What Is a Catastrophic Injury and What Does it Mean for a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

One thing that should be made clear: an injury is always catastrophic to the people it affects. Accidents can seriously disrupt a person’s life and put a strain on their finances, not to mention the physical and mental trauma it can cause.

However, in a legal context, catastrophic injuries are given their own distinction in order to justify the substantially higher compensation the plaintiff requires from that of a standard personal injury case. In the world of law, catastrophic injuries are those that have permanent or near-permanent effects on the victims and their families.

There are no specifically defined rules that distinguish a catastrophic injury from a non-catastrophic injury. In this post, we go over some of the factors that make an injury catastrophic and how they can affect your personal injury claim.

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries are those that will leave the victim with long-term medical bills. You may need to pay for rehabilitation, medical equipment, medication, and even construction on your home to make it handicap accessible. These injuries also make it difficult for the victims to find gainful employment, which is another expense those responsible for the accident should provide compensation for.

Injuries commonly classified as catastrophic include:

  • Severe burns
  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations
  • Multiple broken bones
  • Organ damage
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Injuries to the central nervous system

In addition to the physical impairments caused by these accidents, they can also cause significant mental trauma. Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are common among people who have been involved in an that resulted in a catastrophic injury. Losing the ability to work or enjoy the things you once loved is a major blow. People can and do live rich, fulfilling lives after these accidents, but it may take counseling and therapy to help make the adjustment. The burden of the expense should fall on those responsible for the accident, not the victims or their families.

Compensation for Victims

When a personal injury claim for a catastrophic injury is filed, all parties involved realize that a substantial amount will be asked for by the plaintiffs. The victims of these injuries may need compensation that can carry them through the rest of their lives, and it is not unusual for settlements to reach the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars. The stakes are high for both sides in these cases, which is why an injury should only be filed as catastrophic when the victim is in dire need of substantial compensation.

The following are some damages frequently addressed in catastrophic injury cases:

  • Lost earnings
  • Long and short-term medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Cost of medical equipment
  • Emotional trauma

If you or a loved one were the victim of a catastrophic injury, you are no doubt going through one of the most difficult times of your life. The law is designed to support you through this, but you will still have to fight for what you are entitled to. You will want to have a lawyer who is experienced in these cases and will give your case the dedicated attention it deserves.

Our New York personal injury attorneys can provide you with the support and skilled legal counsel you need after a catastrophic injury. Call us at (646) 461-4009.

Categories: Personal Injury