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Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

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Catastrophic injuries are life changing and can be caused by many different scenarios. Individuals who sustain these injuries are often left with permanent disabilities and can no longer work. In circumstances when an individual or company might be at fault, seeking legal assistance can help alleviate the financial burden associated with adjusting to your new lifestyle.

Common catastrophic injuries are defined as “any injury that takes away your ability to work.” Becoming familiar with the common causes of catastrophic injuries can help you avoid situations where they may occur.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents are one of the major causes of catastrophic injuries. Victims of these accidents can sustain injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spine injury, amputation, burns, and more. Car accidents can happen from distracted driving, drunk driving, road rage, and many other reasons.

Motor vehicle accidents include other crashes outside of car-related collisions, including:

  • Truck accidents
    • Semitruck accidents are some of the most dangerous types of road collisions. When negligence is involved, large trucks can create extremely disastrous accidents.
  • Motorcycle accidents
    • Many motorcycle riders are on the road without much protective gear to keep them safe in accidents. Even wearing a helmet may not be enough to protect a rider from significant brain and neck injuries in a crash.
  • Pedestrian-vehicle accidents
    • Pedestrians have no protective gear against reckless drivers. Many pedestrian-vehicle accidents occur from speeding, distracted driving, and other unlawful driving on the road.

In the case of motor vehicle accidents, you may be entitled to compensation if the accident was the result of a negligent driver and/or defective vehicle parts. At the accident, be sure to take videos and pictures of injuries, car parts, and other details to document the collision. These details can help support your insurance claim and a potential personal injury case against a manufacturer or negligent driver. In the case of a negligent driver, you will need to prove they were responsible for the harm you suffered.

If your catastrophic injury was due to defective vehicle parts, having evidence can help your case against the manufacturer. Some of the most cited defective parts include brakes, airbags, and tires. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to design and manufacture products in the accordance with health and safety legislations. Furthermore, manufacturers are responsible for quality product assembling and testing. Should a manufacturer be at fault for your catastrophic injuries, you may have a case. Many of these companies often have large legal teams and resources. In this scenario, choosing an experienced attorney can help guide you and ensure that you are not facing a large company on your own.

Slip & Falls

Slip and falls are another type of accident that commonly results in catastrophic injuries. These accidents can happen from wet floors, broken stairs, and uneven pavement. Another instance where slip and falls can occur is in the winter months when black ice is on the ground.

Adults and children of all age groups can sustain catastrophic injuries from slips and falls. However, due to physical frailties, young children and older adults may be injured from minor falls. Injuries from falls can include severe bodily impairment, impaired bodily functions, and spinal cord injuries.

Businesses can be liable for slip and falls on their property. New Hampshire property owners are responsible for keeping their premises reasonably safe and warning entrants of any potentially dangerous conditions. If your slip and fall was due to a property owner’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your catastrophic injury. Examples of negligence may include failure to use a wet floor sign, deteriorating floors, and inadequate lighting.

Medical Malpractice

Instances of medical malpractice can occur due to a variety of factors. Examples may include surgical errors, medication errors, or misdiagnoses. More specifically, medical malpractice may include operating on the wrong person, body part, or leaving an object inside a patient. Medical malpractice often results in internal organ damage. This can lead to issues such as functionality, internal bleeding, and other threatening issues.

A medical professional may be responsible for your catastrophic injuries due to negligence. It is the responsibility of a medical professional to provide adequate care to patients, otherwise known as “duty of care.” Misdiagnosis, failure to treat, prescription errors, and other mistakes resulting in catastrophic injuries leave medical professionals at fault. You may be entitled to medical bill, lost wage coverage, and further compensation.

Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents can be a result of neglect, failure to follow safety procedures, and equipment malfunctions. Workers can be injured from falling objects, fires, explosions, and getting pinched or crushed in machinery. Catastrophic injuries can include traumatic brain injuries as well as blunt trauma from heavy objects that can lead to serious organ damage. Contact with fire, heat from explosions, and hot liquids can lead to severe burns and disfigurement.

In workplace accidents, your employer and/or safety equipment and work machinery manufacturers may be responsible if negligence was involved. It is your employer’s responsibility to provide proper safety gear, training, and protocols. Failure to provide these tools, ignoring safety reports, and other forms of negligence may hold them liable in catastrophic injury cases.

If the injury was a result of defective safety gear and/or work machinery, the manufacturer may be held responsible. As a manufacturer, it is their responsibility to produce and design products that abide by safety and health legislations. Manufacturers are also responsible for assembling products with reasonable care and conducting product testing to assure public safety. If manufacturer negligence is at fault for your injury, you may have a case.

Product Defects

Products can be manufactured improperly, defective from poor design, or have been marketed for a use that may be dangerous for customers. There are many reasons for a product to be defective and lead to catastrophic injuries. Defective tires may cause a vehicle to veer out of control and defective drugs may cause organ damage. Appliances and other electronic items can also cause house fires or explosions. Baby products such as toys, cribs, and strollers may have been poorly designed and cause a child to suffer brain damage.

If catastrophic injuries were caused by defects in design, manufacturing, and/or marketing, the manufacturer and/or supplier may be at fault in this case. It is a manufacturer’s responsibility to design, assemble, and test products to ensure they follow safety and health regulations. Suppliers are responsible for providing proper product instructions and warnings of potential harm from certain products. Failure to follow these practices may hold these parties responsible for injuries.

Sports & Recreational Activities

Sports and recreational activities can pose the risk of catastrophic injury. Football and hockey players have a higher chance of injury due to the aggressive nature of their sport. Failing to wear protective gear while engaged in violent sports may lead to catastrophic injury to the spine and brain. Ice hockey involves a lot of physical contact on slick hard surfaces with a dense puck capable of breaking bones at high velocities. Cheerleading is another sport that may lead to catastrophic injuries. Cheerleaders can fall from high heights while human pyramid building, flipping, and tumbling. Performing on unpadded surfaces and/or lack of proper training may lead to catastrophic head injuries.

Other recreational activities that put individuals at risk are snowmobiling and driving all-terrain vehicles (ATV). In certain cases, alcohol, drugs, and performance stunts for social media can result in catastrophic injuries from recreational activities and sports.

Catastrophic injuries from sports and recreational activities may be due to negligence. Variables such as negligent coaching, aggressive athletes, defective equipment, and unsafe facilities may be responsible. Coaches who overlook players prone to violence and continually involve them in sports are at fault for negligence. Additionally, coaches who ignore medical injuries and fail to take reasonable precautions may be held liable. Aggressive athletes who fail to play by rules of the game may also be held accountable for injuries.

Defective equipment that was not properly designed or manufactured may leave manufacturers responsible. Manufacturer negligence is the failure to properly test, reasonably assemble, and design products to abide by health and safety legislations. Property owners must also keep their premises reasonably safe for entrants. Failure to clean up debris, fill holes, warn visitors of hazards, and repair dangerous property within the facility may hold the property owner responsible for catastrophic injuries.

Preventing Catastrophic Injuries

Being mindful and following safety guidelines are steps you can take to protect yourself and others from catastrophic injuries. A few safety measures to implement in your day-to-day life include:

  • Obey health and safety guidelines in the workplace
  • Wear seatbelts
  • Wear protective gear when playing sports and/or riding motorcycles and bikes
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and situations
  • Diligently follow the manufacturer instructions when using appliances, machinery, or equipment
  • Do not operate machinery or vehicles while drowsy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol

While you can do your best to keep yourself out of harm’s way, sometimes accidents happen that are out of your control. In these scenarios, it’s important to document the details of the accident through pictures, notes, and videos. Collecting this information can help to establish if any fault can be put on an employer, property owner, manufacturer, etc.

Seeking Legal Help

If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury, a lawyer can help fight for compensation. Filing a catastrophic injury lawsuit with an attorney can help you seek coverage for your life-altering harm. You may receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional damage you have suffered. Note, you may receive compensation only if another party was at fault such as a manufacturer, employer, etc. and you are successful in proving your claims in court.

Catastrophic injuries are life-changing events. It’s important that you receive the settlements, compensation, and quality legal assistance you need. Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. is here to support you. With over 20 years of experience, we are proud to provide you guidance and personalized service in legal matters.

Call today at (603) 288-1403 or contact us online to start your journey.