A favorable personal injury settlement can accomplish a lot.
It can pay for property damage, cover medical bills, and compensate for pain and suffering. In some cases, it can even be used to punish bad actors and deter future wrongdoing. Ironically, though, no amount of settlement money can ever accomplish what damage awards were designed to do in the first place – put the victim back in the position he or she was in prior to the accident. Nowhere is this more evident than in a catastrophic injury case.

Catastrophic injuries are those that either cause death, or, at a minimum, cause a significant and permanent deterioration of the victim’s quality of life. A spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis is a classic example. For victims and their families, these cases do not end when a settlement check is issued or the jury renders its verdict – the consequences last a lifetime.

At McNeely Stephenson, we understand that financial compensation will not undo the harm you suffered. But that does not mean your catastrophic injury claim is something to be taken lightly. The fact that you or your loved one may never fully recover from the physical injuries inflicted during the accident makes proper handling of the legal claim imperative. Your future depends on it. Contact our team of Indiana trial attorneys now to learn more about your rights.

The Dangers of Childhood Head Injuries

How Catastrophic Injuries Happen

Newspaper reporters love to use the term “freak accident” to describe horrific incidents. Apparently, this terminology is meant to characterize one-of-a-kind accidents that no one could have foreseen or prevented. The truth is that very few (if any) accidents can be accurately described this way. The facts surrounding a catastrophic accident are always unique, to be sure, but the conduct involved usually fits a familiar pattern. Here are the most common causes of catastrophic injuries, with examples of each:

Operator Error

Negligent or reckless operation of vehicles is the most common cause of catastrophic injuries in Indiana.

Faulty Products

The items we use every day have the potential to inflict great harm if they were not designed and manufactured correctly.

Negligent Handling of Hazardous Materials

From leaking storage facilities, to tanker truck accidents on the interstate, hazmat exposure can lead to serious injury.

  • Flammable substances
  • Explosives
  • Corrosive materials
  • Toxic byproducts and other industrial waste
  • Drinking water contaminants
  • Fumes and gasses


The careless conduct responsible for an accident can begin hours beforehand, when the choice to consume alcohol or drugs is made.

  • Drunk driving
  • High driving (marijuana, party drugs, prescription medication)
  • Boating while intoxicated
  • Operating equipment/machinery while intoxicated
  • Furnishing intoxicating substances to others

Medical Malpractice

Negligent conduct is especially dangerous when committed by the healthcare professionals we trust.

Intentional Acts

Catastrophic injuries are not always accidental. Sometimes the responsible party purposefully inflicted the harm.

Disregard of Safety Protocols

Violations of government, industry, or company safety rules are common causes of workplace accidents in Indiana.

  • Falls from height
  • Electrocutions
  • Crane and other heavy equipment accidents
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects or materials
  • Cave-ins

Irresponsible Animal Ownership

An Indianapolis/Marion County ordinance requires animals to be confined or leashed. Disregard for the law can lead to tragedy.

Failure to Maintain Safe Premises

Devastating injuries can occur when owners or their tenants fail to address dangers on the property.

Consequences of a Catastrophic Injury

After 30 years of representing accident victims in Indiana, the attorneys at McNeely Stephenson have witnessed catastrophic injuries affecting every function of the human body. The worst of these injuries are the ones that permanently impede a victim’s:

  • Mobility
  • Cognitive skills
  • Ability to communicate
  • Physical appearance
  • Longevity

Limitations in one or more of these areas causes irreparable harm not just to the victim, but to the wellbeing of the victim’s dependents and loved ones. The amount of compensation obtained in a catastrophic injury settlement should reflect this fact.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries We Handle

Catastrophic injuries and catastrophic accidents do not necessarily go hand in hand. An accident that appears terrible, like a high-speed traffic crash, may produce only minor injuries. Conversely, a seemingly innocuous accident, like falling on an icy sidewalk, may lead to permanent disability. That is why, when it comes to proving damages, our lawyers focus on what matters most – your injury.

We represent people who have suffered all types of catastrophic injuries, including:

Speak to an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Shelbyville Injury LawyerWhen an insurance company is notified that one of its insureds may have caused a catastrophic injury, it immediately goes to work strengthening its side of the case. As a victim, you need to do the same. The first step is to contact an experienced Indiana personal injury law firm for a consultation and case evaluation. McNeely Stephenson has offices in Indianapolis, New Albany, and Shelbyville. We can also visit with you on the telephone, or even at the hospital or at home if necessary. Call (888) 991-8278 or use our intake form to tell us about your case now.