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What is a catastrophic injury?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2021 | Injuries

It goes without saying that some injuries are more serious than others in terms of the amount of damage they do to your body. But which ones fall into the category of catastrophic?

The Lawyer’s Monthly advises that there is no definitive list of catastrophic injuries. Rather, the legal community and insurance companies tend to define these injuries on a case-by-case basis, taking several factors, including the following, into consideration:

  • How long does the injured person require hospitalization?
  • How much rehabilitation does he or she require?
  • Does the injury permanently disable him or her?
  • How extensively does the injury impact his or her daily life?
  • Does it require him or her to use a wheelchair or prosthetic from now on?
  • Does it leave lasting disfiguring scars?


In general, consensus exists that the following are all catastrophic injuries:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Crush injuries
  • Injuries resulting in substantial vision impairment or total blindness
  • Injuries resulting in substantial hearing impairment or total deafness


Unfortunately, any number of events, including the following, can cause a catastrophic injury:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Premises liability accidents
  • Defective product accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Sports injuries
  • Natural disasters

In addition, military injuries, explosions and injuries associated with a gun and other violent crimes also often produce catastrophic injuries.

Perhaps the one common thread that connects all catastrophic injuries is that they represent life-changing events. In other words, you never fully recover from one. Instead, you must deal with a new normal in terms of what you can and cannot do, what assistance you need and how you present yourself in public.


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