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catastrophic injuries and families

How Catastrophic Injuries Impact Families

Catastrophic injuries are among the worst an individual can suffer, with the obvious exception of fatal injuries. Injuries that fit into this category cause lifelong pain and mobility issues, and often require medical care for the rest of a victim’s life.

However, these accidents don’t just impact the victim. They can affect the victim’s family and loved ones. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a serious accident, let us help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 to learn more about your legal options.

Physical and Mental Health

Catastrophic injuries have an obvious impact on the victim’s physical and mental health. These types of accidents often lead to lifelong issues, from pain that cannot be relieved by pharmaceuticals to limited mobility that requires walking aids or caregivers.

Some injuries can even leave victims at risk of fatal illness; for example, if a victim suffers third-degree burns on a large part of their body, they are susceptible to infections that can quickly become systemic. This type of stress, combined with the knowledge that their life has likely changed forever, is enough to push an individual into serious mental health issues.

These same issues can plague caregivers and family members as well. After an injury this severe, family members are often thrown into the role of care provider. This means helping their loved ones get up, perform activities of daily living, and finish their physical and occupational therapy tasks. For family members without experience in caregiving, this quickly takes a toll on their bodies. It can also negatively affect their mental health as they struggle to meet their own needs while trying to do everything that their loved one needs.

Emotional Effects

The sudden change in relationship between the accident victim and their family members can cause long-lasting emotional pain and suffering. For example, consider a dedicated husband and father injured in a serious crash.

He is accustomed to taking care of his family financially, supporting them through difficult times, and doing the physically demanding chores around the house. If he suddenly loses his income, needs assistance to do everything, and requires outside help for household chores and cleaning, he will likely suffer emotionally as he questions everything that he has built his identity on.

This abrupt change can also leave family members emotionally drained, which is even more challenging if they have to go through this time without the support of their injured family member. With no clear “end date” indicating when or if things will return to normal, family members may feel like they are failing.

Financial Impact

The financial damage of a catastrophic accident is undeniable. Many of these accidents involve property damage, and a totaled car can leave a financially strapped family with no way to get to work. Medical bills are extraordinarily high for these types of accidents, often stretching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And unfortunately, there’s no end in sight with severe injuries. The expenses continue to pile up, particularly with victims who need physical therapy, occupational therapy, mobility aides, and therapeutic pain medication.

Beyond that, you must consider the financial loss if the individual was a breadwinner in the family. Disability caps make it impossible for an injured individual to support their family to the same level after an injury, and a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to get any sort of financial stability.

Even if the victim was not a breadwinner, the sudden loss of their contributions to the family can cause significant financial stress. A homemaker who unexpectedly becomes physically disabled may need to pay for childcare, home cleaning, transportation to and from activities, and much more.

The effects of a catastrophic injury never seem to truly end. The accident itself has a ripple effect that radiates out and impacts every part of the victim’s life as well as the lives of their family members. While a personal injury suit cannot restore the victim’s life to its pre-accident state, it can at least help them find their new normal more quickly and have the financial support they need to do so. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a catastrophic accident, turn to a trusted personal injury lawyer to help you through this time. To schedule a consultation with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, call us at 251-260-3815 or reach out online