What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

Under the personal injury law, victims who sustained damages due to someone’s intentional, negligent, or careless behavior may file a claim. However, the type or severity of injuries you experience may affect how the settlement gets paid out and the amount you can recover. If the incident results in catastrophic injuries, it could permanently and significantly affect your life.   

According to www.eastonlawoffices.com, during these instances, you may need serious medical treatment, rehabilitation, or even life-long care that can dramatically affect your financial stability and well-being. By knowing if your injury is medically considered catastrophic, you’ll be able to understand how you can recover. Let’s take a look at the types of injuries that are considered catastrophic below.  

Characteristics of a Catastrophic Injury

Doctors and personal injury attorneys define an injury as catastrophic if extremely severe, debilitating, and life-altering. From a legal perspective, these types of damages deserve a higher compensation than other personal injury claims. Catastrophic injuries are so serious that they can result in major medical costs and loss of earning potential.

To help you distinguish if an injury is considered catastrophic, check if they include one or more of these characteristics:

  • The injury results in a disability or causes any essential body parts to lose function.
  • There is an extreme decline or loss in key cognitive functions.
  • You need lifelong care or special accommodations to perform routine activities.
  • The injury caused extreme psychological suffering.
  • It results in severe disfigurement, deformity, or scarring.
  • The injury makes you completely incapable of continuing to make money in your profession.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Personal injury cases involve different kinds of damages, but only a handful are considered catastrophic. In general, catastrophic injuries are those that are fatal, cause disability or loss of essential bodily function, or are permanently disfiguring. Below are some examples of catastrophic injuries.  

Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries are among the most devastating and serious damages a personal injury victim could experience. This type of catastrophic injury can happen when you receive a violent blow or jolt to the head. It can cause the brain to shake rapidly, hit the inside of the skull, or become penetrated by the weapon. Traumatic brain injuries are fatal and can affect the victim’s thinking, cognition, sensations, memory, emotions, and more.  

Spinal cord injury

When a victim suffers from spinal cord injury, there’s a chance it can cause devastating effects on their life. The spine connects the brain to the rest of the body and sends signals to communicate information and help with body functions. If a spinal cord injury occurs, it can cause complete or partial paralysis. The victim may lose all or some sensations and mobility in their body. The saddest thing is that this injury can be permanent and affect their way of life.

Amputation and loss of limbs

In some personal injury accidents, victims can lose their fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs, or other parts of their bodies. The idea of not being able to walk, pick up your child, or even write your name because of a missing limb is devastating. Sure, prosthetics and physical therapy can help, but there is nothing that can be done to bring back those body parts.  

Burn injury

Burns are also considered catastrophic because they are one of the most painful types of injuries. They can also be life-threatening and can leave the victim permanently disfigured. What’s more, burn injuries can result in long-term disability and affect a person’s mobility. They are difficult to treat and require long periods of hospitalization, several surgery sessions, physical rehabilitation, and even the help of a caregiver.

Loss of hearing or vision

Almost all people depend heavily on their eyes and ears to function and do day-to-day activities. That’s why when a person suddenly loses their sense of sight and hearing, their quality of life will typically suffer a dramatic change. You’ll have to seek therapy or adjustment classes and use devices to cope with your vision or hearing impairment.


If you or your loved one has suffered from catastrophic injuries, you have the right to pursue compensation from the responsible parties. However, many victims don’t understand the long-term cost and effects of catastrophic injuries in their lives. That’s why consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer is crucial in this situation. These professionals can help you receive the proper compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other needs. 

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