Every accident has a life-changing impact. However, the most devastating accident crash can lead to catastrophic injuries. While other types of injuries can heal faster and have less long-term effects, a catastrophic injury is debilitating and lasts for a lifetime. A victim will need much financial, physical, and emotional support to recover from a catastrophic injury. Catastrophic injuries occur mainly due to another person’s negligence or intentional actions. If this happens to you, you can seek compensation for all the losses the person caused you.
Recovering your deserved damages is not easy. This is because you will be dealing with insurance companies who are in business to make a profit. These companies will ensure that you settle for as little as possible. You need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to be able to handle them. A skilled attorney knows how to negotiate with these companies to enable you to get your rightful compensation. Thus, if you have suffered a catastrophic injury for any given reason that is not your fault, contact an attorney as soon as possible. At the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm, we help catastrophic injury victims with the process of filing a lawsuit. We will also fight for the victim from the start to end until he/she is satisfied with the outcome.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury is a significant injury that can deprive a victim of one of his/ her senses or lead to permanent disability, disfigurement, or pain. Catastrophic injuries include:
Spinal Cord and Neck Injuries
Spinal cord and neck injuries can change lives. Often, victims of these injuries and their families have to deal with permanent disabilities, which cause significant legal and medical needs. For instance, a spinal cord injury may lead to a permanent loss of sensation, which leads to paralysis. Causes of spinal and neck injuries vary widely. But, frequently, these injuries result from car crashes, gunshot wounds, and falls caused by a negligent party. Most spinal cord lawsuits are filed under strict liability, negligence, and third party liability laws.
Brain or Head Injuries
A brain injury may lead to cognitive, physical, vocational, and social changes. Recovering from this is an extended process that involves accommodations and adjustments for the victim and his/her family. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur due to several types of accidents, including those that involve cars, trucks, trains, and motorcycles. A TBI is an injury that arises when a physical head assault leads to brain damage. Not all brain injuries are traumatic injuries. Oxygen deprivation during labor or delivery can lead to brain injury, which may lead to lifelong disabilities.
Appropriate brain injury treatment may involve drugs, diagnostic testing, rehabilitation, and surgery. Rehabilitation, a crucial aspect of recovery, could be expensive. Additionally, the victim may need a large team of caregivers around him/her. He/she may also need to visit a neurosurgeon, neurologist, and therapists. In many cases, the injured victim’s life and that of his/her family are completely disrupted. This is because they focus their whole energy on getting proper medical treatment and care.
Amputation is the severing of a part of the body. It ranges from the loss of one toe or finger to the loss of a leg or an arm. Losing a limb usually leads to significant shock, blood loss, infection, and sometimes death. Often, amputations occur due to traumatic injuries resulting from:
- Warehouse or factory incidents
- Car or motorcycle crashes
- Construction site accidents
- Airplane crashes
However, some amputations occur due to non-traumatic causes like medical malpractice. Amputation injuries often lead to severe grief reactions for the victim and may result in depression. Amputation is not only traumatic but can also be very expensive.
Severe burns consist of a third or second-degree burn on 50% or more of the face, body, or both hands. The mental, physical, and financial costs of healing from burn injuries are staggering. Burn injuries may need, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and hospitalization for months, and sometimes years. In certain cases, the victim would need in-depth counseling to move past the mental and emotional trauma he/she suffered from the injuries.
Burn injuries are often the result of another person or company’s negligence. They can occur from car accidents, workplace injuries, defective products, industrial construction accidents, or electrocution. The cause and source of the accident or fire that resulted in the burn are critical determinations that form the bases of a personal injury case.
Other catastrophic injuries include:
- Injuries leading to a total loss of sight in one eye or both
- Injuries leading to a total loss of hearing in one ear or both
- Injuries leading to a vegetative state or a coma
- An injury resulting in significant impairment or the loss of function of vital internal organ systems or organs.
A catastrophic injury is a life-changing event. It affects not only the injured party but also the whole family. These kinds of injuries need a great adaptation and involve many challenges all through the lifetime of the injured person.
In most cases, victims are entirely unable to work again or resume their usual profession. There’s the issue of an income loss and physical harm, which has to be dealt with legally. Additionally, the medical treatment required for these injuries is quite expensive. There may also be other life care bills in case the injury rendered you unable to fulfill your day to day needs. In cases like these, you need a highly-qualified personal injury attorney to help you receive your deserved money to survive.
In cases to do with catastrophic injuries, you have to choose your legal counsel and representation carefully. These cases need an investigation to be done by skilled legal experts. The experts can collect solid proof and determine what facts surrounding the case to obtain the best possible results for a client. A catastrophic injury attorney has to be experienced and should have a record of success both at trial and the negotiating.
Note that often, the defendants in catastrophic injury cases are large corporations and insurance companies, which have unlimited monetary resources. These defendants can have a harsh standpoint against the injured victim. Thus, your lawyer should not be intimidated when he/she has to go against these defendants. Defendant attorneys could commit mistakes in the claim preparation, during negotiations, and even at trial. Doing this can significantly lower your entitled compensation amount.
Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys know how they can build a case and support it with expert witnesses. They also can draw proof that can show the jury or insurance company the defendant’s gross negligence. We understand that our client’s future depends on how we fight the case. Thus, we are thorough in our claim preparation process and aggressive on how we fight for our clients. Call us now to talk about the circumstances surrounding your catastrophic injury and a free evaluation of the case.
The Difference Between Catastrophic and Other Personal Injuries
Personal injuries can be devastating and cause more than bodily harm to a person. However, they do not cause as much financial and emotional stress for the injured person and his/her family as catastrophic injuries. For catastrophic injuries, the injured person may not be able to take care of him/herself, and that entire burden would go to the family members and friends.
When a catastrophic injury occurs, the quality of life of the injured person is significantly compromised. Ongoing financial assistance and long-term care will be a requirement due to the degree of harm caused. The financial challenges that come with catastrophic injuries may include:
- Continuing therapy and rehabilitation
- Long-term and specialized medical treatment & care
- Permanent supervision or assistance
- Purchases of medical devices and prescription drugs
- Special accommodations. These include medical equipment, ramps, and vehicles
In contrast, victims of personal injury receive compensation for their medical treatment and care. Also, while these injuries could be severe, the period it takes to care for a personal injury victim is generally shorter compared to that of a catastrophic injury victim. Also, victims of personal injuries can be compensated for the period they miss work, and for the lost income that arose due to their injuries.
Catastrophic Injury victims often need daily living help from the time they sustain injuries throughout their predictable future. If their families depend on them for financial, emotional, and physical support, the hardship stretches beyond the injured victim, and the outcome is overwhelming.
Our attorneys represent both catastrophic and personal injury victims throughout Las Vegas with a dedication to delivering tailored solutions. The primary objective of our attorneys is to obtain the best possible outcome available for our clients for each distinct case.
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury can occur due to many reasons. A skilled personal injury attorney would know the complexities surrounding a catastrophic injury. Also, they will know how to handle the cause that led to the injury. Various causes of catastrophic injuries include:
Auto accidents- Collisions that involve cars, motorcycles, SUVs, and trucks are perhaps the most common reason as to why catastrophic or fatal injuries occur. If a motorist or passenger doesn’t have his/her safety belt on, it could lead to severe injuries when an accident occurs.
Workplace injuries- The system of workers’ compensation is in place to help individuals who sustain on-the-job injuries. However, a worker’s compensation lawsuit has statutory limits of recovery. Still, an injured worker may further seek compensation when someone else caused an on-the-job accident resulting in injuries. In situations like these, the worker can pursue a worker’s compensation lawsuit and a personal injury lawsuit against the party that caused the accident.
Medical malpractice- By law, doctors and other health experts have to adhere to the accepted standard of care in their industry. People entrust their lives to surgeons, doctors, and other health care professionals. Sometimes, these professions fail to adhere to the stipulated standard of care, which leads to catastrophic injuries. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer is crucial as he/she will help you build a strong case against the negligent health care provider. This will enable you to recover the damages that you deserve for your injuries.
Falls- These include falls from higher heights. For instance, a worker working on the roof of a building can fall to the ground. Or it could be a person falling off a ladder. Slip & fall accidents may also result in catastrophic injuries. Falls can be deadly to any individual of any given age. However, those aged over 65 face a higher risk of sustaining fatal or catastrophic injuries because of a fall. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than 22000 senior adults succumb to injuries from falls every year. Also, falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in older adults.
Submersion/drowning- The residents of Nevada love cooling off in pools or a lake. However, water bodies can be hazardous for adults as well as children. In 2015, there were seven cases of fatal drowning and 34 cases of non-fatal drowning. A non-fatal drowning can leave a person with brain injuries, which might be permanent.
Negligent security- Parking garage operators, rental property managers, and retailers could be held responsible for injuries that occur due to criminal assaults on their property. Criminal assaults occur mostly when defective or inadequate security is offered. Injuries may occur in:
- Commercial and residential buildings
- Parking facilities and shopping centers
- Casinos and hotels
- Amusement parks
- Bars and nightclubs
- Healthcare facilities
- Public schools and universities
Inadequate security could lead to robbery, assaults, homicide, and sexual assault. The absence of security guards or security cameras plays a significant role in criminal attacks. However, inadequate screening and training of security personnel may also create scenarios where customers are killed or severely injured.
Product liability- In case a defective or dangerous product has harmed you, you can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturing company of the product. When a dangerous product causes a catastrophic injury to the consumer, a product liability claim may be appropriate. Generally, products are thought to be tangible property like helicopters, automobiles, or airplanes. However, product liability claims can also be based on real estate, natural gas, pets, etc.
Liability for Catastrophic Injuries
Under the law of the State of Nevada, any negligent party could be held responsible for damages that relate to your catastrophic injury. This means that even if it is partially your fault, you can be eligible for compensation. In Nevada, there is a comparative negligence law. Under this law, you qualify to be partially compensated, provided the other party was at least 51% to blame.
Determining fault for a catastrophic injury is not easy. Thus, we recommend that you seek legal advice after sustaining this kind of injury. Our lawyers work with forensic specialists and top investigators to help establish liability. Also, we work on complicated cases whereby two or more parties may be responsible for your injuries.
For instance, if it was a slip & fall accident, we will determine whether your workplace and the safety shoe manufacturer share liability.
When to Consult an Attorney
As we mentioned earlier, determining who is responsible for a catastrophic injury is often more complicated than it appears at first. In certain situations, the party/parties at fault and insurance companies will offer you settlement offers. You may be tempted to accept what they are offering, mainly if you have difficulties paying for medical expenses. However, note that the first offer from these parties will usually be lesser than the value of your case.
Our attorneys can help you to determine if what you are being offered is reasonable. Often, we can negotiate to raise the amount if it is not fair. We offer no-obligation; free consultations so you can determine if an attorney can favorably settle your lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations for Filing Catastrophic Injury Lawsuits
Statute of limitations is the period within which you are allowed to file a lawsuit after a catastrophic injury. In many cases, a person is usually not able to take legal action in case this period passes. In Nevada, you have two years to file your lawsuit. This period is counted from the time you got injured or from when you discovered your injuries.
However, in certain cases, the time-frame to file a lawsuit may be longer or subject to extension. Thus, before determining that the time-frame has passed, consult with a skilled personal injury attorney. He/she may be able to help you determine if your claim is still valid.
Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury
If your lawsuit is successful, you will be able to recover compensatory damages. Nevada permits the recovery of non-economic damages, economic damages, and in other cases, punitive damages. Economic damages compensate for losses that can be calculated in monetary value. They include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation fee
- Lost wages
- Past and future out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Occupational and physical therapy
- Long- or short-term care
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate for losses that are difficult to measure based on your past, present, or anticipated future out-of-pocket expenses. These damages include:
- Pain & suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical impairment and any other amounts that are hard to place a price
There’s no cap on non-economic damages except if your injuries resulted from medical malpractice. If this is the case, the maximum amount you can receive for non-economic damages is $350,000.
The state awards exemplary or punitive damages in certain cases. This happens mostly in cases where the injuries were as a result of intentional or reckless conduct. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the liable party whose behavior was particularly irresponsible. These damages also serve as a way to discourage other people with similar behavior as the responsible party.
Nevada law caps punitive damages at $300000. Otherwise, if your non-economic and economic damages are more than $100,000, then you will get three times more than the amount you are awarded.
Wrongful Death Claims for Catastrophic Injuries
When a catastrophic injury results in the death of your loved one, you can file a wrongful death claim. The wrongful death claim has to be filed within two years of the death of your loved one. Filing this claim helps you or any other surviving family members to recover damages for the loss of their loved one. Not everyone in the family can file a wrongful death claim. There are specific members permitted by law to file the claim. They include:
- Parents of the deceased
- A spouse
- A registered domestic partner
- The deceased’s personal representative
Other family members may be permitted to bring a claim in case they can prove before the court that they were dependent on the victim. These members may include stepparents, stepchildren, or a child that is not related to the victim, but the victim supported him/her for six months in a year.
By filing a wrongful death claim, you can recover the following damages:
- Funeral costs
- Medical bills for when the victim was still undergoing treatment
- Burial expenses
- Loss of consortium. This includes loss of companionship, financial, and emotional support
- Loss of future income
One can also be awarded punitive damages in a wrongful death claim in cases where the liable party acted extremely reckless or maliciously.
Find a Catastrophic Injury Attorney Near Me
Catastrophic injuries take a toll on the victim’s emotional, physical, and financial well-being. The effect on the victim’s family, friends, and loved ones is also significant. Thus, if the injury was not your fault, it is only fair that the negligent party takes responsibility and compensates you for the damage he/she caused. If you or a person you love has sustained a catastrophic injury, contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law Firm at 702-996-1224, so we can help you through your case. Our attorneys will provide you with the help you need, which includes filing a personal injury claim. We will also fight for you till the end of your case and ensure you get your rightful compensation.