Any work-related injury can be damaging and cause serious problems for you and your family. But did you know that how your injury is “defined” or “classified” can impact your workers’ compensation claim? For example, an injury that is defined as temporary means that you are likely to recover and be able to return to work. In contrast, an injury that is catastrophic will likely result in permanent disability and an inability to return to work as before.

How is Catastrophic Injury Defined?

It is important to note that while your situation may seem catastrophic to you, the workers’ compensation and legal systems may not see it that way. Determining how your injury is classified is accomplished through a careful medical examination and diagnosis, and a prognosis for recovery.

The formal definition of a catastrophic injury can be found in  42 U.S.C. § 3796b. This code defines a catastrophic injury as meaning, “the direct and proximate consequences of which permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.” Generally speaking, the workers’ compensation system considers the following injuries to be catastrophic:

  •         Brain injury
  •         Spinal cord injury
  •         Amputation
  •         Severely broken bones
  •         Permanent joint injury
  •         Loss of hearing or vision
  •         Severe burns
  •         Scarring or disfigurement

Severe injuries that cause you to be unable to return to work or the same position as before may qualify you to file a catastrophic injury claim. These claims are incredibly helpful for injured workers, as catastrophic injuries often result in significant medical bills and long-term care. The right workers’ compensation claim can provide you and your family with coverage for your medical bills and compensation for lost income.

If you are suffering from a catastrophic injury and need help filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Law Offices of Dennis R. Fusi & Associates. Let our California workers’ compensation attorney help you get the compensation that you deserve.