What Makes an Injury Catastrophic?

What Makes an Injury Catastrophic?

Catastrophic injuries differ from personal injuries in the sense that you are likely to recover from personal injuries after a period of time. Some examples of personal injuries include broken bones, brain injuries, minor burns, or torn ligaments that will eventually recover.

Injuries become catastrophic when you are not able to make a full recovery and instead must live the rest of your life in an altered condition that does not allow you to perform activities as you always have.

As defined by 42 USCS § 3796b, a catastrophic injury is one that will forever thwart a person from accomplishing profitable work.

If you have suffered any of the following, you have endured a catastrophic injury:

  • Paraplegia

  • Quadriplegia

  • Amputation or other deficiency resulting in the full and indefinite loss of use of one or both arms or one or both legs

  • Amputation or other deficiency resulting in the full and indefinite loss of use of one or both arms and one or both legs

  • Full vision loss in both eyes

In addition, you have suffered a catastrophic injury if your brain has been impaired, resulting in one of the following:

  • 9 or fewer score on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)

  • Scoring a 2 (vegetative) or 3 (severe disability) on the Glasgow Outcome Scale

  • Following the American Medical Association Guidelines, 55% total body impairment after your condition is stable or two years after the incident

  • Under American Medical Association Guidelines, Class 4 or 5 impairment as a result of a mental or behavioral disorder

Catastrophic Injury Claims

Catastrophic injury claims are in the realm of personal injury law. Catastrophic injury claims tend to be slated for people who survive excruciating injuries and need costly medical operations, long-lasting treatments, and 24/7 at-home assistance.

Some catastrophic injury examples are as follows:

  • Neurological disorders

  • Disfigurement

  • Back injury

  • Serious burn injuries

  • Organ damage

  • Multiple-bone injuries

  • Amputations

  • Hearing or vision loss

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

  • Spinal cord injuries (SCI)

Personal injury claims are not as all-encompassing as catastrophic injury claims. Personal injury claims seek damages for a definite period of time, whereas catastrophic injury claims must sustain you for the rest of your life. With catastrophic injuries, not only will you require regular medical care which becomes costly, but you are also unable to return to work and earn a living as you always have. That means you not only need compensation for your medical expenses, but also for the continued costs of everyday living.

Catastrophic Injury Causes

A catastrophic injury can occur out of any incident in which injuries transpire. Although, there are certain kinds of accidents that have a tendency to prompt these injuries more frequently than others. Motor vehicle accidents, particularly motorcycle or large truck accidents, typically prompt a significant amount of the catastrophic injuries that ensue.

In addition, the following types of accidents can also cause catastrophic injuries:

  • Construction incidents

  • Swimming pool incidents and drowning

  • Pharmacy mistakes and defective medical device injuries

  • Defective consumer products injuries

Catastrophic Injury Damages

Catastrophic injury damages may seem like a lot of money in comparison to personal injury damages. However, it is important to keep in mind that if you suffer a catastrophic injury, you must be able to live off of the settled amount of money for the rest of your life. If you endure a catastrophic injury, you are never able to work in the same ways again, so you will not have opportunities to earn more money throughout the course of your lifetime.

When you add up a lifetime’s worth of lost earnings, far-reaching medical bills for continual and prevalent medical care, along with the physical and mental pain and suffering you have endured, you are provided with a level of financial security and stability despite crippling lifelong losses.

In fact, an overarching truth regarding catastrophic injuries is that all victims would happily give up all the money they’ve been granted as a result of lawsuits in order to regain the normal lives they lived prior to their injuries. While that is impossible, the U.S. legal system provides victims with some form of hope of justice and compensation.

We Know What it’s Like

The attorneys at Kornfeld Law are highly experienced in the field of catastrophic injury law in the state of Washington. In fact, Attorney Robert “Rob” Kornfeld knows personally what it is like to suffer prominent injuries as the result of an accident.

In July 1985, Rob was involved in a life-changing car accident, which caused him to experience some of the same obstacles you may be faced with today. He suffered a head injury, causing him not to remember the accident, as well as knee injuries which resulted in five surgeries.

Rob’s eight-year road to recovery was difficult. It was painful both physically and emotionally.

It is for all the aforementioned reasons that Rob fights so diligently for his clients. He’s been through it. He knows the worrying that goes into the thought of how you’ll pay for your medical bills, how you’ll support your family, and how your future will be affected.

Take it from Rob, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have to allow your catastrophic injuries to overcome your life. There are actions you can take to recover some of the life that you’ve lost.

Rob recovered from life-threatening injuries, and so can you. He understands how important it is to focus on recovery - physical, emotional, and financial. He has been in your position - injured, in pain, uncertain, and stressed. Because of this, you will not find a more compassionate, understanding, and committed Seattle personal injury lawyer.

Don’t hesitate to contact our firm right away about your catastrophic personal injury.

Call Kornfeld Law today at (425) 657-5255 to speak with an attorney about your Washington catastrophic personal injury case.


Request a Free Consultation

    • Please enter your first name.
    • Please enter your last name.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.