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What should you know about catastrophic injuries?

Any injury can be "serious", particularly if it prevents you from working for a few weeks or months while you heal. There is a difference between a "serious" injury that you eventually recover from and an injury that is deemed "catastrophic."

FindLaw defines "catastrophic" injuries as those that are permanently disabling, resulting in a significant disruption to your quality of life, preventing you from working for a long period of time or eventually resulting in death. The following examples illustrate injuries that can be considered catastrophic:

  • Third-degree burns sustained from a house fire caused by faulty wiring
  • Memory loss and behavioral changes that begin showing up years after your traumatic brain injury
  • Shattered bones and internal injuries resulting from a truck accident
  • Significant facial scarring following a dog attack
  • Irreversible lung damage after exposure to harmful chemicals on the job
  • Paralysis from a spine injury after falling down the stairs

As you can see, a "catastrophic" injury is one that permanently impacts your ability to work and to live a normal life. These types of injuries can also cause chronic pain and suffering. Additionally, family members of loved ones who lost their lives from catastrophic injuries may also be eligible to seek a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. This area of law is often complex and requires experienced counsel; therefore, the information presented here is meant to educate you but should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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