What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury Accident?

by | Jan 11, 2024 | Personal Injury

nurse-helping-man-in-wheelchair-who-suffered-catastrophic-injuryMany personal injury accidents involve catastrophic injuries that have long-term or permanent effects on the victim’s life. These severe injuries often lead to permanent disability or disfigurement. There are many types of catastrophic personal injury accidents, which can have a profound effect on your life.

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

You might wonder what qualifies as a catastrophic injury in South Carolina? The main indicator of whether a personal injury is catastrophic is its severity. Catastrophic injuries typically require a need for ongoing medical care, job retraining, in-home medical assistance, or the use of medical devices. South Carolina tort law (dealing with personal injuries) recognizes such harm as being catastrophic in nature.

Additionally, catastrophic injuries often have significant emotional and social consequences, leading to depression, anxiety, and isolation. The financial impact can be immense, with extensive medical bills and potential loss of income.

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries are severe and lasting physical or mental impairments. Here are some examples of injuries that may rise to the severity of being catastrophic:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Can cause cognitive impairments, memory loss, speech problems, seizures, paralysis, and coma.
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI): Can lead to partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, and bladder and bowel dysfunction.
  • Amputation: Loss of a limb or extremity, requiring prosthetics and significant lifestyle adjustments.
  • Severe burns: Extensive burns causing scarring, disfigurement, chronic pain, and functional limitations.
  • Multiple bone fractures: Extensive fractures requiring multiple surgeries and prolonged recovery, potentially leading to permanent mobility limitations.
  • Organ damage: Damage to vital organs like lungs, heart, liver, or kidneys, necessitating organ transplants or ongoing medical management.
  • Severe internal bleeding: Can lead to shock, organ failure, and death if not treated immediately.
  • Severe vision or hearing loss: Significantly impacting daily life and communication.
  • Chronic pain syndromes: Can be physically and psychologically debilitating, limiting activities and affecting quality of life.
  • Neurological disorders: Stroke, paralysis, and other neurological conditions can cause various impairments and require ongoing care.
  • Psychological disorders: Severe depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other conditions that restrict normal life after an accident

This list is not exhaustive, and the severity and long-term effects of a catastrophic injury can vary greatly depending on the specific case.

How Do Catastrophic Injuries Occur?

man-slipping-on-icy-stairsCatastrophic injury accidents is typically a sudden event that inflicts physical or emotional damage. Catastrophic injury accidents are often caused by negligence.

Negligence indicates that someone failed to act with the care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. When that negligence causes a catastrophic injury accident, the wrongdoer is liable and should pay for the damages of the injured victim.

Examples of Catastrophic Injury Accidents

There are many types of accidents that can cause catastrophic injuries, including some of the most common causes, including:

  • Motor vehicle crashes: High-speed collisions, rollovers, and head-on crashes can cause TBIs, SCIs, amputations, and severe burns.
  • Construction accidents: Collapses, falling objects, and electrocution can result in crushing injuries, spinal cord damage, and severe burns.
  • Medical malpractice: Surgical errors, misdiagnosis, and medication errors can lead to permanent disabilities and organ damage.
  • Violent acts: Gunshot wounds, stabbings, and assaults can cause catastrophic injuries depending on the severity and location of the trauma.
  • Exposure to hazardous materials: Chemical spills, fires, and explosions can cause burns, lung damage, and organ failure.

Damages in Catastrophic Injury Accidents

The amount of money you can get in a catastrophic injury accident lawsuit is generally much higher than for accidents involving less severe injuries. Many of the multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that you hear about involve catastrophic injuries.

Some of the potential damages you can get money for after a catastrophic injury include:

  • Past, present, and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  •  Loss of earning capacity
  •  Disability
  •  Disfigurement
  •  Pain and suffering
  •  Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress

Your losses will likely be much higher in a catastrophic injury accident. For that reason, it is not uncommon to get a large personal injury settlement or verdict if you go to trial.

What To Do After a Catastrophic Injury Accident

image of injured-man-inside-ambulanceIf you or a loved one receives a catastrophic injury in an accident, there are some steps that you should take right away:

  • Seek immediate medical attention. Time is crucial in mitigating the potential consequences of severe injuries.
  • Call 911. You need to make a police report about the accident, which will be used in your personal injury claim to get compensation.
  •  Take pictures and videos. If you are able, take images of the scene of the accident as well as the catastrophic injuries that occurred.
  •  Get names of witnesses. You should get the names and contact information for anyone who was present at the scene of the accident.
  •  Keep a post-accident journal. You should keep a journal that includes your pain levels, doctors, medical bills, time missed from work, and anything else relevant to your case.
  •  Contact a catastrophic injury accident attorney. As soon as you are able, you should contact a lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of your case.

Attorney Venus Poe Is Here for You

You are likely facing pain, suffering, and significant costs after a catastrophic injury accident. You shouldn’t have to deal with this situation alone. Contact attorney Venus Poe today for a consultation of your case. Call (864) 754-0823 for help.




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