Home Curiosity What is a “Catastrophic” Personal Injury & What Does It Mean?

What is a “Catastrophic” Personal Injury & What Does It Mean?


A personal injury is always an unfortunate event in a person’s life because it could end up creating both a physical and financial burden for them. The physical burden is, of course, caused by the injury itself since it could end up causing an impairment that makes it difficult for the injured person to perform certain tasks. The financial burden is caused by the expenses needed to take care of the injury as well as the fact that the injured person may not be able to work for a while, so they may not have a steady income while they recover from the injury.

As bad as a regular personal injury can be, a catastrophic personal injury is much worse. The reason is that they are far more severe and recovery can take a much longer time. That means they present even heavier physical and financial burdens than standard personal injuries. That is why anyone who suffers any kind of personal injury, but especially a catastrophic one, should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Experienced Washington D.C. personal injury lawyers recommend that they do so because they will need a good amount of compensation to cover the expenses caused by the injury. So if you have suffered any type of personal injury, make sure to get in touch with an attorney as soon as you can.

What is a Catastrophic Personal Injury?

A catastrophic injury is both a medical and legal term that describes an injury that results in long-term or permanent disability or debilitation. An injury is generally determined to be catastrophic if it causes traumatic brain damage, the amputation of a limb, or severe damage to the spinal cord. A catastrophic personal injury could also be one that prevents someone from being able to work again.

Aside from the physical and psychological trauma caused by a catastrophic personal injury, it can also cause very high medical expenses because the injured person will need extensive treatment and may end up needing medical care for the rest of their life. There is also the fact that they may not be able to work again, which is why they will need a good amount of compensation, and that is why they will need a highly experienced personal injury attorney to help them.

The Causes of Catastrophic Personal Injuries

A catastrophic personal injury could be caused by anything that could cause a regular personal injury, but there are some events that have a higher likelihood of resulting in a catastrophic personal injury:

  • Serious motor vehicle accidents, particularly truck and motorcycle accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Defective products

These are the situations that are most likely to result in catastrophic personal injuries, but as stated before, such an injury could occur in any situation.

The Expenses and Effects of a Catastrophic Personal Injury

A catastrophic personal injury can be difficult for the person who experienced the injury as well as their friends and family. The reason is that the family members of someone who suffered a personal injury will sometimes have to spend their lives in order to provide care for their injured relation. This can be physically, financially, and emotionally taxing for those who have to provide care to the person who suffered the catastrophic injury, especially if that injury caused cognitive or mobility impairments.

They may also have to quit their jobs in order to provide round-the-clock care for their injured family member, which means that the family could end up losing two sources of income. That means the financial and psychological strain caused by a catastrophic personal injury could be very heavy since it also includes the following:

  • Medical treatment
  • Prosthetics
  • Assistive devices such as crutches or wheelchairs
  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Home care assistants
  • The inability to work and earn a living
  • Pain and suffering
  • The loss of consortium
  • Emotional and/or psychological counseling

What to Do After a Catastrophic Personal Injury

The first priority after suffering a catastrophic personal injury is to get the necessary care since holding off on any care might make the problem even worse than it already is. Since all personal injuries, catastrophic or otherwise, are caused by the negligence of another party, the injured person has the right to file an injury claim against the insurance company of the responsible party. If they are unable to do so, then they should have a close family member do so on their behalf.

The path to financial recovery after a catastrophic personal injury involves hiring a personal injury attorney to help navigate the legal pathways of the case. The attorney can help to calculate the amount of compensation the injured person needs, they can help to file the injury claim, and they can negotiate with the insurance company to make sure that they offer a reasonable settlement amount. If the insurance company rejects the proposed settlement or offers an amount that is too low, then the attorney can help the injured person to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for their injury. In other words, a personal injury lawyer is an invaluable ally to anyone who has experienced a catastrophic personal injury.

Calculating the Damages of a Catastrophic Personal Injury

In most ways, calculating the damages of a catastrophic personal injury are similar to calculating those of a standard personal injury since many of the expenses will be the same. There will be medical bills to take care of just like with a standard personal injury, but there is also the future treatment and ongoing medical care that needs to be addressed as well. All of these expenses are economic damages because they have tangible costs that can be calculated by accountants and financial experts. However, there are also non-economic damages that need to be taken care of as well.

These include the damages for pain and suffering as well as any emotional or psychological treatment needed because of fallout from the accident. That could include conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or other ongoing emotional problems. Since these conditions do not have a fixed monetary value, they need to be calculated using a different formula. The formula used is generally a simple multiplier where the non-economic damages are calculated by multiplying the economic damages by a certain amount. That amount is usually dependent on the severity of the injuries suffered by the person. A relatively minor personal injury might get a multiplier of 1 or 2, but a catastrophic personal injury could get a multiplier of up to 5.

Contact an Attorney if You Have Suffered a Catastrophic Personal Injury

A catastrophic personal injury can be devastating to the person who suffered the injury as well as their close friends and family. The physical, financial, and emotional toll of the injury can be immense for all involved. But if you contact a personal injury attorney, then at least they can help to relieve the financial burden caused by the accident.

An attorney can help with the legal aspects of the case and can negotiate with the insurance company of the responsible party to get you the settlement you deserve. So, if you have experienced a catastrophic personal injury, you do not have to suffer in silence, contact a personal injury lawyer to help you achieve some measure of financial stability.