It goes without saying that some injuries are more serious than others. While most all injuries you sustain cause you pain and require you to spend time away from work recovering, only a few rise to the level of catastrophic.
The Lawyer Monthly reports that, although no one-size-fits-all definition of catastrophic injury exists, insurance companies, personal injury attorneys and courts tend to reserve this term for extremely serious injuries that usually disable you, either partially or totally.
Catastrophic injury examples
Common injuries that qualify as catastrophic include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Head and eye injuries resulting in severe or total vision impairment
- Injuries necessitating the amputation of one or more of your limbs
- Burn injuries that leave disfiguring scars
- Injuries that severely damage one or more of your internal organs
Personal injury lawsuits involving catastrophic injuries can easily result in a settlement or jury award of $1 million or more. The precise amount you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including the following:
- The nature of the injury you sustained
- Which body part(s) it affects
- How long its effects will last
- The type and extent of medical and rehabilitation treatment you need now and will require in the future
- Whether you will require the use of medical equipment, such as a wheelchair, walker, cane(s) or crutches in order to get around
- Whether your injury will prevent your return to your current job
In other words, a catastrophic injury is exactly that: a life-changing catastrophe, the effects of which may last for the rest of your life.