When Is a Personal Injury Considered Catastrophic?
While any injury can be painful and require a degree of recovery, there are certain types of injuries that cause greater physical, emotional and financial consequences to accident victims. These are often referred to as catastrophic injuries. If you sustained a serious injury in an accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your damages.
What is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is one in which the consequences of the injury permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work. Simply put, after suffering a catastrophic injury, the victim can no longer maintain a job that allows them to support themselves or their family.
An injury like this can be financially, legally, and emotionally devastating. The victim has lost a lifetime of wages and benefits as well as the sense of purpose and wholeness that come with meaningful work. Add enormous medical bills to this and the injury is life changing.
With some injuries, a person can undertake expensive retraining to learn new employment skills that fit within their new limitations. Unfortunately, this is not the case is the victim has suffered severe physical or cognitive impairments that prevent them from maintaining any employment at all.
The implications of these injuries do not stop with the victim’s work life potential. A person who is too severely disabled to work will rarely be able to travel, exercise, engage in favorite hobbies or activities, or even care for themselves on a day-to-day basis. They may also suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that create emotional anguish in addition to the physical pain and suffering that inevitably come with a devastating and disabling injury.
The Types of Catastrophic Injuries
- Physical injuries include amputation, burn injuries, severe fractures, organ damage, and other damage to orthopedic function or tissue.
- Spinal cord injuries are injuries that exclusively affect the spinal cord, creating permanent mobility issues for survivors.
- Cognitive injuries are among the most costly, emotionally and financially, of catastrophic injuries. Cognitive injuries arise from brain damage that takes away a person’s ability to work, speak, or form new memories.
Each and every catastrophic injury impacts the survivor and their entire family. Taking care of someone with mobility or cognitive limitations is emotionally taxing, forcing working spouses to quit their jobs and devote themselves to around-the-clock care full-time. In cases where a spouse cannot quit their job, they will need to make enough money to hire a caretaker, which is an exorbitant cost for most families. A catastrophic injury means a limited future for survivors and their families, and that’s unacceptable.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injury
There are countless possible causes of catastrophic injury. Here are a few examples:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Falls from height
- Sport and recreational activities
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical mistakes
- Defective medical devices or drugs
Lifelong Costs of a Catastrophic Injury
If you sustain an injury which requires ongoing medical attention and long periods of hospitalization, you will be unable to work and in some cases unable to care for your own daily needs. The medical expenses, the cost of daily nursing care and other related expenses can ruin a person financially.
Some of those costs include:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Continuing medical care
- Visiting nursing care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Medical equipment such as a hospital bed at home, wheel chairs, a lift
- Costs to retro-fit a home to accommodate a wheelchair
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Damages in Catastrophic Injury Law
Because of the far-reaching implications for the lives of victims and the enormous losses that result from catastrophic injuries, the ensuing legal cases tend to involve much higher damages than a typical personal injury case. The reason is that when you add up the toll of a lifetime of lost earnings, enormous medical bills for ongoing and extensive medical treatment, and the physical and emotional pain and suffering the victim has endured, these verdicts simply grant the victim some degree of financial stability and security in the face of crippling lifelong losses.
In fact, one unfailing truth we can share from the world of catastrophic injury law is that every victim would gladly trade any amount of money to gain back the normal life they lived before their injury. Since that is not possible, the legal system offers their only hope for some semblance of justice and compensation.
Should You Speak with an Attorney?
Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries are often so serious that they affect a person’s ability to care for themselves. Many catastrophic injury victims cannot return to work or earn an income, and require long-term assistive care or devices.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, do not suffer in silence. Call us now at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your options. A free consultation is just a phone call away.