Whiplash, concussions, broken bones, knee injuries, cuts and bruises – all are painful injuries that are common after car crashes, slips and falls, and other types of accidents. And while any of these injuries can rack up hospital bills or cause you to miss work until you recover, people who suffer from these types of injuries almost always do recover completely, without complications, and with only time and treatment.
However, catastrophic injuries are different.
People who suffer from catastrophic injuries never completely recover. In fact, a catastrophic injury is usually legally defined as one that prevents the victim from ever being able to perform any type of work again.
What Makes an Injury “Catastrophic?”
So, what makes an injury catastrophic? Catastrophic injuries generally fall into three main categories:
- Bodily injuries that cause permanent damage
- Brain injuries that impair cognition
- Spinal cord injuries that impair mobility
We review each category in more detail below.
Catastrophic Bodily Injuries
Injuries that cause severe and permanent bodily damage can qualify as catastrophic even if they don’t prevent you from doing any type of work, provided they prevent you from performing daily tasks without assistance, enjoying your former hobbies, having sexual relations, or they impact your ability to engage in all aspects of family and home life.
- Severe organ damage
- Vision loss
As you can see, these are some of the most challenging physical injuries imaginable. Let’s look at how catastrophic injuries to the brain can also impact a person physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Catastrophic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries should not be treated lightly. While traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a broad category that range from minor concussions to disabling brain damage, catastrophic brain injuries are considered part of the later.
The results of catastrophic brain injuries can include many different types of changes in a person’s physical and mental well-being. That includes, but is not limited to:
- Changes in personality,
- Decreased cognition,
- Loss of ability to speak,
- Loss of hearing or sight,
- Memory loss, or loss of ability to form new memories,
- And death
Injuries to the brain have profound consequences, ranging from physical to emotional and psychological. Next, let’s look at how back injuries might be considered catastrophic.
Catastrophic Spinal Cord Injuries
Catastrophic injuries to the spine often result in partial or even total paralysis. Victims who suffer paralysis often need large amount of compensation because they may need continuing care for the rest of their lives, including:
- Assistance performing many or all daily tasks,
- Expensive mobility equipment such as wheelchairs,
- Extensive modifications to their homes and vehicles to accommodate their new needs, such as wheelchair ramps and widened doorways.
Victims who suffer catastrophic spinal cord injuries may also experience difficulty having children after their accident, further lengthening the list of ways their ability to live and enjoy life are negatively impacted.
What Damages are Available for Victims of Catastrophic Injuries?
Catastrophic injury cases are unique because of how these injuries impact the people who suffer them. Personal injury settlements are intended to help get victims back to where they were before the accident, or as close as possible.
However, victims of catastrophic injuries don’t just need compensation for the medical bills they incurred and paychecks they missed until they recovered, they need compensation for an entire lifetime of experiences and employment that was taken from them! And an entire lifetime of future medical bills ahead of them.
Damages in catastrophic injury cases typically include:
- Medical expenses: These expenses include the costs of treatment already received, as well as the estimated cost for all future treatment, including physical therapy, counseling, in-home care, adaptive equipment, and any other necessary medical items.
- Loss of income: This is calculated by determining the total amount the victim would have earned from the day of injury to retirement age, when injuries are disabling, including the estimated costs of raises and bonuses they would have received, and the cost of benefits they would have received from their job.
- Pain and suffering: Suffering a permanent injury, whether it’s disabling or disfiguring, is an extremely traumatic event, and because the injury never heals, victims are constantly reminded of what they lost. That’s why victims are often entitled to substantial compensation for the emotional distress they suffer as a result of their injury.
Let Us Evaluate Your Catastrophic Injury Case
At Catalano Law, we know how devastating catastrophic injuries can be for families, and we know how difficult it can be to determine how much to demand in compensation. After all, how does one put a number on a lifetime of lost experiences?
Thankfully, our lawyers are experienced at calculating damages for clients, even those who have suffered catastrophic injuries and will need medical care for the rest of their lives. And we aren’t afraid to take the insurance company to court when they try to convince victims to accept lowball settlements, while knowing the money isn’t enough.
Contact our New York injury lawyers today for a free, no obligation consultation. We want to discuss your case and help you get the compensation you’re owed.