What Is Considered A Catastrophic Injury For The Purposes Of A Personal Injury Claim?

Whenever personal injuries occur, they can be stressful to the victim and the victim’s family.

However, when a person suffers a catastrophic injury, this stress is oftentimes compounded by the constant accrual of crippling medical bills throughout the duration of the person’s lifetime as well as the loss of life and livelihood the person experiences because of the injury sustained.

While there is no one universal definition of what constitutes a catastrophic injury for the purposes of a personal injury claim, there are a few working definitions of the term that those in the legal profession use to denote the severity of the specific injuries suffered by their clients.

Defining Catastrophic Injury

Perhaps the most common definition of the term “catastrophic injury” used in personal injury law is an injury that permanently prevents the injured from performing any gainful work. Stated differently, a catastrophic injury is one that prevents the injured from maintaining a job that enables him or her to financially support himself or herself or his or her family.

However, despite this definition, there are other common definitions of the term “catastrophic injury” that is used in a legal context. For example, catastrophic injury can also be defined as an injury that significantly disfigures or debilitates a person and said disfigurement or debilitating is expected to be permanent or last on a long-term basis. Accordingly, while a catastrophic injury is usually one that permanently prevents the injured from earning a living to support his or her family, an injury can be considered catastrophic if it totally or significantly inhibits the injured from engaging in other normal life activities or from performing essential life tasks.

Both failure to be able to engage in activities like walking, exercising, participating in favorite hobbies, or traveling and failure to be able to groom and care for yourself without assistance after an injury occurs are signs that an injury is catastrophic.

Typical Catastrophic Injuries

While catastrophic injuries come in a variety of different forms, there are certain injuries that are commonly considered catastrophic. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries. These are also known as TBIs
  • Injuries requiring loss of limbs, including amputations
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Other injuries resulting in total or partial paralysis
  • Injuries resulting in multiple bone fractures
  • Injuries resulting in severe organ damage
  • Injuries resulting in disfigurement and severe scarring

Damages In A Catastrophic Injury Case

Because of the severity of catastrophic injuries, people who suffer this type of injury are often entitled to more damages than those people who suffer run-of-the-mill personal injuries. Damages is a legal term used to describe compensation for all loss stemming from an accident or other incident.

In a catastrophic injury claim, a plaintiff, the injured party, may often recover monetary damages for the following:

  • Past and future medical bills the injured party stands to accrue because of the injury;
  • Loss of earning capacity he or she suffers because of the injury;
  • The exorbitant amount of pain and suffering the injured party experienced and continues to experience as a result of the injury;
  • Any emotional distress or anguish the injury party experiences because of the physical injury sustained

Despite being able to recover these types of damages, proving the extent of the damage is inevitably more complex than in a typical personal injury case. For this reason, it is prudent that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney if you have suffered a catastrophic injury and intend to file a personal injury claim.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Catastrophic Injury Case in Pennsylvania or New Jersey

Did you or a loved one sustain serious or catastrophic injuries due to a car accident, truck accident, slip and fall, or medical malpractice in either Pennsylvania or New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party, or their insurance company, to do the right thing.

Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Marrone Law Firm, LLC represent clients injured because of an accident in the greater Philadelphia area, South Jersey, and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Specifically, we help clients in Philadelphia, University City, Center City, PA among other areas.

Call 215-732-6700 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 200 South Broad Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102. We also have an office in Cherry Hill, NJ.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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