In Florida, cars aren’t just a convenience. They’re often necessities for getting to work, school, and running necessary errands. However, motor vehicles are also some of the most dangerous things you’ll encounter on a given day. Even a small car is still hundreds of pounds of metal and rubber that can reach speeds of a hundred miles an hour. That’s why car crashes cause such catastrophic injuries.
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and severe disability in the US. If you’ve been seriously injured in a crash, you’re not alone. Keep reading to learn what makes an injury “catastrophic” and the most common types of severe injuries caused by vehicular accidents in Florida.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department (FLHSMV), there are more than 200,000 injuries caused by car accidents in the state annually. However, not all car accident injuries are equal. That number includes everything from bumps and bruises to life-changing, catastrophic wounds.
The report states that Florida saw 15,614 incapacitating injuries caused by vehicle accidents in 2020 alone. These injuries are considered “disabling” and typically require hospitalization for part of the treatment. They range from broken bones to severed limbs.
In contrast, catastrophic injury is a term used in personal injury law. The term describes injuries above and beyond normal harm because they cause long-lasting damage, lifelong disabilities, or extensive and significant medical care requirements.
In many cases, incapacitating and catastrophic injuries overlap. While a simple broken arm may not be considered catastrophic, anything that leads to extended hospital stays would qualify.
5 Catastrophic Injuries Cause By Car Accidents
So, what does qualify as catastrophic? Quite a bit. Here are five of the most common catastrophic traumas that result from car accidents in Florida.
The sheer force involved in many crashes puts drivers and passengers at risk of paralysis. The human spine is more fragile than many realize. Sudden high-speed impacts or rollovers can do much more than cause whiplash. If the neck or spine is yanked or twisted the wrong way, it can sever the spinal cord and paralyze victims.
For instance, crashes and airbag activations can cause the head to move back and forth at high speed. This can pinch or sever the spinal cord above the shoulders, leading to partial or complete quadriplegia. Similarly, if a crash is severe enough to crush the vehicle, the impact can compress the spinal cord lower in the back and lead to paraplegia. Any type of paralysis may become a lifelong disability.
Serious car accidents often cause severe blunt force trauma. It’s not unusual for rollovers, T-bone accidents, and other high-speed collisions to crush or sever limbs. These types of injuries often lead to full amputations of the affected body part.
Any amputation is a life-changing experience. You may need to relearn how to do daily tasks like walking, getting dressed, and feeding yourself. You will also require significant medical support to ensure you heal and get a prosthesis that fits your needs.
3. Severe Burns
Another common risk of serious crashes is fire. Modern cars need to include flammable materials like gas, oil, plastic, and batteries. While vehicles are supposed to use fire-resistant materials when possible, manufacturers can only do so much if something goes wrong. If a crash breaches the gas tank or otherwise leads to a high-temperature blaze, even fire-resistant materials will still ignite.
As such, car fires are less common than they used to be, but the fires that do occur are more dangerous than ever. If your car catches on fire after a crash and you struggle to get out, you can suffer from severe burns. You may also face additional health problems from inhaling fumes and smoke from the fire as you escape.
Few disabilities affect more of your daily life than blindness. There are several reasons why a car accident can lead to blindness, such as:
- Sudden impacts to the head can dislodge your retinas if you have certain eye conditions. While your vision can sometimes be restored after this injury, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to see again.
- Fires and extreme heat can damage the surface of your eyes. This frequently leads to permanently reduced vision.
- Injuries to the face and head can damage the eye or optic nerve. This can lead to partial or total vision loss in the affected eye.
5. Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a common but overlooked form of traumatic injury. A TBI is similar to a concussion but much more severe. They cause bleeding or bruising in the brain, which can cause permanent brain damage. TBIs can lead to life-changing consequences like:
- Memory problems
- Personality changes
- Difficulty controlling emotions
- Difficulty with organization, decision-making, and planning
- Loss of speech or writing skills
- Loss of muscle control
- Sleeping irregularities
A single TBI can change who you are as a person. They can make it impossible to do your job, damage relationships, and make everyday activities harder. Any head injury that causes a loss of consciousness for even a few seconds may indicate that you suffered a moderate or severe TBI.
Get Just Compensation for Your Catastrophic Car Crash Injuries
All of the injuries mentioned above can change your life forever. Not only can they lead to significant hospital stays and medical bills, but they may also lead to permanent disabilities and lifelong pain. If you’ve suffered any catastrophic injury in a car crash, you deserve to pursue damages to help you adjust to your new life.
At the Law Offices of Gomez & Gomez, we specialize in helping people like you get the insurance funds you need to recover as much as possible. We have more than 25 years of experience litigating Florida personal injury cases. Call us at 305-825-5506 or message us online to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you pursue the necessary damages.