Catastrophic Injury

After successfully litigating hundreds of cases, I know what to expect from insurance companies. I use the knowledge and experience gained to maximize my client's recovery. A severe personal injury claim affects more than just your pocketbook, every aspect of your life is touched. My firm strives for compassionate representation through every step of your personal injury case.
Johnson Law, P.C. - Partner
Justin Johnson
Photograph of Partner Justin Johnson
Personal Injury Attorney
Justin Johnson

Catastrophic Injury | Personal Injury Law

While no amount of compensation will make up for the extreme change in your life, the personal injury attorneys at Johnson Law, P.C. will fight to make sure that whoever injured you is held accountable for their actions. When someone runs a red light or does not keep a careful eye out for pedestrians, they are choosing to endanger the public well-being. When someone’s carelessness results in a catastrophic injury, the attorneys at Johnson Law, P.C. are here to help.

What Is A Catastrophic Injury?

“Catastrophic injury” means an injury, the direct and proximate consequences of which permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work;

42 USC § 3796b

Catastrophic injuries are injuries that are so serious and severe that the person will likely never be the same again. Examples of catastrophic injuries are amputations, burns, traumatic brain injuries, eye injuries, spinal cord injuries, and compound fractures of bones. It should be noted that catastrophic injury claims are different from wrongful death claims.

Which injuries are considered catastrophic?

Not every injury is considered catastrophic. If you use the U.S. Code legal definition, an important aspect to consider is if the injury prevents you from obtaining "gainful work". However, that definition is from a federal statute. You will most likely be dealing with state law rather than federal. In many legal circles in Oregon, a catastrophic injury is thought to be an injury for which your life will never be the same again. Some types of injuries are more likely to be catastrophic than others.

Catastrophic Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries occur when the nerves that pass through your spine are damaged. This occurs when the spine itself is fractured—usually due to physical trauma, or when the disks that cushion each vertebra are herniated, causing the nerves that exit the spine to be compromised. Damage to your central nervous system has a high chance of being classified as a catastrophic injury. A severe spinal cord injury can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia, two of the most life-altering injuries that anyone could suffer.

If the spine is damaged, but the nerves are not severed, it can lead to what’s called radicular, or radiating pain, which is often experienced in the injured person’s extremities.  Numbness and tingling in an injured person’s arms and legs is another sign that a spinal injury has occurred.

Spinal injuries often require expensive surgeries, and it is important that the medical bills get paid in a timely manner. This is why if you’re suffering from a spinal injury because of the negligent act of another, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney who knows how to recover money from the at-fault party.

Car collisions frequently result in spinal injuries. While money will never make up for the lifelong consequences of a spinal injury, it’s the only remedy the law allows.  If you were hit by a careless driver and now are being forced to live with a spinal cord injury, we are standing by to assist you in your time of need.

Remember, we are willing and able to go to trial if an insurance company decides to not compensate you a fair amount for your pain and impairment. The attorneys at Johnson Law who have handled many spinal injuries, will aggressively litigate your case to maximize the chance of a successful outcome.

Catastrophic Shoulder Injury

Until you suffer a shoulder injury, you do not realize how often the joint is used in everyday activities. Not every shoulder injury is a catastrophic injury. However, living with the pain and impairment that result from a serious shoulder injury can be life-altering, and if someone has caused you to suffer a shoulder injury you deserve to be compensated. Because the shoulder is a complex joint with numerous surrounding muscles and ligaments, it is important that you seek assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the complexities of shoulder injuries and what must be done to properly prepare your case.

Shoulder injuries often are the result of a motor vehicle collision, but they can also occur during a workplace accident or a slip and fall. If you suffer a shoulder injury, it is important to get the proper objective diagnostic testing.  Diagnostic testing can include, but is not limited to: high-contrast MRIs, x-rays, and CT scans. Treatment can include, but is not limited to: physical therapy, ultrasound, steroid injections, and potentially surgery.

When you experience a shoulder injury, the onset of pain is often immediate and it is vital to see a physician as soon as possible in order to treat the injury and to document the cause of the injury. The personal injury attorneys at Johnson Law have experience litigating shoulder injury cases and will work tirelessly to hold the person or company that negligently injured you accountable under the law.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries are deceptive because, to the outside world, the injured person often appears normal. Only the injured person’s friends and family notice the changes in their personality and motor skills. Often times this leads to a lack of proper medical care in the exact time it is most necessary, which is the days and months immediately following the injury. What further complicates diagnosing traumatic brain injuries is oftentimes an MRI or other objective diagnostic imaging of the injured person’s brain that appears no different than a normal person’s brain. Hopefully, future advancements in medical diagnostic technology will allow for a more accurate and timely diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries.

If you think you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury, be especially aware of the following symptoms which are likely the result of, and are associated with traumatic brain injury:

  • Changes in personality
  • Difficulty focusing/Easily distracted
  • Confusion
  • Pressure in your head
  • Difficulty with eye-hand coordination
  • Word finding difficulty
  • Problems with your memory
  • Fever
  • Changes in blood pressure

Traumatic brain injuries can occur when the brain contacts the inside of the skull, usually because of a sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head. This often occurs in rear-end car collisions when the injured person’s car is at a stop and is rear-ended causing the person's head to first whip back into the headrest of their car and then whip forward. This can also occur if a driver’s head hits the steering wheel, or in the case of a T-bone collision, when a driver or passenger’s head hits the inside of the door of their car.

There are different grades of traumatic brain injuries. A mild traumatic brain injury can result in the injured person experiencing symptoms for weeks or months.  A severe traumatic brain injury can result in lifelong physical and cognitive limitations and definitely classifies as a catastrophic injury. It is important to note that even severe traumatic brain injuries may not present symptoms until weeks or even months after the event that led to the injury. This is most often the case with closed head injuries, when the skull itself is not pierced by an object leading to trauma being inflicted directly to brain tissue.

It takes skill and knowledge to properly prepare for trial or settlement. This is especially the case with traumatic brain injuries because insurance companies are prone to resisting settling traumatic brain injury cases. Insurance companies think that, because there are no obvious or visible injuries, they can delay and deny taking responsibility for the injury. Please allow the personal injury attorneys at Johnson Law to assist you in fighting the insurance companies and forcing them to take accountability for their insured’s negligent acts that were the cause of your injury.

Personal Injury | Amputation

An amputation forever changes the lives of the victim and his or her family. Remember that a catastrophic injury is described as an injury in which your life will never be the same. Once simple tasks become extraordinarily difficult, the victim struggles through rigorous physical therapy and sometimes is forced to modify his or her home in order to function independently.

This is all in addition to the physical pain caused by an amputation. Besides the injury, which is excruciatingly painful, the victim is also often left with “phantom pain” that doctors think is caused by the victim’s central nervous system not being able to account for the missing body part.

If you have suffered an amputation due to someone else’s negligence, then you need a personal injury attorney who will fight for the lifelong medical care that you will need to receive post-amputation, as well as for compensation for the pain and impairment you experienced, and will continue to experience, for the rest of your life. The personal injury attorneys at Johnson Law are standing by to assist you in obtaining the compensation that you deserve.

There is absolutely no financial cost to you upfront – the initial consultation is completely free, and we don’t get paid anything unless we win your case.  Call us today.

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Example Results

Trucking Collision

Reed Johnson obtained this result for a client who had neck and shoulder surgery caused by the negligence of a trucking company.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Justin Johnson obtained this result when advocating for a client in a T-bone collision that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.

Car Crash

Johnson Law obtained this result for a rear-end collision that resulted in a neck injury requiring surgery.

Car vs. Moped

Justin Johnson obtained this result for a client in a non-contact car vs. moped incident resulting in a broken ankle.

Johnson Law

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(971) 205-3266
1323 NE Orenco Station Pkwy
Suite #210
Hillsboro, OR 97124


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