Just about any serious injury can feel catastrophic to the victim. However, no widely-accepted legal definition for catastrophic injuries exists at this time. Despite the lack of a definition, many lawyers view catastrophic injuries as those that have a long-lasting or permanent effect on the victim's ability to function, particularly in a work setting.
Determining the scope of an injury is important because it can play a role in the amount of economic damages to which victims in California are entitled. For example, if a drunk driver collides with you and you suffer a broken ankle, it is probably safe to say that such an injury is not catastrophic and the compensation you receive will be appropriate for the injury.
Now, say that the same crash severely damaged your spinal cord. In this scenario, a court or insurance provider will probably deem the injury catastrophic. This typically means that you will be able to seek a greater amount of compensation. Below you will find a few more examples of injuries often considered catastrophic.
- Injuries resulting in temporary or permanent disability such as paralysis
- Severe traumatic brain injury affecting the victim's earning capacity
- Disfigurement or deforming injuries that may affect the victim's capacity to find gainful employment
If you are considering an injury claim, classifying your injury is critical in acquiring the maximum amount of compensation for your suffering.
In most cases, it is difficult to build an effective case on your own. Choosing to work with an injury attorney can help you determine the severity of your injury in legal terms. Accurate classification of your injury helps guide the legal system in its effort to award damages that are appropriate to your suffering.