It is common in cases involving personal injury law to identify an injury as catastrophic. These are very serious injuries that will impact the rest of a person’s life. They are considered to be very different from injuries that are classified as serious. Victims of catastrophic injuries are never going to heal. An injury being designated as catastrophic makes a difference when it comes to the compensation and protections provided an accident victim.
A catastrophic injury will impact an accident victim’s life in many ways beyond employment. A person with such a serious and long-lasting injury is rarely able to engage in their favorite hobbies or other activities. They aren’t able to travel or exercise on their own. They are unable to care for themselves in the same way they did prior to the accident and more.
Defining an Injury as Catastrophic
There is no established standard that defines an injury as catastrophic. One of the most commonly accepted definitions is one resulting in a person being permanently unable to perform any type of gainful work. Individuals who are the victims of a catastrophic injury are not physically or mentally able to perform work that enables them to financially support their family or themselves. This is the type of injury that is devastating to the victim. It will result in their loss of a lifetime of wages and benefits. They will be deprived of the sense of purpose and wholeness that comes from having successful employment. These types of injuries also involve huge medical expenses. It is possible for an accident victim who has experienced a catastrophic injury to have expensive job retraining. This will provide them with the ability to perform work that fits their physical or mental limitations. Many individuals with a catastrophic injury are prevented from participation in any type of retraining because of the seriousness of their cognitive or physical impairments.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
There are many different types of injuries that can be classified as catastrophic. This includes loss of limbs, paralysis and various other spinal cord injuries as well as serious damage to internal organs. Injuries that are catastrophic can also involve disfigurement as well as serious burns, loss of vision or hearing, injuries to the brain and more.
Importance of Catastrophic Injury Designation
Once it has been accepted an accident victim’s injuries are catastrophic, the amount of an award they will receive for damages increases significantly. The benefits they will be able to receive could increase by hundreds of thousands of dollars. The amount paid for monthly attendant care in many cases is double that of an injury that is not identified as catastrophic. Accident victims with a catastrophic injury may also qualify for other benefits including home maintenance, transportation, caregiver benefits and more.
Most insurance companies do not like paying the amount of money required to an accident victim who has suffered a catastrophic injury. It is possible they will challenge an accident victim’s claim. They may provide their own medical experts who don’t believe the injuries sustained should be classified as catastrophic. An accident victim who has experienced a catastrophic injury will need a personal injury attorney to protect their rights. These legal professionals can make certain an accident victim with catastrophic injuries get all the medical care and more they deserve.