You have no doubt heard of personal injury in the context of the law. Slip and fall injuries, dog bites, car accidents and even wrongful death fall under the broad heading of personal injury. But what are catastrophic injuries?
From the name, you can likely guess that it’s an extremely debilitating or serious form of personal injury—and you’re not wrong. But there is no legal definition of “catastrophic injury,” so it can be difficult to know where to draw the line.
Read on for a common sense definition of this term, an explanation of how catastrophic injury differs from ordinary personal injury, and some tips on what to do if you think you may have suffered an injury of this magnitude.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
Simply put, an injury can be termed catastrophic when its consequences are so severe that they seriously (and negatively) impact the victim’s life. This negative impact usually has to do with the individual’s ability to work—and therefore to support himself/herself and his/her family.
When we talk about catastrophic injury, we’re not talking about a sprained ankle or broken wrist. Rather, a catastrophic injury is an injury that leaves an individual’s physical condition permanently altered. Some examples of catastrophic injuries include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputation of a limb or limbs
- Internal organ damage
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals and substances
- Permanent loss of vision
- Paralysis or permanent impairment of mobility
This is not to say that catastrophic injuries are impossible to adapt to, but rather that they generally preclude the victim from returning to his or her previous occupation or, in many cases, any type of work.
Other Consequences of Catastrophic Injuries
Two of the most devastating results of incurring a catastrophic injury are pain and being precluded from gainful employment. However, there are emotional effects as well. Having meaningful work and being an active, productive member of society gives people a sense of purpose.
Some injuries make it difficult or impossible for the individual to parent their children, engage in hobbies or volunteer work, travel, exercise, do housework, or even take care of their own needs. If this is the case, then a part- or full-time caretaker will be necessary.
And then there are the potential mental health issues that accompany a catastrophic injury. These include grief, depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. These can be every bit as devastating and crippling as a physical condition, chronic pain, or disability.
The Financial Fallout of Catastrophic Injuries
There are also serious financial consequences to a serious accident that causes injury. These include things like this:
- Loss of income
- Loss of potential or future income
- Exorbitant hospital and doctor bills
- The cost of future medical procedures
- The expense of a caretaker or home health aid
- Loss of consortium
If you’ve experienced a catastrophic injury and are facing financial woes, know that there is help available. You are entitled to seek damages, to be made whole again, and to be compensated for your pain and suffering.
Kastl Law is here to help. If you are suffering from one of the many devastating catastrophic injuries, contact us today. We offer a complimentary consultation, during which we’ll discuss your rights and your options.
A catastrophic personal injury can alter your life, but it doesn’t have to ruin it. We’ll help you get what you deserve.