Home / Blog / Is a Broken Bone a Catastrophic Injury?

Most people consider broken bones a short-term injury since they heal within a few weeks or months. In some cases, however, a broken bone can cause lasting damage. When a broken bone from an accident such as a car wreck or slip and fall leads to a long-term disability, you may have suffered a catastrophic injury.

Broken bones may qualify as catastrophic injuries if they interfere with your long-term ability to live independently. Read on to explore when a broken bone qualifies as a catastrophic injury and how a personal injury attorney from Wagner Reese can help you recover compensation for your damages.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

Indiana Code § 35-31.5-2-34.5 defines a catastrophic injury as any severe injury that significantly impairs your ability to live independently for at least a year. This also includes certain disabilities resulting from the injury, like paralysis, intellectual disability, blindness, or deafness.

If, after breaking a bone in a personal injury accident, you need assistance for daily life tasks, you may have suffered a catastrophic injury. This includes cooking, cleaning, or caring for your personal hygiene. Fractures that have minimal to no impact on these tasks are unlikely to be considered catastrophic.

How Can a Broken Bone Affect Your Life?

A severely broken bone can interfere with your independence and ability to perform daily tasks. You may be unable to drive, work, or partake in hobbies you enjoy. Routine tasks like laundry may become a challenge while you heal.

Some types of fractures have severe or longer-lasting effects. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that a fractured femur or thigh bone impairs the ability to walk and can take over six months to heal. Surgical costs associated with broken arms can reach nearly $16,000 and $35,000 for a fractured leg.

This painful, long-lasting injury can prevent you from working or caring for yourself, leading to long days in bed or on the couch. However, bills don’t stop just because you are unable to work. Compensation via a personal injury lawsuit can help you cover your medical and everyday expenses while you focus on recovering.

Can I Receive Compensation After Breaking a Bone?

A severely broken bone caused by someone else’s negligence can take a financial and emotional toll. You may find yourself weighed down with medical bills, caregiver costs, and even the expense of adapting your home. Frequent pain and a loss of independence can also be emotionally challenging.

If you fractured a bone due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a catastrophic injury claim. While it cannot undo your injuries, it’s possible to recover financial compensation from the person who caused your injury. A claim will hold them accountable for your damages and help you cover many bills and expenses.

For example, consider a scenario where you were struck by a car while walking on the sidewalk, shattering the bones in your legs and fracturing the vertebrae in your spine. As a result, you need another person’s help to care for yourself and adapt your home for your disability. In this case, you may be able to file a claim against the driver of the car, as they were negligent by driving onto the sidewalk.

To understand your legal options and potential compensation, contact an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer to determine what kind of claim you can file. You may be able to recover the cost of your medical bills and lost wages as well as file for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Proving a Catastrophic Injury

In a catastrophic injury claim, you are responsible for proving the seriousness of your damages and the other person’s negligence. You can work with your Indiana catastrophic injury lawyer from Wagner Reese to help you collect admissible evidence to support your case.

You and your attorney might collect some of the following evidence to submit to the other party’s insurer to secure a settlement:

  • Proof of the accident, like security camera footage
  • Evidence that the other party is responsible for your injuries
  • Witness testimony of the accident
  • Medical records documenting your symptoms and treatment
  • Testimony from medical professionals about your prognosis
  • Evidence of financial costs, like medical bills or lost wages
  • Testimony about how the accident has affected your life

Consult with Wagner Reese Today

If you have suffered a life-altering bone break due to another person’s negligence in a car crash, fall, or workplace accident, the attorneys at Wagner Reese can help. We will investigate your accident, including medical records, police reports, and photographic evidence, to construct a strong claim for your catastrophic injury case.

Our attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, so you can focus on healing and getting back to normal.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation to start your case.