life changing injury

What Constitutes a “Life-Changing” Injury? Understanding the Definition, Impact, and Legal Considerations

The Clardy Law Firm is based in Greenville and has built a reputation as trusted guardians, working within our community and further afield. We’re the Greenville personal injury lawyers with the personal touch, employing our tireless dedication and decades of experience to work on your behalf.

We’re driven by a passionate belief that everybody has the right to the best counsel, fair compensation, and adequate protection to ensure you and your loved ones can put their lives back on track after a traumatic event.

We ensure our clients get what they need and everything they deserve when they’ve suffered through no fault of their own. This is why you can rest assured that, as dedicated serious injury attorneys, we’ll never coerce our clients into making a quick settlement so that we can take our fee and move on.

At the Clardy Law Firm, we believe success is created by the synthesis of bravery and belief. It’s why we’re so proud of our work and are ready to assist you by helping you understand what constitutes a “life-changing injury,” whether you’ve been involved in a car accident or hurt in some other way.

Defining Life-changing Injuries

Put simply, a life-changing injury (sometimes called a catastrophic or traumatic injury) is broadly defined as any injury sustained long-term that will negatively impact the rest of your life daily. This not only includes injuries that lead to permanent disability but also ones that lead to long-term health problems or may shorten your lifespan.

Furthermore, the consequences of a life-changing injury will often affect more people than just the injured party. For example, you may need somebody, or even a team of people, to become part-time or full-time carers after an accident. Tragically, such circumstances can quickly create financial hardship for the injured person and other members of a family or close support network.

It would be difficult to list every possible “life-changing injury,” and sadly, they’re often the consequence of several complications. However, broadly speaking, serious injury attorneys define “life-changing injuries” as falling into six categories.

  • Amputation/loss of limb
  • Spinal injuries/paralysis
  • Loss or impairment of sight and hearing
  • Brain injuries
  • Burns injuries
  • Respiratory injuries.

The first five of these categories are self-evident. However, respiratory injuries encompass damage or illness caused by harmful agents you may have been exposed to without your knowledge, such as asbestos in the workplace. Occupational respiratory diseases can be caused by prolonged exposure to several hazardous substances, whether chemicals, fumes, or dust.

All injuries that fall within the purview of the categories above are considered life-changing — and as such, they come with a broad range of considerations, not only physical and practical but also mental and emotional. All of which will need addressing with the correct care. This is the only viable holistic approach for effectively dealing with an ongoing life-changing injury. Of course, such packages can only be put in place with the correct financial support.

The Physical and Emotional Impact of Life-Changing Injuries

The challenges faced by victims of life-changing injuries, both in the immediate and long-term, vary. In almost every instance (with the exception of afflictions such as lost or damaged hearing), a life-changing injury will lead to lost or reduced mobility or, at the very least, impaired dexterity.

As serious injury attorneys with a wealth of experience, we understand that every case involving life-changing injury is unique, and its impacts are always relative to each individual. Initially, there may seem to be a significant difference between losing a leg and a finger, but repercussions are always relative and, therefore, require us to consider important factors such as trade or profession.

For example, losing a leg would be an especially catastrophic outcome for someone employed as a construction worker or fitness instructor. However, for an individual who relies on their fine motor skills to ply their trade, such as a surgeon, losing one or more digits would be equally disastrous.

Other equally debilitating outcomes leave a victim with long-term chronic pain and ongoing medical complications arising from any injury, such as the continuing need for regular medication or medical treatment.

As your local South Carolina personal injury lawyers, we approach each life-changing injury case with the same measure of sympathy, empathy, and expertise. That’s because we understand that traumatic injuries also have a mental and emotional toll felt by the victim and their relatives and loved ones.

In the near term, close family members often take on the role of primary care providers when a loved one loses mobility, assisting with everything from cooking and cleaning to personal care like dressing and bathing. This transition can be radical and traumatic, especially if all parties are still in shock after recent events and have no previous caregiving experience.

Many victims struggle with depression and anxiety as they try to adapt to their altered circumstances, which is entirely understandable. A sudden reduction in mobility, dexterity, or motor function is very likely to lead to frustration in the first instance and create a lack of confidence, which can elicit feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and grief. 

It’s not uncommon for victims of life-changing injuries to experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) after the event. Usually associated with the aftermath of combat during military service, PTSD can become a later symptom for anyone involved in a particularly shocking and severe accident. Those who’ve been involved in sudden, large-scale events like multiple-vehicle road traffic accidents have been identified as being at heightened risk of later mental health challenges — most significantly, PTSD.

Of course, the mental and emotional welfare of victims and their loved ones also requires consideration in the broader context of how it will affect the dynamic of relationships in the aftermath of a life-changing injury.

The severe paralysis of a once-healthy partner, for example, demands a radical readjustment and dramatically altered living arrangements for both the victim and, consequently, their spouse and family.

Each of these factors bears crucial consideration and must be taken as a whole when making an effective claim for life-changing injuries. 

Financial Consequences of a Life-Changing Injury

For those who’ve suffered a life-changing injury, life immediately afterward can feel desperate and confusing. And yet, if you’ve been hurt through no fault of your own, the action you take next to ensure adequate compensation could be one of the most important things you do for the rest of your life.

Almost immediately after an accident, victims are presented with an intimidating list of expenses that will soon become their new norm. From initial bills for essential surgeries and necessary medical procedures, followed by longer-term rehabilitation regimes like physiotherapy and purchasing assistive devices like wheelchairs, to redefining and re-establishing a manageable way to live. All involve a wealth of further expenses, from major home modifications to finding and engaging professional caregivers permanently. As you can imagine, for most families, such a support regimen is financially impossible without the correct compensation levels.

The Clardy Law Firm: Guiding Clients Through Life-changing Injury Cases 

There’s so much to consider for victims and their families in the aftermath of a life-changing injury event. Amid shock and trauma, undertaking the processes necessary for securing adequate compensation can feel even more intimidating.

Yet, as you can see, finding the best possible serious injury attorney is a vital next step. With experience, expertise, and compassion, The Clardy Law Firm has advocated for a host of clients over the decades, shepherding them through complex legal claims to ensure compensation for:

We’re the local South Carolina personal injury lawyers trusted by our community in times of crisis. Ready to represent victims of personal injury and road traffic accident cases. It’s not just what we do — it’s what we do best, which is why we’d be glad for you to read many of the good news stories about our successful case outcomes. We’re also proud to provide a list of previous client testimonials to help you take heart if you’ve been recently injured.

Although the situations are often very different, these case studies demonstrate the importance of understanding and effectively communicating the unique circumstances and personal requirements of every client we assist. We believe it’s the key to getting the outcome you deserve. 

Resources and Support for Life-changing Injury Victims

As experienced serious injury attorneys committed to serving our local area, we know how important it is to get help as soon as possible after a life-changing injury. 

So even if you’ve only got as far as reading this, you’ve made a strong start, and below, you’ll find some recommendations and information on resources available for victims and families in our local area. 

Contact The Clardy Law Firm For Your Free, No-Obligation Case Evaluation


If you or a loved one was injured in South Carolina, we offer a free, no-obligation case review so you can see how we can help.

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