Catastrophic Accidents

Severe Long Term or Permanent Injury?

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It is generally understood that a catastrophic injury is one that severely injures a plaintiff and leads to long-term, if not permanent, disability and disfigurement. While there is no exact legal definition of “catastrophic injury”, they often entail a difficult recovery process, multiple surgeries, and possibly a lifetime of medical treatment. A plaintiff suffering a catastrophic injury may also be unable to return to work, either in his or her chosen field or any field at all.


If the injured person will be unable to perform all of life’s functions on a long-term basis, and will require some level of assistance (live-in care, for example), then the injury is likely to be deemed “catastrophic.”  Long-term injuries that result in some level of permanent disability and prevent the victim from earning a living (in the same or similar line of work they were in pre-injury) will likely be considered catastrophic.


Some examples of injuries that might be considered “catastrophic” for purposes of an injury claim include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), injuries that result in partial or total paralysis, injuries that result in the loss of a limb, severe burn injuries, and injuries that result in disfigurement and significant scarring.

In every personal injury case, the injured person is entitled to damages — meaning compensation for all losses stemming from the injuries and their impact.  Damages are not only much higher in a catastrophic injury case, but the facts and arguments needed to prove the extent of those damages are more complex, which is why discussing the case with an experienced attorney is necessary.

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