What are catastrophic injuries?

An injury is generally classified as “catastrophic” when it occurs suddenly and without warning and leaves the victim with life-changing impacts and. From a legal perspective, catastrophic injuries are those that deserve a higher level of compensation than the standard personal injury case. Technically, they're still personal injuries, but they meet a threshold for further damage, a fact that's especially important in states with no-fault auto insurance systems or that have implemented aggressive forms of liability reform. The incidence of catastrophic injuries is four times higher in college than in high school in the United States.

By most legal definitions and medical records, an injury is considered catastrophic if it causes immediate disability or if it is never expected to fully heal. For example, contact sports are contraindicated for people with an abnormal odontoid process, since any violent impact can result in catastrophic injury. While any injury has the potential to be traumatic and serious, there are only a handful of types of injuries that experts classify as “catastrophic. A study conducted in the province of Ontario in Canada, based on epidemiological data from 1986, 1989, 1992 and 1995, states that the highest incidence of catastrophic injuries occurred in snowmobiling, cycling, ice hockey and skiing.

A number of sources define catastrophic injuries in slightly different ways, but most experts agree that catastrophic injuries are those that are fatal, cause permanent disability, or permanently disfigure. It's likely that someone living with a catastrophic injury has already received thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills for initial treatments and hospitalization. If you have been involved in any type of accident that resulted in catastrophic or serious injuries, the complexity of the evidence inherent in these types of cases and what is at stake financially make it crucial to have the right personal injury lawyer on your side. Let's take a look at what is considered a catastrophic injury and why the topic can end up being so critical to the development of a case.

A catastrophic injury is a serious injury to the spine, spinal cord, or brain, and can also include fractures of the skull or spine. Most catastrophic injuries related to diving and swimming in the United States occur when a person dives into shallow water. For any accident that results in catastrophic injury even to one person, a catastrophic injury lawsuit and settlement can be filed. Many states have damage limits on the damages that can be awarded in injury cases, but virtually all of these rules include exceptions for catastrophic injuries.

However, there are likely to be many more bills and costs to come due to the severity or permanence of a catastrophic injury. A catastrophic injury is a physical injury or illness that is considered extreme or particularly serious, has a considerable impact on the victim of the injury or illness, and requires a considerable amount of medical treatment.

Arnold Gentner
Arnold Gentner

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