Boohoff Law represents people who have suffered harm because of someone else’s poor decisions or negligent actions. The harm our clients endure takes many different forms. In this blog post, we summarize some of the more serious injuries that have befallen our clients, including how they often happen, and the costs and difficulties associated with them. When available, we’ve linked the injuries to related resources from UW Medicine.
If you or a loved one have sustained one of the injuries below, or any other type of injury caused by someone else’s recklessness or negligence, contact Boohoff Law today to learn more about your potential rights to recover compensation.
As personal injury lawyers, we frequently represent clients who sustained injuries in violent accidents, such as motor vehicle collisions, construction site falls, and other incidents in which the human body suffers significant trauma. Here are some of the most common injuries that result from these circumstances.
Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain sustains damage as a result of a jolt, blow, or penetrating injury. Any sort of impact can cause a TBI, from hitting your head in a car accident to a particularly violent collision while playing contact sports like football or lacrosse. Penetrating injuries often result from gunshots, explosions, or falls.
In a TBI caused by an impact, the brain sustains damage when it moves around within the skull, which in turn can cause tissue damage, bleeding, and swelling. With a penetrating injury, the brain sustains direct damage from the object that penetrated the skull, as well as from secondary bleeding and swelling.
TBIs range from mild to severe. Symptoms include a loss of consciousness, nausea, motor difficulty, headache, dizziness, and cognitive difficulty. Some symptoms happen immediately, whereas others take time to develop. Likewise, some symptoms resolve on their own, whereas others may require interventions including surgery, medication, and long-term physical and occupational therapy.
See a doctor whenever you sustain a blow or impact to your head. Even a mild head injury can have severe and costly long-term consequences.
Spinal Cord Injury
An acute spinal cord injury (SCI) happens when the spinal cord (the bundle of nerves running through your vertebrae) sustains a bruise or tear, which in turn disrupts your brain’s ability to send messages to the rest of the body. Similar to TBI, SCI commonly results from violent impacts, such as in a car accident, contact sport, or bad fall, or from a penetrating injury caused by a gunshot wound or explosion.
In disrupting messages between your brain and the rest of your body, an SCI typically interferes with motor functions.
In mild SCI cases, the damage results in numbness and weakness in parts of the body. In more severe cases, SCI causes partial or total paralysis. The extent of paralysis depends upon where on the spinal cord injury occurs. The closer to the neck, the more of the body that’s affected.
If an SCI victim is lucky, then over time she will recover some feeling or function in the parts of her body affected by the injury. But frequently, an SCI causes permanent and irreversible loss of function, which changes the victim’s life. It’s common for SCI patients to be confined to wheelchairs or other mobility devices, and to have to make significant changes to their living spaces and daily routines. The cost of treating and living with an SCI can total millions of dollars over a lifetime.
Traumatic Amputations, Crushed Limbs, and Complex Fractures
At Boohoff Law, some of our clients have sustained serious, life-altering injuries to their limbs. Three of the most serious injuries falling into that category are:
- Traumatic amputations, in which a limb or extremity is partially or totally severed from the body as a result of violent incidents such as a severe car accident or workplace injury involving machinery with moving parts.
- Crushed limbs, in which a limb gets pinned or compressed between or under heavy objects, frequently as a result of a car accident or working with heavy objects.
- Complex (or comminuted) fractures, in which a bone sustains three or more breaks.
All of these injuries, as well as less complicated fractures of a bone in one or two places, can result in long-lasting disability. Obviously, in the case of a traumatic amputation of a limb or extremity, the patient needs emergency medical attention to survive the initial injury. If the limb or extremity cannot be saved, then the patient may need a prosthetic to regain normal function. In the case of crushed limbs and other complex fractures, the patient’s bones may heal (often after multiple surgical interventions), but limb function may never return to its pre-injury function.
Injuries to limbs and extremities of this nature can seriously inhibit the ability to work and enjoy life as one did before the injury. Losing limb function often puts a strain on a person’s long-term earning capacity.
Burns are damage to skin and tissue caused by exposure to heat, caustic chemicals, radiation, and/or electricity. They are extremely painful even when mild. Severe burns are life threatening emergencies. Doctors classify burns on a scale:
- First degree burns affect only the outer layer of the skin (known as the epidermis). They appear as red, tender, and sensitive to touch and heat. First degree burns tend to heal on their own with basic first aid treatment.
- Second degree burns damage both the epidermis and some portion of the layer of skin beneath it (the dermis). They appear as red, blistered, and swollen. They will typically heal without significant complication if they receive prompt medical treatment, but may leave a scar.
- Third degree burns destroy the epidermis and dermis. They leave the area of burn looking charred. In extreme cases, they also burn tissue and bone beneath the dermis (sometimes this is referred to as a fourth degree burn). Third degree burns are life-threatening emergencies. They require immediate, specialty medical care, and have the potential to require long-term medical intervention. They always leave scarring and may also cause disability.
Clients of Boohoff Law have sustained burns in a wide variety of activities. Exposure to flame is a common cause of severe burns. So is exposure to caustic chemicals at work. Electrical burns have been known to happen when heavy equipment touches live electrical wires. The cause and extent of the burn, among other factors, affect its course of treatment. For anything other than a mild first-degree burn, call 911 or drive directly to your local emergency room.
Not all severe injuries threaten a person’s life or long-term livelihood. Clients of Boohoff Law frequently come to us after sustaining serious soft-tissue injuries in a wide variety of activities, from accidents to slip-and-falls to work and sports injuries. These injuries often heal over time. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re inconsequential.
The term soft-tissue injuries generally refers to damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Sprains, strains, tears, bruises, and tendonitis are all forms of soft-tissue injuries. Whiplash, which is a common injury in an auto accident, is also a sometimes severe form of soft-tissue injury.
Everyone has experienced a soft-tissue injury at some point in their life, usually in the form of an ankle sprain or muscle strain. Most of these injuries heal over time with rest, over-the-counter medication, and relatively simple first aid. But, sometimes, a soft-tissue injury creates chronic problems that last months or years, and require surgical care, long-term medication, and physical or occupational therapy to treat. Soft-tissue injuries may weaken tissue, making it more prone to re-injury. They may also cause nerve damage, resulting in motor deficits.
Victims of even a minor soft-tissue injury should seek medical care whenever an injury does not respond to the basic first aid regimen of RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, supplemented with over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen. The failure to treat a soft-tissue injury can turn a condition that would heal completely into long-term health complications.
In contrast to traumatic injuries, non-traumatic injuries do not necessarily happen because of a single, violent event, and do not necessarily become apparent right away. Nevertheless, they affect our clients’ lives just as severely. Here are some of the more common forms of long-term injury clients seek our help with at Boohoff Law.
Medical Malpractice/Medical Product Injuries
When doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare related professionals and providers take actions that harm a patient, it’s not always apparent to the person injured what has happened. Medical professionals do not set out to harm patients, and manufacturers of drugs and medical products do aim for them to be safe and effective. But, sometimes doctors make mistakes, and sometimes manufacturers sell healthcare products that are defective or dangerous.
When these tragedies occur, patients sustain a wide range of injuries. An error during surgery could cause permanent nerve damage. A faulty medical device implanted in a person’s body could damage organs and soft tissue. The wrong dosage of a drug, or a drug administered without regard to potentially harmful interactions, could result in organ failure and death.
Nursing Home Injuries
Elderly or disabled residents of Seattle-area nursing facilities are often vulnerable to maltreatment and abuse. Any number of injuries can result from nursing home abuse and neglect. There are physical injuries, such as bruises and broken bones, that can result from direct physical abuse or from falls when residents are left unattended. There are also psychological injuries inflicted by verbally or emotionally abusive staff members or other residents. Frequently, there are health complications resulting from the failure to provide adequate medical supervision and treatment.
The best defense against nursing home injuries is to visit your loved one regularly at a nursing home. Any marked changes in your loved one’s demeanor or emotional state, any unexplained injuries or sudden health complications, and any arbitrary restrictions the nursing home places on your access to a loved one, could all serve as signs of abuse or neglect.
Exposure injuries result from long-term exposure to toxic substances or conditions. They can take the form of diseases and/or chronic health complications, such as cancers, respiratory ailments, and nervous system disorders. They’re difficult to pinpoint, because exposure may become toxic only over a long period of time, and it may take years after the exposure for their ill-effects to emerge. In addition to health conditions, exposure can also lead to long term psychological complications by forcing a person to worry for years and years about developing a health condition caused by the exposure.
Many exposure injuries happen at work. In this day and age, employers have significant obligations to maintain safe workplaces and to provide safety equipment for workers handling toxic substances or materials. That has not always been the case, however, and even today, some employers put their employees at risk. What’s more, toxic exposures can happen in other locations, too. Building materials and mold, for instance, may affect the health of the family living in a home or of children attending a school.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a rare disease, or have experienced a steady and unexplained decline in health for no obvious reason but which started when work or living conditions changed, then exposure could be to blame.
Your Seattle Personal Injury Attorney, No Matter The Type
Tatiana Boohoff and her team at Boohoff Law have years of experience helping clients recover compensation to help them pay for the costs associated with a wide range of injuries. No matter the type of injury, the experienced, compassionate legal professionals at Boohoff Law have the resources and know-how to investigate its causes, calculate your financial needs, and pursue insurance companies and legally-liable parties for every penny of compensation you deserve.
To schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a skilled Seattle personal injury attorney, contact the team at Boohoff Law today online or by phone at (877) 999-9999. We’re here to help, no matter what your injury.