What is a catastrophic injury?

On Behalf of | Jan 1, 2021 | Personal Injury

No matter what type of injury you sustain, there are costs associated with it. While seeking redress for these costs, such as medical bills and lost income, you may notice the term catastrophic injury and wonder if it applies to your situation.

Courts generally treat catastrophic injury cases differently than personal injury cases due to the high level of physical or mental impairment as well as the high costs associated with medical care.

The definition of catastrophic injury

According to FindLaw, Georgia’s definition of a catastrophic injury includes the following:

  • Severe paralysis stemming from a spinal cord injury
  • Amputation of certain appendages
  • A certain percentage of second- or third-degree burns
  • Blindness
  • Severe head or brain injury
  • Any other injury that prevents you from performing, seeking or obtaining work

These injuries are often debilitating and lead to a decrease in the quality of life or relationships.

The cost of a catastrophic injury

Another reason catastrophic injury is in a separate category from personal injuries is due to the costs associated with them. While no accident or trauma is desirable, catastrophic injuries generally have a much higher cost of recovery and rehabilitation. Instead of receiving compensation for weeks of missing work, you may in fact need compensation for years if you sustain a catastrophic injury.

While courts generally express cost in terms of a dollar amount, there are also other costs to consider. Certain brain injuries, for example, may mean that you are a completely different person than you were before the accident. Additionally, pain and suffering are a real cost associated with enduring such an injury.

Personal and catastrophic injuries certainly are both undesirable. However, catastrophic injuries involve higher costs and more potential for loss than personal injuries.

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