What Is A Catastrophic Injury and Can I Claim?

If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of the negligence of someone who had a duty of care towards you, you could be considering making a claim for compensation. For the purposes of this article, this kind of injury can be defined as a very severe one that has a serious and negative impact on your quality of life. 

Catastrophic injury

Catastrophic injury claims guide

Catastrophic injuries could result in a permanent and severe disability that negatively affects how you usually live your life. In some cases, people may die as a result of being catastrophically injured. 

Read on to find out more about making a claim for these kinds of injuries. You could also get in touch with our team of advisors for free legal advice relating to your case. They may be able to pass you on to a solicitor from our panel to help you start your claim today. 

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  1. What Is Considered A Catastrophic Injury?
  2. What Could Cause This Kind Of Injury?
  3. Are Catastrophic Injuries Different To General Injury Claims?
  4. How Does The Personal Injury Claim Process Work?
  5. Examples Of Catastrophic Injury Settlements
  6. No Win No Fee Catastrophic Injury Claims

What Is Considered A Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury could be any injury that is severe enough to have a permanent effect on someone’s life. For example, this could include an injury that has resulted in a permanent disability of some kind. 

Catastrophic injuries can be physical or cognitive. Compensation can be awarded for both kinds of injuries. In order to claim, however, you need to show that you sustained these injuries as a result of a third party not upholding a duty of care.

Types Of Catastrophic Injury

Examples of injuries that could be catastrophic include:

You could claim for multiple injuries if your accident has caused you to experience more than one of the above. For example, you could experience a traumatic limb amputation and a loss of sight in a workplace accident.

However, this section is not exhaustive. There could be other injury types that could be catastrophic. To find out more, call our team of advisors today. 

What Could Cause This Kind Of Injury?

You could potentially suffer a catastrophic injury in a multitude of ways. Some examples could include:

For example, if you were in a car accident that led to the traumatic amputation of your arm, this could be considered a catastrophic and life-changing injury. You would only be able to claim if the other driver breached the duty of care they owe you as found in the Highway Code

Another example could be if you suffered severe brain damage after a slip, trip or fall accident at work. Similarly, your employer would need to have breached the duty of care that they owe you according to the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

If you’ve suffered a life-changing injury in another way, you may still be eligible to claim compensation. Get in touch with us today to find out more. 

Are Catastrophic Injuries Different To General Injury Claims?

Generally, catastrophic injury claims are handled the same as most personal injury claims, as catastrophic injuries can be classed as very severe personal injuries. However, if the injury has led to a fatality, the claims process could be slightly different. This would be classed as a fatal injury claim. 

When making a personal injury claim, your compensation could consist of two different heads of claim; one of these is general damages. This aims to cover the cost of any suffering you have experienced or suffering you may experience in the future. For this reason, a catastrophic injury may result in a higher general damages award, as the suffering is greater. 

If someone dies of catastrophic injuries, you could claim compensation on their behalf. In order to do this, you would need to be a qualifying relative as outlined in the Fatal Accidents Act 1976

You could also claim a bereavement payment; this is a flat rate of £15,120. It can only be claimed by the husband or wife of the deceased, or their parents if they were unmarried and a minor.

How Does The Personal Injury Claim Process Work?

You may be wondering what steps you could take towards making a catastrophic injury claim. If you have been severely injured in an accident, we first recommend seeking immediate medical attention. This could include ringing 999 or potentially seeking out your nearest emergency services

Once you have received the necessary medical help, you could then start thinking about the practical steps of making a claim. You could potentially start gathering evidence to help your case.

You can do this without a solicitor, but we always recommend hiring one. They have the relevant experience to know what evidence will give your catastrophic injury case the best chance for success. This could include:

  • CCTV footage of the accident
  • Photographs of the accident or your injuries
  • Medical reports from the time of your injury
  • Accident reports such as from the workplace logbook
  • The contact details of any witnesses so that a statement can be taken at a later date

The next step of the claims process may be attending an independent medical appointment. If you hire a solicitor from our panel, they can help you organise this and ensure that it is in your area to reduce travel time and costs. A medical professional will assess the severity and effects of your injuries so that the general damages element of your claim can be more accurately valued. 

If you hire a solicitor on our panel, they can support you every step of the claims process and work their hardest to settle your claim out of court. Settling out of court is preferable, as it can be a costly and time-consuming process. 

Contact our advisors today to find out more about how the solicitors on our panel could help you with the claims process. 

Examples Of Catastrophic Injury Settlements

This section includes a table of potentially catastrophic injuries and the general damages figures attached to them. These figures are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines, which is a publication that produces compensation amounts based on previous settled claims. Legal professionals use this document to help value what a personal injury claim could be worth in general damages. 

However, it is important to note that these figures are not guaranteed. A more accurate estimate of what you will receive will come from the independent medical appointment. 

InjurySeverityAmountNotes
Death(B)£9,870 to £10,010Severe burns and lung damage causing really severe pain. This is followed by a loss of consciousness after 3 hours and death 2 weeks later.
Paraplegia-205,580 to £266,740The presence and extent of pain, degree of independence, life expectancy and impact on sexual function will all be judged.
BrainVery Severe£264,650 to £379,100There may be some ability to follow basic commands and open the eyes at the top of this bracket. But there will be little if any meaningful response to the environment, little to no language function, double incontinence and full-time care will be necessary.
BrainModerately Severe£205,580 to £264,650Injury will result in a serious disability with a substantial dependence on others and a need for constant care. The disabilities may be physical, such as paralysis, or cognitive, such as intellect impairment. The life expectency may also be reduced and there may be a risk of future issues.
Sight(A)Around £379,100Total blindness and deafness.
NeckSevere (i)Around £139,210There may be associated incomplete paraplegia with little to no movement in the neck and severe headaches.
ArmAmputation£225,960 to £281,520This is for the loss of both arms which reduces a person to a state of considerable helplessness.
LegAmputation£98,380 to £129,010This covers the above-knee amputation of one leg. This will be judged on the level of amputation, the severity of phantom pains, associated psychological issues, the success of prosthetics and other negative side effects.
Jaw(i)£28,610 to £42,730Very serious multiple fractures that necessitates prolonged treatment and permanent consequences that include severe pain, restrictions in eating and a risk of arthritis.
Facial Disfigurement(A)£27,940 to £91,350There will be very severe scarring in relatively young claimants (teens to early 30s) where the cosmetic effect is disfiguring and the psychological reaction serious.

You could also potentially claim compensation for specific financial costs that have resulted from your injury. This is known as special damages. This could cover:

  • Travel expenses
  • The cost of independence aids such as a wheelchair or hearing aid
  • The cost of adaptions to the home, such as a wheelchair ramp or shower room
  • Medical expenses not covered by the NHS
  • Loss of earnings

Another benefit of special damages is that you could also claim for possible future financial loss, such as future lost wages due to your injury.

To claim special damages, you need to provide evidence that the costs were a direct result of your catastrophic injury. This could include receipts for independence aids or invoices for adjustments to the home. 

If you want more information about what you could claim, get in touch with our team of advisors today for personalised advice about your case. 

No Win No Fee Catastrophic Injury Claims

After reading our article, you hopefully will understand a little more about what a catastrophic injury is and how you could claim compensation for one. However, you may still be concerned about the costs of hiring a solicitor to help you with your claim. 

If you’re worried about affording a solicitor’s fees, a No Win No Fee agreement could be beneficial. The solicitors on our panel offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis, which means you don’t have to be concerned about upfront or ongoing costs. You don’t need to pay the solicitor for their work at all if your claim does not succeed. 

However, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation amount if your claim is successful. They’ll only deduct this once you receive your settlement. The success fee is also legally capped, meaning your solicitor cannot charge you over a certain percentage.

If this type of agreement is something you’re interested in, get in touch with our advisors to find out more. They could pass you on to a solicitor from our panel who could help you start your claim today. 

Where To Get More Help

Thank you for reading our guide. We hope it answered any questions you may have had. For more helpful resources, please see below. 

Have You Been Injured at a Public Train Station? – If you’ve been injured at a train station, our article can help you figure out how to claim compensation. 

Payouts for Below Knee Amputation of Both Legs – How much could you claim for the loss of both legs below the knee? Our guide could help you. 

Payouts for a Hand Injury Caused by Sawing – If you’ve severely injured your hand in a saw accident, you could claim compensation. Our article can tell you how. 

Health and Safety Executive – The HSE is an independent regulator for health and safety at work in the UK.

Amputation – An NHS guide on amputation and what it could mean. 

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) – This is a registered charity aiming to reduce the number of accidents using advice and guidance. 

Thank you for reading our guide on catastrophic injury claims. 

Article by AO

Publisher ET