Catastrophic injuries – like spinal cord paralysis, a traumatic brain injury or amputations – have the power to reshape lives in an instant.
Victims and their families often experience significant long-term consequences that don’t stop when the immediate crisis has passed or the hospital stay is over. These include:
The physical impact
Catastrophic injuries usually result in permanent disabilities, such as sensory loss, organ damage, chronic pain, lost motor function and more. Someone who has suffered a severe injury may take years to adapt, if ever, to the monumental challenges posed by once-simple tasks like dressing, bathing or eating. Mobility aids, assistive technologies and long-term medical care become essential components of life post-injury.
The emotional toll
Both the injured and their immediate families usually grapple with a profound sense of grief and loss for the “life that was,” and that can cause depression and anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not uncommon. Coping with the loss of independence, dealing with chronic pain and facing social stigmas due to their altered appearances or limitations can contribute to the victim’s feelings of isolation and low self-esteem.
The relationship strain
Catastrophic injuries can strain even the strongest of relationships. Spouses, parents, children and siblings find themselves in uncharted waters as they become caregivers, advocates and sources of emotional support. The dynamics within families shift, and roles are redefined. Some relationships just fall apart under the pressures of caregiving, financial stress and emotional upheaval.
The financial challenges
The financial impact of catastrophic injuries can be staggering. Doctor’s bills, rehabilitation costs, assistive devices and home modifications are not cheap. The loss of the victim’s income due to their inability to work can even lead to long-term economic instability for their family.
Adjusting to life after a catastrophic injury is a continuous process of finding a new sense of normalcy. Obtaining compensation from the party or parties responsible for a catastrophic injury can potentially help victims and their families alike to move forward in the healthiest and most supported ways possible.