Catastrophic Injury FAQ
What is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is a physical injury or illness that is regarded as extreme or particularly serious, has a considerable impact on the victim of the injury or illness and needs a considerable amount of medical treatment.
These injuries may not always be permanent, but take months or years to heal and in some cases, the full extent of the injuries may not be known for years to come. The effects of such injuries may be long lasting, both physically and emotionally.
Examples of such injuries include:
- Extensive burns
- Loss of limb
- Severe brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Injuries causing paralysis
These injuries may affect many of the body’s systems, such as the central nervous system, gastrointestinal, urinary, respiratory, circulatory, excretory, or reproductive systems.
A wide variety of events may cause a catastrophic injury. There is no one particular type of accident that determines if an injury may be classified as catastrophic. The severity of the injury itself makes this determination. Some examples of accidents may be automobile or motorcycle accidents, accidents that occur in the workplace, defective products, toxic substances, birth injuries and injuries due to fire or other disasters.
What types of damages can I receive for Catastrophic Injuries?
The amount and type of loss depends on the injury and the situation that caused the injury.
Damages for catastrophic injuries may include:
- Medical costs (at the time of injury and future medical treatment)
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income (if the injured party will not be able to work for a period of time, even permanently)
- Loss of household services
- Costs of additional care
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Shortened life span
In addition to these types of damages, courts in some jurisdictions will also award punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by the judge or jury in addition to compensatory damages. The goal of punitive damages is to punish the responsible party for the injuries the victim has suffered. Not all jurisdictions will award punitive damages and not all cases will warrant such an award.
Who is responsible for a Catastrophic Injury?
If the injury suffered by the victim was caused by an intentional act, negligence, or a defective product, there may be a cause of action for personal injury.
When determining who is responsible for your catastrophic injury, it is important to look at the specific facts of your case. There may be more than one person who played a role in the sustained injuries. Depending on your case, the responsible party may be your doctor, nurse, hospital or other medical personnel, the owner of the motor vehicle that caused your accident, your employer or the manufacturer of a defective drug or product.
It is important to seek an attorney with experience in catastrophic injury cases to handle the investigation and assist in determining the appropriate parties who may be responsible for your injuries.