What constitutes a catastrophe? Certain things stand out as clear examples. The World Trade Center attack surely counts as one, as do the mass shootings of recent months. The reality is that a catastrophe can be any occurrence if someone endured sudden and severe injury or perhaps death. In that context, a catastrophic event could be a huge earthquake or as simple as a slip and fall accident.
No one can say when an unspeakable tragedy will occur. When you do suffer one, it can leave you vulnerable in many ways. The question then becomes what should you do to be sure that you protect your rights and avoid as much unnecessary distress as possible?
Those with experience in dealing with disasters know that they tend not to happen in isolation. That is, after a major calamity, many players enter. Police and other emergency personnel are the first on the scene, followed perhaps by the media. After that come investigators and representatives of individuals, companies, insurers and other interested parties. There will also be attorneys.
Any of them might seek to speak with you, but doing so might not be in your best interest. It depends greatly on whether they have a financial interest in settling liability questions quickly. And so, it is wise to exercise a measure of healthy skepticism about those who approach you. It's important to be open and transparent with police and emergency personnel, but it might be better to be cautious in speaking with others you aren't sure of.
If you know or have a personal attorney, it might be wise to reach out to him or her. From there, you may be referred to an attorney with specific experience in personal injury matters who can assess your case for potential liability and determine how to go about seeking optimal compensation.