You have probably heard that catastrophic injuries tend to receive higher settlement awards than other injuries. This may be true, but you should know that your idea of a catastrophic injury may be very different from the legal meaning of the same. Generally, the courts may consider your injury to be catastrophic if it involves:
Long Term Debilitation
An injury is considered catastrophic if it weakens your body, and the weakness is expected to continue for a long time. Consider an example where your spine is injured, and the nature of the injury means that you cannot walk on your own for the rest of your life. In this case, the injury is catastrophic because your body has been weakened, and the weakness is long-term (lifelong).
Major Effect on Earning Ability
Another criterion used to determine if an injury is catastrophic is the effect it has on your earning ability. If an injury is serious enough to deny you your livelihood, then it is considered catastrophic. Note that the court will require proof that you cannot do the same work that you used to perform before the accident. For example, a truck driver who loses both hands in an accident cannot drive anymore, so his or her injuries are categorized as catastrophic.
Difficulty in Recovery Process
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, then you will have to endure a long and difficult recovery process. If you get well after a couple of days or so, then your injury may not be considered catastrophic even if they were serious enough to warrant hospital admission immediately after the accident.
On the other hand, injuries that require continuous medication and multiple treatment sessions may be considered catastrophic even if they were not immediately apparent immediately after the accident. For example, intracranial hemorrhage is a serious injury that may result in brain impairment, but its symptoms may start hours after its onset.
Surgeries are generally understood to hold inherent risks. This is true for all surgeries, even the ones that may be considered "routine" by the medical profession. Therefore, if your injury requires you to undergo multiple surgeries, then it may be classified as catastrophic.
Potential damages for catastrophic injuries are higher than those for other forms of injuries. However, you are also expected to provide a higher standard of proof for such injuries. These cases tend to be very complex, and you shouldn't even think about handling one without the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.
To learn more, contact a company like Wolfley & Wolfley, P.S. with any questions you have.