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What constitutes a catastrophic injury?

An injury of any kind is likely to disrupt your life and routine. Whether you suffer a sprain that heals is a few weeks or a bone fracture that demands months of recovery, the frustration and pain you will experience are sure to make an impact. Some injuries have a far more devastating impact, though, and leave victims' bodies with irrevocable evidence of a traumatic accident. 

Such injuries are often referred to as "catastrophic injuries," but you may be wondering what exactly defines this category and makes it worse than other kinds of injuries. The following are three criteria that may be used to qualify an injury as catastrophic:

Physically debilitating

An injury is often considered catastrophic if it is physically debilitating to a severe extent. You could have an injury that prevents you from performing certain tasks or causes pain when you move a certain way. While these injuries should not be dismissed, a catastrophic injury, by contrast, will typically render a person unable to perform daily tasks or move without assistance. This level of physical debilitation is indeed catastrophic. 

Psychologically traumatic

In addition to the physical trauma of a catastrophic injury, you can expect to experience significant psychological trauma, too. It is no wonder why—being seriously hurt is a terrifying experience, and it is even more difficult to deal with when you must adjust to a new life without the abilities and routines you had taken for granted. An injury that inflicts psychological trauma may be catastrophic. 

Permanent and severe

Many injuries, including severe ones, can be mitigated through therapy and treatment options that gradually help a person recover. Some injuries, however, cannot ever be resolved and are, in fact, permanent. A traumatic brain injury, for example, may leave victims with lifelong symptoms, including behavioral issues, loss of memory and confusion. Permanent injuries such as these are catastrophic.

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