Is a Broken Bone a Catastrophic Injury?
Bone breaks and fractures can be extremely painful. The pain will depend on the size of the fracture, its location, and each person’s pain threshold. Broken bones can also prevent the use of a limb or body part for weeks or months as the bone heals, which can be incredibly frustrating.
But is a broken bone technically a catastrophic injury? Not always. For an injury to be catastrophic, most medical texts and insurance policies require it to be life-changing or life-threatening.
Why a Broken Bone Might Not Be Life-Changing
For an injury to be life-changing, it must also be permanent. Think of something like a brain injury that leaves the survivor with a speech impediment. The brain rarely heals from a wound because the nerves and neurons regenerate so slowly that it cannot keep up with the gradual worsening of damage. Therefore, brain injuries are usually permanent, life-changing, and catastrophic.
On the other hand, a broken bone might not be an injury that will cause consequences for the rest of your life. With adequate medical care and aftercare following release from the hospital, you might be able to expect that your bone fracture will heal adequately and on schedule. A fully healed bone will oftentimes act as if the break never happened. In such a lucky situation, your bone break is not catastrophic because it did not change your life, it only changed your life for a few weeks or months.
When a Broken Bone is Life-Changing
Of course, there is nothing that promises a broken bone will or will not be life-changing. The best doctors in the world cannot predict how well a bone will heal with 100% accuracy. What might appear to be a typical fracture can also become complicated as time goes on.
Bone fractures and breaks can be unexpectedly complicated by:
- Unusual healing patterns
- Sudden movements
- Bone fragility
- Subsequent injuries or strain
There is the unfortunate chance that your broken arm, for example, could heal incorrectly. You might be left with permanent side effects or symptoms, like weakened lifting strength in that arm or limited mobility. When such an outcome follows a broken bone, the injury can be considered catastrophic because it is life-changing.
Value of a Life-Changing Broken Bone Claim
How much will your broken bone injury claim be worth? It is a valid question, but it is also one that is difficult to answer.
The value of your claim will be largely dependent on just how much your broken or fractured bone has affected you and for how long. If you are only temporarily debilitated by a broken bone, then the total value will be predictably less than if the injury was permanently disabling or life-changing. The actions you can no longer complete due to your injury will also factor into the possible noneconomic damages of your claim. For example, if you can’t comfortably use your right arm anymore and your greatest passion was playing the guitar, then an experienced attorney could argue that you deserve a greater amount of compensation due to the pain and hardships caused by knowing that your passion could be extinguished or limited now.
To make the most of your broken bone or catastrophic injury claim, you should work with an experienced local attorney soon after your accident. People in Los Angeles can call (855) 906-3699 to connect with BD&J, PC. Our serious injury lawyers are standing by to help new and returning clients, 24/7. Contact us when you need us to arrange a free consultation!