Serious accidents usually result in physical injury, as well as emotional injury and economic losses. Yet, catastrophic injuries are different in that they most often result in more severe injuries, including long-term or permanent disabilities. Catastrophic injuries also tend to have a more substantial impact on personal injury victims and their families. That does not mean, however, that injuries must be permanent in order to be considered catastrophic. Here is what you need to know about catastrophic injuries.
How is the term catastrophic injury defined?
Though the term “catastrophic injury” does not specifically have a legal definition, it is basically understood that it refers to a serious injury leading to long-term, and often permanent, disability and disfigurement. Catastrophic injuries more often than not involve a very challenging recovery process, several surgeries, and potentially a lifetime of medical treatment. It is also very common for catastrophic injury victims to be unable to return to work for a long period of time, if ever.
It is also very common for catastrophic injuries to make even the most basic daily tasks far too challenging to manage without help of some kind. Another common factor of catastrophic injuries is that they lead to substantial medical expenses, which often leaves families unable to recover financially. The good news is that victims of catastrophic injuries, as well as their families, are generally entitled to considerable compensation if they bring a successful personal injury claim, with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.
What are some of the common types of catastrophic injuries?
There are several types of injuries that are considered catastrophic in nature. Some common types of catastrophic injuries include back and neck injuries, which result in spinal cord trauma. Severe brain damage is typically catastrophic when it results in permanent physical or mental injury. Serious burns resulting in nerve damage or permanent disfigurement are also common types of catastrophic injuries.
Multiple bone fractures and injury to internal organs often result from catastrophic trauma and lead to serious, long-term consequences. The unfortunate reality is that victims of multiple bone fractures often do not fully regain their mobility or strength. This results in lifelong physical disabilities. Additionally, victims that suffer amputations, either partial or complete, may be unable to return to work and their medical expenses are typically very substantial, including the cost for prosthetics.
What are the main causes of catastrophic injuries?
Catastrophic injuries can be caused by many various types of accidents. The most common causes are auto accidents, industrial and construction accidents, and falls. Catastrophic injuries can also result from acts of violence, sporting accidents, and injuries caused by falling or flying objects, as a few examples. Incidents of medical malpractice often lead to catastrophic injuries as well, including brain damage, unnecessary amputations, and other injuries.
What type of compensation can you expect for catastrophic injuries?
As your personal injury lawyer will tell you, in order to be properly compensated for your injuries following an accident, you will be required to prove the extent of those injuries. Doing so can be quite a challenge in any type of lawsuit. However, with catastrophic injuries obtaining the necessary proof can be even more difficult. The usual damages that can be recovered for a victim of catastrophic injury include present and future medical expenses, the cost of rehabilitation services, present and future lost wages, compensation for permanent disability, and compensation for pain, suffering and mental anguish.
If you are the victim of a catastrophic injury, the first step you should take is to obtain the highest level of physical recovery that you can. If full recovery is not possible in your situation, as is often the case with catastrophic injuries, then you should use rehabilitation services and vocational programs in order to obtain the best quality of life possible.
Be sure to document residual or degenerative injuries
Long-term and residual injuries are a crucial part of your personal injury claim, and are unfortunately overlooked by some. Make sure that your health care providers make a notation in your medical records that you may have a residual or degenerative condition, if that is the case. These notations in your medical records will be very important in supporting your claim for these types of damages. The simplest way to get your physician to include such a notation in your records is to simply ask.
If you have questions regarding catastrophic injuries, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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