Catastrophic injuries like spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and severe burns can be life-changing. And if you’ve suffered these types of serious injuries as a result of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

But what makes a personal injury a catastrophic personal injury? How are catastrophic injuries different from the typical personal injury case? Below, we discuss what types of injuries are considered catastrophic and what to expect from the process. 

What Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries?

Catastrophic injuries tend to occur suddenly. They can include, but aren’t limited to:

What to Know About Catastrophic Personal Injury
  • Car, truck, and semi accidents
  • Pedestrian and motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycling accidents
  • Boating and jet-skiing accidents
  • Aircraft accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • On-the-job injuries
  • Fires and explosions
  • Defective or dangerous products
  • Trampoline injuries
  • Horseback riding injuries
  • Falls from large heights

These accidents can often cause burns, amputations, paralysis, and even coma and death.

When Does a Personal Injury Become a Catastrophic Injury?

Although there’s no legal definition of the term “catastrophic injury,” some categories of injuries are more serious than others. And, generally speaking, a catastrophic injury is any injury that significantly alters your life—one that leaves you unable to work, care for yourself, or do the things you enjoyed most before your accident. 

Some of the following types of injuries tend to be considered catastrophic:

  • Injuries to your spinal cord, including paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries and severe concussions
  • Crushing injuries
  • Injuries involving fire, explosion, or caustic substances
  • Any injuries that result in severe, permanent disfigurement or extensive scarring
  • Any injuries that cause permanent, long-term disabilities or require lifelong medical treatment

“Catastrophic” can be different for anyone. For example, a surgeon who suffers an injury that crushes their hand or arm may find this career-ending—and therefore catastrophic. The younger you are, and the more serious your injury is, the more likely it is to have a notable impact on the rest of your life. 

What Makes Catastrophic Injuries Different?

Catastrophic injury cases can be a bit different from personal injury cases involving less life-altering injuries. 

First, since these injuries tend to require more extensive and long-lasting treatment, there’s more money at stake—which means the responsible party is likely to fight harder to avoid having to pay. The discovery process may be more extensive as your attorney gathers all possible evidence that will support your claim. There may also be more vigorous pre-trial negotiations as the defendant tries to avoid risking a loss at trial.

And since catastrophic injury cases can also be complicated, involving a long recovery process and a potential lifetime of future care, it’s even more important for your attorney to be well-versed in the rules of procedure, along with current medical practices and standards. It may take some more time to build the strongest possible case, and the settlement may not always be the best option.

If you or a loved one has sustained a catastrophic injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At The Ferraro Law Firm, we’re focused on each client’s case and will use all our resources to ensure you have the most robust representation possible. To schedule your free consultation, call 888-554-2030 or just fill out our free case consultation form and a member of our team will soon be in touch.