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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Is a Catastrophic Injury? | Legal Definition and More

Injury victims may file for compensation for any type of injury suffered, but the extent of the injury will determine how much the claim is worth. Personal injury damages are generally compensatory in nature. Therefore, victims are entitled to recovery to the extent that their suffering is economic and non-economic.


"Catastrophic injuries" are the most severe injuries one can sustain. Victims of catastrophic injuries may have to deal with high medical expenses as well as long-term or lifelong negative consequences.


Accident injuries can be proven to be substantial by using medical records and other supporting documentation. A catastrophic injury attorney with experience in personal injury cases can fight for the full amount of money that accident victims are entitled to. They can also provide insight on questions like what is a Contrecoup Injury?


What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?


In terms of personal injury law, an injury is considered catastrophic if it has "direct and proximate consequences" or if it permanently prevents a person from undertaking any gainful work. Put more simply, a catastrophic injury is one that causes irreversible harm to the individual due to its severity. The brain and/or spinal cord are usually physically damaged in catastrophic accidents, which can have a short- and long-term effect on a person's functional abilities.


A catastrophic injury results in the loss of an essential component of one's identity, such as a limb, the capacity to walk, or the ability to think coherently. In the event that someone sustains a catastrophic injury in an accident, they may file a catastrophic injury claim. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can assist victims in getting the compensation they are legally entitled to for the unjustified and permanently damaging harm they have suffered. They can also answer question such as can I hire a personal injury lawyer from another state?


What Are the Different Types of Catastrophic Injuries?


The different types of catastrophic injuries people suffer from include:


  • Spinal cord injuries: Anyone who suffers a spinal cord injury may experience full or partial paralysis, permanent disability or muscle weakness, or a loss of sensation in their limbs.

  • Brain injuries: A brain injury can result in cognitive impairments, the loss of ability to speak, and personality changes. People dealing with brain damage may also remain in a vegetative state or experience locked-in syndrome.

  • Severe burns: Unfortunately, burn victims tend to suffer from lifelong disfigurement and experience physical and emotional pain.

  • Amputation: Losing an arm, leg, foot, etc., impacts a person's life in major ways and negatively impacts their ability to drive a car, go to work, and take care of their family.

  • Loss of hearing or sight: Losing sight or the ability to hear results in significant shifts in one's daily activities.


These are all considered a catastrophic injury and will entitle the victim to compensation depending on the severity.


Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries


Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries can happen to anyone at any time. The most common causes of such injuries include:


  • Slip and fall accidents

  • Motor vehicle accidents

  • Swimming and diving accidents

  • Workplace accidents

  • A bicyclist or pedestrian being hit by a car


Out of all these factors, car accidents are the leading cause of these accidents.


How Long Do Victims Have to File a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit?


Victims must file a lawsuit within two years after the date of the physical injury. Even though this seems like a long period, it can pass fairly quickly. Therefore, it's best to get legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you don't pass up the opportunity of receiving fair compensation.


How Much Is a Catastrophic Injury Settlement?


A fair settlement will take care of the injured party's present and future expenses. Unfortunately, there's no set or average figure when it comes to determining a settlement amount. The figure will depend on the specifics of the accident and the injuries sustained. 


Following a catastrophic injury, one should be compensated for non-economic and economic damages. Medical bills are one example of economic damages that have a fixed cost. Intangible losses, such as emotional anguish and pain and suffering, are examples of non-economic damages.


Depending on the type of injury sustained, compensation may be received for:


  • Medical treatment

  • Hospitalization

  • Surgery

  • Physical and occupational therapy

  • Counseling

  • In-home nursing care

  • Reduced or lost wages

  • An adapted vehicle or wheelchair

  • 24/7 care at a skilled nursing facility

  • Home renovations, such as ramp installation, an accessible bathroom, and wider doorways to accommodate a wheelchair

  • Compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and disfigurement


Experienced catastrophic injury personal injury lawyers in Toledo OH understand how to project and plan for these expenses, which could accumulate over many years. They collaborate with economists and medical professionals to guarantee victims get a fair settlement.


Who Is Responsible In a Personal Injury Claim?

Who Is Responsible In a Personal Injury Claim?


A catastrophic injury case may be viable if the victim's injuries were brought on by the carelessness or recklessness of somebody else, intentional conduct, or faulty goods. Examining the particulars of a case is crucial in establishing who has responsibility for the severe injury. The owner of the car that caused the accident,  a doctor, an employer, a nurse, a hospital, other medical workers, or the manufacturer of a faulty medication or product could all be held accountable, depending on the sustained injuries and facts of the case.


Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today!


Now that you know what the catastrophic injury legal definition is, you can take the appropriate action. Have you or a loved one recently suffered a catastrophic injury? It's vital to contact an experienced and qualified attorney as soon as possible. Catastrophic injury claims can be difficult to navigate, and victims want to ensure they do everything in their power to get the maximum compensation they're entitled to.


Therefore, hiring a personal injury lawyer is essential. These legal professionals have experience with these cases and know what it takes to help claimants recover compensation. The compassionate attorneys at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Toledo, Ohio, have a proven track record of success when it comes to catastrophic injury cases and are ready to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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