Rehabilitation and Recovery After a Catastrophic Injury - Sand Law North Dakota
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Rehabilitation and Recovery After a Catastrophic Injury

27th February 2024

Nurse helping patient in wheelchair exercise their leg.

Catastrophic injuries often impose considerable financial strain on accident survivors as they work to rehabilitate their injuries.


  • Catastrophic injuries result in long-term or permanent impairment,  affecting mobility, cognition, or key abilities.
  • Common types of catastrophic injuries include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, amputations, and multiple fractures.
  • Long-term care involving rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapy, psychological support, and assistive devices is crucial for recovery.
  • Calculating the full extent of damages is complex, especially for long-term or permanent effects, and often includes a significant disability settlement.

Catastrophic injuries can happen without warning, leaving victims and their loved ones with life-changing consequences. Victims of catastrophic injuries may require extensive medical intervention and long-term care, and suffer significant emotional and financial challenges.

If you or a loved one has received a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence, the team at Sand Law can help. Our catastrophic injury lawyers have the skills and experience you need to defend your right to fair compensation.

You can schedule a free consultation by calling (701) 394-3715 or contacting us online.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

Catastrophic injuries are severe injuries that result in long-term or permanent impairment. They often involve significant damage to the brain, spinal cord, or major organs. Recovering from a catastrophic injury usually involves significant medical support.

Common Types of Catastrophic Injury

Catastrophic injuries are defined by the level of damage they do to the body. These injuries affect cognition, mobility, the senses, or other key abilities, often permanently. Some examples may include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including severe concussions and penetrating head wounds.
  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI), resulting in paralysis or loss of motor function below the injury site.
  • Severe burns, causing damage to multiple layers of skin and tissue.
  • Loss of limbs (amputation), which can profoundly impact mobility and independence.
  • Multiple fractures or crush injuries, leading to long-term physical impairment and chronic pain.

Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries are generally caused by sudden accidents involving tremendous force. These accidents can happen in a variety of settings, including many workplaces.

Some common causes of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, including car crashes, motorcycle collisions, and pedestrian accidents.
  • Falls from heights, such as scaffolding, ladders, or elevated surfaces.
  • Workplace accidents involving heavy machinery, equipment malfunctions, or hazardous materials.
  • Sports injuries, particularly in high-impact or contact sports like football, hockey, or gymnastics.
  • Acts of violence, including gunshot wounds, stabbings, or assault-related injuries.

Every case is different. Get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you need to discuss the circumstances around your injury.

Recovering from a Catastrophic Injury

Catastrophic injuries have lifelong consequences, and it’s rare to make a full recovery. However, it’s still possible for victims of catastrophic injuries to make significant improvements.

Emergency Treatment

Catastrophic injuries nearly always require an immediate visit to the emergency room. Prompt medical attention is crucial for stabilizing catastrophic injury victims and preventing further damage.

In the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic injury accident, call an ambulance right away. Emergency responders will assess and address life-threatening problems like airway obstruction or severe bleeding. Then they will provide prompt transport to a trauma center or other specialized hospital setting.

Emergency surgery may be necessary to repair internal injuries or alleviate pressure on the brain or spinal cord. Other possible ER treatments may include blood transfusions or intubation.

During this first, critical phase, aggressive pain management and supportive care help manage symptoms and improve comfort.

Long-term Care for Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries are defined by the lasting or even permanent effects that they have on the lives of victims. Comprehensive medical care such as rehabilitation programs or nursing support may be essential for long-term recovery.

Rehabilitation, a type of long-term medical care that helps someone alleviate or overcome limitations in their everyday functioning, is especially important for victims of catastrophic injuries who want to retain as much mobility and independence as they can.

Some options for long-term care include:

  • Physical therapy focuses on restoring mobility, strength, and coordination through targeted exercises and interventions.
  • Occupational therapy helps individuals regain independence in daily activities, such as self-care, work tasks, and household chores.
  • Psychological counseling and support services address emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, and adjustment issues.
  • Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, or adaptive equipment, enhance function and quality of life for individuals with permanent disabilities.

Rehabilitative therapy can work in a few different ways. Inpatient rehabilitation programs provide intensive therapy and medical management in a specialized facility. Outpatient rehabilitation services offer ongoing therapy and support while allowing individuals to return home.

Rehabilitative therapy may also include community programs to help patients reintegrate into their communities or vocational rehab that can help find new employment that better suits their needs.

Seeking Compensation While Recovering from a Catastrophic Injury

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, the physical suffering, emotional distress, and financial costs can be devastating. You may be entitled to compensation for these damages.

Compensation for victims of catastrophic injuries can include:

  • Medical expenses, including your emergency treatment and any ongoing care you might need
  • Lost wages, covering the money you are no longer able to earn due to your injuries
  • Pain and suffering, addressing the physical pain and discomfort you endure from your injuries
  • Emotional damages, like the mental anguish and trauma you may suffer from the accident or your injuries
  • Property damage, for any of your belongings or assets that were harmed in the accident
  • And more

Calculating the appropriate damages for any serious accident can be difficult. This is especially true when the effects are long-term or permanent, like the disabilities that can follow TBIs. Compensation for catastrophic injuries will usually include a sizable disability settlement.

A qualified attorney can assess your case and help you identify the true value of the damages you’re owed.

The Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at Sand Law Can Help

Catastrophic injuries are exactly that: catastrophic. Their effects are usually life-changing and permanent. Victims suffer tremendous pain and anguish, and often require expensive specialized medical care. Some may never be able to work or enjoy their hobbies again.

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, you deserve compensation that recognizes the full extent of the damage you’ve experienced. The team of catastrophic injury lawyers at Sand Law want to help.

We can help by:

  • Providing legal representation that ensures thorough investigation, documentation, and presentation of evidence to support your claim.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies and opposing parties to secure fair and just compensation.
  • Leveraging our specialized legal knowledge to protect you from unfair settlement offers or attempts to deny liability.
  • Lending compassionate support offering peace of mind and reassurance during a challenging and stressful time.

We understand what you’ve endured, and we know how complicated it can be to navigate the legal system and defend your rights to fair compensation while recovering from a catastrophic injury. Our seasoned team of North Dakota personal injury attorneys at Sand Law is ready to fight by your side for justice.

Learn more by contacting us online or calling (701) 394-3715 for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the time limits for filing a catastrophic injury claim?

In North Dakota, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is usually six years from the date the injury was discovered.

Every case is different, however, and there are plenty of exceptions to this rule. Consult with an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer to learn how much time you have to pursue your claim.

What if the catastrophic injury occurred in a workplace accident?

If your catastrophic injury occurred at work, your medical bills, lost wages, and disability benefits should be covered under workers’ compensation. However, pain and suffering and other non-economic damages aren’t usually included. The terms of your workers’ compensation benefits may prevent you from suing your employer.

In some circumstances, like if your injury was caused deliberately or if it was the result of defective equipment, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages beyond what’s covered by workers’ compensation. Talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for more details.

If my loved one died from a catastrophic injury caused by someone else’s negligence, can I file a wrongful death claim?

Under North Dakota law, certain family members of the deceased would potentially qualify to file a wrongful death claim. If your loved one was recovering from a catastrophic injury caused by another party’s reckless actions, but ultimately succumbed to their injuries, you have two years to file a claim from that date.