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What Makes an Injury “Catastrophic?”


After a serious accident occurs, injured parties often throw out terms like “life-changing,” and “catastrophic”—but a catastrophic injury means something different in the legal world than it does in casual conversation.

In personal injury, an injury may be classified as catastrophic if it is extremely damaging in a way that causes permanent, life-altering harm. Though the more precise definition may vary in different states, most courts recognize a catastrophic injury as something that affects the individual’s ability to perform gainful work—leaving the victim unable to return to their previous way of living. Because these injuries are so severe, they often make for complex legal cases and require far greater compensation for the injured party.

If you find yourself dealing with a serious injury caused by someone else’s negligence or mistake, it’s important to understand the distinction between an injury and a “catastrophic injury,” so you can approach your case from the appropriate angle.

Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries vary greatly and can include anything from a significant burn to loss of limb, so long as the harm directly impacts the individual on a permanent basis. Most catastrophic injuries occur as the result of a particularly traumatic incident, including car accidents, truck accidents, sports accidents, and violent crimes. Additionally, various types of medical malpractice, (birth injuries, in particular), can result in enduring and severe catastrophic injuries.

Common types of catastrophic injuries include:

Additionally, injuries that result in severe scarring or physical disfigurement may also qualify as catastrophic injuries, depending on the extent of the damage and other factors. To determine whether or not your injury truly is catastrophic, it’s always best to consult an experienced attorney for a consultation regarding the specifics of your unique case.

What Type of Compensation Am I Entitled To?

If you have a valid catastrophic injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, future medical expenses, future care expenses (including hospice, caretaker fees, physical therapy, medication, etc.), pain and suffering, loss of wages, and more. If your injury also affected your loved ones— for example, you suffered a brain injury and your wife quit her job to stay home as your caretaker— you may be entitled to additional recompense to cover those subsequent expenses.

Dealing with a catastrophic injury is no easy feat, which is why you shouldn’t have to do battle alone. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence or error, and you suffered catastrophic, permanent injuries as a result, our firm may be able to help you take action. We are passionate about holding negligent parties responsible for their careless behavior, and we are committed to helping our clients seek justice and maximum compensation for catastrophic injuries. If you have a case, we want to help.

Contact the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli today to discuss your case with our attorneys.

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