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Understanding Catastrophic Injuries: Causes, Types, and Legal Considerations

Photo of an unidentifiable man laying in a hospital bed.

Catastrophic injuries are life-changing experiences that can bring immense physical, emotional, and financial stress to an individual, their family, and friends. These types of injuries typically occur suddenly and unexpectedly, often leaving the victim with permanent disabilities, extensive medical bills, lost wages, and long-term care needs. Understanding the causes, types, and legal considerations of catastrophic injuries is crucial for those who have suffered such injuries, as well as their loved ones. We will take a closer look at what constitutes a catastrophic injury, the most common causes and types, and how the legal system protects victims' rights.

What Injuries Are Considered Catastrophic?

Catastrophic injuries are severe injuries that cause long-lasting or permanent disabilities, including:

  • Amputations
  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns
  • Internal organ damage
  • Severe orthopedic injuries

These injuries impact people from all walks of life and can happen as a result of various incidents:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Sporting events
  • Workplace accidents

According to data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, followed by falls, violent acts, and sports activities. Brain injuries, on the other hand, are mostly caused by falls, followed by blunt force trauma, motor vehicle accidents, and sports injuries.

The True Impact of Catastrophic Injuries

The impacts of catastrophic injuries go beyond physical limitations. They often cause significant emotional and psychological trauma that can lead to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Moreover, these injuries can have severe financial implications. The medical expenses, long-term care, and income loss can quickly add up to millions of dollars and wipe out a victim's savings. That's why it's essential to hire an experienced catastrophic injury attorney who can help the victim and their family get the compensation they deserve.

Filing a Claim

When it comes to filing a catastrophic injury claim, time is of the essence. Victims have a limited time to file a lawsuit against the responsible party, also known as the statute of limitations. In most states, the statute of limitations for catastrophic injury claims is two to three years from the date of the accident or injury. However, there are exceptions, such as cases involving medical malpractice, where the statute of limitations may be shorter. That's why it's crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure the claim is filed within the time limits.

Proving Negligence

One of the essential legal considerations in a catastrophic injury case is proving negligence. The plaintiff (injured party) must prove that the defendant (responsible party) owed a duty of care to the victim, failed to meet that duty, and caused the victim's injury. Establishing negligence can be challenging, as defendants often try to deny liability by arguing the victim's contributory negligence or other defenses. That's why it's critical to have a skilled and experienced catastrophic injury attorney on the plaintiff's side who can build a strong case and advocate for the victim's rights.

Recoverable Damages

Another crucial aspect to consider when filing a catastrophic injury claim is the types of damages that can be recovered. Damages are the compensation a victim can receive for their losses and expenses as a result of their injuries. There are two main types of damage:

  • Economic damages refer to tangible losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and future earnings.
  • Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.

An experienced attorney can help calculate the damages accurately and ensure the victim gets the full and fair amount of compensation they are entitled to.

Personal Injury Law Firm in Asheville

Catastrophic injuries are devastating events that can cause long-term harm to an individual physically, emotionally, and financially. If you or a loved one has been affected by a catastrophic injury, don't hesitate to contact a trusted attorney at Hensley Cloninger & Greer, P.C., who can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.