Firm Recognition:
Recognized as Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Texas by The National Trial Lawyers
Named Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters Business
Recognized in Best Lawyers in America publication
Recognized as Top 500 Leading Plaintiff’s Lawyers by Lawdragon Magazine
Recognized in the Texas Lawyer Top Verdicts and Settlements
Recipient of 50 Year Service Award by Houston Bar Association
Honored for Nation’s Top One Percent – NADC
Recognized as Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers
Recognized as Top 40 under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers
Recipient of the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents Litigator Award
Call today @ 281-283-8500 | No Recovery, No Fee
Call today: 281-283-8500
Legal Blog

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury is one that changes your life. The injury occurs suddenly, and the way you feel and move through daily life after the injury is different from your experiences before the injury. These kinds of injuries can change your physical abilities, cognitive abilities, and even your emotions and interactions with friends and loved ones.

Because of the often comprehensive effects of a life-changing physical injury, it is critical for you to receive compensation that will cover your medical bills and keep you on stable financial ground. To ensure your settlement or verdict at trial is fair and truly meets your needs, secure legal representation from a skilled Houston catastrophic injury attorney.

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

There is no exhaustive list of catastrophic injuries. The common factors are that they are long-term, typically permanent, change your ability to work and earn, and affect your quality of life.

Examples of catastrophic injuries include, among others:

  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Spinal cord damage causing partial or full paralysis
  • Deformities
  • Nerve damage
  • Burns
  • Amputations
  • Damage to the internal organs
  • Traumatic brain injuries

How Catastrophic Injuries Can Happen

Catastrophic injuries can happen just about anywhere. Even a “simple” slip on ice can lead to a brain injury. Along with slips and falls, these life-changing injuries can result from motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, workplace accidents, and defective products, among others.

According to the United Spinal Association, 17,700 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries annually. Causes include but are not limited to:

  • Motor vehicle accidents: 39.3%
  • Falls: 31.3%
  • Acts of violence: 13.2%

If you sustain a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of violence, you deserve substantial financial compensation; and, you will need that compensation to mitigate the effects the injury has on your life. To secure a just settlement or obtain an appropriate verdict at trial, reach out to an experienced catastrophic injury attorney.

The Effects of Catastrophic Injuries on Your Life

There is a domino effect to these consequences of catastrophic injuries. Changes to one aspect of your life prompt effects in others.

Physical and Cognitive Abilities

A physical catastrophic injury, such as an amputation, may not affect your cognitive abilities but does obviously change your physical capabilities. Your body is forever changed, and you will have to find new ways of accomplishing physical tasks. Sometimes, these physical limitations cause emotional and psychological effects such as anxiety.

When the catastrophic injury involves brain trauma, your abilities to think, reason, speak, and remember can all be diminished. Consequently, you will face new physical limitations, even if your body itself has not sustained damage. If your brain can no longer communicate with your body’s parts and systems, those parts and systems cannot carry out their functions.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that at least 50% of people afflicted with brain injuries will see a further decline in their daily lives within five years of the injury, and most will face additional risks, such as substance abuse and depression.

Employment and Income

In many cases, a catastrophic injury will prevent you from working, or at least from working in the same capacity as you did prior to the accident. If your injury is purely physical, there may be other jobs more accommodating to your condition, still giving you the potential to earn. However, some physical injuries may leave you in chronic, extreme pain or paralyzed and therefore unable to work.

Cognitive injuries usually stop you from working and earning permanently.

Financial Stability

As you lose your income, your expenses will accrue. Medical treatment and care for catastrophic injuries are often ongoing and always costly. You will probably face additional injury-related expenses as you will need to pay others to fulfill responsibilities you can no longer manage on your own, such as childcare and household maintenance, and you may need construction on your living environment or a new place to live to suit your changed abilities.

The bills, income loss, and additional expenses can put you and your household in serious financial distress.

Your Future Health

Just as a traumatic injury often leads to further decline, any catastrophic injury can affect your future health and future healthcare costs. According to The World Health Organization (WHO), spinal cord injuries bring an increased risk of secondary serious health issues, including:

  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Muscle spasms
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Chronic pain
  • Respiratory diseases

Many who live with catastrophic illnesses rely on assistive technologies for mobility, communication, self-care, or other activities. These technologies, as well as the incidence of secondary illness, add to already significant medical costs. A Houston catastrophic injury lawyer will consult with medical experts to ensure your future expenses are appropriately anticipated and covered in a settlement or at trial.


Catastrophic injuries may leave you unable to care for yourself independently. You may need to rely on others to manage your basic hygiene, prepare and possibly feed you your meals, and provide transportation. If you need to hire others for this support, your finances will be affected even further.


Relationships can suffer after a catastrophic injury, especially those involving traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries can bring personality changes and affect the injured person’s ability to express and understand emotions.

A Houston catastrophic injury lawyer will assess the effects of your injury comprehensively and determine an amount that brings you justice and secures your medical care and financial future.

Damages You Can Collect for a Catastrophic Injury

Securing compensation after sustaining a catastrophic injury is critical to your well-being. A catastrophic injury lawyer in Houston will help you pursue this much-needed financial relief.

The amount your lawyer will ask for depends on the effects of your injury and the circumstances of your accident, so no cases are exactly alike. However, you can expect your attorney to demand coverage for economic costs, non-economic damages, and possibly punitive damages.

Economic Costs

These include any injury-related effects that have cost you money. Your medical bills and future medical care, income loss, and value of property damaged in the accident will all be included in the settlement demand. If you will be out of work permanently, your attorney will factor in lost potential earnings and other work-related benefits.

Non-Economic Costs

No amount of money can restore your quality of life, independence, cognitive functions, and ability to interact with loved ones as you once did. An experienced catastrophic injury attorney will know what compensation you deserve for these devastating losses.

Non-economic compensation also acknowledges the pain and suffering you and your loved ones have and may continue to endure.

Punitive Damages

When your injury results from the at-fault party’s intentional act or especially egregious act of negligence, you may be entitled to punitive damages. While economic and non-economic damages provide compensation, punitive damages punish the at-fault party for their behavior.

Connect With a Houston Catastrophic Injury Lawyer to Get the Financial Compensation You Need

The trauma caused by a catastrophic injury is overwhelming. The Houston catastrophic injury attorneys at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. are here to help you through that trauma and toward healing, contact us today. With compassion, experience, and extensive knowledge of personal injury law, we will take your case through the legal process so you can focus on recovering. We will fight for the justice you deserve and the financial compensation you need for a healthier and more hopeful future.