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Legal Blog

What Is an Incapacitating Injury?

When you experience an incapacitating injury, you may not be able to function as you once did, including performing household duties and doing your previous work. Worse yet, you may not be able to keep your job due to an inability to work, making it difficult to care for and provide for any dependents. No one should feel the heavy burden of possibly going through medical treatment, surgeries, and therapy, and paying countless medical bills on top of experiencing the traumatic accident or incident that caused the incapacitating injury along with its aftermath. Oftentimes, a lawsuit against the party responsible for the incapacitating injury is necessary in order to put yourself and your loved ones back in a similar position to how you lived before becoming incapacitated.

What exactly determines if you have an incapacitating injury? According to the federal government’s KABCO Injury Classification Scale, incapacitating injury in Texas is defined as a severe injury that prevents the continuation of normal activities. It also notes that these injuries can include any degree of a crushed chest, broken or distorted limbs, and internal injuries. There are countless ways someone can suffer an incapacitating injury, whether through a workplace accident or in a car accident involving one or more vehicles. In cases like these, the negligent party or parties are often found to have behaved negligently due to failure to take the proper measures to prevent these events.

Types of Incapacitating Injuries

An incapacitating injury is any non-fatal injury that prevents the injured person from walking, driving, and/or normally continuing the activities they were capable of performing before the injury occurred.

Examples of incapacitating injuries that prevent someone from functioning as they once did include: 

  • Severe cuts and lacerations – Any severe cuts that run deep enough can permanently damage tissue and nerves needed to move a particular part of the body, such as a limb or the back.
  • Broken or distorted limbs – Broken limbs can take a very long time to heal. And distorted limbs may be permanent, depending on the severity of the damage, which could impact one’s ability to work or even walk.
  • Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury – A brain injury that affects one’s mental and physical ability will certainly impact everyday life and employment eligibility.
  • Damage to the skull, chest, or abdomen – Severe damage to these sensitive areas can greatly impact how well internal tissue or even organs function.
  • Debilitating back and neck injuries – An injury to the neck and/or back can be expensive to heal, with countless medical appointments and continuous therapy for an unknown amount of time. These injuries also commonly have lasting consequences that cannot be fully resolved with medical treatment, even surgically.
  • Spinal cord injuries that lead to quadriplegia or paraplegia – Spinal cord injuries are extremely severe and often impact victims’ lives the most. When someone cannot walk or move as they used to, being able to work becomes near impossible, not to mention the difficulty of engaging in everyday activities and even dealing with their personal needs like using the restroom, bathing, and eating.
  • Amputations – When someone loses a limb or another body part, it can affect their ability to work and to live an active and healthy lifestyle. These are also expensive injuries that require more than just medical costs, but psychological and equipment costs as well.
  • Unconsciousness at the scene of an accident – If a blackout is more than momentary, it can impact one’s mental ability and memory for the unforeseeable future, making it difficult or impossible to function normally or to the degree one once did.

Victims who sustain incapacitating injuries are typically unable to leave the scene of the accident without help and require immediate emergency care. Even if a victim believes they are able to and succeeds in leaving the scene, it is important to seek medical care immediately since the adrenaline surge brought on by traumatic events often prevents victims from realizing and/or physically feeling that they’ve undergone a catastrophic injury right away.

What Can Cause This Type of Injury?

Accidents in the workplace or those that involve a motor vehicle are the most common causes of an incapacitating injury. Some other frequent causes can include:

  • Chemical spills and/or toxic exposure from oil rigs and in maritime workplaces
  • Explosions in factories, refineries, oilfields, and chemical plants
  • Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Factory machinery failure or malfunction
  • Construction worksite accidents
  • Falling debris from big rigs and on construction sites
  • Falls from high structures
  • Airplane, boat, or ship accidents

There are many other factors at play when one goes through a catastrophic event that causes severe injuries. Such factors could include a lack of training by an employer that could have prevented incapacitating injuries or failure to inspect and maintain machinery or equipment in the workplace.

Life Care Plans for Incapacitating Injury Victims

Incapacitating injuries caused by any type of catastrophic event often require a life care plan, which is a detailed evaluation of the current and future needs of the injured person. These needs can be medical and non-medical. To create such a plan, one needs a combination of medical, economic, and financial expertise. Items typically covered include:

  • The life expectancy of the injured person
  • A list of the services and equipment that will be required (such as medical devices needed for the individual)
  • Necessary modifications to the person’s home (like a ramp for wheelchair use or bathroom renovations)
  • Information about the person’s loss of earning capacity

Because there will likely be only one opportunity to resolve a case involving incapacitating injuries caused by the fault of another party or parties, the economic impact of the trauma should be thoroughly analyzed and determined by a proven personal injury lawyer. It’s extremely important to work with a law firm that knows how to work with the victim and their loved ones to collect all supporting documentation of medical expenses, treatments, loss of earning capacity, and any items or services purchased to make the injured victim’s life more accommodated.

Experienced Incapacitating Injury Lawyers

The skilled personal injury lawyers of The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have helped hundreds of victims with incapacitating injury claims get the financial compensation they both deserve and need to move on with their lives as best they can. Having a knowledgeable Houston personal injury lawyer by your side to guide you through the entire legal process will give your claim the benefit of our decades of success handling a variety of incapacitating injury cases.

If you have gone through a catastrophic accident that has incapacitated you, your injuries may require a significant recovery period while you undergo surgeries, hospitalization, physical therapy, or other rehabilitation. These types of injuries can impact one’s life for many months or years – or even forever. That is why it’s vital to have an understanding and caring lawyer on your side who will work with you closely. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help.