What Is a Catastrophic Injury and How Is It Different From Other Types of Injuries?

A catastrophic injury is devastating to the victim and everyone they love. If you or a family member has suffered a catastrophic injury, it’s normal to want answers about what you may legally do to get compensation for the tremendous costs usually incurred. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you of your rights.

What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury is exceptionally serious. These sorts of traumas have a considerable impact on the victim and typically require a substantially large amount of medical treatment and care.

Unfortunately, they may result in lifelong, permanent damage. Unlike when less serious injuries occur, these traumas usually take months or even years to make a full recovery, if full recovery is even possible.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Several types of injuries are typically considered catastrophic:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Skull fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Spine fractures
  • Loss of a limb
  • Severe burns
  • Paralysis-inducing injuries

These common catastrophic injuries are far more significantly damaging and life-changing than more minor injuries like, for example, a broken bone that fully heals within a few months.

Common Causes Of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries often occur on the road as a result of car accidents or motorcycle accidents. Bicycle or even pedestrian accidents may also lead to catastrophic injuries.

A catastrophic injury may happen at the victim’s place of work, at home, or on another premises away from home. Workplace accidents like falls or machine malfunctions may occur; a slip or fall can lead to severe injury. Medical malpractice may cause great harm, as in the case with birth injuries or botched medical procedures.

Motor Vehicle Accidents and Catastrophic Injuries

Missouri is not a no-fault state. The at-fault party is responsible for paying for other people’s medical treatment when incurred as a result of their negligence operating a motor vehicle.

Since car accidents are a common cause of catastrophic damage, it’s important you call an expert lawyer right away when you suspect the need to file a catastrophic injury settlement as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

Consequences of Catastrophic Injuries

Physical Consequences

Serious physical consequences frequently result from catastrophic injuries. Serious traumas such as brain injury, spinal cord injury, spinal fractures, or neck injuries may occur. Severe burns, brain damage, or other injuries that lead to permanent disability or chronic pain are possible results.

Spinal Cord Injuries and brain injuries

Spinal cord injury and brain injury, in particular, are types of catastrophic injury especially notable for the severe and long-lasting or permanent disabilities they can cause. Outcomes of these traumas could include the victims suffering partial or total paralysis, permanent coma, or being in a vegetative state.

Emotional Consequences

Besides physical injury, a victim of catastrophic injury will likely experience emotional distress or harm. When your life or a loved one’s life dramatically changes for the worse, mental suffering is to be expected.

Depression is a frequently noteworthy side effect of traumatic brain injury. The loss of a person’s ability to function normally after traumas like brain injuries or spinal cord injuries can be incredibly harmful to one’s mental health.

Financial Consequences

The medical expenses after a catastrophic injury are likely to be very large. The cost of physicians, hospital care, lengthy physical therapy, and other medical support may be overwhelming. Depending on the injury, lifelong medical care could even be required.

In addition to medical bills, loss of income due to lost wages or even the complete loss of one’s livelihood or ability to work at any job is possible.

Statute of Limitations for Catastrophic Injury Cases

In general, Missouri law allows five years from the time of catastrophic injury to file a catastrophic injury lawsuit. Some causes of catastrophic injury may require a personal injury claim to be filed even sooner. Claims for medical malpractice causes of catastrophic injuries, for example, must be filed within two years of the incident.

Missouri law regarding statutes of limitations is complex. When you’ve been injured, do not hesitate to contact a qualified attorney right away for a free consultation.

Insurance and Catastrophic Injuries

An insurance company will very likely be involved when you or a loved one suffers a catastrophic injury. They may offer you a settlement in the hopes that you will accept under duress what is very likely to be a lowball offer.

An insurance company may also suggest you are at fault for the injury despite it being due to someone else’s negligence. It’s very important to consult a skilled catastrophic injury attorney right away so that you can work with them to recover the compensation you deserve.

Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries incur tremendous expense and suffering. Personal injury lawsuits are often necessary in order for you to recover compensation. You may need to file for punitive damages, and the law is complex. Allow a legal team who are experts in their field to guide you as you seek necessary compensation for your or a loved one’s pain and suffering.

After catastrophic trauma, your future depends on protecting yourself and your family financially from the cost of a life-altering injury. Contact the expert attorneys at Wendt Law Firm P.C. as soon as possible at 816-542-6734 for a free case evaluation. Our experienced and award-winning injury lawyers will help you get the justice you deserve.


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