How Long Does it Take to Recover From Catastrophic Injuries?


Injuries suffered in car crashes, workplace incidents and other scenarios vary in their seriousness. Sometimes a person might escape with a few cuts and bruises. But far too often, personal serious injuries change people’s lives forever. These are called catastrophic injuries.

What Is Catastrophic Injury?

Like most states, Colorado does not have a legal definition of catastrophic injury. Instead, the way to tell if an injury is “catastrophic” is by evaluating its degree of seriousness.

If a serious injury causes a person to have great difficulty recovering and prevents them from ever returning to a normal life, the injury is most likely catastrophic. Those who sustain these debilitating, life-altering injuries may:

  • Need multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation
  • Require live-in care
  • Require alterations to their home, such as adding a wheelchair ramp
  • Be permanently disabled, perhaps by paralysis or amputation
  • Have a lower quality of life

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

Our Denver lawyers have represented clients in personal injury and workers’ comp cases involving a wide range of devastating injuries. Some examples include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord damage and paralysis
  • Loss of limb (amputation)
  • Serious burns and scars
  • Disfigurement
  • Organ damage
  • Multiple fractures
  • Loss of vision or hearing

Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries

If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligent or deliberate actions, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and be entitled to compensation.

Those who suffer catastrophic injuries can seek compensation for both “economic” and “non-economic” damages. Economic damages are quantifiable items like medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages are intangible and therefore harder to value. Pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of quality of life are some examples.

In Colorado, there is no limit to how much you can recover in economic damages. However, the state has caps on non-economic damages.

For injuries suffered between January 1, 2022 and January 1, 2024, the maximum allowable recovery is $613,760 , which the court can increase to as much as $1,227,530 if there is clear and convincing evidence to do so.

Colorado also has a third category of damages, physical impairment, which are not capped. Although not defined, these damages typically provide for the loss of function an injured person has sustained, like use of a limb, range of motion or strength of a body part, cognitive impairment or compromised organ system.

When it comes to catastrophic injuries, it’s critical to seek an experienced personal injury attorney who can investigate your case. A lawyer can help set realistic expectations and determine the best course of action available to you.

Get a Free Consultation with a Denver Serious Injury Attorney

If a catastrophic injury caused by someone else’s negligent actions has affected your life, you deserve a lawyer who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. At Keating Wagner Polidori Free, we have decades of experience handling these serious cases successfully.

We offer a free initial consultation where you can meet with one of our lawyers, explain your situation and learn about your legal options. We can meet with you virtually or come to your home if your injuries don’t allow you to travel. Arrange yours today by calling us at 303-534-0401 or send us a message.