Managing The Cost of Catastrophic Injuries

What You Need To Know About Managing Costs of Catastrophic Injuries

The last thing you want to think about after a catastrophic injury is money. The sad truth is that these significant injuries can damage your financial health. High medical costs, lost income, property damages from the accident, and more can make your life difficult. 

In this article, learn all you need to know about managing the costs of catastrophic injuries. We help you understand what you face and how to work through it.

What Are Catastrophic Injuries?

An injury is typically considered catastrophic when it causes life-changing, lasting trauma. Catastrophic injuries usually require long-term rehabilitation, ongoing care, and surgical intervention. They can result in permanent physical, mental, and emotional harm. Catastrophic injuries may even lead to mental impairment, memory issues, or mood disorders. It may rob you of the person you love, who is now changed forever.

Catastrophic injuries include:

  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Severe skin damage
  • Chemical, electrical, and thermal burns
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Many accidents can lead to catastrophic harm, including:

The Costs of Catastrophic Injuries After an Accident

After a devastating accident, the costs can accumulate quickly. You can watch bills pour in while you are off work and wonder, “What am I going to do?” Many of the following costs are expected from a catastrophic injury:

Medical Expenses

Medical care is costly at the best of times. It can get even worse when you suffer a catastrophic injury. These costs can quickly become astronomical. You or a loved one might spend days, weeks, or even months in a hospital. Your treatment could include life-saving surgeries, emergency room care, long-term rehabilitation, and much more. You may need skin grafts after severe burns and long-term skin treatments.

Many patients require multiple surgeries to correct their injuries. Your personal insurance may help in these situations, but the care is expensive regardless of your coverage. You may still need physical therapy for many months or years to get back to your full health — if that is possible. If you suffer from paraplegia or quadriplegia, your medical costs will continue for the rest of your life.

Lost Income and Lost Earning Capacity

You will likely be unable to work while you recuperate from a catastrophic injury. Lost wages can compound your financial problems. As your bills come in, you have no money to pay them. This can rapidly escalate into a significant problem if not managed properly. Lost income is a calculation of the wages you would have earned had you not been injured. Recovering this amount can help you recuperate your losses and repair your financial situation.

Lost earning capacity damages occur when you can no longer earn the same income you did before the accident. For example, a catastrophic injury may mean you can no longer work as a skilled welder and must find new, lower-paying employment instead. You may be entitled to the differences in your earning ability. If you are unable to work at all, you may be entitled to the future income you would have earned but for your catastrophic injuries.

Long-Term Care and Rehabilitation

Many catastrophic injuries require long-term care. For example, according to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, individuals with spinal cord injuries have an estimated lifetime cost of medical care ranging from $1.2 million to $5 million. This includes at-home care or time in a specialized medical facility.

Long-term care facilities are quite costly and can be devastating to a person’s finances. Proper management and a successful personal injury claim can help a great deal.

Therapy and Psychological Care

Catastrophic physical injuries can also lead to severe psychological trauma. This can result in conditions such as:

  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • Suicidal ideation or suicide attempts

How To Manage the Cost of Catastrophic Injuries

Several methods can help you manage the costs of your catastrophic injuries. 

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

One of the best ways to solve your financial problems is to secure payment from the responsible party, usually the negligent person or company that caused your injuries. Imagine you were in a severe car accident when a truck hit your vehicle. The truck driver failed to check his blind spot and pushed you off the road, causing severe harm.

A personal injury claim pursues compensation from the liable party or parties who owe you financial compensation. It pursues damages such as:

  • Medical costs
  • Property damages
  • Lost earning capacity and wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship and support
  • Wrongful death damages

Claims With Insurance Companies

You can seek compensation from insurance companies responsible for the accident, which can include the defendant’s insurer and your own insurance company. Often, your insurance company will pay your costs initially while you seek compensation for the accident.

The most common insurance claims occur with automobile insurers and medical insurance providers. These often pay for expenses such as ambulance trips, hospital fees, surgical costs, and other medical treatment issues. 

Working with insurance companies can be tricky as insurance adjusters try to avoid paying claims. Adjusters may try to trick you into admitting partial or total fault for an accident with confusing questions or forms. You should consult an attorney before discussing your catastrophic injuries with an insurance company.

Social Security Disability Insurance 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) helps those who qualify with their costs. Adults or children must meet the requirements of a qualifying disability to receive these funds. An attorney can help you apply for SSDI when appropriate to help you manage your costs.

Manage Your Finances After a Catastrophic Injury

The costs of your catastrophic injury can quickly get away from you without proper management. A personal injury lawsuit or other claims may help you win the compensation you need to manage your finances and move forward with your life.


Morris & Dewett provides this information to the public for general education and interest. The firm does not represent clients in every topic discussed in answers to frequent questions. The information is curated and produced based on questions commonly asked or search terms commonly used. Every effort is made to provide accurate information. Do not make any decision solely based on the information provided, please seek relevant counsel for each topic area. Consult an attorney before making any legal decision, consult a doctor before making any medical decision, and consult a financial advisor before making any fiscal decision. Information provided is not legal advice. If you have any legal needs, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are pleased to assist you.

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