When someone is involved in an accident or adverse event, there are a wide range of injuries that can result from it. Many injuries are minor, such as cuts, scrapes, and bruises that heal within a few days or a week or so. Other injuries are moderate to severe, with affects that can last for an extended period of time and a recovery period of several months or longer. When an injury is severe and debilitating, it may be categorized as “catastrophic”.
What is Considered a Catastrophic Personal Injury?
A catastrophic injury is one in which there is a permanent and significant disruption to the physical or cognitive functionality of the injured person. This usually means that the individual is no longer able to perform gainful employment, and that they will require repeated surgeries or other treatments and ongoing medical care for the rest of their life.
Some of the most common injuries that would be considered “catastrophic” include:
- Spinal Cord Injury/Paralysis: A severe spinal cord injury (SCI) can result in full or partial paralysis. Paralysis is the loss of functionality of one or more areas of the body. Two of the most common forms of paralysis are paraplegia (paralysis of the lower extremities) and quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs and the torso). Permanent paralysis requires a lifetime of medical care, and the injured person will be heavily dependent on others to carry out his or her daily routine.
- Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a condition that varies widely in severity and manifests itself differently in each individual case. Severe and permanent forms of TBI can significantly inhibit brain functionality. This can cause a wide range of ongoing symptoms; which may include memory loss, difficulty communicating, problems with focus and concentration, sudden mood changes, unusual or risky behaviors, depression and anxiety, and paralysis.
- Amputations/Loss of Limbs: Some serious accidents can cause someone to permanently lose a body part; such as a finger, toe, hand, foot, arm, or leg. The amputation a body part robs an individual of their ability to perform various basic functions on their own, which may include eating, brushing their teeth, typing, walking, and running.
- Severe and/or Multiple Fractures: For many individuals, a fracture is an injury that disrupts their lives for several weeks or months. In some cases, however, individuals suffer severe and/or multiple fractures from which they are never able to fully recover. This is particularly common with elderly individuals whose bones are more fragile than those who are younger.
- Severe Burn Injuries: Burns are among the most painful injuries individuals have to endure. Third-degree burn injuries can be considered catastrophic when they result in severely charred skin, disfigurement, or the loss of a limb.
- Organ Damage: Some accidents can cause damage to various internal organs, such as the spleen, liver, bowels, or kidneys. This can result in internal bleeding, which can be life threatening, especially if this is not detected right away.
When Can I Get Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries can be caused by a number of different circumstances, which may include:
- Auto accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Fires and explosions
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Dangerous or defective consumer products
- Sports accidents
- Acts of violence
In many cases, the injuries are caused at least partially by the negligence or reckless actions of another person or party. When this is the case, the injured party may be able to recover damages. Damages for catastrophic injuries are typically much higher than those that would be awarded in a standard personal injury case.
Because the injured party will need ongoing medical care and will probably be unable to work again, they should be compensated for these medical costs, as well as lost wages for the remainder of their working years. In addition to the actual monetary losses, there are also non-economic losses that must be factored in, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium, disfigurement, and permanent injury.
The amount of compensation a plaintiff will be able to recover from a catastrophic injury depends largely on the individual circumstances of each case. Among the most important factors will be the strength of the argument made by the injured party’s legal counsel. Another will be the percentage of fault the injured party may share in causing the underlying accident.
Most states use some form of comparative negligence in personal injury cases. For example, Connecticut uses a modified comparative negligence standard, which means that if the injured party is no more than 50% at fault, they can still recover damages, but their damage award is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they share.
Contact an Experienced Connecticut Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
Catastrophic injuries are life-altering events, and although no amount of money can give you back to quality of life you once enjoyed, obtaining full and fair compensation will help ease the pain and make it a little easier to adapt to your new life after the injury.
At the Apex Law Firm, we have over 50 years of combined experience serving individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries in Connecticut. We have a successful track record with even the most complex cases, and we work closely with our clients to provide the strong personalized representation they need and deserve.
Call our office today at (860) 900-0900 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You may also send us a message through our online contact form with more details about your case.