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What Constitutes Significant Injury?

By September 6, 2014Auto Accidents, Injury Law
  • A driver rear ends your car while you’re waiting to make a left turn. Your car is fine, but suddenly you can barely move your neck.
  • You’re striding through a crosswalk.
    A driver chatting into her cell phone hits you, breaking your leg.
  • A driver on the interstate falls asleep at the wheel, crosses the center line, and hits you head on. You sustain a serious head injury.

These three examples illustrate the fate that can befall anybody, any day. You go from minding your own business to having an injury that will deplete you mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. These are all significant injuries.

87,087 people suffered serious injuries in 2012 on Texas roadways, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. This means that a person was injured every two minutes and 17 seconds. This is a lot of significant injury.

Types of Significant Injury

While there’s no end to the types of injuries you can sustain in a traffic accident, here are a few of the most common.

Spinal Cord Injuries: More than 40 percent of new spinal cord injuries are caused by car and motorcycle accidents. These range from moderately painful to paralysis. Rear-end collisions are especially notorious for causing spinal cord injuries, as they tend to throw your neck backwards and forward farther than your cervical spine is meant to go. This soft-tissue injury is also known as whiplash. Signs of spinal cord injury include difficulty with balance, weakness of any body part, a back or neck that feels twisted, numbness is your extremities, labored breathing and loss of bladder or bowel control.

Broken Bones: With enough impact, any bone in your body can break. Broken bones may necessitate surgeries, casts, the insertion of metal pins or plates and a long recovery time.

Facial Injuries: These may not be as physically debilitating as some other injuries, but damage to your face takes a heavy psychological toll. Facial injuries can lead to scarring or disfigurement requiring painful plastic surgery.

Types of Damage Claims

If you’ve sustained a significant injury in an accident, you might be able to collect money to offset your financial and emotional costs. Types of claims include:

  • loss of future earning potential
  • wage loss
  • emotional suffering
  • physical pain
  • temporary or permanent disability
  • medical expenses, from ER to massage therapy
  • loss of enjoyment of life

Importance of Documentation in Significant Injury Cases in Texas

When you’re in shock and pain from an accident, you’re probably not thinking about gathering documentation. But as soon as you’re able, jot down everything you can remember about your accident. Details such as time of day, force of impact, visibility factors, positions and speed of the vehicles, loads the vehicles were carrying, etcetera, can help you make your case. Under Texas law, such factors as the driver’s speed and whether or not he was intoxicated will affect his personal injury liability. If possible, get somebody to take photos at the scene.

Your medical records are also crucial evidence, should you file a personal injury suit. Keep copies of all records. Start a daily journal documenting your pain level, medications prescribed and how your injuries impact your everyday life. If you suffer a significant injury, you deserve to be compensated. And good records will help.