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What’s the Difference Between Catastrophic and Personal Injury?


A catastrophic injury case is a form of personal injury where the victim is left with catastrophic injuries. For example, a car accident can cause either a typical personal injury accident or a catastrophic injury. If you are rear-ended because of another’s reckless driving and suffer from whiplash, you have a personal injury claim on your hands. If you are hit by a drunk driver and left with permanent paralysis, the injuries are considered catastrophic, and your claim will reflect that. 

While the claims are filed in the same manner, the stakes are different. For catastrophic injuries, the compensation and damages are much larger than for a regular personal injury claim. To fully understand the difference and how to handle each individual claim process, McPherson & Thomas, P.A. has put together a how-to guide. 

Understanding a Personal Injury Claim

A standard personal injury claim involves a negligent party’s actions directly resulting in damages and injury. This leaves the affected party eligible for compensation for their damages. There are many different subsections of personal injury, including: 

  • Auto collisions
  • Premises liability, like slip- or trip-and-falls
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice

The overlying factors of each subsection remain the same: you were owed a duty of care and that care was breached, causing damages. Personal injury claims can be filed in the state of Florida within two years of the date of injury and can be met with compensation for the cost of the victim’s losses. This includes economic damages and non-economic damages to help cover the victim’s medical bills, the cost of lost wages due to missed work, and their endured pain and suffering. Common injuries suffered in personal injury claims include whiplash, sprains and strains, bruising, bone fractures, road rash, and emotional distress. 

Understanding a Catastrophic Injury Claim

The process for catastrophic injury claims is the same as a personal injury. Your attorney will gather and assess evidence to demonstrate your injuries and damages were a direct result of their negligence and that they are liable for your accident. The difference between catastrophic and personal injury claims is the extent of the injury and the future of the victim’s well-being. Catastrophic injuries can include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Disability, like loss of hearing or vision
  • Paralysis
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Multiple broken bones

Catastrophic injury cases require far higher settlements than regular personal injury claims, as the victims are often dealing with lifelong repercussions and may need permanent assistance, medical devices, and coverage for the loss of the capacity to make earnings. Medical experts may be brought in to testify to the extent of your injuries and demonstrate the need for a worthy settlement. 

Injured in an Accident? Contact a Highly-Qualified Lawyer Today

Don’t try to navigate your personal injury claim alone. Whether your injuries fall under the category of catastrophic or not, you deserve financial justice and compensation all the same for your accident. McPherson & Thomas, P.A. is here to offer more than a quarter century’s worth of experience to your case. Our attorneys follow a people-first approach to the world of personal injury, and it shows in our success records. 

We deeply understand the sensitive nature of filing a claim against the party that injured you, and we possess the skillset to help you navigate through the process while feeling supported and in the loop. To see how we can best be of service to you today, please call a compassionate and dedicated attorney for a free case evaluation at (727) 848-8892 or use our contact form.

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