What is a catastrophic injury, and how is it different from a personal injury?

If you’ve been injured in an accident or contracted a disease from a defective consumer product, your injury or new disability may seem like a catastrophe. However, not every severe injury is considered a catastrophic injury. Personal injuries are usually temporary, and while they may be painful, most people can make a full, or nearly complete, recovery.

What is a catastrophic injury? Someone with a devastating injury is permanently disabled, but there’s more to know. Keep reading for a full breakdown, and contact a Kansas City personal injury lawyer to begin taking steps toward appropriate compensation.

what is a catastrophic injury

Determining whether you have a catastrophic personal injury

A personal injury must permanently change your life to cross the “catastrophic” threshold. These are some indications of when is a personal injury considered catastrophic:

  • You cannot return to your old job or hold any gainful employment because of your injury
  • You require ongoing medical care, either in your home or at a skilled nursing facility
  • You cannot care for yourself independently or complete tasks of daily living
  • A spouse or family member becomes your caregiver and may not be able to work full-time or at all
  • You require a medical device for assistance, like a wheelchair, prosthesis, or another device
  • You need modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your new disability

If you contract a progressive illness or disease due to toxic exposure, like cancer, then your injury could also be considered catastrophic. Your Missouri personal injury lawyer can evaluate your condition and medical records to determine if your injury is catastrophic.

Common types of catastrophic injuries in Kansas City

What is a catastrophic personal injury? These are just a few examples:

  • Partial or total paralysis
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI), which could cause brain damage
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of one or more limbs
  • Substantial burn injury
  • Traumatic internal organ damage or loss of an internal organ

Not only do many catastrophic injury victims suffer physically, but their mental health is also compromised, too. Adjusting to your changed abilities may trigger an onset of depression or PTSD. You deserve compensation for treating both your physical health and your mental health.

What is the difference between a personal injury and a catastrophic injury claim?

A catastrophic injury claim is handled similarly to a personal injury claim, but the value of these cases is often much higher. Because catastrophic injury victims require serious medical care, the immediate bills for treatment, surgery, and hospital stays can quickly reach six figures.

Many victims also require ongoing medical care, personal care, or both. If you need to live in a nursing home or have a home health aide, your claim should include those costs for the rest of your life.

Building a catastrophic injury case is more complex, as well. Because many claims cover projected care for years, you may need expert medical and financial witnesses to justify your lawyer’s proposed settlement amount.

Finally, a catastrophic injury case may include punitive damages. If the defendant was egregiously negligent, to the point that they caused permanent, disabling harm to another person, the victim could be entitled to demand damages that are punishing in nature rather than restitution.

The case often goes to trial in catastrophic injury claims where a plaintiff seeks punitive damages. The defense may push back more, trying to avoid paying millions of dollars in damages.

Langdon & Emison – your Kansas City catastrophic injury lawyers

Have you or a loved one been in an accident and suffered a catastrophic injury? We can help you get the compensation you deserve. 

Contact us today at (866) 931-2115 for a free consultation with an experienced Missouri catastrophic injury lawyer.

Related articles for further reading