From a legal standpoint, a catastrophic injury is one in which the victim suffers grievous harm leading to long-term or permanent disability. Such traumatic injuries deeply impact the individual and their family in terms of lost wages and economic stress, long-term medical care management, and mental anguish.
Catastrophic injuries are often caused by vehicle accidents, on the job injuries, or severe negligence. In many cases, the injured individual may be due compensation from the negligent person or organization that caused the accident. If this is the case, you should seek counsel with an attorney that focuses on personal injury claims.
What Qualifies as a Catastrophic Injury?
The following injuries are classified as catastrophic:
- Amputation or loss of limbs
- Brain damage or other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal injuries and paralysis
- Organ failure or severe limitation
Put bluntly, any injury that results in significant loss of motor or occupational skills, or the loss of vision, hearing, speech or the like can be considered catastrophic. Catastrophic injuries can range from permanent brain injury to mobility impairment requiring the use of support apparatus, such as a cane or a wheelchair, whether permanent or for a significant time. Many people never recover for their catastrophic injury and require full-time medical support for the rest of their lives.
When to Seek Legal Help
If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic injury as a result of another person’s negligence or through the commission of purposeful harm, it is time to contact a lawyer. Be aware the key to any such legal case will be proving the other person was at fault for the injury. Your lawyer will want to know the specifics of the accident so he or she can determine the best course of action. Collect and document as much information as you can.
Should your legal team feel you have a case, the following items are potentially recoverable.
- The cost of medical expenses, whether past, current or future
- Lost current and future wages
- Long-term or permanent care costs
- The cost of mobility support devices
- Mental health care resulting from the injury
- Compensation for quality of life issues