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Have you or a family member suffered a life-altering injury? If someone else is at fault, or the accident was due to negligence, then you are entitled to compensation. But not all injuries are the same. Some injuries just require immediate treatment and a recovery period. After that, a person can return to their normal daily life. But there are other injuries that have a profound effect on a person’s life, one that can be permanent, affecting their ability to complete normal daily tasks, earn money, and properly function overall. Legally, this kind of injury is known as a catastrophic injury. Let’s take a closer look at what this is and why it’s important.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
The legal definition of a catastrophic injury is one that directly or indirectly prevents a person from performing any gainful work. The ability to be employed and earn an income is a key component in defining a catastrophic injury legally, but the ramifications of such an injury extend far beyond employment. In addition to lost earnings, a catastrophic injury can put a great deal of stress on the victim’s family. Such injuries often lead to a lifetime of disabilities as well as medical bills.
What Is the Difference Between a Catastrophic Injury and a Personal Injury?
A catastrophic injury is a kind of personal injury. It is the kind that will have serious consequences throughout a person’s life.
What Causes Catastrophic Injuries?
A catastrophic injury can happen anywhere and at any time. Some common examples of causes of catastrophic injuries include:
- Car Accidents
- Commercial Truck Accidents
- Injury from Consumer Products
- Medical Negligence
- Defective Medical Devices or Drugs
- Property Negligence
- Physical Attacks
- Sports Accidents
These are just a few examples. Most accidents happen completely unexpectedly, and there is a wide range of causes overall.
What Are Examples of Catastrophic Injuries?
Spinal Cord Injuries
This is a major subset of catastrophic injuries, as it is one of the most common and devastating types. There is a wide range of potential causes of spinal cord injuries, including car accidents, slips and falls, and on the job accidents. The severity of a spinal cord injury can vary from whiplash to permanent paralysis.
Something as minor as a slip and fall can lead to a herniated disc, requiring serious surgery and causing great pain and suffering. For the most serious types of spinal cord injuries, including paralysis, lifelong care and intensive medical treatments, are required. Too often, insurance companies will try to not pay, and when they do, they will pay the lowest possible amount.
With catastrophic injuries of the spinal cord, you may be offered a settlement that seems like a large sum upfront. However, when compared to the lifetime of care and the lost wages and stress for family members, it will not be nearly sufficient to provide you with what your medical needs require.
Burns, such as third and fourth-degree burns that penetrate through the first two layers of the skin, can cause lifetime disabilities and medical issues. One major effect is that the immune system may be permanently weakened by the burns, causing a person to be much more susceptible to infection for the rest of their life. Causes of serious burns can include instances where a person is exposed to thermal burns (those from heat or steam). These include fires from car accidents. Burns from radiation, chemicals, and electricity can also cause severe burns.
While this might not seem like a major worry to the average person, electric shock and electrocution are caused by faulty electronics, 70% of the time. This means that if a person has suffered the serious consequences of an electrical injury or even death, there is a good chance that someone is at fault.
While uncommon, electrical injuries are oftentimes severe, and it is not uncommon for them to lead to death. Even electric accidents with low levels of electricity can cause severe burns.
Leading to a host of complex issues that vary widely in severity, a brain injury can lead to permanent damage, oftentimes causing cognitive damage as well.
Losing a limb has permanent effects on a person’s ability to live their lives and requires medical follow-up permanently. Recovering from a traumatic amputation is a long recovery process that requires the full support of a person’s family and friends for help, and it requires having the right financial support. If the accident occurred due to negligence, then you should receive full support.
Why Are Catastrophic Injuries Unique
Representing a client in a catastrophic injury case requires special know-how of all aspects of this branch of law. Because of the circumstances that surround catastrophic injury, additional factors have to be taken into account:
- Impact on the Family: With catastrophic injuries, it is oftentimes not just the victim who is directly impacted, but the family as well. This kind of compensation can be more complex, but it is very important.
- Future Expenses: Catastrophic injuries cause lifelong effects. This leads to future costs which a victim is entitled to receiving.
- Higher Stakes: Because a great deal of money is at stake, insurance companies will invest great legal resources into fighting claims.
What Kind of Compensation Is Available for a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury leads to sudden and irrevocable consequences. Quite suddenly, a person’s life is turned upside down, and by the nature of the accident, the effects are likely to be permanent and will certainly be long felt. Some of the expenses which a person is entitled to have covered include:
- Medical Expenses
- Emotional Suffering
- Lost Compensation/Wages or Earning Potential
- Rehabilitation Costs
- Home Remodeling for Accessibility
- Mental Health Counseling
- Other Losses and Damages
It’s critical that a person who is experiencing the effects of a catastrophic injury has a knowledgeable person fighting for them, ensuring that they get what they need and what they are entitled to. Mark Thomas is the right lawyer to help you get what you need for now and for the future when faced with a catastrophic injury. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation at 404-999-3258.