Personal Injury – When Is It Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

Catastrophic injuries affect the spine, brain or head and are generally the most severe of all injuries. They can leave the victim in a coma, or cause long-term disability. These injuries can have a profound impact on a personal injury case. It is important to understand how they differ.


Definition of Catastrophic Injury

The injury is considered to be severe if it causes damage to the spine, brain, or head. Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are common among athletes. This can lead to permanent disability and life-altering effects. Because of the nature of injury and the location on the spine, spinal damage can result in paralysis. Head trauma can cause severe damage to the senses, resulting in the victim losing their sight, hearing and speech. Victims of catastrophic injuries can also experience issues not listed above. There is no general definition, but certain cases make the person eligible for severe damage.

Other Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries can also include severe burns, disfigurement, or loss of limb. They’re all considered catastrophic based on the treatment required for the victims. The loss of senses usually occurs with the loss of a limb such as an eye or ear. Broken eardrums or a damaged cornea can cause loss of sight or sound for a short period or can be permanent. An injury that is too severe or chronic to fully treat can cause disfigurement. Burns leave scars that can last a lifetime.

Catastrophic Injuries: How to Define Them

There is no standard definition of what a catastrophic injury is, and this can cause problems for many cases of personal injury against the at-fault party. There are working definitions for the medical and legal fields that provide assessment and categorization for the claim. The primary distinguishing characteristic is that of the consequences of the injury. If these permanently prevent the person from gainful employment, they can demonstrate catastrophic injury. If the victim suffers to the point that he or she cannot acquire or maintain a job, the claim may involve special circumstances that increase the potential compensation awarded if the claim is successful.

The Devastating Injury

A person can lose their job if they are unable to work for more than a few weeks or even a few days. A loss of a lifetime of wages and the benefits that come with employment cause significant injury in addition to the bodily harm inflicted. Although it is possible to retrain a person for a different job in some cases, this is not always an option. These devastating effects can leave the victim in permanent pain or permanently damaged.

Serious Impairment

The serious impairment that follows a personal injury can also help determine whether it is catastrophic. This is usually caused by a loss of limb, such as an eye or an ear. However, it can also happen due to traumatic brain injuries that impair cognitive thinking or dull the senses. A serious impairment can lead to permanent or temporary disability. A victim can be permanently or temporarily disabled by impairment. This could include paralysis and a spinal injury. The catastrophic injuries that impair the senses can also cause a total lack of sense as such as when the damage causes blindness or the person goes deaf.

Some sense impairment happens through disruptions with the central nervous system or consequences caused through secondary effects from the primary injury. Amputations can result in the loss of the ability to use one arm or one leg. Multiple fractures of bones can result in a person being left limping or a loss sensation. Organ damage can lead to life-altering injuries later. These life-altering injuries can be fatal and last a long time.

Support Legal for Catastrophic Personal Injuries Claims

A client’s lawyer is often the one who provides support for them in a catastrophic injury case. The lawyer will be responsible for the investigation and the work of the victim while the victim recovers. The lawyer may also need to coordinate with relatives. Multiple factors can make the claim process more complicated and take longer.

Updated on 12/14/2021