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Personal Injury Law - The Basics
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Serious Bodily Injury

A serious bodily injury is any injury that significantly handicaps your physical capabilities or physical appearance. This type of injury can involve a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or trauma, obvious disfigurement such as scarring, or the impairment or loss of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty. Such suffering has long-term or even permanent consequences for the injured person. Rehabilitation from a serious injury can take months or even years and involve long-term physical therapy, courses of medication, permanent prescription drug therapy, in-home medical care, and much more. The medical expenses alone can cripple anyone's financial future. You may very well require the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer to get the most out of your personal injury claim.

Loss of Limbs

Losing a limb can be as traumatic an experience as losing a spouse or a child. The trauma is multi-layered, requiring changes to every facet of your life and the lives of your family. Physical rehabilitation alone may not be sufficient to help an injured person adjust to such a loss. Loss of a limb frequently results in significant blood loss, shock, infection, and even death.

The term "limb loss" refers to the absence of any part of an extremity, such as an arm or leg, due to surgical or traumatic amputation. A traumatic amputation is one that occurs as a direct result of a personal injury and is a part of the accident itself. Accident-related amputation can range from the loss of a fingertip to the loss of an arm or a leg.

Surgical amputation is sometimes required to save the life of a person injured in an accident, or it may be required in order to form a residual limb to which a prosthetic device may be successfully fitted. Sometimes accidents damage bone, blood supply, and nerves beyond repair. The affected limb not only becomes useless, but also may be subject to continued blood loss and risk of infection. In these kinds of situations the limb must be removed because the injured person's life is at extreme risk.

Recovering from the loss of limb is a long, slow, and painful process. An extensive regime of physical therapy is required to prevent "contractures," which is what happens when a joint becomes stuck in one position as a result of shortened muscles, inertia from rest and weakened muscle strength. A contracture can make it very difficult to use prosthesis. The body must be retrained to function without the missing extremities, and with the new prosthesis. Amputation surgery is one of the few kinds of surgeries that will make a permanent and visible change in the shape of a person's body. Amputation not only makes a person look "different," but it forever takes away a piece of them. You will face not only the need to recover functionally, but you may face loss and self-esteem issues that will require you to recover emotionally as well.

Scarring and Disfigurement

Any type of injury from an accident can cause scarring, which is part of the body's natural response to traumatic injury. Some scarring, however, can cause long-term and even lifelong pain, discomfort, and distress. Certain disfigurements, especially to the face, neck, arms or hands, which are usually visible to the public, can seriously affect your day-to-day life. Burns, sunken scars, and other evidence of injury can even affect your ability to keep or secure employment, if your job requires a great deal of public contact or exposure.

Besides disfiguring your appearance, scars can be itchy, painful, and restrict physical movement due to their size and thickness. The buildup of scar tissue over time can disrupt necessary therapy when recovering from a personal injury, or require surgery to remove. The counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine the value of your suffering from scarring, and may be able to help you afford treatment to try to remove or relieve scarring or disfigurement.