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What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

Dec 9, 2020 | Personal Injury


In short, an injury is considered catastrophic if it permanently changes one’s quality of life or leaves them disabled. If you or someone you love suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to receive compensation in the form of damages from a personal injury claim.

In cases like this, you should discuss your accident with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

There are many different kinds of life-altering injuries. Those listed below are among the most common catastrophic injuries that can be sustained during an accident.

Head Injury

Serious concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), skull fractures, and more can cause someone to be unable to work, lose mobility, or have significant behavioral life changes from before their accident.  In extreme cases, the victim can even become comatose. In others, the victim can suffer from depression and chronic pain.

Spine Injury

The spinal column houses the body’s nervous system. Nerve damage is often permanent. In some cases, those injured suffer from numbness and limited movement. In more extreme cases, a victim becomes paralyzed.

Even if there is no nerve damage, the backbone can crack or bend. This can also result in permanent disabilities and chronic back pain.

Multiple Fractures

If multiple bones in the body are broken or crushed in an accident, it can be very difficult to recover full functionality in those parts of the body. Recovery is long and painful. Some fractures may be unable to set properly, resulting in a permanent disability.

Injuries Leading to Amputation

If limbs or extremities are injured badly enough, they may be lost in the accident or by a necessary amputation. Amputations are automatically catastrophic injuries, and the loss of a limb can be devastating to the victim.

Injuries Leading to Altered Appearance

Severe burns over large portions of the body are not usually able to be restored with grafts or plastic surgery. The individual must live with their appearance altered for the rest of their life. Aside from being painful and inconvenient, it’s psychologically taxing on the victim.

Damages Claimed as a Result of Catastrophic Injury

Life-altering injuries and permanent disabilities not only come with high medical bills, but they also mean renovations to someone’s home, as well as the possible inability to make livable wages. As a result, if your injuries occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may seek damages from the at-fault party in a personal injury lawsuit.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are those that you can easily add up with the help of receipts and bank statements. They include lost wages, medical bills, recovery costs, mileage to and from appointments, childcare, and more. Be sure to consult an experienced personal injury attorney so that all qualifying costs associated with your injuries are included.

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages – also known as pain and suffering – is a bit more difficult to quantify. That being said, with a catastrophic injury, pain and suffering often amounts to sums much higher than your economic damages. 

Pain and suffering take into account emotional and physical losses as a result of your injuries. For example, if you are paralyzed in your legs, you may never be able to walk again. You will not be able to walk and run or enjoy the same activities with your loved ones. Additionally, you may be dependent on the help of others to get through life.

To calculate pain and suffering, your attorney will assign a multiplier on a scale of one to five and multiply that number against your total economic damages. Catastrophic injuries usually end up with a higher multiplier for obvious reasons. 

For more information about how an Indiana personal injury attorney can help you with your catastrophic injury case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

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If you have been involved in an Indiana personal injury accident, contact us at Stewart & Stewart Attorneys. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers represent victims throughout the state, including Carmel and Anderson. We have also successfully advocated for clients throughout the area, including Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, South Bend. Complete a free online consultation form or call us at (800) 33-33-LAW!

Stewart & Stewart Attorneys have the knowledge and experience to defend your rights in the following areas of Indiana injury law: auto accident, brain injury, drug injury, defective product, fire and burn injury, insurance dispute, medical malpractice, motorcycle accident, nursing home abuse, slip and fall,  truck accident, workers’ compensation and wrongful death.