Can Hearing Loss or Vision Loss Be Considered a Catastrophic Injury?
Hearing loss and vision loss are two of the most frightening things that can happen to someone who is in a violent accident. Whether the sensory loss is caused by a direct injury, such as glass entering the eye in a car accident, or caused by a brain injury, the consequences can be life-changing. Even partial blindness or deafness can be devastating—but is it catastrophic? For most intents and purposes, yes.
Why Sensory Loss is Catastrophic
The term “catastrophic injury” is often associated with particularly gory injuries and extreme disabilities. However, for an injury to be called catastrophic, it need only be life-changing or permanent. Therefore, losing eyesight or hearing to any degree is catastrophic, as there are often no remedies. In situations where there can be some “cure” to the issue, like using a hearing aid after hearing loss, you would still have been put through a life-changing experience because of it.
Correct Definitions of Injuries Matter
It is important to call an injury what it is when filing for compensation. That is to say, if it is not stretch to say that hearing or sight loss is catastrophic, then it should be said. A personal injury claim is filed in pursuit of fair and maximized compensation, and that amounts cannot possibly be attained if the injury is misunderstood or downplayed.
In fact, an insurance company tactic to try to defeat a claim is doing just that: downplaying an injury and all the harm it has caused. An insurance company representative in court might try to argue that hearing loss is more of an inconvenience than an injury. They will overlook the very real hardships the sensory loss has caused, and they will conveniently forget that it was their client who caused it.
Significant hardships caused by hearing and/or vision loss include:
- Inability to hold or find gainful employment
- Loss of driving privileges
- Chronic pain caused by physical complications
- Depression while trying to adjust to a new lifestyle
- Lessened enjoyment of life
Calculating Damages Based on Hardship
When considering the damages of a catastrophic injury case, it is most often required to look well beyond economic damages or those that can be tracked using bills and receipts. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know to also consider noneconomic damages, which cannot be tied to any incurred and concrete cost. The most widely recognized noneconomic damage is “pain and suffering,” which simply describes that the plaintiff has felt undue and significant pain due to the actions of the defendant. Although the concept is abstract, everyone has been through “pain and suffering” to an extent, and so they should be able to understand the plaintiff’s perspective.
Noneconomic damages are an important part of any hearing or vision loss case since most of the hardships previously described are noneconomic. For example, the overwhelming feeling of loss due to struggling to live with a new disability has no bill or price, yet it is devastating and causes damage to the wellbeing of the plaintiff all the same.
When you work with a personal injury attorney for your hearing or vision loss claim, make sure they understand the true extent of the damage you have suffered. With their help and a solid case, you may be able to achieve the compensation that helps you find a little peace of mind and closure.