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What Are the Most Common Catastrophic Injuries?

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The most common catastrophic injuries include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, serious burn injuries, amputations, scarring and disfigurement, and vision loss. Many of the leading catastrophic injuries cause paralysis, brain damage, and other serious losses. Although these are some of the most common catastrophic injuries, any injury that takes away your ability to work can be considered catastrophic.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries disrupt the signals that your spinal cord carries between your body and your brain. Some spinal cord injuries cause paralysis below the injury site, and others allow for some movement and sensation below the level of injury.

The most common causes of spinal cord injuries include motor vehicle accidents, falls, acts of violence, and sports injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury is a sudden injury that causes damage to the brain. Closed head injuries occur after a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Penetrating head injuries occur when an object pierces the skull.

Concussions are a form of mild traumatic brain injury. Most traumatic brain injuries are caused by falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports, blast injuries, weapons, gunshot wounds, and child abuse.

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can range in severity. If you require a skin graft, a burn covers a large percentage of your body, or if a burn affects your face or genitals, your burn injury may be considered catastrophic.

Sometimes, burn injuries that result in scarring and disfigurement can also qualify as catastrophic injuries.

Scarring and Disfigurement

Severe scarring and disfigurement can change your life and interfere with your career, so they may be considered catastrophic injuries. For example, you may have difficulty finding a job with a scarred face – even if you can complete the duties of your occupation.

A disfigured hand could prevent you from working.


Losing a limb has a profound impact on every aspect of your life. If someone else’s negligence leads to an amputation, you may be able to file a catastrophic injury lawsuit against them and their insurance company.

The compensation from a successful claim can help you access prosthetic limbs and make other adjustments to your life.

Vision Loss

If an injury leaves you with any kind of disability, it may be catastrophic. One of the most common disabilities that occur as the result of negligence, especially on-the-job negligence, is blindness.

You may also be eligible for a catastrophic injury lawsuit if you lost another of your senses through nerve damage or another kind of accident or injury.

What to Do if You Sustain a Catastrophic Injury?

If you sustain a catastrophic injury in a fall, a car accident, or any other situation, call 911 immediately. The treatment you receive after the accident could influence your outcome.

Once the doctor gives you a diagnosis (identifies the problem) and a prognosis (Is there a cure? Will you heal?), discuss your rights and legal options with an experienced local attorney.

At Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C., we have been serving the New Hampshire community since 1997. Our team has more than 140 years of combined experience, and we will fight to help secure your future.

You will likely be facing many changes and adjustments, but you do not have to face the next steps alone.

Instead, call us at (603) 288-1403 or contact us online and get started with a free consultation today.