Though employers do everything that they can (in most cases) to create a safe work environment, accidents do happen. In most cases, injuries are relatively minor and quickly heal, allowing the employee to get back to work with little to no time missed. In other cases, injuries can be far more severe.
In the case of catastrophic injuries, these are injuries that permanently prevent someone from the ability to perform any gainful work. This means that the injury is so serious and so severe that the person will be left with long-lasting, permanent damage.
Those that have suffered a catastrophic injury may have lost a limb, lost their ability to walk, lost use of an arm, or suffered brain damage making it difficult if not impossible to hold a coherent thought.
In these cases, it is highly unlikely that the person will be able to return to work. And, if they can do so, they will likely require some sort of modifications on behalf of their employer, to get through the day and complete their job duties. What are some common catastrophic injuries?
Types Of Work-Related Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries usually come in one of three types:
- Physical injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cognitive injuries
Physical injuries generally include situations where amputation was necessary, injuries related to burns, severe bone fractures, organ damage, or other bodily damage that hinders the orthopedic function or tissue.
Spinal cord injuries affect just the spinal cord and cause permanent hindrance to mobility for those that survive the injury. And cognitive injuries are related to brain damage.
These cognitive injuries are often the costliest in terms of recovery, both emotionally and financially. To be considered a catastrophic cognitive injury, these injuries are tied to brain damage that removes the ability for a person to work, to hold a conversation, to remember their past life, or to hold and build new memories.
Catastrophic Injuries Affect More Than The Injured Person
Catastrophic injuries are a challenge not only for the person who suffered the injury but also for the family members who need to assist with their care going forward. In many cases, catastrophic injuries mean that a family member needs to quit their career to focus exclusively on the care of their injured loved one. In other cases or when a family member is unable to quit their job, caretakers are hired, and this can be extremely expensive for families as insurance will rarely cover full-time care.
When someone experiences a catastrophic injury, it is life-changing, to say the least. Even though these injuries can take place in the workplace, employers will take many efforts to limit the amount that they pay in workers’ compensation claims. When employers have a lot of claims, their insurance premiums become higher. This creates quite the conundrum.
In the event of a catastrophic work injury, it is important that the victim or the victim’s family members reach out for assistance. While the family needs to spend time caring for their injured loved one, an experienced workers’ comp attorney can work on the family’s behalf to ensure that the injured worker receives the compensation that they are due.