A catastrophic injury can change a person’s life forever. It could make it impossible for them to enjoy the things they used to, work at a regular job, or live without a live-in nurse. For this reason, those affected should seek compensation with the help of an experienced lawyer.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury is defined as an injury that is so severe that it results in permanent disability. For example, a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or multiple fracture injuries can all be considered catastrophic, especially if these injuries impair your ability to work.

In Canada, what is classified as a catastrophic injury or catastrophic impairment is governed by legislation called the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). As the United States has a less specific criteria for what constitutes a catastrophic injury, SABS can help here. However, you should speak to a lawyer to determine if your injury is considered catastrophic in the US. 

SABS has 8 separate criteria to determine if an injury counts as a catastrophic impairment:

  • Paraplegia (paralysis of the legs) or tetraplegia (paralysis of legs and arms)
  • Loss of vision in both eyes that may or may not be corrected by glasses or surgery
  • Severed impairment of ambulatory mobility or amputation of legs and arms
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) that causes a vegetative state of loss of mobility
  • TBI that causes hospitalization or impaired neurological functioning
  • Physical impairment resulting in 55% or more physical impairment of the whole person
  • A behavioral or mental impairment (not by TBI) resulting in 55% or more impairment
  • A class 4 or 5 impairment in multiple areas of function that precludes useful functioning

How Can You Seek Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury?

Since each case is different, those affected by or know someone affected by a catastrophic injury should contact a catastrophic injuries lawyer in their state immediately. 

The experienced lawyers at Zayed Law Offices, for example, can take your case if you live in Chicago or a surrounding area. They can walk you through the trial process and get you the compensation you deserve. They can also set you up with a trusted case manager. 

Finding a great case manager is important, as some insurers will supply their own if you don’t have a lawyer. This could cause the case manager to hold a bias for the insurer. 

How Is Compensation Determined for a Catastrophic Injury?

The average settlement for a catastrophic injury claim is between $20,000 and $75,000, but it can be much higher depending on the injury and the lifetime costs associated with it. After all, most people can’t afford an unexpected medical bill, let alone one for a spinal cord injury.

Before coming up with a figure, your lawyer and case manager will assess how they can recover damages. This constitutes the client’s defense. A client can recover damages under more than one defense, which is why your lawyer will look at the full extent of the injury.

Compensation may be recovered for the following:

Medical Expenses: Includes cost of emergency room care, hospitalization, surgery, and lifelong treatment like rehabilitation, management, and multiple treatments (if necessary)

Loss of Income: Includes lost wages due to injury and loss of earning capacity 

Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Includes prescriptions, medical supplies, medical equipment, home modifications, vehicle modifications, and home attendant care (nurses)

Pain and Suffering: Includes the emotional effects of a catastrophic injury 

Exemplary Damages: Awarded if there’s proof of fraud, malice, or gross negligence on behalf of the person or business who may have caused you catastrophic injury

Loss of Consortium: Includes the loss of physical intimacy between spouses 

The right lawyer can ensure you get the maximum compensation for a catastrophic injury case.