Auto accidents can result in injuries that create long-term disability and costly medical expenses. Many people in this situation experience loss of function and quality of life.
Review the common types of catastrophic injuries that may occur in serious auto accidents and learn about steps to take if you or a family member faces this devastating situation.
Defining catastrophic injuries
The American Medical Association describes a catastrophic injury as one that affects the brain, spine or spinal cord. However, other organizations such as the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research use a broader definition that includes injuries that result in severe neck or head trauma, permanent severe functional disability, or death.
Based on these definitions, common types of catastrophic injuries that occur in auto accidents include:
- Severe burns
- Vision loss
- Traumatic brain injury
- Loss of a limb
Georgia is a fault state, which means you can sue the responsible driver after an auto accident for any reason. You can also file a claim through your auto insurance company in lieu of a lawsuit. However, in the case of catastrophic injuries, the insurance company may not provide coverage for the full cost of medical care. Your policy typically does not include compensation for nonmonetary damages such as pain and suffering that are available through the court system.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, you must do so within two years of the accident. Even if you shared some fault for the collision, you may still be eligible for compensation under the modified comparative fault rule in Georgia.