What is a catastrophic injury?

March 11, 2010

A catastrophic injury is an extremely severe injury typically characterized by the loss of the use of a bodily system or function. A person who suffers a catastrophic injury may have to undergo multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, lengthy hospital stays and full-time nursing/assistive care. Sometimes a person with a catastrophic injury never fully recovers and may even face a shortened life expectancy.

Examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia

Individuals who have suffered a catastrophic injury have far greater long-term medical needs than those who have suffered a less severe injury. A person who has suffered a catastrophic injury will likely have to manage the injury on a daily basis. Often treatment will require an entire team of healthcare professionals providing care.

It is important that you seek the immediate counsel of a qualified personal injury attorney because you do not want to make the mistake of settling too early. The long-term effects of a catastrophic injury may not be immediately apparent. The consequences of an injury can take months or years to manifest. That is why you want to be cautious about settling for an amount of money that will ultimately prove insufficient to cover your medical expenses.

If you have suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to damages for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
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