Catastrophic Injury: A Life-Changing Experience
Catastrophic injuries are severe injuries — usually to the spine, spinal cord, brain, or skull — that have serious, long-term effects on the victim. They typically occur without warning and often leave the injured person permanently disabled.
Catastrophic injuries put tremendous stress on the victim’s family since their loved one, who may have been the sole provider of the family, will often require long-term medical care and may never be able to work again.
Common Catastrophic Injuries
Some of the most common catastrophic injuries include:
- Head trauma
- Accidental amputation
- Multiple bone fracture
- Eye injuries
- Sports or recreational injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe burns
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord and neurological disorders that result in paralysis, paraplegia, and quadriplegia
The most common causes of catastrophic injuries are car accidents, construction accidents, and falls. Other causes include acts of violence, sporting accidents, diving accidents, injuries from falling or flying objects, and military injuries. Medical malpractice may also result in catastrophic injuries.
Catastrophic Injury Litigation
If a catastrophic injury was caused by the negligent or intentional act of another or by a dangerous or defective product, the victim has the legal right to make a personal injury claim to recover monetary damages to compensate them and/or their family for their losses, which can be significant.
Obtaining fair compensation for a catastrophic injury can be a challenge. When another party is at fault and negligently causes an injury, a personal injury claim can help compensate a victim for medical treatment costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other damages.
Lawmakers throughout the U.S., including Colorado, have imposed caps on non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Under Colorado law, non-economic compensation is capped at $250,000 with judges having discretion to increase the amount to $500,000.
The state’s damage cap applies to all cases, not just ones considered frivolous, and no matter how much merit a case may have or the severity of the injury. However, representation by a personal injury attorney who is experienced in catastrophic injuries can help victims obtain maximum compensation.
Image by Donald Lee Pardue