How Catastrophic Injuries Impact Families
Catastrophic injuries go beyond the regular bone breaks and abrasions that occur after a car crash, slip and fall, or other type of accident. Catastrophic or severe injuries are those that permanently impact an individual’s ability to live independently, work in the capacity they once worked in, or carry out activities of daily life.
These injuries can have a ripple effect on every part of an individual’s life, from their work and their role as a provider to their social life. Whether you have suffered this type of injury or someone you love is going through it, knowing what to expect can make the process easier. For help with your legal needs during this time, contact Pack Law Group at 540-586-7225 to schedule a consultation.
The Immediate Aftermath of an Accident
In the hours and days after an accident, the family members of the injured individual will likely experience enormous emotional trauma. Many catastrophic injuries involve damage to the spinal cord or brain, so the victim may be comatose or awake but in excruciating pain. The unknown is the biggest fear during this stage, since the prognosis for such a serious injury often takes months or years to become clear.
The financial impact of an injury may start to make itself clear at this stage, as well. Many American families live paycheck to paycheck, and if the injured individual was a primary provider for the family, the sudden loss of income could mean unpaid bills, threats of eviction, and limited resources for the family.
Finding a New Normal
As the individual begins to heal and get the therapy that they need to regain some physical independence, the family may struggle to find a new normal. This may mean a stay-at-home spouse getting back into the workforce, moving in with family members to lower expenses, or selling off assets to make it through.
This time can also cause tension or emotional strain in the family as each family member’s roles change. Children who once had the support of both parents may suddenly have to take on more household duties, entertain themselves or younger siblings while their other parent is at work, or provide emotional support to the parent who suddenly lost the help of their spouse. The non-injured spouse may have to provide physical care to the injured spouse, causing a shift in the power balance of the relationship and stirring up tension or shame.
Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries often stay with individuals for the rest of their lives. The long-term effects on families depend largely on the makeup of the family, their commitment to getting through challenging times intact, and their ability to work together. The shift in the power balance may end up being permanent, as one spouse requires physical care and loses their ability to financially provide. The relationship between the injured parent and the children may change if the injured parent is unavailable to provide help with schoolwork, transportation, or other types of support they provided in the past.
However, much of this can be worked through and is manageable with the right resources, such as family counseling, live-in caretakers, and job training. That’s why it’s important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer after a catastrophic injury.
Any settlement the injured party receives shouldn’t just be enough to cover their current medical bills. It should also cover the costs of their new life going forward, from medical equipment and adaptive equipment to lost income and household help. Calculating these numerous costs is challenging, and a skilled catastrophic injuries attorney can help you understand the full costs of the accident and what the other party may be expected to pay.
Let Pack Law Group Help You Through This Challenging Time
A catastrophic injury may change your family forever, but with hard work and commitment, you can work through this time. Financial support is key when you have lost a working member of the household or when any member of the household has incredibly high medical expenses, which is why a personal injury suit is often the best way to prepare for life with a catastrophic injury. To discuss your options and get started, reach out to Pack Law Group online or call us at 540-586-7225.