Personal Injury Law Firm in New York and Seattle

Qualified catastrophic injuries attorneys

All you need to know about obtaining compensation for catastrophic injuries

There is a wide range of injuries that one can suffer from accidents. Although they range from mild to serious, some are inherently more severe than others. These are catastrophic injuries and as the name implies, they have a tendency to be horrific. Regardless of how these injuries are obtained, they can change one’s life, often for the worse. The most damaging thing about them is that they, more often than not, result in serious long-term damage or even incapacitation. At Oshan and Associates, we take the welfare of our clients very seriously. We understand the significant impact that catastrophic injuries can have on your life and well-being. If you or your loved one has been subject to this nature of injuries, we can help you get justice and recover compensation.

What Exactly Are Catastrophic Injuries?

Catastrophic Injuries are injuries that, though they may not lead to death, are of a nature that lead to long-term, if not permanent, disability and deformity. Catastrophic injuries usually involve a difficult recovery process, multiple surgeries and a lifetime of medical treatment. One way to recognize a catastrophic injury is to identify whether it prevents an individual from performing any beneficial work. This could be either permanently or for a very long time. People with catastrophic injuries can have debilitating side effects like skin breakdown, urinary tract infections (UTI) and neuropathic pain. Serious injuries of this nature usually involve:

  • Amputation, Permanent disability or loss of function
  • Inability to work full-time or for a long time
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • The need for lifelong help or care
  • The need for life medications
  • The need for prosthetics or assistive devices (like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs)
  • Severe scarring or disfigurement
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Severe burn injuries

Brain Damage as a Result of Catastrophic Injury

Brain damage or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the most common types of catastrophic injury. It can lead to ‘Intracerebral haemorrhage’ (ICH). ICH is sudden, catastrophic bleeding that occurs in the brain tissue or ventricles. It usually results from damage to blood vessels due to hypertension. TBI can be caused by a variety of different reasons. When it concerns vehicular accidents, Bicyclists and pedestrians are statistically at a higher risk of suffering from a brain injury during collisions with cars.

The Symptoms and Effects of Brain Damage

As a catastrophic injury, the symptoms of brain damage are often sudden and severe. Dizziness, fainting, vomiting, and headache are all very common and easy to spot. Although, there are more difficult symptoms that may appear like an ischemic stroke. The severity of the brain damage or injury would determine the extent of the effect. Instances of trauma that victims may experience include basic cognitive and emotional problems. In extreme circumstances, brain damage may degenerate into memory loss. Victims may even lose the ability to identify their loved ones. In other circumstances, the victims may have to be taught how to do basic everyday tasks all over. All these can result into painful moments and emotional distress that may be difficult to manage.

How to Quickly Spot Brain Damage

Some catastrophic injuries are not easy to spot and are even harder to stop. After a collision or accident, brain damage may go undetected and the victim may appear quite normal after a period of recovery. The following are symptoms that  could indicate the existence of brain damage:

  • Memory loss
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Personality change
  • Mood swings and Irritability
  • Inability to do basic chores and handle financial affairs.

Catastrophic Injury versus Less Severe Injuries

If you can prove liability for catastrophic injury, it is possible to recover high damages. Damages will usually be awarded to the degree that will “make the plaintiff whole”. What this means is that you will be entitled to enough compensation to make up for the damage you suffered. This includes compensation for pain, suffering and loss of quality of life. Compensation received in catastrophic injury cases is usually much higher than other cases and the facts and arguments to prove are also much more complicated and elaborate. What the law seeks to do is compensate you and offer some form of financial stability and security in the face of long-term loss.

What Sort of Compensation Can You Expect?

The reliefs a victim of catastrophic injuries can obtain are of two types. These could be either compensatory damages or punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

The damages awarded here is intended to compensate the victim for financial costs as well as the pain they have experienced such as:

  • Cost of medical treatment including compensation for estimated future care;
  • Income loss on wages and benefits: This includes future income that the victim would likely have earned.
  • Property loss: Victims may be entitled to compensation for the fair market value of any damaged property.
  • Pain and suffering: This generally includes any long-term physical, emotional, or mental consequences.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages can also be awarded to punish the defendant for harming someone. This is a special award often given by the Courts in cases where the negligent party acted in a reckless or irresponsible manner.

Limits of Compensation on Catastrophic Injuries in Medical Malpractice Cases

For personal injuries which are less severe, many states have set limits on the compensation a plaintiff can receive in a medical malpractice case. The limits are placed on “non-economic” damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Even though the limits vary from one state to another, it usually ranges from $250,000 to $750,000. For catastrophic injuries suffered, exceptions have been provided such that a victim can receive more than the limits mentioned above.

Catastrophic Injuries and Contributory Negligence

There are two identifiable legal standards followed by most jurisdictions in the U.S. One is called the comparative negligence, while the other is called pure contributory negligence. For comparative negligence, victims are allowed to recover compensation based on their proportion of the fault of the defendant. For instance, if it is found that a victim was 25 percent responsible for their own injuries, they could be allowed to recover up to 75 percent of the total damages from the defendant. In jurisdictions in Virginia, Washington and Maryland, the legal standard used in settling compensation for catastrophic injuries is pure contributory negligence. To claim compensation, the party at fault must be 100 percent liable. An injured victim found to be even 1 percent liable will be ineligible to receive any compensation for their loss and pain. This doesn’t necessarily mean that getting compensation in all these states that use the strict pure contributory negligence is impossible. What it means is that you need a diligent and experienced attorney.

Contact the best personal injury firm

Catastrophic injuries involve not only physical injuries, it also injures the family life and work of the victim as well as ability to enjoy life comfortably. At Oshan and Associates, we deeply understand this difficulty and have tailored our practice to provide thoughtful, considerate legal service. Our skilled and experienced attorneys are ready to listen and help. If you or your loved one has suffered from a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence, please contact us. Call us on 206-355-3880 or fill out our online contact form as soon as possible get the best legal representation.