Catastrophic injuries, although often varying greatly in type and cause, all require extensive medical treatment. An illness or physical injury may be regarded as catastrophic when it is deemed severe and critical. This does not mean that the injury or illness is permanent (although it may be), but that it may take months or even years to mend or restore the injured person to health. Often in cases of catastrophic injuries, the degree of injury may not be realized right away – the consequences stemming from the injury may be long-term, often with lifelong effects.
Catastrophic injuries may be the result of many different causes; there exists no list of certain events or accidents that can cause catastrophic injuries. Causes of injury may range from automobile accidents and medical injuries to sports-related accidents, work-related accidents, defective products or exposure to toxic substances. It is the severity of the injury that classifies it as catastrophic.
As the causes of severe injuries may vary greatly, so do the types of catastrophic injuries sustained. Catastrophic injuries may include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and severe burns; these injuries may affect the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the respiratory system, the immune system, the muscular system, the skeletal system or the reproductive system.
Personal Injury Litigation
If you, or a loved one, have suffered a catastrophic injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The court may award monetary compensation for the losses you have experienced. In order for the court to award compensation, you must have a personal injury claim against the responsible party. The responsible party may be an individual, a group of individuals or even a corporation. When determining who is responsible for your injuries, you must consider the facts of your case. If you were injured in a car accident, due to medical negligence or from using a defective product, the responsible party may be the owner of the automobile, your doctor or the manufacturer of the defective product. A combination of persons may also be responsible for your injuries in a catastrophic injury case. For this reason, it is important to seek an attorney knowledgeable in personal injury litigation to discuss the facts of your case and help you determine the appropriate parties that may be legally responsible for your injuries.
After you have determined the responsible parties and entered litigation, you must prove your case to the court. The court may then award compensation for the damages you have suffered. The amount and type of damages may depend on the severity of your injury, the facts of your case and the jurisdiction in which the case takes place. Generally, you may be able to recover for lost wages, loss of future income, pain and suffering, medical costs incurred (for immediate treatment and any future treatment), loss of consortium and loss of quality of life.
Additionally, courts in some jurisdictions may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded by the judge or jury in addition to compensatory damages and are intended to punish the responsible parties for their actions. Punitive damages are not available in all jurisdictions and are awarded based on the circumstances surrounding the victim’s catastrophic injury.
If you have any questions regarding a personal injury claim for damages due to a catastrophic injury, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable attorney in your area. A personal injury lawyer may answer your questions, explain your legal options and help you determine the appropriate actions for you, based on your specific factual situation.