted! Will recommend! 😊👍Jeff HJeff H ★★★★★ Great experience with Tona Law. 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