What is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

If you have suffered an injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you must know the various ways the law defines personal injuries. Sometimes, the kind of injury will determine how much damages you can recover. Personal injuries are generally categorized based on their severity including minor, serious, and catastrophic. If you suffered a serious or catastrophic injury, you must speak with an attorney to understand your legal options and what to do to strengthen your case.

Serious vs Catastrophic Injuries

Serious injuries can happen in different ways. They may occur because of a car accident, slip, and fall, medical malpractice, or truck accident. Such kinds of injuries may result in hefty medical bills and lost wages. But you may be able to fully recover from these injuries. 

Meanwhile, catastrophic injuries are more serious and life-threatening. They usually result in disability, disfigurement, or impairment. With a disability, you may not be able to work because of a change in your physical or mental abilities. A disability may require assistance with daily living following a catastrophic injury. In addition, a disfigurement happens when you suffer from a change in your appearance including loss of a limb or visible scarring.

Catastrophic injuries will impact your quality of life. Because of them, you may not be able to work, take part in certain activities, or have intimate relationships. They can turn your life upside down.

Kinds of Catastrophic Injuries

Below are types of injuries that are catastrophic in nature:

  • Spinal cord injuries. These injuries lead to permanent changes in your bodily functions including sensation and strength below the injury site. The seriousness of these injuries can vary. They may require you to use a wheelchair and you may not be able to control your bowels because of these injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. Such injuries usually take place because of a violent blow to your head.  Also, they can occur when something pierces your skull and hits the brain tissue. With these injuries, you may lose your cognitive abilities and not be able to speak or think rationally.
  • Amputations. These injuries lead to the full removal of your limb like toe, arm, leg, or finger. Because of these injuries, you may not be able to care for yourself.
  • Serious burn injuries. Typically, third-degree burns will destroy your skin’s outside layer and reach into the subcutaneous layer. Meanwhile, fourth-degree burns will affect your nerve endings, bones, and muscles. They are quite painful and usually require long-term medical care.
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