catastrophic injury lawyers

Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Being severely injured in an accident can forever affect how you feel, how you look, how you function, and whether you can enjoy your life. A catastrophic injury can turn your life upside down and inside out. You may suffer years of pain and be unable to earn a living. Most catastrophic injuries require hundreds of thousands or more in medical treatments, surgeries, and rehabilitation. Most people cannot afford to pay for these expenses.

If someone else’s carelessness left you or a loved one with a catastrophic injury, you should not have to pay for it. Nix Patterson’s experienced catastrophic injury attorneys could help you recover the compensation you deserve for your catastrophic injuries in a personal injury lawsuit. 

What Is a Catastrophic Injury? 

Legally speaking, the term “catastrophic injury” is mentioned often in many contexts; however, it’s usually understood to mean a severe injury to the spinal cord, brain, or spine. It also may mean skull fractures, spinal fractures, loss of a limb, and severe burn injuries that cause a long-term or severe disfigurement or functional disability. 

The following accidents often leave victims devastated by catastrophic injuries: 

  • Auto accidents
  • Tractor-trailer or semi-truck accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Fires
  • Explosions
  • Defective products
  • Toxic substance exposure 
  • Birth injuries 

Catastrophic injuries usually require months, years, or life-long medical treatment, multiple surgeries, and a long, painful recovery. If you or a loved one suffer a catastrophic injury, you need a personal injury attorney immediately. 

What are the Most Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries?

A catastrophic injury affects vital body systems, including the brain, respiratory system, central nervous system, and more. These severe injuries usually fall under one of these categories: 

Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis

One of the gravest types of catastrophic injuries is damage to the spinal cord. Many spinal cord injuries cause partial or total paralysis. Paraplegia is the loss of movement in the lower extremities, while quadriplegia means paralysis of all limbs. 

Spinal cord injury victims often need care and therapy for the rest of their lives and could require a ventilator or wheelchair forever. According to the Christopher Reeve Foundation, average costs for healthcare and living expenses range from $46,000 to $202,000 per year. The initial care costs can range between $379,000 and $1.163 million annually. 

Severe Burns

A third or fourth-degree burn that covers large portions of your body can be life-threatening. If you survive the accident, you face horrible pain, loss of motion, nerve damage, scarring, and disfigurement. In addition, you may need multiple skin grafts, plastic surgery, and extensive rehabilitation and mental health services. 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

When your head is slammed into an object in an accident, you may suffer severe brain swelling and bleeding. This often causes a severe traumatic brain injury (or TBI) that can cause permanent cognitive and physical problems. Even if you recover, you may have years of rehabilitation and therapy. Unfortunately, many TBI victims never fully recover. 

Loss of Limb

Losing a limb, such as an arm, hand, leg, or foot, is a terrible accident called a traumatic amputation. Losing a limb in an accident ensures you will have a disability for life. In addition, losing a limb can result in losing your job, severe pain and mental anguish, emotional and psychological problems, and years of recovery. 

Internal Organ Damage

Internal organ damage is common in severe auto accidents and other traumatic events. You may have severe internal damage to your kidneys, lungs, stomach, intestines, spleen, pancreas, and more. If you recover, you may need many surgeries and extensive therapy. 

Severe Fractures

Serious accidents can shatter bones to the point where multiple surgeries are required. Some severe fractures cause so much damage to the limb that amputation is the only option. 

Why Hire a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer? 

You may question if you need a personal injury attorney after a severe accident. You will undoubtedly be contacted by the negligent party’s insurance company, and it may seem like the company is being fair and generous. However, it is imperative that you do not speak to the insurance company or provide them with a statement of any kind. Talk to a lawyer first. There are several critical reasons you should retain an attorney in a catastrophic injury case: 

Insurance Companies Might Not Play Fair

When their client is at fault, the insurance company will probably attempt to contact you before you hire an attorney. Expect the insurance adjuster to offer a quick settlement. The offer may seem generous at first glance, but the initial proposal for a catastrophic injury settlement is usually far too low. 

A victim of catastrophic injury always has a long recovery, months or years of medical care, lost work time, and perhaps permanent disability. The initial settlement offer would likely only cover some of your potential damages. On the other hand, an experienced catastrophic injury attorney understands what your case is worth and will fight for every dime of compensation. 

They May Say It’s Your Fault 

Imagine — you are bedridden from severe injuries after a car accident. You might have several broken bones, spinal injuries, cuts and bruises, and constant nightmares. Yet, the insurance company for the liable party attempts to blame you.

Remember, the insurance company is interested in paying as little money as possible to close out the claim. Therefore, if their client was negligent, they might claim you are partially responsible for your injuries as a justification for offering less money. If you are found partially liable, any settlement or judgment amount may be reduced in a modified comparative negligence state such as Texas. This reduction of benefits could leave you unable to pay your medical bills. 

A skilled catastrophic injury attorney is essential to ensure you are not unfairly blamed for your catastrophic injuries. It also is important to remember that few injured parties understand the scope of their injuries and what their ongoing care will cost. Therefore, it is always best to discuss these severe personal injury cases with a qualified lawyer. 

Your Time to File Is Limited

Every state has a statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim, including a catastrophic injury case. For example, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim in Texas and Oklahoma is two years from the date of the catastrophic injury. In New Mexico, it’s three years.

To protect your rights, you should retain a qualified catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible. 

Talk to a Catastrophic Injury Attorney

Nix Patterson often represents clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. We are ready to fight for you. Please contact one of our catastrophic injury attorneys today for a complimentary consultation. 


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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