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Paul M. D'Amore
Paul M. D'Amore

Founding Member, Trial Lawyer

What is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the term "catastrophic" is defined as an action or event that causes sudden and very great harm.

It is important to know what is considered a catastrophic injury after an accident because these types of claims are handled differently from the average personal injury claims. An injury that is catastrophic can present unique challenges when compared to soft tissue injuries. The compensation and damage caps for these injuries may differ from other personal injury claims.

If you believe you've suffered a catastrophic injury, talk to catastrophic injury lawyers from Baltimore immediately. Lawyers can help you figure out your next steps after an injury and they can handle your settlement negotiations while you rest and recover.

How to find the best personal injury lawyer.


Defining a Catastrophic Injury

The federal definition of a catastrophic injury is the consequence of an injury that permanently prevents an individual from performing any gainful work. Since catastrophic injuries are extremely severe, they usually impact a victim for  life. In some cases, the amount of damage from a catastrophic injury may be unknown for an extended period.

A catastrophic injury may leave you:

  • • Permanently disabled
  • • Requiring special accommodation or lifelong care
  • • Severely physically scarred, disfigured, or deformed
  • • Incapable of doing your job and losing income

The effects of catastrophic injuries deserve a higher level of compensation than other personal injury claims. Technically, these injuries are still personal injuries, but they warrant more damages.

The idea behind higher compensation for victims who suffer catastrophic injuries is that they suffer more for their injuries. They need more money to pay their medical bills, surgeries, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages.


Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Typically, catastrophic injuries have a significant effect on a victim's organs, spine, brain, or limbs. Events like car accidents, trucking accidents, pedestrian accidents, and medical malpractice incidents can cause these types of injuries. 

Some common examples of catastrophic injuries include:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

When the head or brain encounters sudden force, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may occur. Blows, bumps, or jolts to the head may cause brain damage, affecting how the brain works. 

TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. Roughly 176 Americans die every day from TBI-related injuries. In 2019, there were over 223,000 TBI-related hospitalizations.

Falls, motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries, child abuse, and being struck by objects are some of the causes of closed head injuries. Accidents such as explosions and natural disasters can also cause TBI.

While these types of injuries differ in severity, TBIs can be serious. Anyone who suffers brain injuries may permanently remain in a vegetative state or experience locked-in syndrome. Victims of TBIs may experience limited cognition, memory loss, loss of sensation, seizures, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, or nausea.

Bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are at an increased risk of sustaining TBIs. Still, other road users, including passenger car occupants, can sustain brain injuries.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Every year, around 17,000 new spinal cord injuries happen in the U.S., and trauma to the vertebral column causes most of these.

A spinal cord injury is any damage to part of the spinal cord or nerves, often causing changes in body function, sensation, and strength. After a spinal cord injury, the spinal cord is unable to transmit messages between the body and brain. This type of injury may paralyze the victim, affecting their mobility.

Symptoms of a spinal cord injury may include:

    • Difficulty walking
    • Impaired breathing
    • Numbness in your feet, fingers, toes, or hands
    • Loss of bowel or bladder control
    • Significant back pain
    • Paralysis
    • Twisted neck or back

Depending on the severity of the spinal cord injury, you may require lifelong specialized care and physical therapy.

Loss of Senses

If an individual loses their sense of sight or hearing after an accident, their lives change forever. These injuries require special accommodation for victims both at home and at work. Losing your sight or hearing can tremendously affect your quality of life.

Limb Amputation

Having a doctor surgically remove a part of your body, like your leg or arm, after an accident can be traumatic. Losing your limb can affect how you walk, write, work, drive, and eat. You may also sustain unbearable pain, become physically challenged, and suffer mental trauma.

Limb amputations become necessary when surgeons can't save your life without removing the limb. If your hand or leg is pinned or crushed after an accident, you may require urgent limb amputation.

The most common complication associated with limb amputation is phantom limb pain. These are pain signals that one experiences even after amputation surgery.

Amputees also deal with high medical costs after their accidents, such as:

    • Surgery 
    • Prosthetic expenses
    • Pain medication
    • Mental health therapy
    • Physical therapy 

Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to pursue punitive damages for your limb loss.

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries in any type of accident can be extremely painful and life-threatening. Burns can cause long-term mobility issues and severe disfigurement. Victims of burn injuries may also sustain permanent scarring after auto accidents in Baltimore, MD.

If you've sustained first, second, or third-degree burns, you should seek immediate medical attention and contact a catastrophic personal injury lawyer.

Internal Injuries

After an accident, the injuries to internal organs can be considered catastrophic — depending on the severity. Injuries to critical body parts such as kidneys, the liver, and the spleen can be life-threatening.

Consult Our Baltimore Catastrophic Injury Lawyers for Legal Advise


If you or someone you care about has suffered a recent catastrophic accident, you may be worried about your financial future. An experienced catastrophic injury attorney can help you pursue your personal injury claim and recover expenses for medical treatment, lost wages, future earning capacity, assistive devices, and counseling costs.

At D'Amore Personal Injury Law, our catastrophic injury lawyers are ready to help you and your family get the justice you deserve. Our legal team will calculate your damages and push for the best compensation. Contact us today to speak to a catastrophic injury lawyer regarding your claim.

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