A catastrophic injury has a profound and permanent impact on an individual’s health and quality of life. Examining some of the most common catastrophic injury examples gives you an idea of what sort of injuries qualify as catastrophic and what to do when one happens to you or a loved one.
A person who has suffered a catastrophic injury may be able to recover injury compensation to help cover medical expenses and living expenses. Since these injuries typically have a significant financial impact, they often bring high compensation.
Recovering the injury compensation you need usually requires working with a skilled catastrophic accident lawyer.
Defining Catastrophic Injuries Within the Law
A catastrophic injury is defined within the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 as an injury that leaves an individual “functionally incapable… of performing work.” The act specifies the conditions of blindness, paraplegia, and quadriplegia, and also includes “neurocognitive disorders” that are experienced with a traumatic brain injury.
Generally, catastrophic injuries leave individuals unable to earn a living or otherwise fulfill work and home obligations that are required for the care of themselves or their children.
Examples of Catastrophic Injuries
As the name implies, catastrophic injury examples include injuries that have a catastrophic impact on a person’s overall health and quality of life.
A broken arm is typically not considered catastrophic, as this type of injury usually heals fully. A person will still likely be left with the ability to use their arm, even if they never recover the full extent of strength and mobility they had before the injury.
In comparison, if an arm is permanently paralyzed or amputated, that has a significant impact on all areas of life, from the ability to work to being able to pick up one’s child.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injury
Most states offer detailed descriptions of what constitutes a catastrophic injury under state statutes on civil law and personal injury compensation. These laws list the most common catastrophic injury examples.
For example, Florida law defines catastrophic injury to include:
- Spinal cord injury causing paralysis of an arm, leg, or torso
- Amputation of an arm, leg, hand, or foot
- Loss of reproductive organs
- Severe burns
- Severe brain injury
Under most personal injury laws, a severe brain injury is a brain injury that leads to:
- Severe problems with sensory or motor abilities
- Severe communication issues
- Severe impact on cognitive functioning
- Episodic neurological issues (such as seizures or involuntary movements)
- Other equally severe effects
Among all types of catastrophic injury, traumatic brain injury and spinal injury are two of the most common. They also tend to come with the highest costs of care. Both of these injuries often lead to the need for around-the-clock attendant care for the remainder of a person’s life.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
There is no limit to the ways in which an individual can experience a catastrophic injury. However, certain situations tend to result in such injuries at high rates. Some of the most common types of catastrophic accidents include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Boating or swimming accidents
- Sports accidents
- Physical assault
- Gun violence
- Medical malpractice
Certain types of activities can also lead to an increased risk of being involved in a catastrophic accident. Examples of high-risk activities include horseback riding, jet skiing, and jumping on a trampoline. When something goes wrong in these situations, there’s a high chance of an individual suffering trauma to the head or spine.
Seeking Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
The lifetime cost of care for a catastrophic injury often reaches millions of dollars. Most people don’t have sufficient amounts of money saved to afford these surprise medical costs and living expenses.
Fortunately, personal injury law helps ensure you have financial options when a catastrophic injury is caused by someone else. Recovering compensation requires meeting with a catastrophic injury lawyer to learn whether you have grounds for a claim.
A lawyer will usually identify which insurance policy can be made to pay for the damage and then build a case to prove negligence. If the insurance company does not agree to an acceptable settlement amount, a lawyer can file a catastrophic injury lawsuit on your behalf.
A lawyer can help you recover damages for:
- Past and current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lifetime attendant care costs
- Lost wages and benefits
- Anticipated future wages
- Medical device costs
- Medication costs
- Therapist and special costs
- Emotional damages
Catastrophic injuries are one of the most complicated areas of personal injury law. However, the life-altering impact of such injuries means that when a lawyer can successfully recover compensation, it’s often for a life-changing amount.
Frequently Asked Questions About Catastrophic Injuries
How Much Compensation Can a Catastrophic Injury Attorney Recover?
The case value for a catastrophic injury depends on many factors. The age of the injured person, the extent of medical bills and attendant care costs, and the skill of your catastrophic injury attorney all directly impact how much compensation you stand to recover.
Who Pays Catastrophic Injury Compensation?
Catastrophic injury compensation is usually paid by an insurance company. Your lawyer needs to build a case proving negligence before an insurance company can be made to pay for the damage.
Can I Seek Compensation on Behalf of My Injured Loved One?
If your loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury and they are no longer able to make legal decisions due to their injuries, a lawyer may be able to help you recover catastrophic injury compensation to recover the costs of their care.
Consult a Catastrophic Injury Law Firm Today
Ratzan Weissman & Boldt is a boutique personal injury law firm in Miami, FL. Our firm accepts a limited number of cases each year, and we’re known for recovering record-breaking verdicts and settlements for our clients.
Contact Ratzan Weissman & Boldt to discuss whether we can help you recover compensation for a catastrophic injury.