If you have been severely injured in an accident in California, you may be suffering from a catastrophic injury. According to the American Medical Association, a catastrophic injury is any type of injury that results in death, a permanent severe functional disability, or any severe impairment as seen with spinal injuries, skull fractures or closed-head injuries.
Some catastrophic injuries are much more common than others. You are more likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury, for example, than any other type of catastrophic injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every year in the United States, around 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury in an accident. TBIs also contribute to 30.5 percent of all injury-related deaths on an annual basis. Although falls are the most common cause of all TBIs, most TBI-related deaths occur as a result of motor vehicle traffic accidents.
Amputations, while less common than other injuries, are also classified as catastrophic. According to the Amputee Coalition, nearly half of all amputations are performed due to trauma, affecting almost 83,000 people in the U.S each year. Severe burns and paralysis due to damage to the spinal cord are also often considered catastrophic, depending on the severity of the resulting injuries.
Whenever an injury severely impacts your ability to function in your daily life, whether or not it is just prolonged and not permanent, it may be classified as a catastrophic injury. Although motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of these injuries, they may also occur due to slip-and-falls and medical malpractice.