Life-changing incidents like catastrophic injuries have a significant and enduring impact on the victims and their families. These injuries result from severe accidents and can lead to permanent disabilities, significant medical expenses, and emotional trauma. When catastrophic injuries occur due to someone else’s negligence, victims in North Carolina have the right to seek damages through personal injury claims.
In this article, we will look more into the definition of catastrophic injuries, discuss their various types and causes, understand their impact on victims’ lives, and delve into the legal process of seeking compensation in North Carolina.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
Catastrophic injuries are severe and often life-threatening injuries that cause permanent disability or significant impairment to the victim. These injuries profoundly impact the individual’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being. Some common kinds of catastrophic injuries will be explained in more detail below:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Traumatic brain injuries ensue when a sudden impact or blow to the head disrupts the brain’s normal function. TBIs can pave the way to cognitive impairments, memory loss, motor skill deficiencies, and changes in behavior. These injuries commonly result from car accidents, falls, sports-related incidents, or workplace accidents.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries involve damage to the spinal cord, likely resulting in partial or complete paralysis. Victims may experience a loss of sensation and motor function below the injury site. Spinal cord injuries often occur from vehicle accidents, falls, and sports-related incidents.
- Severe burns: Severe burns cause lasting damage to the skin and underlying tissues, causing excruciating pain, scarring, and potential complications like infections. Burns can result from fires, explosions, chemical exposure, or electrical accidents.
- Amputations: Amputations involve the removal of a limb or body part due to severe injury or medical necessity. Losing a limb can significantly impact mobility, independence, and quality of life. Amputations can occur in car accidents, iindustrial accidents, or medical malpractice cases.
- Multiple fractures: Multiple fractures involve breaking two or more bones, which can cause severe pain, limited mobility, and the need for extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Car accidents falls, and workplace accidents are common causes of multiple fractures.
The Legal Process of Seeking Damages
To seek damages for catastrophic injuries, victims should consider the following steps:
- Set up a consultation with an attorney: Schedule a meeting with a highly reputable Greenville, NC personal injury lawyer who can assess the case’s merits, gather evidence, and provide guidance throughout the legal process.
- Begin the investigation and evidence gathering: The attorney will conduct a thorough investigation, gather witness statements, obtain accident reports, and collect medical records to establish liability and damages.
- Start negotiations with insurance companies: The attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to pursue a fair settlement that adequately compensates the victim for their losses.
- File a lawsuit: If negotiations are unsuccessful, the attorney may file a lawsuit and represent the victim in court to seek a favorable judgment.
- Move confidently into the trial and settlement phase: If a trial is necessary, the defense team will present the facts, and the courts will decide who is at fault and how much compensation should be awarded. However, it is frequently possible to settle a dispute fairly before going to trial.
The Impact of Catastrophic Injuries on Victims
Catastrophic injuries have far-reaching consequences on the lives of victims and their families. The physical and emotional burden can be devastating, as victims may face permanent disabilities, chronic pain, and a diminished quality of life. The financial burden is also significant, with mounting medical expenses, ongoing rehabilitation costs, and potential loss of income due to disability.
Recovering Damages for Catastrophic Injuries in North Carolina
In North Carolina, victims of catastrophic injuries have the legal right to seek damages from the at-fault party through a personal injury claim. To pursue a successful claim, certain elements must be established:
- Duty of care: The victim must establish that the negligent party owed them a minimal duty of care to behave properly and prevent injury.
- Breach of duty: It must be proven that the at-fault party has forgone their duty of care through negligence or reckless behavior.
- Causation: The victim must establish a direct link between the at-fault party’s breach of duty and their catastrophic injuries.
- Damages: The injured party must offer proof of the material, intangible, and monetary losses they have sustained due to the injury.
The Various Types of Damages Available to Victims in Catastrophic Injury Cases
In North Carolina, victims of catastrophic injuries may be eligible to recuperate the following damages:
- Medical expenses: current and future medical bills connected to the treatment and rehabilitation of the injuries
- Lost wages: Victims may seek compensation for income lost due to time off work during recovery and potential future earning capacity reductions.
- Pain and suffering: Non-economic damages that encompass pain, mental suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life may also be recoverable.
- Disability and disfigurement: Catastrophic injuries often lead to permanent disabilities and disfigurement, which may warrant additional compensation.
- Punitive damages: When extreme negligence or intentional harm can be proven, punitive damages may be bestowed to the victim to hold the at-fault party accountable and deter similar conduct in the future.
Seek the Appropriate Amount of Damages
Catastrophic injuries are life-changing events that require comprehensive legal representation to ensure victims receive the compensation they deserve. Suppose you or someone you love has suffered any type of catastrophic injury due to someone else’s careless actions. In that case, it is crucial to seek the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney in North Carolina.