Jason Stephens | September 2, 2021 | Personal Injury
Any injury can impact your life in major ways. However, some injuries are so severe that they result in long-term or permanent impairments. In personal injury cases, these injuries are referred to as “catastrophic.”
You may be eligible for compensation if you sustained a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence. This guide will cover what qualifies as a catastrophic injury and how to pursue compensation for such an injury.
The Legal Definition of Catastrophic Injury
The United States Code defines catastrophic injuries as those that “permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.” This definition highlights one of the many ways catastrophic injury can affect someone’s life. A catastrophic injury can limit your ability to work and earn a living.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries may come in many forms, including:
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries may result in paralysis. They can limit a person’s mobility and prevent them from working. Someone who is paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury may be unable to tend to their daily needs.
- Traumatic brain injury: The potential consequences of a traumatic brain injury are wide-ranging. Traumatic brain injuries can cause mood disorders, sleep troubles, cognitive impairment, and more.
- Loss of limbs: An accident that results in the loss of a limb can dramatically affect a person’s quality of life in various ways.
- Loss of vision or hearing: Sometimes, accidents rob victims of key senses, such as vision, hearing, and in rare cases, the ability to feel pain. This puts them at greater risk of being injured in future accidents.
Essentially, a catastrophic injury is one whose effects are permanent in some capacity. Along with negatively affecting someone’s employability, these types of injuries may cause numerous other long-term struggles.
The Consequences of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries may not merely deprive victims of their ability to work. They can also cause:
- Pain: It’s not uncommon for catastrophic injuries to leave victims with long-term pain.
- Mental and emotional anguish: Adjusting to a new lifestyle after sustaining a catastrophic injury frequently causes victims to experience significant mental and emotional health difficulties.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Often, catastrophic injuries prevent people from enjoying aspects of life that once brought them pleasure.
It’s worth noting that catastrophic injuries can also affect others. For example, perhaps you’re involved in a car accident that leaves you paralyzed and unable to work or care for yourself. This will likely impact other people in your life as well.
If you are the primary earner in your family, your loved ones will now have to cope with the loss of your income. You might also be unable to fulfill your role as a spouse. If you have children, your ability to participate in their activities may be limited.
In general, your family may now be responsible for taking care of you.
Pursuing Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
Hopefully, you’ll never be injured in an accident that results in catastrophic injuries. That said, you should understand your legal rights if this ever happens.
Accidents that cause catastrophic injury may be the result of negligence. Injury victims can pursue compensation by filing claims or lawsuits against the negligent parties who harmed them.
Recovering compensation is typically easier with the assistance of a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help in the following critical ways:
- Investigating the accident to identify any and all liable parties
- Gathering evidence to prove negligence
- Filing a claim or lawsuit
- Negotiating with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Pursuing damages in court if necessary
Do you believe you or a loved one has sustained a catastrophic injury because someone else was negligent? Schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. They’ll review your case and determine the best way to proceed.