“Catastrophic” injuries describe injuries of the most serious kind. These injuries and result from almost any type of accident. They permanently change an individual physically and mentally, and typically render a person unable to hold gainful employment or care for their family. These injuries often require ongoing medical care, even after surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. In many cases, the full extent of the damage doesn’t manifest until years after the injury or precipitating factor.
Common Catastrophic Injuries
The following are some common catastrophic injuries:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Severe fractures
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Paralysis, paraplegia, quadriplegia
- Vision loss and blindness
- Hearing loss and deafness
- Scars and physical disfigurement
Catastrophic injuries often impact sensation, movement, the ability to communicate and/or cognitive capabilities. Other common associated health issues include circulatory problems, respiratory concerns, urinary system deficiencies and gastrointestinal distress.
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
These devastating injuries can result from a variety of ccidents, sports activities, illness, medical negligence and negligent acts:
- Auto accidents
- Construction accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Sports-related injuries
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dangerous products
- Defective pharmaceuticals
- Medical malpractice
- Toxic chemical exposure
- Violent crime
The effects of a catastrophic injury are severe and long-term, impacting family members as well as the victim. Simply put, their lives are drastically altered, perhaps forever. Every aspect of life can be affected, including mental and physical health, economic stability, career and family life. Treatment is usually lengthy, intrusive and costly, and possibly ongoing. Assisted care may be required. Life care planning is an important necessity, helping to ensure that all of the injured party’s needs will be addressed and covered in the long-term. Financial compensation is vital for dealing with the challenges and obstacles the victim and caregivers will continue to face for years to come.
Catastrophic Injury Claims
When a catastrophic injury is caused by someone else’s negligence, a reckless act or some type of wrongdoing, the victim may be able to seek compensation for damages in a personal injury lawsuit. These claims are typically of a higher dollar value than other personal injury cases, and the cases are far more complex, requiring the services of a variety of medical and economic expert witnesses. Though many states impose caps on the damages that may be awarded in injury lawsuits, New Jersey law only regulates punitive damage awards. N.J.S.A. § 2A:15-5.14 caps punitive damages at $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater. Punitive damages generally only apply in the case of extreme gross negligence or intentional acts that cause harm.
These challenging cases require numerous resources, such as life care planners, economic and medical experts, and investigators. An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer is an essential component in a successful catastrophic injury claim. Contact the Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at the Reinartz Law Firm for aggressive representation and valuable guidance if you or a loved one is dealing with the consequences of a catastrophic injury.