What is an Incapacitating Injury?

incapacitating injury

A general definition of an incapacitating injury is a non-fatal injury that is evident to witnesses or observers of the accident. Many people may also define an incapacitating injury as a catastrophic, non-fatal injury that prevents victims from functioning at their normal capacity. Serious injuries that would be included in this definition could include severe cuts, head injuries, back injuries, and much more. It can take the injured person weeks or months to recover from an incapacitating injury. When they do recover, they’re oftentimes partially or permanently disabled. Incapacitating injury victims suffer physically, emotionally, and financially for many years following the injury. Thankfully, victims can seek justice and financial compensation via a personal injury lawsuit.

You may have grounds to file a claim if you or someone you love is the victim of an incapacitating injury that is a result of someone else’s negligence. Albany personal injury lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck want to hear your story and help you determine if you have a strong case. Call us today at 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

What is an Incapacitating Injury?

Incapacitating injuries are those classified as catastrophic injuries. The KABCO injury scale defines an incapacitating injury as “severe lacerations, broken or distorted limbs, skull fractures, crushed chest, internal injuries, unconscious when taken from the crash scene, and unable to leave the crash scene without assistance.”

Most U.S. states describe an incapacitating injury similarly: a non-fatal injury that prevents the person from walking, driving, or functioning normally after their accident. A suspected serious injury, such as an incapacitating injury, oftentimes includes unconsciousness momentarily at the crash or accident site.

An incapacitating injury usually requires emergency medical treatment in order to save the injured person’s life.

incapacitating injuries

Examples of Incapacitating Injuries

Examples of severe injuries falling under this definition include:

  • Abdominal injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Chest injuries
  • Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury or a subdural hematoma
  • Neck injuries
  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Broken or distorted limbs
  • Severe lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries that cause temporary or permanent paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Chronic pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Severe road rash
  • Any injury that may prevent a person from accomplishing their normal day-to-day tasks they were once capable of performing prior to the injury.

In many cases, the victims of incapacitating injuries suffer from lifelong disabilities or pain. Meaning that depending on the severity of the injury, the injured person likely can’t work, care for themselves, or take care of family members. The injured person and their loved ones might suffer great physical, emotional, and financial distress as a result.

Those who suffer an incapacitating injury as a result of someone else’s negligence might have grounds to file a catastrophic injury claim to recover financial compensation. Victims and their families can receive damages for their pain and suffering, medical treatment expenses, caregiving bills, physical therapy expenses, and much more by hiring a strong team of Albany catastrophic injury attorneys.

What is a Non-Incapacitating Injury?

Based on the same KABCO injury scale, a non-incapacitating injury is defined as “lumps on the head, abrasions, and minor lacerations.” A non-incapacitating injury is generally an injury that causes significant bodily harm but is not enough to disable the person completely after their recovery.

Examples of Non-Incapacitating Injuries

Examples of non-incapacitating injuries can include:

  • Bruising and abrasions
  • Minor cuts
  • Bloody nose
  • Minor head injury, including lump on the head or concussion
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Minimal scarring
  • Dislocation of a joint
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Minor neck injury such as whiplash
  • Any minor injury that results in minimal to no impairment

One who is minorly injured may still require medical attention, including a general physical exam, stitches, pain medication, slings, and so on. Although, there isn’t a serious injury preventing the injured person from walking, driving, or doing normal activities. Therefore, the injury they sustained is relatively minor and doesn’t warrant immediate emergency care.

What is a Possible Injury?

A possible injury is described on the KABCO injury scale as “momentary unconsciousness, limping, and complaint of pain with no evident injury.” Many other states define a possible injury as a suspected serious injury at the crash site.

Examples of Possible Injuries

Examples of possible injuries can include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Joint dislocation
  • Internal injuries, including organ damage
  • Momentary unconsciousness
  • Minor head or neck injuries such as a concussion or whiplash

Possible injuries have the capability to turn into incapacitating injuries based on the circumstances surrounding the accident. This is due to many people experiencing a major adrenaline rush during a motor vehicle accident which prevents them from experiencing the full extent of the injuries until the adrenaline wears off and they calm down.

Fight or flight is a powerful response, allowing people to fight for their lives and survive regardless of their underlying injuries. Bystanders of the crash scene may be able to label someone as having a “possible injury” because regardless of a minor limp or pain complaint, they’re functioning as normal. The injured may later experience chronic pain and possibly severe organ damage as their adrenaline begins to wear off.

If one is classified as having a possible injury as the result of a motor vehicle crash that later turns into an incapacitating injury, one may have grounds to file a catastrophic injury claim against the at-fault party. The personal injury attorneys at Bailey, Johnson, and Peck, P.C. can help determine your best course of action after hearing your story.

incapacitating injury meaning

What is a Fatal Injury?

Fatal injuries are injuries that are so severe that they lead to death. A fatal crash is one where at least one person involved suffers death within 30 days of the crash.

Family members of those who have suffered fatal injuries might have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. Our experienced Albany wrongful death attorneys at Bailey, Johnson, and Peck, P.C. has the knowledge it takes to fight for justice in both personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Common Causes of Incapacitating Injuries

The absolute most common cause of incapacitating injuries is motor vehicle accidents such as nursing home falls, home or apartment fires, car accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, accidents that are a result of texting or driving under the influence, etc. However, there are a wide variety of accidents in which people can sustain incapacitating injuries. If your incapacitating injury occurred as a result of any of the following incidents, you might have grounds to file a catastrophic injury claim.

We provide more information on specific incapacitating injuries on the following pages:

New York Pure Comparative Fault Rule

New York’s pure comparative negligence law entitles you to collect damages following an accident as long as you’re not found to be 100% at fault. Even if the other party is found 1% responsible, you’re entitled to 1% in damages.

You might file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company even if they weren’t 100% at fault. You and the other driver will be awarded damages based on the proportion in which each person is found responsible for the accident.

Damages for an Incapacitating Injury

The compensation amount to be recovered by injury victims depends on a wide variety of factors, including injury severity, recovery time, whether you’re permanently disabled or not, length of time you missed work due to your injuries, and many more. Albany personal injury attorneys at Bailey, Johnson, & Peck can help you build your case. Items typically covered in damages include:

  • Past and future medical care expenses
  • Past and future physical therapy expenses
  • Assistive services if the accident victim is partially or permanently disabled resulting from the car accident.
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lost wages
  • Lost or diminished earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Property damage
  • Funeral and burial expenses if fatal injuries were a result of the auto crash
kabco scale

Call an Albany Personal Injury Lawyer at Bailey, Johnson & Peck Today

If you or a loved one have suffered incapacitating injuries as the result of a major accident that was caused by negligence, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim. Whether your injuries are the result of a car crash, premises liability violations, defective products, and more, Bailey, Johnson, & Peck can fight for you. Our attorneys are experienced and compassionate and have what it takes to negotiate with insurance companies and fight for justice on your behalf. We will handle the legal matters so that you can focus on your recovery. Call the Albany personal injury attorneys at 518-456-0082 to schedule your free case evaluation today.


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We have represented many clients on both sides of personal injury and insurance disputes. Let us use our depth of knowledge and experience to help you and your family get the medical care and financial compensation you need and deserve.