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What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

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Posted By Legal Team | April 14 2023 | Catastrophic Injuries, Personal Injury

All personal injury cases can only move forward when there are significant injuries with real economic damages as well as intangible damages like pain and suffering. While all personal injury claims seek recovery for damages such as medical expenses and lost wages during the recovery period, a catastrophic injury claim has different elements related to the much greater severity of the injury and the long-term consequences associated with injuries of life-altering severity. When the injury was preventable and caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or act of wrongdoing, the at-fault party is liable for damages, typically paid through their insurance policy.

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

While many people consider any injury that requires surgery, casts, or medical interventions as catastrophic to them, legally, a catastrophic injury has a more specific meaning. Catastrophic injuries can have many causes, including:

Even a simple slip and fall injury can become catastrophic if it causes serious physical harm, according to our expert Atlanta slip and fall lawyers. When a person sustains a catastrophic injury, they may be left with significant disabilities, and an inability to continue in their previous careers. Sometimes a catastrophic injury can leave the victim unable to perform even routine daily activities, resulting in required home health care or a life in an assisted living facility. In some cases, the injured victim may be unable to speak or think clearly due to cognitive impairment.

Injuries with these severe, life-altering consequences are not only life-altering to a person’s abilities and enjoyment of life but also to their financial future. While this type of injury is always traumatic, it’s even more devastating when the injury was preventable and caused by the actions of another. The compensation a victim deserves for this type of grave injury must cover not only the medical costs accrued immediately following the accident but also going forward into a changed future.

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

Standard injuries can cause pain, discomfort, and a disruption to a person’s work and daily routines for weeks or even months, but a catastrophic injury sends the victim’s life spiraling in a new direction. Some examples of catastrophic injuries include the following:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Disfiguring burns
  • Amputations
  • Severe fractures requiring prosthetic implants and/or joint replacements
  • Blinding injuries
  • Eye-loss
  • Injuries resulting in hearing loss
  • Severe nerve damage
  • Organ damage
  • Mesothelioma or other severe or fatal occupational illnesses

Catastrophic injuries are those that cause permanent or long-lasting damage with severe impacts on daily life.

Damages Available For Catastrophic Injury Claims

While all personal injury claims seek damages for medical costs and loss of income, a victim of a catastrophic injury may seek compensation for damages such as:

  • Medical expenses related to the original injury
  • Medical expenses for physical therapies, home equipment, home healthcare, and other injury-related necessities
  • Diminished earning capacity due to disability or impairment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (the ability to enjoy a full relationship with a spouse and/or the loss of the ability to support and nurture children)

Even in states with no-fault insurance laws in which injury victims may only file a claim against their own insurance policies with limited payouts, catastrophic injuries are the exceptions to these rules and allow victims to pursue damages from the at-fault party.

Victims of catastrophic injuries who suffer grave consequences deserve full compensation for their losses when someone else caused their injuries. While monetary compensation can’t make up for life-altering injuries, it can help open doors to the best medical care and relieve the undue financial burdens caused by the injury. 

An Atlanta personal injury attorney with experience in catastrophic injury claims can help to maximize the chances of full compensation.

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