If you suffer a personal injury, your life may change significantly for a time. Generally, though, you are back on your feet sooner than you think. Your personal injury claim may fully cover your medical costs and lost wages. You can go back to work as soon as you are well.
But when you suffer a catastrophic injury, your life is irrevocably changed. You could face permanent impairment and enormous medical costs for the rest of your life.
Defining a catastrophic injury
There is no legal definition of a catastrophic injury. However, informal characterizations help attorneys determine whether your injury is permanently devastating. The after-effects make it impossible for you to find gainful employment. Because you cannot work, you cannot support yourself or your family. Most injuries like these require continuous medical care, which can incur huge costs.
Examples of a catastrophic injury
Many of these injuries affect the nervous system in some way. This damage usually results in additional problems that change your life forever. Traumatic brain injury is one of the leading causes of damage to the nervous system. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that over five million people in the U.S. live with a TBI-related injury. However, there are other examples of catastrophic injury that do not affect the central nervous system, such as:
- Numerous bone fractures or shatters
- Severe burns
- Organ damage
- Chemical exposure
Because there is no set definition, a catastrophic injury could be anything that changes your life drastically and permanently.