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Auto accident-related catastrophic injuries – how bad is the issue?

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury

A car crash can result in various types of injuries. You could suffer a bruise, cuts, scrapes or even a broken bone. You might even suffer burns if there’s fire involved. But of the different injuries you can suffer in a motor collision, the worst are the ones considered catastrophic.

What’s a catastrophic injury? The American Medical Association defined catastrophic injuries as severe brain, spine and spinal cord damage. They’re “catastrophic” because these injuries often lead to one of three grim outcomes: head/neck trauma, permanent severe functional disability or death.

But if these catastrophic injuries are so dangerous, how often do they happen in car accidents?

The numbers

A study in 2020 noted that there aren’t any reliable estimates of the number of crash-related spine injuries in the U.S. But after compiling data from three nationwide crash data archives, the study concluded that approximately 869,000 traffic crash-related cervical spine injuries are seen in U.S. hospitals yearly.

The report also broke down the average types of spinal injuries suffered each year:

  • 841,000 whiplash injuries
  • 23,500 fractures
  • 2,800 spinal disk injuries
  • 2,800 spinal cord injuries
  • 1,500 dislocations

While not all catastrophic injuries are spinal, these numbers paint a grim picture of how likely they can happen during car accidents.

The costs

Catastrophic injuries aren’t just more likely following vehicular accidents; they’re also expensive. According to the National Safety Council, the average economic cost of a motor vehicle accident that led to a disabling injury was $155,000.

The economic cost of an auto accident-related disabling injury includes:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage/productivity losses
  • Administrative expenses
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Employers’ uninsured costs

Because they’re highly likely to happen during auto accidents, drivers can expect to pay much money if they suffer any disabling catastrophic injuries. Anyone suffering severe injuries following a motor vehicle accident should consider seeking compensation to help pay for these steep costs. A legal professional may be able to help secure compensation from the at-fault driver.