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Philadelphia Med Mal & Birth Injury Lawyer / Blog / Birth Injury / What is a Catastrophic Injury?

What is a Catastrophic Injury?


Model depicted is not actual client.

Catastrophic injuries have the potential to change the course of a victim’s entire life. Not only do victims often experience physical, psychological, and emotional trauma after a catastrophic injury, but they may face expensive medical treatment as well.

These factors can derail a victim’s personal and professional life. In the wake of such a devastating incident, it’s in victims’ best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help them recover the compensation they may need to pay for high medical bills and lost wages.

Catastrophic Injuries Defined

In order for an injury to be considered “catastrophic,” several criteria must be met. Namely, it must be demonstrated that the injury is so severe that it seriously affects a victim’s ability to return to the life they once enjoyed.

This may mean that the victim cannot return to work, provide for themselves and their family, or participate in activities that once brought them happiness.

Additionally, catastrophic injuries often require surgical treatment. This, compounded with the potential for lost wages, can combine to hundreds of thousands of dollars in sudden, unexpected costs for the victim. These factors can present a significant financial and emotional burden for victims and their families.

Catastrophic Injury Examples

Certain types of injuries are typically always considered “catastrophic,” because they frequently require extensive medical treatment and ongoing care.

The most common examples of catastrophic injuries include the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Injuries requiring amputation
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Severe scarring or disfigurement
  • The need for lifelong medication
  • The need for lifelong physical therapy

It’s important to keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. There are certain soft tissue or organ damage injuries that may also be considered catastrophic, since they may impact a victim’s ability to return to their normal, day-to-day life.

Below, our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys discuss some of the more common of the aforementioned injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur as a result of a blow or jolt to the head. In many accidents, such as car accidents, truck accidents, or sports injuries, the head and brain experience rapid acceleration or deceleration.

This results in the head moving while the brain is slower to catch up. When the brain finally does catch up, it bounces against the interior of the skull, leading to bruising and a subsequent injury.

The severity of the accident and injury may lead the TBI to be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. While mild TBIs may resolve on their own in days to weeks with proper rest, many severe TBIs last for the remainder of the victim’s life. Often, severe TBI victims cannot return to work or live independently.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are one of the most common types of catastrophic injury, and are often one of the most devastating. They can range from herniated discs to partial or complete paralysis.

Some of the most common causes of catastrophic injuries include the following:

  • Auto accidents
  • Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
  • Assaults
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Defective or dangerous products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Sports injuries
  • Explosions

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can be incredibly devastating for victims. Not only do they cause physical and psychological trauma, but they also may result in severe scarring and disfigurement.

There are three classifications of burn injuries, and each presents different symptoms:

  • First-degree burns: These are the mildest types of burns. Only the top layer of the skin is affected.

  • Second-degree burns: These burns are more serious and affect the upper and lower layer of skin. Victims often experience pain, reddening of the skin, and blistering.

  • Third-degree burns: These are the most severe types of burns. The upper layer, lower layer, tissue, and bone are all affected. These types of burns result in charred, blackened skin and extreme pain and numbness.

Recovering Damages After a Catastrophic Injury

In the wake of a catastrophic injury, you may be left with rising costs in medical treatment, live-in care, and lost wages. In this situation, it’s in your best interest to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you recover the maximum possible compensation from negligent parties.

The damages that your attorney can recover for you may include the following:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium

An experienced attorney will be able to help you through the process and take the matter largely out of your hands.

Suffered a Catastrophic Injury? We’re Here to Help

If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at The Villari Firm, PLLC are here to help.

We have helped countless injury victims across the state recover the compensation they deserve. Our firm achieved the following results for clients:

  • $20,000,000 for a baby who suffered brain damage
  • $12,000,000 settlement after a school bus accident
  • $11,000,000 verdict awarded in a childbirth case
  • $9,750,000 settlement in a medical malpractice case
  • $8,000,000 verdict in a helicopter crash case

When you decide to work with us, you’ll partner with Heidi G. Villari, a top-rated Philadelphia personal injury and a trusted source of representation for the injured and their families. Ms. Villari is known for her results-oriented counsel, her professionalism, and her willingness to go the extra mile for clients.

Contact The Villari Firm, PLLC at 267-388-9429 to schedule a free consultation.

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