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What injuries qualify as catastrophic?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2022 | Firm News |

You likely have heard the term “catastrophic injury” numerous times, but have you ever wondered just what injuries qualify as catastrophic?

An article in The Lawyer Monthly entitled “What Is a Catastrophic Injury Case in Personal Injury Law?” seeks to answer this question.

Characteristics

Starting from the premise that “catastrophic injury” is a legal term rather than a medical one, the article proceeds to explain that personal injury attorneys and insurance companies generally agree that these extremely serious injuries share one or more of the following characteristics:

  • You will require a lengthy course of hospital treatment.
  • You probably will require a lengthy period of rehabilitation thereafter.
  • Your life will be irrevocably altered.
  • You may require the use of adaptive equipment to get around.

Examples

All of the following qualify as catastrophic injuries:

  • Spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • Crush injuries resulting in the amputation of one or more of your limbs
  • Head or eye injuries resulting in a substantial loss of vision or complete blindness
  • Head of ear injuries resulting in a substantial loss of hearing or total deafness
  • Traumatic brain injuries resulting in significant speech or cognitive impairments
  • Severe burns, especially on your face, resulting in permanent disfiguring scars

Costs

As you might expect, the costs associated with a catastrophic injury can soar into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not only do you face initial extraordinary medical costs, but your physical therapy and adaptive equipment costs may continue throughout your remaining lifetime. In addition, your injury may disable you to the point where you cannot return to work and may not be able to perform any type of meaningful work for the rest of your life. This is why the settlements and jury awards in catastrophic injury cases generally far exceed those in other types of personal injury cases.