In everyday life, accidents can happen, leading to various degrees of injuries. While some injuries may be minor and heal with time, others can be far more severe.
These extreme injuries are commonly referred to as “catastrophic injuries.” They can have life-altering consequences such as long-lasting physical, emotional and financial challenges.
Traumatic brain injuries
TBIs occur when a sudden blow, jolt or penetrating head injury disrupts normal brain function. These injuries can result in memory loss, cognitive impairment and personality changes. Individuals with TBIs often require extensive medical care and rehabilitation.
Spinal cord injuries
When the spinal cord sustains damage, it can lead to partial or complete paralysis. This affects a person’s ability to move or feel sensations below the site of injury.
Severe burns can result from fires, chemical exposure or electrical accidents. These injuries can cause excruciating pain, permanent scarring and complications like infections. Treating severe burns often involves multiple surgeries and long-term medical attention.
Injuries that cause severe damage to organs such as the heart, liver or kidneys can also be catastrophic. Organ damage may result from trauma and similar causes and often necessitates surgical intervention.
Vision and hearing loss
Catastrophic injuries can also affect the senses. Vision and hearing loss can occur due to accidents or medical conditions. Coping with these losses can be emotionally challenging and may require assistive devices.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
While not a physical injury, PTSD can be equally devastating. It often occurs following traumatic events like accidents or violence and can lead to emotional distress, flashbacks and difficulty functioning in daily life.
The National Safety Council reports 5.4 million medically consulted injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents for the year 2021, with many of those being catastrophic. Knowing when an injury is classifiable as catastrophic can make all the difference when pursuing compensation from insurance companies.