What is a catastrophic injury?

Car crash injuries range in severity based on the type of vehicles involved and the severity of the incident. The medical community and insurance companies may deem some injuries catastrophic.

The damage to the body in a catastrophic injury is enough to create an entire change in the way a person lives. It may necessitate lifetime medical treatment and result in permanent disability. Some catastrophic injuries may lead to an early death. Learn about some of the most common examples of this serious consequence of a car crash.


Damage to the head during a crash may result in something called a traumatic brain injury. The severity of the damage to the brain in an accident is mostly dependent on things such as

  • The speed at the time of the collision
  • The vehicles involved
  • The type of restraint system utilized
  • The road conditions

A crash that involves a car and semi-truck is most likely to result in a TBI or other catastrophic injury. The size of the truck maximizes the potential for severe damage to a vehicle and its occupants. A person who suffers TBI may wind up needing life-long care. The most severe brain trauma results in premature death.

Spinal cord injury

The central nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord are extra sensitive to injury. The protection afforded by the skull and spinal column, respectively, sometimes is not enough to stop damage. A spinal cord injury often results in the loss of use of part of the body. Depending on where the injury occurs on the spine will dictate the corresponding loss. The higher up the spinal cord, the likelier complete paralysis occurs.

Suffering damage this severe may warrant medical rehabilitation that lasts the remainder of one’s life. The challenges faced may necessitate a finding of wrongdoing in a collision.

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