It is undisputed that driving your vehicle is potentially dangerous. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, there were 78,544 total crashes in Washington in 2022, resulting in 682 fatalities and 2,623 serious injuries. Some of these injuries are so severe that they are considered catastrophic, meaning they have a devastating impact on the victim’s life.
Catastrophic injuries can affect almost any part of the body. Some of the most common ones involve the brain and the spinal cord. These injuries can cause permanent damage to the nervous system, impairing the victim’s cognitive, sensory, motor and emotional functions. Depending on the location and extent of the injury, the victim may suffer from paralysis, chronic pain, memory loss, speech impairment, mood disorders, etc.
Factors that increase the likelihood of catastrophic injury
There are various factors that can increase the risk of catastrophic injuries from car accidents, and the first is speed. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more force it will exert on impact, increasing the likelihood of severe trauma to the occupants. The vehicle type is also a factor as smaller vehicles tend to absorb more damage than larger ones, putting their occupants at greater risk of injury. Additionally, motorcycles and bicycles offer less protection than cars or trucks, exposing their riders to more hazards.
Wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of being ejected from the vehicle or hitting the dashboard or windshield, which can cause head and neck injuries. Airbags can cushion the impact and prevent direct contact with hard surfaces, but they can also cause injuries if they deploy too forcefully or if the occupant is too close to them. Finally, road conditions can be a significant factor. Slippery roads, poor visibility, potholes, debris and other road conditions can affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle.
Options after a car accident
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury from a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, pursuing a personal injury claim can be complex and challenging, especially when dealing with insurance companies and liable parties.