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Catastrophic Injury due to Automobile Accident

Motor vehicle accidents that occur on the roadways of Scarborough, as well as all over Canada, are a numbers game. The more vehicles that are on the highway, the greater the possibility for motor vehicle accidents. The holidays are a time when there are more traffic accidents than any other, due to the simple fact that during the holidays more people travel to see friends and relatives to celebrate. An unfortunate result is that tens of thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle collisions. There are numerous types of injuries that automobile accidents cause and each one can have far-reaching consequences, depending on the severity of the injuries, for a person's ability to work and support their family.

What is a "Catastrophic Injury"

There is no fixed definition of a catastrophic injury but one can generalize that a catastrophic injury is one where a person's life is forever changed. In the Scarborough and Toronto area, the leading cause of catastrophic injuries is motor vehicle accidents. If you have become paralyzed and can never walk again, are left with severe mental impairment or blindness, suffer severe burns over much of your body, or have had limbs amputated as a result of being involved in a motor vehicle accident, your injuries certainly qualify as being life changing and catastrophic.

Frequently Occurring Catastrophic Injuries

The most frequent type of injury sustained in motor vehicle crashes in Canada are head and neck injuries. The most common type of head or brain injury is a concussion. A head injury can be difficult to diagnose because there is no blood or broken bones. Sometimes there is not even a bump or bruise on one's head. A concussion can occur whenever the head is jarred by a sudden motion or a blow to another part of the body, like the jaw. In a concussion, the brain can literally bounce off the inner sides of the head, causing brain bruising, bleeding and swelling. This type of injury is sometimes difficult to detect, as the symptoms many present themselves months after the accident occurred, and frequent headaches, memory loss, confusion and grogginess, and a lack of balance are all signs that the victim of a motor vehicle accident may have suffered a concussion.

Neck injuries from a car accident are frequently diagnosed as whiplash. The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists report on their web site that as many as 70% of all injuries reported as a result of automobile accidents in Canada involve whiplash, and this holds for Scarborough as well. They state that the way you sit in your seat can determine if your automobile's head restraint or head rest will function properly. Most people are unaware that it is critical that you sit in a way where the back of your head is positioned in close proximity, 2 or 3 inches away from the front of the headrest. People tend to lean forward while driving or riding and unfortunately this increase in distance renders your headrest practically useless. In order for a headrest to be effective and minimize neck injuries, one has to allow the shoulder restraints to pin you to the seat of your car and have your head "rest" against the head restraint. In addition, before you drive or ride in a car, you should adjust your headrest upward if it is too low, so that the top of the headrest is level with the top of your head. Having a headrest that is positioned too low will do little to prevent or lessen neck injuries.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common injury in motor vehicle accidents. While suffering a broken arm or a leg is a terrible thing to have happen, people often break multiple bones in car accidents. It's not unusual to see a person in a hospital bed or wheel chair with a broken ankle, broken leg and arm, fractured ribs and/or broken pelvis. Broken necks and backs and fractured skulls are also not uncommon after serious collisions. All are extremely painful to set and often take months to fully heal. A person with multiple broken bones could be looking at years of physical therapy in an attempt to retain a percentage of the physicality they had before the catastrophic automobile accident.

Lacerations and Amputations

When two or more motor vehicles collide or when a motor vehicle strikes a fixed object like a tree, the sheet metal constructing a car tears into many pieces. These jagged pieces are as sharp as razor blades and a person could literally be cut up into shreds as a result of a high speed head on collision. Such injuries far exceed a few cuts here and there, simply requiring a few stitches. People have lost arms or legs and are in extreme cases, decapitated instantly as a result of violent, high-speed motor vehicle accidents. The best anyone can do to protect themselves is to practice safe driving techniques such as staying within the speed limit, driving sober, and turning their cell phone off before starting the vehicle. Deep lacerations can require hundreds of stitches to close and result in significant scarring. 


It is everyone's worse nightmare to be involved in a car accident where you or family members are trapped in the vehicle and unable to extricate yourself to safety, and the car catches fire.  Burn injuries are painful, prolonged and disfiguring injuries that one may experience as the result of an auto accident. Third degree burns don't just burn the top layer of flesh but instead   are deep and have a profound effect on your muscles, preventing you from ever being able to move the affected limb again. Burns can also cover a large percentage of one’s body causing excessive scarring. Scar tissue is inelastic and prevents one from having full mobility and use of their body. Because of the severity of burn injuries, most hospitals have set up separate divisions or "Burn Units" that deal exclusively with an area's burn victims.


Another frequent form of catastrophic injury that occurs as a result of automobile accidents is paralysis. Paralysis occurs when the spinal cord is severely bruised, compressed, or severed.  One does not have to suffer a broken neck or back to experience paralysis. Paralysis can be either temporary or permanent and the extent depends on where on the body the trauma occurred. The higher up on the spine, the greater the paralysis in terms of loss of feeling and usage of your limbs. It usually takes a spinal cord injury to the upper neck to cause total paralysis. A person who is involved in rollover accidents, especially those not wearing a seatbelt, has a higher chance of having a spinal cord injury and resulting paralysis. When you are thrown from your vehicle at high speed, there is no telling where your head is going to land or what it will hit or at what angle. A rollover accident where one is thrown from the vehicle is the most frequent cause of paralysis due to an automobile accident.

All of the Above

Unfortunately, traumatic, catastrophic injuries resulting from an auto accident don't necessarily fall into one single category. In the majority of cases, the traumatic injuries you suffer will be a combination of many of the above injuries. It is not uncommon for a person in a serious auto accident to have multiple lacerations, broken bones, burns, and a concussion. Serious traumatic injuries can turn your life upside down and change every facet of how you interact with people as well as your ability to return to work and support your family.

If you have been injured in an automobile, a motorcycle, or any type of motor vehicle accident, and are the victim of the recklessness or negligence of another, you need to contact an experienced Scarborough personal injury lawyer.  The Personal Injury Lawyers of Ontario (ILO) law team will aggressively seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and ensure that your disability income benefits claim is filed in a prompt professional manner. We understand what you may be going through and we also know it's our job to make life easier for you. If you are incapacitated, we can interview you at your residence or medical care facility and obtain the facts of your accident. We will acquire all necessary police reports, medical reports and cell phone data to make sure that your case is properly advanced to get the best possible result for you.

The members of the ILO are local firms with deep rooted links to the communities that we serve. We care about doing everything that we can, to help you to get your life back to some semblance of normalcy as soon as possible. Please call us today for a free, no cost no obligation interview and consultation.

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