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What Makes an Injury Catastrophic?

If you’ve recently suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you likely have many questions. In particular, you may wonder whether your injury could be classified catastrophic.” After all, if so, it could mean significant financial compensation for medical bills and other associated costs.

In this article, we will explore both the medical and legal definitions of a catastrophic injury along with the compensation you could receive for sustaining one.

The Medical Definition of a Catastrophic Injury

Medically, a catastrophic injury is defined as a severe injury to the spine, spinal cord, or brain. These injuries often result in permanent disability or death.

These types of injuries often require extensive medical treatment and long-term rehabilitation. A person who suffers a catastrophic injury may experience a wide range of physical and psychological effects that greatly impact their quality of life.

The Legal Definition of a Catastrophic Injury

In a personal injury case, the term "catastrophic injury" is used to describe injuries that result in long-term or permanent disability, disfigurement, or impaired cognitive function.

Legally, there is no uniform definition of a catastrophic injury. In general, catastrophic injuries impact the victim's ability to work, care for themselves, or enjoy their life as they did before the injury.

Injuries that Qualify as Catastrophic

Given the legal definition outlined above, an injury that is minor to one person could be catastrophic to another. For instance, imagine a foot injury that leaves someone with a minor limp. This may not have a major impact on an office worker, but it could completely destroy a dancer’s career.

In a personal injury case, your injury could qualify as catastrophic if it:

  • Decreases your quality of life
  • Affects your ability to earn a living or forces you to change your vocation

The Long-term Effects of a Catastrophic Injury

  • Financial burden
  • Permanent disability
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Physical pain and limitations
  • Ongoing pain and discomfort
  • Relationship and social challenges
  • Emotional and psychological consequences

Other long-term effects may not always be immediately apparent, but they can develop over time and require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation.

The Financial Implications of a Catastrophic Injury

The costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and home modifications for those with catastrophic injuries can be astronomical. Many such injuries cost millions of dollars to treat in the first year alone. To keep up a quality of life, the injured party could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for the rest of their lives.

Additionally, the injury may prevent someone from working, resulting in a loss of income and therefore, further financial stress.

Personal injury cases are designed to pay you back for these expenses, and you could also receive money for future treatment.

What Is Pain and Suffering Compensation in a Catastrophic Injury Case?

The true cost of a catastrophic injury goes beyond medical bills and income loss. It can also impact your ability to participate in everyday activities and lead a comfortable life.

Pain and suffering compensation goes beyond financial expenses as well. It is meant to account for the emotional and mental anguish a catastrophic injury causes.

This compensation accounts for someone’s loss of their enjoyment of life, the impact on personal their relationships, and/or the trauma they’ve already suffered.

Determining a dollar amount for pain and suffering is a complex process, and that amount varies depending on the specifics of your case. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and work to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Seeking Legal Representation After a Catastrophic Injury

A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and advocate for your rights. Catastrophic injury cases require a great deal of experience, knowledge, and attention to detail to ensure a successful outcome in court. Masella Law Firm, P.A. is here to help if an injury, even one that seems minor, affects the course of your life.

For a free consultation, call our office today at (803) 938-4952. You can also contact us online.