Catastrophic Injury Lawyer

What Our Catastrophic Injury Lawyers Can Do For You


Negligence often leads to injuries that are permanent and catastrophic. At a minimum, many injuries will change your life forever. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have helped hundreds of injured clients obtain the compensation they need and deserve as a result of catastrophic and life-altering injuries.

Catastrophic injuries include brain injuries, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, scarring and disfigurement injuries, loss of limb injuries, loss of sight or smell injuries and severe fracture injuries. The personal injury lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman are proud to offer free case evaluations and only get paid an attorney fee if we win your case and recover compensation. We are committed to aggressively pursing the benefits and compensation you deserve.


nursing home negligence

Brain Injuries and Head Injuries

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. Unfortunately, 52,000 of these individuals die from their injuries and more than 275,000 are hospitalized. The last reported figures estimate that medical costs and indirect costs of brain injuries, such as lost productivity, total nearly $60 billion. Brain and head injuries can also be accompanied by the loss of smell, sight, hearing, taste, speech and commonly result in dizziness, nausea or vomiting, fatigue or drowsiness, sensitivity to noise and light, headaches, difficulty sleeping, sleeping more than usual and loss of balance.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Similar to brain and head injuries, spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic and require significant future medical treatment. Those with injuries causing paraplegia, tetraplegia or quadriplegia face healthcare and cost of living expense that are in the millions. The National Spinal Cord Statistical Injury Center estimates that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI), is approximately 40 cases per million population in the United States or approximately 17,000 new cases each year. Nearly 40% of all spinal cord injuries are a result of car accidents and motor vehicle accidents and 30% of all spinal cord injuries are the result of falls.

Severe Fracture Injuries

Bone fractures can vary in complexity, pain and necessary medical treatment. Fractures typically cause significant pain, swelling and require an extended period of time to fully heal. Treating a serious fracture injury is rarely as simple as setting the broken bone in a cast or a sling. Fractures often require extensive medical treatment, including surgery, physical therapy and the insertion of plates and screws. A fractured or broken bone can change your life.

Common types of fractures include:

  • Stable fracture – The broken ends of the bone line up and are barely out of place.
  • Open, compound fracture – The skin may be pierced by the bone or by a blow that breaks the skin at the time of fracture. The bone may or may not be visible in the wound.
  • Transverse fracture – This type of fracture has a horizontal fracture line.
  • Oblique fracture – This type of fracture has angled pattern.
  • Comminuted fracture – In this type of fracture, the bone shatters into three or more pieces.
  • Impacted fracture – Fractures in which one part of the bone is driven into another.
  • Spiral fracture – A bone that is twisted and broken in a spiral direction.

Fractured bones often require emergency surgery and with hardware which includes plates, screws/nails, rods, wires/pins and external fixators. When hardware is used to stabilize a fracture, it is called internal fixation. Implants used for internal fixation are made from stainless steel and titanium. Joints are often replaced with cobalt and chrome. It is believed that these implants are compatible with the body and rarely cause allergic reaction.

Burn Injuries

A burn is a type of injury to skin or other tissues, caused by heat, cold, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation. Most burns are due to heat from hot liquids, solids or fire. There are several degrees of burns which are classified by the depth of injury. These degrees include: 1st Degree Burn – superficial, redness of skin without blisters; 2nd Degree Burn – partial thickness skin damage and blisters present; 3rd Degree Burn – full thickness skin damage where skin is white and leathery; and 4th Degree Burn – similar to third degree burn but with damage to deeper structures, tendons, joints and bone.

Burn injuries can arise for many different fact patterns, but burn injuries are often seen due to: apartment building fires; workplace injuries; truck accidents and tanker explosions; motor vehicle accidents; electrical fires; defective products; locked fire exits; scalding water and pipes; and recreational fires (hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, night clubs).

Scarring and Disfigurement Injuries

While many injuries impact the internal muscles, tissues, bones and organs, scarring and disfigurement injuries are visually observable and serve as painful reminders of the traumatic event that caused the scarring and disfigurement. When dealing with scarring and disfigurement injuries, it is important that your personal injury lawyer obtain photographs, medical reports, potential expert reports and properly evaluate the value of the scarring and disfigurement based on the part of the body affected by the injury, the severity of the injury and how the injury will affect the victim’s quality of life.

Loss of Limb Injuries

A personal injury that results in the loss of a limb can be both physically and emotionally devastating. Such a significant injury causes life-long challenges which impacts one’s ability to live and work productively and enjoy life. Hobbies and daily activities can be lost forever. While an initial loss of limb or amputation can be very expensive to treat and rehab, future expenses can include wound care, counseling, vocational training and periodic prosthesis fitting and replacement. Adaptations to your home, work place and motor vehicle may be necessary to obtain the greatest degree of mobility, independence and self-care.

It is important that a personal injury lawyer develop a comprehensive, long-term life care plan so that the insurance company clearly accepts the economic and non-economic costs of such catastrophic injuries.

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About Cowan & Hilgeman Law

Cowan & Hilgeman has provided legal services for clients in Dayton and Southern Ohio for over 20 years. We allow clients to concentrate all of their legal needs and demands within one firm by having over 70 years combined professional experience. It is our goal to stand behind our pledge "be a name, not a number" ensuring our full commitment to every case.