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Life changes after a catastrophic injury

You were traveling between the border of Ohio and Michigan when a truck driver pulled into your lane. You couldn't get out of the way, and he crashed into your vehicle.

Upon waking up, you found yourself in a hospital. It was days later. You discovered you suffered a severe brain injury and can't speak or walk. You've experienced a catastrophic injury.

Now, you have to adjust to the changes in your life. You're relearning to speak and have to learn to use your muscles and to balance. Your life is forever altered.

What is a catastrophic injury?

Catastrophic injuries are severe injuries to the brain, spinal cord or spine. These injuries include fractures of the spinal column and skull in some situations. Permanent disability injuries and injuries that prevent a person from performing gainful work are all catastrophic.

Catastrophic injuries are direct or indirect. Direct traumatic injuries involve injuries that result from an action, while indirect are related to injuries caused by the body's systemic failure.

How can you adjust to living with a catastrophic injury?

How you live with an injury depends on the kind of injury you've suffered and its effects. For example, if you have a catastrophic brain injury and can no longer speak or walk, then therapy, medical care and other treatments may be necessary for the foreseeable future. Your home might need adjustments to make it handicap accessible.

Besides the physical impact, catastrophic injuries cause a psychological impact, too. Those who cannot do the things they once loved may become depressed or anxious. They could show signs of aggression or changes in personality. Only time helps the brain heal, so some changes need to happen slowly.

Over time, living with a catastrophic injury becomes easier. It's costly, which is why personal injury claims are often necessary to obtain financial assistance.

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