“Tort law” is a legal term to describe civil claims seeking monetary damages for injuries caused by the negligence of others. “Catastrophic tort” is the area of the law that deals with any accident caused by the fault of another that results in the victim sustaining a catastrophic injury.

A catastrophic injury is a severe injury to the spine, spinal cord, or brain, and may also include skull or spinal fractures. This is a subset of the definition for the legal term catastrophic injury, which is based on the definition used by the American Medical Association.

A catastrophic injury can necessitate a lifetime of medical care, or repeated reconstructive surgeries. Injuries that require significant medical treatment, or long-term or lifetime permanent disfigurement, impairment, or disability can be considered catastrophic personal injuries. Injuries this severe cause permanent disability, significant suffering, and substantially shorten an injured person’s lifespan up to and including premature death of the victim.

Due to their serious nature, catastrophic injuries often require a lifetime of ongoing medical treatment and personal care, especially if the accident victim is disabled and in need of permanent personal assistance. These types of injuries can be devastating to a family and many times result in the need for 24-hour care and assistance of the victim by family members and hired professionals.

Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

A severe accident can result in a catastrophic injury that could leave an individual with a long-term or permanent life-altering condition, of which recovery is often painful and possibly never-ending. Whether an individual suffered excruciating burns or a devastating neck injury from a fall, most catastrophic injuries require round-the-clock care and medical attention. 

Catastrophic injuries are injuries that affect a person’s mental or physical capacity. It can result in deformity, disfigurement, traumatic brain injury or damage, loss of limb, paralysis, spine injury, and/or loss of motor skills. It is important to note, however, that not all severe accidents or events automatically qualify as catastrophic. What makes an incident catastrophic will depend on who was harmed, the type of harm endured, and the impact of the harm on the person’s life. 

A number of circumstances can cause a catastrophic injury. However, some of the most common causes or accidents that can result in catastrophic injuries include the following:

  • Falls From High Places
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Car Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Defective Products or Devices
  • Construction Accidents
  • Sports Activities
  • Recreational Activities

If you or a loved one were involved in a severe accident that resulted in a terrible injury, it is imperative to consult with a catastrophic injury attorney who assists clients in Tulsa, OK and surrounding areas. A catastrophic injury attorney can assess your specific case and determine whether your incident and injuries qualify as a catastrophic event. 

Damages Associated With Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries do not only significantly impact the life of the victim. Family members can also shoulder the impact and consequences of a catastrophic injury. Taking care of someone who has suffered a catastrophic injury can take a financial and emotional toll. In these types of cases, it is crucial to seek the legal assistance of an experienced catastrophic injury attorney who can help victims pursue a claim or lawsuit and collect fair compensation and damages.

The road to recovery is a long and winding path. Unfortunately, most catastrophic injury claims are much more challenging and complex to resolve compared to other types of personal injury claims. In truth, the arguments and evidence presented must prove the full extent of the damages at issue. It takes skill and proficiency to prove a catastrophic case. Therefore, it is vital to hire a catastrophic injury attorney who knows how to argue and build a strong case.

The value of a catastrophic injury case is based on the severity and nature of a victim’s injuries. Some of the damages that could be recovered in a catastrophic injury claim include:

  • Medical Care
  • Future Medical Care 
  • Medication
  • Loss of Wages
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Mobility Devices
  • Medical Equipment
  • Permanent Nursing Care
  • Psychological Counseling
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Physical Therapy

One of the hardest things to accept is the effect a catastrophic injury has on a person’s life. A person with a debilitating injury may not be able to enjoy the life they once had. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to enlist the legal assistance of a catastrophic injury attorney who will fight on their clients’ behalf to obtain the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic personal injury caused by the fault of another, we at Smolen Law consider it an honor and a privilege to help our clients navigate the court system to recover the compensation they are so clearly owed.


Smolen Law’s mission is to provide exceptional legal services with integrity, professionalism and respect. Choose the Oklahoma law firm that gets results—Smolen Law.



No recovery, no fee.
(But let’s be honest, that rarely happens.)

Smolen Law
Smolen Law - The Alpha Firm
Donald E. Smolen, II
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Laura L. Hamilton
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