Types of Injuries in a Personal Injury Case

Unintentional injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.,  killing more than 135,000 people each year.1 All too often, these unintentional injuries are caused by some form of preventable negligence.

At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C., our personal injury lawyers are committed to fighting for justice on behalf of those who have been harmed by others’ negligence. Whether you suffered serious injuries in a car accident, at unsafe building or after using a dangerous product, we are ready to help you fight for financial recovery and justice.

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Catastrophic Injuries: What is a Catastrophic Injury?

Types of Injuries in a Personal Injury Case

Types of Injuries in a Personal Injury Case

A catastrophic injury is any injury that dramatically alters the mental or physical capacity of a person. This includes injuries that result in:

  • Permanent disability
  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Long-term or irreversible medical conditions

In addition to being physically and psychologically damaging, catastrophic injuries can be financially devastating for victims and their families. That is due to the fact that these injuries commonly require extensive and expensive medical care, like (but not necessarily limited to):

  • Multiple surgeries
  • Long hospital stays
  • Extended rehabilitative care
  • Full-time assistive care.

These medical costs, coupled with lost earning capacity, can create a serious financial strain on those with catastrophic injuries, as well as their families.

The following presents a closer look at some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Every day in the U.S., TBIs kill 153 people, and about 2.8 million people seek medical treatment for a TBI each year.2 These injuries are caused by head trauma, such as a forceful jolt, blow, bump or shake of the head that damages the brain. The three leading causes of traumatic brain injuries include:

Contact sports, explosions (like those in combat) and workplace accidents can also cause TBIs.

TBIs can have profound cognitive, psychological and physical impacts, like (but not limited to):

  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Speech and comprehension problems
  • Sleeping problems
  • Mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headaches, nausea and/or vomiting.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries disrupt communication between the brain and the rest of the body, resulting in temporary or permanent paralysis and neurological conditions. These neurological impairments can affect various biological systems, including the:

  • Musculoskeletal system (causing paraplegia or quadriplegia)
  • Respiratory system
  • Urinary system
  • Gastrointestinal system.

Spinal cord injuries can also have serious psychological ramifications, like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. Victims of a spinal cord injury shoulder medical costs between $42,000 and $185,000 each year. Over a lifetime, the estimated cost of a spinal cord injury can be anywhere from $1.1 million to $3 million.3

Approximately 282,000 people in the U.S. are currently living with a spinal cord injury, and every year, about 17,000 people sustain a new spinal cord injury. Nearly 40 percent of these injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents and:

  • Falls cause about 31 percent of spinal cord injuries.
  • Violence causes about 14 percent of these injuries.
  • Sports-related injuries account for about 9 percent of spinal cord injuries.3

Burn Injury

Each year in the U.S., severe burns kill approximately 3,800 people.4 Severe burns can be caused by various incidents, including (but not limited to):

  • Industrial accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Work-related accidents
  • Defective products
  • Unsafe buildings.

Serious burns can result in permanent disfigurement and even death. They can also cause devastating emotional impacts, like severe depression. While treatment can include care in special trauma centers and/or reconstructive surgery, it may also involve physical therapy and psychiatric care. These treatments tend to come at a high cost, especially when accompanied by lost income and/or lost earning potential.


Multiple bone fractures can be as painful as they are debilitating. While these injuries can cause permanent impairments, they may also trigger psychological impacts, particularly if the fractures limit people’s ability to move, take care of themselves and live independently.

Similar to other catastrophic injuries, bone fractures can:

  • Be caused by any number of accidents or incidents, like (but not exclusive to) construction accidents and car crashes
  • Come with expensive medical bills and put the injured out of work for extended periods of time
  • Degrade a person’s quality of life, possibly for the rest of his life.

Whiplash Injury

Commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents, whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when a forceful movement sudden jolts the head backwards and forwards. The extreme stress of this force can damage the cervical spine, as well as the muscles and nerves in the neck. Consequently, whiplash is typically marked by symptoms like (but not limited to):

  • Neck pain
  • Neck Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion in the neck
  • Shoulder and/or upper back pain
  • Headaches.

In some cases, it can take up to 24 hours for the symptoms of whiplash to present themselves.

Back Injury

Back injuries can involve muscle strains, herniated discs and fractured vertebrae. While these injuries can cause physical limitations, they may also result in neurological complications, like paralysis, muscle weakness and coordination difficulties.

The leading cause of back injuries in the U.S. is motor vehicle accidents.5 Falls and work accidents are also common causes of back injuries.


Paralysis is the temporary or permanent loss of sensation and function in the body’s muscles. As the result of central nervous system damage, paralysis prevents people from being able to move parts of their bodies. This injury can occur as a result of other injuries, like traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, and it can be caused by various factors, like (but not limited to):

  • Dangerous products or medications
  • Medical malpractice
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Work accidents
  • Falls.

The four types of paralysis include:

  • Monoplegia, paralysis affecting one region of the body (like a limb)
  • Hemiplegia, paralysis impacting one side of the body (like either the left or the right arm and leg)
  • Paraplegia, paralysis affecting the body below the waist (both legs and hips)
  • Quadriplegia, paralysis impacting the body below the neck (all limbs and the entire torso).


Amputation can be necessary to treat severe injuries, like those arising from car crashes, construction accidents or medical mistakes. In addition to creating permanent physical limitations, amputations can also result in psychological distress, an inability to earn a living and, in the worst cases, an inability to take care of oneself and live independently.

Scrapes, Bruises & Lacerations

While scrapes, bruises and cuts may not be as catastrophic as TBIs or spinal cord injuries, they can still be painful. In more serious cases, these injuries can have lasting impacts, like scarring and disfigurement.

In the worst cases, scrapes, bruises and lacerations can be associated with serious, potentially life-threatening damage, like (but not limited to):

  • Internal bleeding
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Organ failure.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Sprains, muscle strains, severe bruising and torn tendons are types of soft tissue injuries that can be caused by car, work and other types of accidents. These injuries can cause chronic pain, reduced range of motion and nerve damage. The most severe soft tissue injuries can cause irreversible damage and potentially have long-term negative impacts on quality of life.

Face Injury

Face injuries can cause various physical impairments, like vision problems or blindness, disfigurement and loss of facial features (like a nose). This damage is also often accompanied by psychological impacts, like depression, anxiety and diminished self-esteem. The most severe face injuries can prevent someone from perceiving, interacting with and navigating the world.

While these injuries can be caused by assault or defective products, they may also arise from accidents like car wrecks, amusement park accidents, explosions and construction accidents.

Permanent Disability

Permanent disability can be caused by exposure to toxic substances, like asbestos, or trauma, like that from an accident. These accidents can happen anywhere – on the road, at home or at work.

Where the accident occurred, as well as the nature of the negligence involved, will determine the available legal remedies when it is time to pursue financial recovery and justice following a permanent disability.

Psychological Injuries

Psychological injuries often arise from serious accidents and severe physical injuries. While these injuries can be more difficult to recognize than physical injuries, they are no less damaging. In fact, psychological injuries can have long-term impacts on quality of life, and they may prevent the injured from being able to pick up the pieces and move on from the accident.

Some common types of psychological injuries include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness.

Wrongful Death

The untimely death of a loved one can be traumatic and deeply devastating. So too can knowing that the death could have been prevented if another party had been more diligent and responsible. When negligence leads to fatal accidents and wrongful deaths, surviving loved ones will likely have legal options for holding the negligent party liable.

Though no amount of compensation will ever bring back a loved one who has taken away from you by a wrongful death, these recoveries can yield essential financial support, helping the surviving loved ones:

  • Cover outstanding medical bills and funeral costs
  • Overcome the financial burdens they may experience due to the lost income (from the decedent)
  • Seek counseling or other treatment they may need
  • Restore their lives and focus on healing.

Let Us Help You Navigate the Road to Justice & Recovery: Contact a Personal Injury Attorney at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of any form of negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C.

Call (201) 585-9111 or email us. We are ready to collaborate with you in the pursuit of financial recovery and justice.

Relentlessly devoted to representing the injured, our attorneys will work tirelessly to hold the negligent party (or parties) accountable for your injuries. We bring more than 90 years of combined legal experience to every case we take on, giving us the skills, courage and resources to provide effective advocacy in any type of personal injury claim.

Our goals are to level the playing field, protect your rights and interests and help you obtain the full amount of compensation you deserve.

Our long-standing record of success and superior representation has earned us numerous professional honors and recognitions, as well as glowing testimonials from former clients.


1: According to the latest data from the Centers from Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
2: According to the CDC
3: According to the latest data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC)
4: According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
5: According to this study