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What is a catastrophic injury in personal injury law?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2023 | Injuries

People are injured daily in Maryland, and many of these injuries result from other parties’ negligence. Some can also be classified as catastrophic. Victims of a personal injury accident, catastrophic or otherwise, are able to seek damages in court.

Catastrophic personal injuries

While many people may know what a personal injury is, defining a catastrophic personal injury may be more difficult. A catastrophic injury is much worse than a typical personal injury. It is usually permanently disabling and prevents a person from returning to work. The victim of a catastrophic injury may even require assistance to continue performing basic tasks.

Examples of catastrophic injuries

Unfortunately, there are many ways in which a person may become the victim of a catastrophic injury. These include injuries such as:

  • neck and back injuries
  • severe burns
  • loss of limbs
  • traumatic brain injuries
  • nerve damage
  • ligament damage
  • disfigurement
  • significant bone fractures

The legal principle of negligence

Whether or not a catastrophic injury can be used for a successful lawsuit depends on whether the party being sued can be proven negligent. For negligence to have occurred, the following must be present:

  • a legal duty of care
  • a breach of that duty of care
  • an injury resulting from that breach
  • evidence that the breach caused the injury

If these four elements can be proven to exist in a personal injury case, then a lawsuit may be successful. Most people, for example, can be shown to have a duty not to injure others.

Since catastrophic injuries are so severe and permanent, the possibility of obtaining a high amount of restitution exists. Restitution includes monetary damages for medical expenses and damages calculated based on the negative impact on that person’s quality of life.