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Catastrophic injuries: What you should expect

When you hear that you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you may not be sure what that means exactly. Does it mean you are terminally injured and likely to die? Does it mean your recovery will never go beyond a certain point? A catastrophic injury is defined as an injury that leads to permanent disability, a fractured neck or serious head injury. Other catastrophic injuries include sudden cardiac arrest or cardiac disruptions. Some kinds of catastrophic injuries do resolve over time. For example, if you suffer a head injury, it may be severe at the time of injury, but with hard work, recovery could be possible.

What kinds of catastrophic injuries are there?

Two kinds of catastrophic injury classifications exist including direct traumatic injuries and exertional/systemic injuries, also known as indirect. Direct injuries result as a direct impact of the car accident or other incident. Indirect catastrophic injuries result from exertion while performing an activity or as a result of complications from non-fatal injuries.

Can you recover from a catastrophic injury?

Catastrophic injuries require ongoing care. You may spend months or years in the hospital or in a treatment program aimed to help reduce the impact of the injury on your body. It may be difficult to tell how severe the injury is at first. For example, with a brain injury, you can expect to see the most improvements within the first six months following the injury. From there, the recovery slows, even though the person may continue to improve. After approximately two years, recovery slows significantly, and you may not see any major changes.

Other injuries may differ. For example, a spinal injury may initially be severe with immediate recovery within the first few weeks with the use of the right treatments. For instance, giving a person with a spinal injury anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce the impact of swelling on the spinal cord, reducing the severity of the injury overall. There are no current treatments that reverse spinal damage, so it's important to receive as much emergency care as possible within the first few hours after the injury takes place. For those involved in car accidents who have catastrophic injuries, immediate treatment at a hospital is necessary, including being flown to the hospital for surgery or faster treatment.

Fortunately, Michigan's no-fault car insurance has no limits. It will cover your lost wages for three years, and it covers your medical needs for your entire life. This means you and your attorney can work to get exactly what you need from the insurance company, so you can improve your overall health and continue to live a comfortable life despite a new o r worsening disability.

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