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What Is a Catastrophic Injury?


The term “catastrophic injury” is used to describe any injury that is so debilitating that it prevents a victim from engaging in gainful employment. Typically, these injuries necessitate long-term medical care, multiple surgeries and treatments, and a difficult recovery process. While this isn’t a strict legal definition, the term “catastrophic injury” is still used to classify a victim’s overall condition.

Catastrophic injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Brain injuries
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Blindness
  • Nerve injuries

A catastrophic injury is usually caused by the negligent actions (and sometimes inaction) of a person, corporation, or government entity. For example, most catastrophic injuries occur due to motor vehicle collisions, malfunctioning machines or products, and workplace accidents.

The Importance of Compensation

What separates a “catastrophic injury” from a “personal injury” is the degree of physical and psychological damage. Catastrophic injuries are severe and often necessitate ongoing or lifelong medical treatments and professional care. For this reason, a catastrophic personal injury lawsuit is often essential in providing financial compensation that can ensure a victim’s quality of life.

You can seek damages for:

  • Long-term professional care
  • Medical treatments and surgeries
  • Loss of wages and earning capacity
  • Emergency services
  • Physical and psychological therapy
  • Emotional and mental trauma

Typically, the damages awarded in catastrophic personal injury cases far exceed the compensation awarded in standard personal injury cases. This is because the court is aware that a victim’s financial needs are greater. Oftentimes, victims have trouble affording the full extent of their medical treatments and professional care needs. The court tries to mitigate these financial difficulties by awarding victims damages that can pay for their medical expenses and any potential fees associated with their recovery process.

File Your Claim

If you’re planning on pursuing damages for a catastrophic injury, you’re going to need the guidance of an experienced attorney who can maximize your claim. At Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP, our San Diego personal injury lawyers have helped clients secure millions of dollars in compensation.

Rely on our 35 years of personal injury experience. Call Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP at (888) 998-2031 to schedule a consultation.