When you become injured in a car crash, those injuries can certainly seem catastrophic to you. But are they really?
Per an article in The Lawyer’s Monthly, no definition exists as to what constitutes a catastrophic injury. Nevertheless, these extremely serious injuries share some or all of the following characteristics:
- Require a long stay in the hospital
- Usually require a long period of physical therapy afterward
- Disable you, either partially or totally
- Leave disfiguring scars
- Negatively impact your ability to keep your existing job or obtain new equivalent employment
Examples of catastrophic injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Crush injuries
- Burn injuries
- Blinding injuries
Any of the above represent a life-altering injury from which you never fully recover and must adapt to a “new normal” life. For instance, a spinal cord injury often results in paralysis that requires you to use a wheelchair in order to get around. A crush or amputation injury that deprives you of one or more of your limbs requires a prosthesis. A severe burn injury usually leaves lasting disfiguring scars. An eye injury that substantially reduces your vision or totally blinds you requires your use of a white cane, guide dog or human guide to navigate the world.
All in all, the catastrophic injuries you can sustain in a car crash change your life forever. In addition, they are enormously costly, not only in terms of medical expenses, but also in terms of physical pain and suffering and mental and emotional anguish. Many people who receive a catastrophic injury develop subsequent conditions such as PTSD, nightmares, flashbacks and other symptoms that disrupt their lives for years to come.