Legal Guide

What to Do if You Suffer a Catastrophic Workplace Injury

Workplace safety is becoming a concern as more workers continue to sustain work-related injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were nearly 4.26 million work-related medically consulted injuries in 2021. Moreover, 4,472 work deaths were reported, a nine percent increase from the previous year. 

“Workers in all sectors are prone to some form of accident or injury. If these injuries rise to catastrophic levels, they result in devastating economic and non-economic losses to the victims and their families. Such injuries may require one to make a workers’ compensation claim, personal injury, and third-party lawsuits,” says attorney Andrew Kryder of The Kryder Law Group.

With this in mind, what is a catastrophic workplace accident? The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) explains that catastrophic accidents result in grievous bodily harm or death. These accidents happen suddenly and have severe impacts on the victims.

As mentioned, workplace injuries can happen to workers from any industry. However, construction, mining, manufacturing, and transportation employees are more prone to catastrophic accidents. 

Examples of catastrophic work accidents include:

  • Fires and explosions
  • Exposure to toxic fumes and chemicals 
  • Crashing of body parts in machinery
  • Fatal injuries in motor vehicle accidents 
  • Hits from moving or falling objects 
  • Falls from great distances
  • Overexertion

Catastrophic Workplace Accident Injuries Explained

Catastrophic injuries have severe long-term effects ranging from traumatic injuries to temporary or permanent disability, disfigurement, or death. Here are some common injuries: 


Catastrophic workplace injuries, specifically amputations, have devastating consequences as they result in the loss of one or more limbs. This loss significantly impacts daily tasks and mobility, requiring extensive adjustments for the affected workers. Home modifications, prosthetics, specialized medical equipment, and physical/occupational therapy become necessary to support their rehabilitation and adaptation. Recovery involves physical, emotional, and psychological aspects, highlighting the importance of comprehensive support systems. 

Crush Injuries

Crush injuries occur when a body part is subjected to excessive force or pressure, typically trapped between heavy objects. These incidents lead to a range of injuries, including lacerations, fractures, bleeding, bruising, and damage to nerves and tissues. The severity of a crush injury can vary, and immediate medical attention is crucial to assess and address the extent of the damage. Prompt intervention aims to prevent further complications and facilitate appropriate treatment for a successful recovery.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) 

These injuries are the result of significant impact or forceful blows to the body or head. Such injuries can cause damage to the brain, resulting in bruising, bleeding, and other related complications. Individuals who experience TBIs may encounter a range of debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, seizures, speech difficulties, cognitive impairments, and, in severe cases, brain death. Immediate medical attention is vital to assess and manage the injury, mitigate further damage, and provide the necessary support for rehabilitation and recovery.

Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries primarily occur due to falls and traffic accidents that result in damage to the spinal cord. These injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis, often resulting in permanent loss of movement and sensation. The impact on an individual's mobility and daily functioning can be profound. Immediate medical attention is crucial to assess and manage the spinal injury, provide stabilization, and initiate appropriate treatment and rehabilitation measures. 

Mental Trauma 

In addition to the physical injuries resulting from accidents, individuals may also experience mental trauma. This can manifest as depression, anxiety, feelings of isolation from loved ones, and a diminished ability to find joy in life. Seeking treatment and therapy is often necessary to support the recovery of one's mental health. By addressing the psychological impact of the trauma, individuals can work towards healing and reclaiming their overall well-being and quality of life.

Wrongful Death 

Wrongful death occurs when individuals lose their lives as a result of a catastrophic workplace accident, causing immeasurable pain and suffering for their loved ones and family members. The surviving victims suffer from financial losses like loss of income and funeral expenses and non-financial losses like loss of familial relations. 

Key Takeaways 

If you or a family member has suffered from a catastrophic workplace injury, the first step is to seek medical attention. While doing this, you should notify your employer of the accident and hire a lawyer to help you file a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Worker's Compensation will provide benefits for medical expenses, lost wages, and death benefits for work-related injuries or illnesses. It also covers special medical equipment, rehabilitation, therapies, and home modifications to accommodate your new lifestyle. 

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