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Defining Catastrophic Impairment

When you are in an accident, your injuries are classified in different ways by your insurance company. The reason for this is so that the insurance company knows what kind of claim you will be making and how that claim will be treated.

A catastrophic injury or impairment is one of the more severe classifications that is used, and it is not used lightly. When the insurance company designates an injury as catastrophic, it is typically done after a long series of medical and psychological tests. It can sometimes take weeks before the insurance company will give an injury a catastrophic designation. The reason for this is because a person with a catastrophic impairment is entitled to benefits that a person with a non-catastrophic injury does not have access to.

In the province of Ontario, a catastrophic impairment is commonly put into a subcategory and then dealt with on a case by case basis. Those subcategories include, but are not limited to:

  • Complete or partial amputation of any limb. The severity of the impairment may be based on how significant the amputation is and which limb has been amputated.
  • Psychological Disorder. This type of impairment can be the most difficult for an insurance company to categorize because it requires a comprehensive testing process. This impairment can take weeks to determine.
  • Glasgow Coma Scale Impairment. This is another impairment that can take some time to determine, but it is a bit more cut and dry than a psychological disorder. This impairment deals with levels of consciousness following a traumatic incident, as measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale.
  • AMA Measurement of Permanent Impairment. The American Medical Association has a set of guidelines that determine the level of impairment a person is suffering. If the patient meets or exceeds 55 percent of the criteria the AMA has set forth, then he or she is considered catastrophically impaired.
  • Paralysis. This impairment is often either classified as paraplegia or quadriplegia. The insurance company will require a complete examination by a doctor to determine the extent of the damage and which classification to use.
  • Blindness. When blindness occurs as the result of a personal injury accident, then it can be classified as a catastrophic impairment.
  • When you are being evaluated for a catastrophic impairment, you should have an experienced personal injury lawyer in your corner at all times. Do not allow the insurance companies to dictate your future.

    For assistance with a personal injury or insurance claim, please email David at dhimelfarb@himprolaw.com. To be contacted immediately click here, or call 1-855-446-7765 for a free case evaluation.

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