Many people suffer serious injuries from accidents every day, including car accident injuries, construction site injuries, oil field injuries, defective product injuries, and commercial truck accident injuries. But what counts as a “catastrophic” injury, and what does that mean for your case?
There are many different catastrophic injury types and causes to be aware of if you’ve suffered serious injuries in an accident.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries are often severe but are different from severe injuries. Usually it is a “catastrophic injury” if the victim will never make a full recovery and will suffer lasting effects for the rest of their life.
The court will consider certain factors when labeling an injury as catastrophic, including:
- If the injury causes a permanent disability like loss of vision or paralysis
- If the victim needs professional assistance in daily activities at home or in assisted living
- If the victim suffers a permanent loss in quality of life
Types of Catastrophic Injury
Catastrophic injuries often involve permanent, life-altering effects. This can include chronic pain, nerve damage, decreased mobility, paralysis, development of a permanent disability, or a reduction in cognitive function.
Different catastrophic injury types often include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Third- and fourth-degree burns
- Limb amputation
- Permanent loss of vision or hearing
- Spinal cord injury
- Organ damage that leads to permanent partial or total loss of function
Catastrophic injuries often have much higher costs for medical care, as well as lifelong medical costs for pain medications, prosthetics for lost limbs, mobility devices like scooters or wheelchairs, or home safety upgrades like a step-in tub, home hospital bed, or stair lift chair system.
Statute of Limitations to File a Catastrophic Injury Case
Catastrophic injuries fall under the personal injury law umbrella. In most states, you have two to three years to file your personal injury claim in court. Some cases involve exceptions to the statute of limitations that you should know. If the negligent party that caused your injuries was a government entity, you may have a limited time to file a notice of claim or similar documentation to the appropriate court.
Other exceptions include a longer statute of limitations if the victim was a minor or mentally incompetent, or if the prospective defendant left the state before the victim could serve their lawsuit.
You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident to determine when you need to file your catastrophic injury claim. Your attorney can submit the appropriate forms for your lawsuit with enough time to build your case.
Recovering Compensation in Catastrophic Injury Claims
In most catastrophic injury claims, you need to pursue compensation for your injuries in a lawsuit. Most insurance companies don’t want to pay the costs of catastrophic injury claims, so they deny or attempt to devalue legitimate claims.
A knowledgeable injury attorney can help by:
- Gathering evidence from the accident scene
- Looking for witnesses
- Speaking with the insurance company on your behalf
- Hiring an accident reconstructionist to create a simulation of the accident events
- Collecting expert witness statements from medical professionals about your injuries
Contact an Experienced Injury Lawyer
There are many different catastrophic injury types that different kinds of accidents can cause. If you suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident, contact us at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. We have offices in Hobbs and Albuquerque, NM; Lubbock and Odessa, TX. Call us at 800-433-2408 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with an experienced injury attorney.