What Makes an Injury Catastrophic?

After a particularly violent accident – whether it be a car accident, motorcycle accident, medical malpractice incident, and so on – a person may be said to have suffered catastrophic injuries. For many people, the thought of being injured seriously in any way can seem catastrophic. Why, then, is this distinction sometimes made?

By medical and legal definitions, a catastrophic injury is an injury that immediately causes significant harm to an individual, or an injury from which the individual can never fully recover. With this definition in mind, it is easier to see how a catastrophic injury is different from a serious injury, such as a broken arm bone. While a broken arm is not to be taken lightly, it probably will heal correctly with medical attention and may not even cause instant disability in the arm.

Some examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Once someone’s brain has been severely damaged, it is extremely difficult for a natural healing process or surgical procedure to help them improve. Immediate consequences may be various, devastating, and permanent.
  • Spinal cord damage: The bundle of nerves within the spinal cord is highly sensitive to pressure, breaks, and damage. A slight injury along the back could potentially cause incurable paralysis.
  • Amputation: The loss of a limb is an absolutely shocking injury for someone to live with and often causes lingering feelings of loss and hopelessness. Prosthetic limbs can help, especially as technology advances, however.
  • Widespread disfigurement: Facial and body disfigurement caused by burns, scar tissue, and more may never fully heal. In addition to physical pain, permanent disfigurement can cause patients to suffer emotionally as well.
  • Sensory loss: Certain head injuries and exposure to dangerous chemicals can degrade or eliminate a person’s senses. If an injury victim experiences blindness or deafness, it is considered to be catastrophic.

Do you need personal injury representation after you or a loved one was catastrophically injured? At Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci, our personal injury attorneys represent clients from Joplin and Springfield. We always do everything in our ability to obtain our clients the largest compensation possible, and we never require retainers, upfront fees, or out-of-pocket costs. When you retain our firm, it really is risk-free to you.

Contact us now to learn more about our contingency fee agreements and your legal options.



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