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A catastrophic personal injury is an injury that is so serious that it leaves the victim with permanent damage. When the injuries are so severe that they change the victim’s life forever, the injuries are considered catastrophic. These injuries are typically the result of physical harm to the brain or spine, which may have a long-term impact on the victim’s functional capabilities.
Additionally, a catastrophic personal injury often has a greater impact on a victim’s life than other types of injuries. Therefore, the damages that victims suffer from catastrophic injuries tend to be much higher than those sought in other personal injury cases.
WHAT IS CATASTROPHIC INJURY LAW?
When a catastrophic injury is caused by the negligent or intentional misconduct of another, or by a defective product, a personal injury claim may be an integral part of improving their quality of life, including the quality of medical care they receive. Due to the huge financial implications involved with a catastrophic injury, it’s important for the victim to determine the value of their claim. Specifically, an attorney may assist a victim in seeking compensation for the damages they have experienced, including lost wages; loss of enjoyment of life; pain and suffering; lost future wages; permanent disability; and medical bills.
CATASTROPHIC INJURY CAUSES
Catastrophic injuries may be caused by any accident, but many involve the negligent acts of others. Common causes of catastrophic injuries include:
Car accidents that involve speeding and minimal braking before the point of impact have the potential to cause devastating, catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injury and/or traumatic brain injury.
Unfortunately, some health care professionals may act negligently when performing risky medical procedures. Many catastrophic injuries happen when a medical professional is operating on the wrong patient, performing surgery on the incorrect body part, or leaving an object inside a patient.
Catastrophic injuries may occur in the workplace when objects fall on workers, workers are amputated while operating machinery, or employees are crushed by heavy objects or equipment.
Slip and Fall Accidents
When a property owner fails to ensure that visitors are safe from harm while on their property, catastrophic injuries may occur. For example, when a property owner fails to make inspections or repairs, hazards may arise such as broken staircases or unsecured railings that may cause a slip and fall accident that leads to a catastrophic injury.
When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the results are often devastating for the unprotected pedestrian who is no match for a heavy vehicle.
TYPES OF CATASTROPHIC INJURIES
The most common types of catastrophic injuries include:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
- Multiple bone fractures
- Loss of smell, sight, or other senses
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neurological disorders
- Burn injuries that result in disfigurement or scarring
- Severe nerve or ligament damage
- Birth injury
Some catastrophic injuries might be more difficult to detect than others. For example, a victim with a head injury may recover from their physical injuries but may have lasting mental disabilities, including:
- Mood swings
- Personality change
- Memory loss
- Inability to concentrate
WHO MAY BE LIABLE
Catastrophic injuries usually cause the victim to suffer massive monetary damages, so it’s important to identify all parties who may be responsible for your injuries. The following parties may be responsible for a victim’s catastrophic injury:
Manufacturer of a Product
A manufacturer of a product may be liable if a product was negligently designed, or had inadequate safety warnings or safety guards, and caused an injury.
If you were injured while on the job, your employer may be liable for failing to provide a safe work environment. That employer may be liable for damages under a tort theory or under workers’ compensation laws.
In trucking accidents, airline, or cargo issues, the transportation company may be liable for an accident or in a bus accident, the bus company or its driver.
Place of Business or Residence
If the injury occurred due to an unsafe premises, that business may be to blame for failing to ensure the safety of its visitors. If the injury occurred at a residence, a landowner or tenant may be liable.
If the injury occurred from a car crash, the other driver or drivers may be the negligent parties who caused the crashed.
Doctors and/or Hospitals
If the injury occurred during an operation or as a result of a misdiagnosis, the doctor or health care professional may be the one responsible for the injury. On the other hand, if the injury resulted from the hospital’s lack of care due to unsafe or unsanitary premises, then the hospital may also be liable.
HOW A CATASTROPHIC INJURY LAWYER MAY HELP
The assistance of an experienced catastrophic injury attorney may help you bring a successful claim. Generally, an experienced catastrophic injury attorney may:
Assist You in Determining Liability
An experienced lawyer may assist you in determining how much you may be entitled to for your injuries based upon each party’s percentage of fault. A lawyer may also help you determine who or what may be responsible for your injuries.
Assist You in Collecting and Organizing Evidence
An attorney may help you collect as much evidence as possible, such as names of witnesses and other parties involved in the accident, medical records and costs of treatment, and any photos of the accident scene.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement with the Insurance Adjustor
A lawyer may understand how much your case is worth and may assist you in conducting negotiations with the insurance company to help you seek a fair settlement amount.
Recovering after an accident is difficult, especially when that accident caused catastrophic injuries, which is why hiring an experienced personal injury attorney may help relieve that stress after an accident by assisting you in seeking the compensation you may be entitled to.
COMPENSATION FOR CATASTROPHIC INJURIES
Typically, damages for personal injury claims fall under two categories: economic or non-economic damages.
The two main types of economic damages are medical expenses and lost wages. Medical expenses may include:
- Ambulance transportation
- Hospital fees
- Costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Costs for possible future medical treatment
Lost wages represent the time you are off from work due to your injuries from the accident. Lost wages may include:
- Vacation time
- Loss of earning capacity
You may also be entitled to compensation for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident. This may include the cost of a rental car while your own vehicle is undergoing repair.
Non-economic damages are losses or injuries that are suffered by an accident victim, but are not defined in monetary terms. Non-economic damages may cover:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Physical disfigurement
- A lowered quality of life
- Mental anguish
CATASTROPHIC INJURY SETTLEMENTS
The purpose behind personal injury settlements is to make the victim “whole,” meaning that personal injury lawyers work to negotiate settlements that allow victims the opportunity to lead a life as normal as possible under the circumstances. For example, when a catastrophic injury makes it impossible to walk, a settlement may assist a victim in achieving some form of mobility by ensuring the victim has the financial ability to afford a new wheelchair or even long-term physical therapy.
In some cases, including conditions that confine a victim to bed or cause severe brain injury, compensation may focus on providing professionals who ensure the victim's comfort and safety. This compensation may include the cost of a residential care facility or the expense of a home nurse.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE AN INJURY CLAIM?
The statute of limitations provides a deadline by which an accident victim must file a lawsuit. Once this deadline passes, the victim is barred from bringing their legal claim in court and from being able to seek compensation for their injuries.
You meet the statute of limitations by filing your lawsuit by the deadline. Negotiating with the insurance company is not enough to beat or extend the time limit. Filing your summons and complaint in the right court of law is how you’ll meet the statute of limitations, which is why consulting with an experienced catastrophic injury attorney may assist you in bringing a timely and successful injury claim.
GET HELP FROM OUR CATASTROPHIC INJURY ATTORNEYS
At Zinda Law Group, our catastrophic injury lawyers have the experience and knowledge that has helped injured victims seek compensation after suffering catastrophic injuries from an accident.
If you or a loved one has sustained catastrophic injuries after being involved in an accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with our personal injury attorneys. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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