What is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is a type of personal injury that is lasting or permanent and consists of an injury that prevents the victim from returning to their normal life, including work. Spinal cord injuries, paralysis, blindness, limb amputation, and other similar injuries are all considered catastrophic injuries. While most of these injuries happen due to an accident, they are sometimes caused due to another person’s negligence. If the latter is true, a personal injury attorney will enter the picture to help the victim obtain the compensation to which they are entitled.
It’s impossible to put any kind of price tag on the true loss and suffering that victims of catastrophic injury go through. However, the legal system’s aim is to make victims whole. While that can never be done on a physical level, financial compensation can go a long way to helping victims get back to a life that’s as close to normal as possible. For instance, if catastrophic injury results in a victim’s inability to walk, financial compensation can help that victim gain access to a top quality wheelchair that can give them some mobility back. Additionally, any fair compensation settlement should include lost wages to cover the rest of the person’s lifetime.
How Pain and Suffering Compensation is Determined for Victims of Catastrophic Injury
Again, there’s no way to mathematically put a value on the pain and suffering that a catastrophic injury victim endures. However, financial compensation is the best the legal system has to offer, so a value has to be calculated. The types of things that are considered when determining the amount of money an injury victim should be awarded include the amount of physical pain the victim had to endure, how much emotional stress the victim went through, and the loss of enjoyment in life they’ve suffered. Loss of enjoyment can cover anything from not being able to take a walk in the park and raise a child to the inability to travel or be intimate with their spouse. All of the little things in life that have been taken from them because of the accident can be taken into account when determining loss of enjoyment compensation.
Personal injury attorneys will look at a large number of factors when evaluating pain and suffering, the most important usually being the amount of money that local juries have awarded to accident victims in cases with similar characteristics. The attorney will want to have a good idea of how the jury will respond to the victim, although most juries are quite sympathetic to accident victims. However, it’s also possible that the jury could feel sympathetically towards the person who caused the accident unintentionally, so it’s important to get a feel for how the jury might feel.
You have to be aware of the statute of limitations in your state when you’re attempting to recover damages and financial compensation. For instance, catastrophic injury law in California includes a statute of limitation of two years. In other words, if you don’t hire a personal injury attorney in California within two years of your accident or injury, you can’t take your case to court or recover lost wages, compensation for pain and suffering, and other entitlements. And if your suit is against a government entity, the statute of limitations is substantially less! It’s important to act quickly when you’re the victim of a catastrophic injury so you don’t lose the financial compensation to which you are legally entitled.
The Bottom Line
Catastrophic injuries can cause serious repercussions for those who are affected. It’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney to make sure that you’re receiving the full compensation you’re entitled to under the law. The legal system is complex and difficult to navigate, so don’t try to go it alone or let your insurance company handle it. Instead, hire a dedicated, experienced personal injury lawyer to help you obtain the compensation you deserve so you can get back to your life.