Catastrophic Injuries from Bicycle Accidents
A catastrophic injury is one in which you have become incapacitated or where your life has been significantly altered. In many cases, you need assistance with your daily living activities either on a long-time or permanent basis. You may not be able to return to your previous occupation or to engage in your usual activities, recreational or otherwise.
If the injury is a mental one, or a traumatic brain injury, your mood, personality and interactions with others may be altered for the worst and your ability to understand or follow instructions or directions may be impaired. Of course, this can be emotionally draining on you as well as your loved ones.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Severe and multiple bone fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Limb amputation
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe burns
Loss of mobility and/or decreased mental capacity is traumatic for all concerned since your quality of life has been diminished and may remain so unless dramatic changes are made that can be costly and take years to accomplish, if at all.
Even if an injury does not result in paralysis or loss of cognitive abilities, you can still suffer the effects of an injury for a lifetime, including persistent pain and inability to engage in certain activities enjoyed before your accident such as skiing, playing tennis or hiking. This can lead to addiction to pain medications and bouts of severe depression.
There may be tremendous costs for a catastrophic injury including expenses for altered or new housing arrangements, transportation issues and vocational and rehabilitation necessities. A life care plan formulated by a nurse or certified life care planner can outline all your needs and address how they may be accomplished and their cost. Generally, the life care planner will draft such a document after consultation with your psychologist, a medical specialist such as a neurologist and an occupational therapist.
The life care plan addresses these issues:
- Medical – future medical services, including surgery and implants, skin grafting, prostheses, various diagnostic and lab testings and maintenance of various devices.
- Housing – will you need nursing or assistive care? Your home may need to be modified with ramps and handrails and retrofitting bathrooms and kitchens.
- Transportation – you may need a wheelchair or motorized device to get around or a motor vehicle equipped to adapt to your disability such as hand controls.
- Vocational – assistive devices may be required to help you communicate or perform daily living activities such as bathing or other self-care functions.
The cost of such measures can be substantial. Being able to obtain the most compensation for your injuries may be difficult unless a responsible party for your injuries has significant liability limits, a commercial policy if a commercial carrier or is self-insured with considerable assets. Otherwise, disability insurance may account for some or much of the expenses.