Legally speaking, a catastrophic injury is an injury with “direct and proximate consequences [that] permanently prevents an individual from performing any gainful work.” Simply put, it is a serious injury that leaves the victim with permanent damages. Usually, a catastrophic injury results in physical harm to the brain and/or spinal cord. These injuries can have a long-term impact on an individual’s functional capabilities. The cause does not matter to be deemed a catastrophic injury, if you have sustained injuries serious enough to be long-term or have caused deformity, then you have suffered a catastrophic injury.
You do not have to sit back and wait for an insurance company to tell you how they think you should be compensated. If you or a loved one have suffered from a catastrophic injury that was caused by another person, please seek legal assistance from a Los Angeles catastrophic injury lawyer today. At the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg, we are ready to step in and secure the compensation you deserve for all of your injury-related expenses. Let our knowledgeable and experienced team get to work on your behalf.
What does “catastrophic injury” mean?
When we discuss catastrophic injuries, it is important to distinguish them from other injuries. Catastrophic injuries are those that result in permanent impairment to the victim. These injuries often significantly alter a person’s ability to lead the life they are accustomed to. Consider the following injuries:
- Spine or spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Skull or spinal fractures
- The loss of a limb
- Internal organ damage or failure
The medical costs associated with these injuries usually go far beyond the initial emergency medical care they require. In many cases, these injuries require lifelong medical assistance. Catastrophic injury victims often need permanent medical devices in the aftermath of an injury, particularly if the victim is left paralyzed partially or completely.
- The first-year medical care costs for a spinal cord injury victim ranges from $359,000 to over $1.1 million according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.
- About 30% of catastrophic injury victims are re-hospitalized one or more times a year due to complications from their injuries.
- Around 185,000 people lose a limb each year in the US.
- According to the CDC, there are around 2.53 million traumatic brain injury ER visits a year. Around 800,000 of those occur among children.
However, the costs associated with these injuries are not limited to medical expenses. These injuries have enormous hidden costs. This can include lost wages, travel costs to and from medical specialists, emotional and psychological damages, and more.
Common causes of catastrophic injuries include:
- Vehicle collisions
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Workplace incidents
- Medical mistakes
- Falls from height
- Sports incidents
- Faulty products
Any wide range of events can cause a catastrophic injury. There is never a certain type of accident that determines if an injury may be classified as catastrophic. If you have sustained any long-term and debilitating injury or deformity in a serious accident, then you are owed proper compensation.
What types of damages can be recovered for a catastrophic injury?
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you may be awarded damages for any and all losses incurred. The number of damages received will depend on the injury and the situation that caused the injury. Most damages for catastrophic injury include:
- Medical costs: costs for treatment, ongoing medical costs, medicine, and future medical costs
- Lost wages: full or partial wages for the time you are not able to work due to the injuries
- Loss of future income: if you are not able to work for a period of time, or permanently, then you could be owed future income you would have received but for the injury
- Loss of household services: compensation for any household services you can no longer complete and therefore must hire someone (mowing, cleaning, cooking, etc.)
- Cost of additional care: if your injuries require an assisted living lifestyle, you could be owed compensation to cover the costs
- Loss of quality of life: possibility of compensation for any significant debilitating changes to your lifestyle
- Pain and suffering: compensation for pain and suffering will be a subjective amount dependent on what caused the injury and the extent of the victim’s injuries
This is not a comprehensive list of all damages one may be able to receive for catastrophic injuries. In some jurisdictions, courts will also award punitive damages. Punitive damages can be awarded in addition to compensatory damages by the judge or jury. The point of punitive damages is to punish the party’s responsibility for causing the injuries of the victim.
It is time to call us for help
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury caused by an intentional act, negligence, or a defective product, then you may have the necessary elements to bring an action for personal injury. Every case is not the same, all injuries are different and involve various factors. Depending on your case, the responsible party could be an employer, doctor, hospital, nurse, motorist, company, manufacturer, or distributor. It is important to seek an experienced Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney to help investigate your case and determine the appropriate parties who may be responsible for your injuries.
If you or a loved one have been severely injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, please seek legal assistance as soon as possible. You can count on the qualified and experienced team at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg to be your advocate. We are going to step in and get to the bottom of what happened so we can secure the compensation you deserve.