10 Ways to Prevent Catastrophic Injuries


You’re walking down the street and an out of control car comes up onto the sidewalk and hits you.  There is nothing you can do to prevent this, but there are many times where an accident could have been avoided, or the injuries could have been much less severe.  Here’s 10 ways to protect yourself and your family from catastrophic injuries.

1– Seat Belts

Always use the best safety devices and make sure you are using them properly.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics show that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.   Young adults and men are less likely to wear seatbelts that older adults and women. Failing to wear seatbelts is a leading cause of traumatically amputated limbs. You owe it to your family members to make sure that they use seatbelts, don’t worry about being called a nag!  Any accident lawyer can tell you how much less severe the injuries are when occupants are wearing a seatbelt.

2– Shoulder Harnesses

Try to avoid traveling in a cars without a shoulder harness and lap belt for adults and older children.  There are laws that allow older “classic” cars to have only lap belts, but there’s no law requiring you to travel in these vehicles that will not give you the best protection in a crash.  Without a shoulder restraint, your head can go forward, leaving you vulnerable to loss of consciousness and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow to the head. Skull fractures or a closed head injury is much less likely to occur when occupants are wearing shoulder harnesses.  There are many cases where permanent paralysis was caused by fractured vertebra in low speed crashes with a lap belt only restraint.

3– Child Restraints

New York law allows parents to travel with infants and young children in taxis without child restraints, but common sense dictates that this is not wise.  Why risk a spinal cord injury or brain damage from an accident to avoid a minor inconvenience? There are lightweight restraints for children of all sizes that can be brought along for a taxi ride.  Some rideshare services like Uber, provide the ability to request a child safety seat for a ride. This simple precaution will substantially lower your child’s risk of suffering from catastrophic injuries from an accident.  Personal injury lawyers see these sad results all the time, and always remind parents to take more precautions.

4– Ladders

Many catastrophes occur because people are more afraid to speak up than to risk their lives.  For example, your friend ask you to help her hang some pictures. She hands you a hammer, a nail and a rickety old ladder.  What can you do? Say, “No.” Tell her the ladder doesn’t look safe, so you’re very sorry, but you are not going to climb up on it!  Falling from ladders is a leading cause of paralysis and brain damage from an accident. Falls from ladders are a leading cause of tragic accidents for construction workers, but, according to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, 97 percent of ladder falls occurs at homes or farms.

5– Workplace Safety

It’s hard enough to say “no” to a friend, but even harder to say no to your boss.  Workers not wanting to speak up about unsafe working conditions is understandable, but unfortunately this is another leading cause of dreadful injuries.  When the floors are dirty and slippery, when the stairs are broken, when safety equipment is not provided or not working properly, lives are lost or devastated.  Falling down slippery, greasy steps while working in a restaurant is a leading cause of amputation injuries and more than one type of paralysis.

6– Recreation

There are many businesses that have visitors sign waivers that they “assume the risk” of an activity.  Before signing, consider whether the facility is safe and whether you have enough experience and are in good enough shape for the activity.  Read reviews on the internet and assess carefully whether this is a well run operation or an activity worth taking a risk for. Don’t let being embarrassed be the reason you find yourself searching for a catastrophic injury lawyer.  

7– Second Opinions

Even highly experienced doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses and other health care professionals can make mistakes.   When the loss of a limb results from failure to diagnosis and treat and infection, a medical malpractice case is the likely result.   Some of these tragedies might have been avoided if the patient had less reverence for the medical professional and got a second opinion quickly.  When you have a serious problem, and it’s not getting better, trust your intuition and go elsewhere. Many diabetes that must undergo amputation surgery due to poor care from primary doctors and podiatrists.

8– Home Hazards

After a major storm or with the passage of time, electrical wiring can become frayed and/or corrupting, increasing the risk of fire.  Other hazards in a home include mold, ceiling falls and structural problems. Don’t wait until disaster strikes. Inspect your home on a regular basis, making sure that wiring, structure and insulation is intact and sturdy.

9– Food Allergies

Food allergies can cause anaphylactic shock and cause a victim to go into a coma.  If you, or your child, are highly susceptible to food allergies, you just can’t take too many precautions.  Be sure to inquire about ingredients whenever you eat at a restaurant, and looking carefully at your food before eating it, to be certain they have complied with your requests.  Make sure your child’s school is aware of the allergy, and follow-up often to make that they are taking every precaution to ensure your child have no contact with the allergen. Remember, staff could change or people can forget, reminding them at the beginning of the year is not good enough.

10– Asbestos

You’d be surprised to know that asbestos is still lurking in many residential, school, office and industrial structures.  Deregulation has led to a pull-back in requiring mandating clean-outs. This is why asbestos exposure remains one of the most common lawsuits to this day.  You can take precautions and make sure your home, your child’s school and your workplace are free of exposure to asbestos.

Many personal injury cases could have been avoided or minimized if proper precautions and common sense were utilized.  Car accident lawyers know that seat belts and child restraints save lives and minimize injuries, and advise their clients to made using these devices a hard and fast rule.  With proper precautions, the likelihood of having to call a personal injury attorney decreases significantly. If you do need to call an attorney, it’s more likely that you’ll be doing it from home rather than a rehabilitation center!  Preventing catastrophic injuries is everybody’s responsibility.


2019-05-10T20:54:55+00:00By |0 Comments

About the Author:

Alyce Wittenstein is a world class attorney, blogger and filmmaker. She began working at the firm in 1985 as a managing paralegal, learning all the practices and procedures of the firm from Mr. Wittenstein and the staff. From 1995-1998, she attended CUNY Law School where she made a mark as a teaching assistant for Civil Rights leader Haywood Burns. She founded a Human Rights Delegation to Haiti and studied Constitutional Law with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Working at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commision (EEOC), she learned a great deal about Employment Discrimination matters. She brought her knowledge of the Personal Injury practice and her passion for Civil Rights to the firm when she was admitted to the Bar in 1999. In 2000, she became a partner and the firm name was changed to Wittenstein & Wittenstein, Esqs. PC.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.