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What is Permanent Impairment in a Motor Vehicle Accident Case?

Posted on January 3, 2023 in

Vehicle accidents often lead to significant injuries. Sometimes these injuries cause permanent impairment for a victim. Here, we want to examine what permanent impairment actually means when it comes to a motor vehicle accident case in Colorado. This is important, particularly when it comes to calculating compensation that a victim should receive to help them through the recovery process. When it comes to permanent injuries, the compensation discussion must also revolve around the long-term consequences of the injury.

What is Considered Permanent Impairment for an Individual?

Permanent impairment is often referred to as permanent disability, and this is defined as the loss of function in a body part or a limiting of function for a body part. These types of injuries will not be able to mend on their own or be repaired through medical care. Some of the most common types of permanent impairment that a person could experience after a motor vehicle accident include the following:

  • Paralysis. Spinal cord trauma is the leading cause of paralysis for motor vehicle accident victims. In fact, vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. Individuals can experience varying levels of paralysis, but any type of paralysis is going to require some type of medical assistance and permanent treatment option for the victim.
  • Brain injury. Brain injuries can significantly affect a person’s cognitive and physical motor abilities. Traumatic brain injuries occur anytime a person experiences a significant bump or blow to the head or body or some type of penetrating wound to the skull. Brain injuries are often irreversible.
  • Amputation. Individuals can experience amputations and severe vehicle accidents in Colorado. This can include amputations of hands or feet or an entire arm or leg. Amputations are permanent injuries. Even though individuals may be able to move forward with their lives through the use of prosthetics, they should still be compensated for their loss.
  • Scarring or disfigurement. Scarring and disfigurement can lead to significant changes in a person’s life. Sometimes, these injuries result in a loss of motor function for individuals. However, even if scarring or disfigurement does not lead to a person losing motor function, it can still serve as a permanent reminder of the incident. Additionally, individuals who experience scarring or disfigurement may have a harder time in society due to the discriminatory effects of these types of injuries.

Permanent Impairment Means Lifelong Expenses

Individuals who experience any type of permanent injury in a motor vehicle accident must be cognizant of the long-term effects of these losses. This is particularly important when it comes to recovering compensation through a settlement or through a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault party after the incident occurs.

Any settlement or jury verdict should take into account the fact that the victim will need compensation to cover the effects of the lifelong injury. This could include assistance with long-term medical expenses or in-home care, medical devices, and wage replacement. Even if a person is able to return to work, they may not be able to earn as much income as they could before their injury occurred, and this should also be taken into account.