It's not unusual for catastrophic injuries to have a far-reaching impact on all aspects of life.
Some injuries involve nothing more than bruises, temporary soreness, and aches and pains that go away within a few days. Other injuries have lasting consequences and may seriously impact quality of life. This is what typically happens with catastrophic injuries, referring to injuries that usually occur suddenly and without any clear warning.
- Oftentimes, individuals that sustain an injury of this nature are unable to perform meaningful, employable work.
- Legally, any serious injury that occurs without warning may be classified as a catastrophic injury.
What is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?
Such injuries are often work-related, and others occur randomly during daily routines. It’s the ones that are occupation-related that may result in workers’ compensation claims. As for what makes an injury “catastrophic,” the resulting damage usually affects the central nervous system enough to cause some type of impairment or symptoms that can be debilitating and distracting. In the workplace, an injury of this nature can occur from a sudden fall that results in a spinal cord injury, a collision with equipment that causes severe head trauma, or an explosion that results in severe burns or exposure to toxic fumes or hazardous chemicals. Commonly experienced catastrophic injuries include and may involve:
- Brain injuries
- Burns covering large portions of the body
- Loss of limbs
- Loss of hearing or vision
- Severe or multiple fractures
How Are Catastrophic Injuries Treated?
Another characteristic of catastrophic injuries is the extent of medical care that’s often required. With physical injuries, treatment may involve surgery to stabilize the spine or minimize nerve damage, plastic surgery and skin grafts, or long-term traction. Some injury victims may need expensive procedures, or they could end up relying on certain medications to ease symptoms or pain as much as possible. Some catastrophic injuries are so severe that the only treatment possible is to make the patient as comfortable as possible.
Who May Be Held Responsible?
It can be difficult to determine who is at fault with some catastrophic injuries. For instance, with a freak workplace accident that resulted in an explosion, an investigation may be necessary to identify responsible parties. Typically, any parties directly at the scene may become potential responsible parties. In workplace situations, such individuals may include supervisors or co-workers. Other times, there are less obvious parties who may be responsible, like equipment manufacturers or inspectors. An attorney experienced with serious injury claims knows how to conduct thorough investigations to identify all possible responsible parties.
The aftermath of catastrophic injuries often includes considerable financial strain for victims and their families. What an attorney can do is review the circumstances involved and make a recommendation on how best to proceed. If negligence is involved, a lawyer may be able to secure compensation to ease the long-term burden often associated with serious injuries. In some states, there are caps on non-economic damages that sometimes limit how much compensation can be sought. A lawyer may be able to better define damages to overcome some of these limitations.