What is a Catastrophic Injury?

What is a catastrophic injury? While the name itself already paints a picture of its severity, it’s important to understand what it means in legal terms. Larson Law is here for you.

42 USC § 3796b defines a catastrophic injury as a condition with lasting “direct and proximate consequences” that prevents the afflicted “from performing any gainful work.” In other words, people who suffer from catastrophic injuries are left with permanent, debilitating, life-altering damage.

There are countless ways a catastrophic injury can occur, but statistically, the usual culprits include:

  • Construction or hazardous worksite accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Product defects
  • Sports injuries

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Some injuries are most often considered catastrophic because of the impact they have on the victim’s life. The following items are some of the most common causes of devastating damage.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Blunt force trauma causes significant harm. A strong impact can cause traumatic brain injuries and lead to bruising, swelling, bleeding, and inflammation.

Short-term symptoms include visible bleeding, nausea, pain, or unconsciousness.

Victims may also experience long-term symptoms like:

  • Tinnitus (ringing of ears)
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Personality changes
  • Impaired senses
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Burn Injuries

Burns of the third degree and onward that cover a significant surface area fall under catastrophic injuries. These wounds affect all skin layers – the epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous fat – and even the muscles, organs, and bones. Such severe burns require extensive medication, surgery, and physical therapy.

Victims may suffer permanent nerve damage, limited motion, chronic pain, disfigurement, and scarring.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord sends and receives signals between the brain and the rest of the body. If this connection is severed, the consequences can be debilitating.

Paralysis is the most common symptom of spinal cord injuries. Milder cases experience partial paralysis, while grievous ones can completely paralyze a person completely

Traumatic orthopedic injuries

A traumatic orthopedic injury includes dislocations or fractures that require immediate medical attention. Severely injured limbs can even result in amputation.

These injuries can incur long-term symptoms that include limited range of motion, stiffness, pain, and nerve damage.

Catastrophic Injury Claims

The cost of treatment for these injuries is high, and the effect can be life-altering. What is a catastrophic injury victim to do?

If you’re a catastrophic injury victim, you have the right to pursue legal action against those responsible. However, establishing liability is a long and challenging process, especially for those without knowledge or experience with the legal system.

A personal injury attorney is here to help. They can review your case and help you receive compensation for your damages. Injury claims involve various types of damages, so here are a few of the common items.

Medical Bills

Every catastrophic injury requires extensive medical care, and the fees can quickly add up, especially for long-term conditions. Victims can pursue compensation for incurred and future medical costs. An experienced attorney can provide accurate estimations for the latter.

Pain and Suffering

Victims of every type of injury accident – not just catastrophic injuries – can pursue damages for their pain and suffering. The severity of their physical, emotional, or mental discomfort influences the compensation they will receive.

Lost Wages

A lost wages claim compensates for any time missed from work and potential earnings due to the injury. Your attorney can research relevant information and determine the right amount to pursue.

Loss of Consortium

Spouses or partners of an injury victim can file a case for the loss of several aspects of their marriage like companionship, comfort, affection, and sexual relations.

Seeking Legal Assistance

The Larson & Miller Injury Law firm revolves around protecting the rights of every client, especially those who have endured catastrophic injuries due to negligence. By choosing us, you can benefit from two decades of experience in winning compensation for a wide variety of cases.

For effective and compassionate advocacy, call us at 417-890-6677 or fill out our contact form to book an appointment.