What is a “Catastrophic Injury”?
A catastrophic injury is one which requires significant medical treatment, and which usually has a long-term or permanent effect on a person’s life. Long term catastrophic injuries are those injuries which are catastrophic at the time of the incident, but with medical care the injured person can make a recovery. Permanent catastrophic injuries are those injuries which cause disability, significant suffering, and may substantially shorten an injured person’s lifespan.
Catastrophic injuries may be caused by:
- Vehicle impact/accident
- Workplace incident
- Defective product/prescription drug
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accident
- Construction failure
What is Life Like for a Catastrophic Injury Victim?
The effects of a catastrophic injury can last for weeks, months, or even years. Some of the most common catastrophic injuries include:
- Back, Neck or Spinal Cord Injuries
- Severe Brain Injury
- Traumatic Burn Injuries
- Organ Damage
- Spinal Cord Injuries (Paralysis, Paraplegia, Quadriplegia)
Spinal cord injuries are especially troublesome. When their spinal cord is injured, a person may face a life of disability and dependency. Unfortunately these injuries cannot be treated by even the most advanced medical treatments. Catastrophic injuries to the brain can cause changes to a person’s personality, their memory and their ability to recognize their own family members.
A catastrophic injury can necessitate a lifetime of medical care, or repeated reconstructive surgeries especially for child victims. For instance, a severely burned child may require repeated surgeries to accommodate growth, in addition to various cosmetic surgeries. A small child with a bone fracture that affects a growth plate may face difficult bone-stretching procedures, and may never have normal use of the affected limb.
If someone suffers a catastrophic injury, the impact on their lives can be enormous. The physical impact is only one part of equation. Some injuries are so severe that they require full time care which can prevent or interfere with a victim’s ability to earn a living and to support their family.