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Which injuries qualify as catastrophic?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2022 | Catastrophic Personal Injuries

The answer to the question of which injuries qualify as catastrophic may depend upon whom you ask. For instance, Section 3796b of Title 42 of the U.S. Code, the title dealing with public health and welfare, defines a catastrophic injury as one with consequences that “permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.”

On the other hand, the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research defines catastrophic sports injuries as “fatalities, injuries that result in permanent functional disability, and serious injuries that result in temporary functional disability with full recovery.”

The thing to keep in mind is that “catastrophic injury” is a legal term, not a medical one.

Examples of catastrophic injuries

Members of the legal community generally agree that if your injuries result in any of the following, they qualify as catastrophic:

  • Death
  • Paralysis due to a spinal cord injury
  • Disability due to a traumatic brain injury
  • Loss of a limb due to a crush injury requiring amputation
  • Loss of a substantial amount of your vision or hearing due to an eye or ear injury
  • Substantial scarring due to a burn injury

Where catastrophic injuries occur

While you can sustain a catastrophic injury almost anywhere, the most common places where they might occur include the following:

  • Your motor vehicle when it becomes involved in an accident
  • Your workplace
  • A hospital or other health care facility when you become the victim of medical malpractice
  • Someone else’s property when you slip, trip, fall or have some other type of premises liability accident
  • Your own home when one of your appliances or tools dangerously malfunctions in a product liability accident

Bottom line, sustaining a catastrophic injury is a life-changing event from which you may never fully recover.