No law or court decision has ever defined “catastrophic injury” or created a list of injuries that fall within this category. Nevertheless, personal injury attorneys and lawyers who represent insurance companies customarily use this term to designate the most serious types of injuries.
For instance, if a motor vehicle accident causes you to sustain extensive injuries that disable you, they almost assuredly will qualify as catastrophic.
Catastrophic injury examples
Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are a primary cause of catastrophic injuries such as the following:
- Spinal cord injuries that partially or completely paralyze you
- Traumatic brain injuries that impair your cognitive abilities
- Crush injuries that cause you to lose a limb to amputation
- Burn injuries that leave you with disfiguring scars
- Head injuries that severely impair your vision or hearing
- Bodily injuries that severely damage your internal organs
Catastrophic injury damages
Should you suffer a catastrophic injury in a car crash and file a lawsuit against the driver whose negligence caused the accident, you can recover both economic and noneconomic damages. As their name implies, your economic damages consist of such things as your ambulance. hospital, surgery and prescription drug expenses, as well as the wages or salary you lose because your injuries require you to take time off from work. Economic damages also include your projected future medical and rehabilitation expenses and loss of income. Conversely, your noneconomic damages include your intangible losses, including such things as your pain and suffering, loss of your spouse’s or children’s companionship and loss of your enjoyment of life.