A catastrophic injury is one that forever changes your life–it may impact your ability to work and support yourself and your family, it could greatly impair or even destroy your ability to enjoy the same quality of life as before the injury, or both.
You shouldn’t be left responsible for covering the costs of injuries sustained by an injury and/or accident that wasn’t your fault, nor should you be left scrambling to make ends meet simply because you can’t work like you used to.
Our experienced attorneys are here to help. We will analyze the unique facts of your case and determine which applicable statute and laws apply to your case in order to get you the compensation to which you’re entitled.
A North Carolina personal injury lawyer from Johnson & Groninger PLLC is available to advocate for your best interests, and to support the best possible outcome of your claim. Call (704) 200-2009 now.
What makes an injury catastrophic?
To be defined as “catastrophic,” an injury must be life-altering and have significant long-term effects or consequences. Common examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Loss of mobility and/or motor skills
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Severe burn injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputation due to severe injury to a limb
An injury is catastrophic when it has life-altering consequences for the victim, meaning the injured person is unable to return to the life they had pre-injury despite medical care and attention.
Catastrophic injuries aren’t limited to obvious physical injuries, but can include traumatic brain injuries (a physical injury that is not always seen) and mental health issues.
Long-term effects and consequences
As explored in the example above, an injury is catastrophic only if it is both life-altering and has long-term effects. As an example, for a bone fracture, after wearing a cast or restrictive brace and the bone has healed, some physical therapy might be necessary, but you can continue on with your normal life activities once healing is complete.
An amputation is a long-term, permanent injury with long-term effects and consequences, including potential ongoing pain and discomfort, additional surgeries, and prostheses that require regular maintenance and replacement throughout the person’s life.
Compensation we can seek for you and your family
The purpose of pursuing compensation for your injuries is to provide coverage for you and your family for the many costs and damages that will be associated with your injuries–these are called “damages”. The goal of damages is “to be made whole”, a legal term that describes recovering the full amount in compensation to which you are entitled, including the following:
- Medical treatment. The short- and long-term medical costs associated with your catastrophic injury are covered in your compensation. This includes the emergency room bills and medications in the time immediately following the injury or accident, as well as long-term (future) medications, rehabilitation, treatment, and other medical needs.
- In-home care. Sometimes catastrophic injuries require advanced treatment or assistance even beyond the scope of regular doctors’ appointments, including in-home care. Such costs are considered in making the demand for damages and will be included in your settlement or jury award.
- Lost income/wages and loss of future earning potential. When your catastrophic injury negatively impacts your ability to work and support your family, the changes in your income in the long-term and lost wages in the short-term are included in our compensation. This is a significant element of your compensation, as it replaces the lost financial contributions you made to your household due to the injury.
- Modifications to your home and/or vehicle. After suffering a catastrophic injury, you may need to modify your home or car to make it accessible, such as adding ramps and chair lifts to your home and hand controls and electronic gear shifters for your car.
- Medications and special equipment. Severe injuries can require ongoing medications for pain management and other medical issues. Special equipment may also be necessary for the maintenance of your health after the catastrophic injury.
- Emotional distress and trauma. The experience of a catastrophic injury is one that can lead to substantial mental and emotional distress and trauma, which may require costly psychological and psychiatric interventions. These substantial costs can be recovered when you are able to provide evidence to support your claim for these damages.
Different types of injuries generally have different settlement values
New clients frequently ask us, “What is my claim worth?” Although we wish there was a simple, straightforward answer to give you, we can’t. Your injury and its effect on your life is unique to you.
Some of the important factors in determining the value of your damages include: the full scope of your injuries, your past and future economic losses, the cost of your past and future care, loss of activities that are unique to you, and even the part of the state in which your case will be tried if it goes to a jury.
Although every injury is different, below are some that are considered severely life-altering and have long-term effects that will usually result in a higher damages award.
Brain injuries can lead to life-altering and permanent changes in your brain chemistry, forever impacting your ability to work and enjoy life as you had prior to the injury or accident. A brain injury is often referred to as a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.
Even a seemingly minor impact to your head can permanently change your brain, negatively impacting your ability to focus, and even changing your personality.
Spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis. This will lead to compensation for the loss of your income due to the injury, in addition to coverage for the extensive medical treatments and ongoing care that will be necessary.
Without a lawyer fighting for your rights, it can be difficult to get coverage for advanced medical treatments and procedures that might be able to restore greater function to your body after a spinal cord injury.
Severe burn injury
Severe burn injuries can lead to permanent disability, ongoing surgeries, limited mobility, and even mental health repercussions. Severe burns generally require skin grafting and ongoing surgeries, with scarring leading to mobility issues and disfigurement.
A common aspect of severe burn injuries that is overlooked is the psychological side of the injury, which can be impactful given the changes in appearance and abilities during and after recovery.
The loss of a limb is life-altering and long-term, and can forever impact the victim’s ability to work, and to enjoy the same life as they had before the accident. Due to the far-reaching and obvious implications of an amputation, they often result in significant settlements
Common causes of severe injuries
Whether it’s a burn, a brain injury, or a neck and back injury, the most common cause of a catastrophic injury is an “accident” of some sort. When the accident or incident was caused by another party, then the victim will be entitled to coverage for their associated damages.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported that there were 1,658 persons killed and 105,382 persons killed in car crashes in 2020. When a car collides with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or another object, the potential of serious injury is high, even when it’s traveling at a slow speed; with greater speeds the rate of fatality increases.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that in 2019 there were 5,237 fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses and 127,000 accidents resulting in injuries. When large trucks collide with passenger vehicles like cars, SUVs, or minivans, the occupants of the passenger vehicle have a significantly higher risk of serious injury or death due to the larger size and weight of trucks and buses.
Bicycle, motorcycle, motor scooter, and moped crashes
In 2020 in North Carolina, 496 bicyclists were injured (27 were killed), and there were 3,458 injuries involving motorcycles, motor scooters, motor bikes, and mopeds (214 were killed).
In 2019 there were 1,061 work deaths in the private work industry, with the construction industry accounting for 20% of all these fatalities. This means that construction workers account for 1 in 5 of every worker death in the United States.
Don’t wait – contact us as soon as possible to build a successful case
Experiencing a catastrophic injury or losing a loved one is a tragic experience that can lead to significant financial repercussions for your family. To support the best case possible after the accident or incident, connect with a local Charlotte catastrophic injury lawyer.
The highly experienced Charlotte personal injury attorneys from Johnson & Groninger PLLC are standing by to advocate for your best interests, and the most complete possible outcome in your claim or case. We have extensive experience helping clients like you negotiate with the insurance company to achieve a full settlement. When the insurance company won’t settle, we’ll file a lawsuit and fight for your rights, both in and out of court.
Give us a call at (704) 200-2009, or visit our site to contact us to learn about how we can help on your case.