To the victim of harm, all injuries can feel catastrophic, especially initially. Slipping and falling for example, even if the injury only results in minor bruising, can be shocking and jarring. Or, being involved in a car accident can be traumatic, even if one is not seriously injured.
But some accidents and injuries are objectively catastrophic, and are characterized as such because of the degree of losses and disability that victims are left with. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury or are the loved one of someone who has suffered this type of injury, our lawyers at The Masters Law Firm can help you navigate the legal process and start recovering financial compensation for your harm.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury is classified as such because this type of injury results in long-term or permanent disability or loss of use of a bodily function. A catastrophic injury is also typically very painful and results in intensive medical care and costs. Types of catastrophic injuries include:
Traumatic brain injuries. When the brain is hit with a forceful object, deprived of oxygen, or penetrated with an object, the effects can be immediate and serious. A person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury may struggle with communication, memory, thinking, speech, sensation, and more. Traumatic brain injuries can have life-long effects.
Spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord is one of the body’s most critical systems – the spinal cord relays messages between the brain and the rest of the body. When your brain signals your hand to pick up a pencil or your leg to take a step, your spinal cord is working. If the spinal cord is damaged, which may occur in an accident involving a large amount of force, this ability to send and receive messages is disrupted, resulting in partial or complete paralysis from the site of the injury downwards.
Burn injuries. Burn injuries are tragic, as they not only are painful and disabling, but often permanently disfiguring as well. Burn injuries can be so severe that they require limb amputation, or are even fatal in the most serious of cases.
Amputation injuries. Those of us who have all four limbs, feet and hands, and digits often take for granted just how critical these are for performing everyday tasks, from walking to taking a sip of water to combing our hair and more. Even losing a single toe can disrupt a person’s life and ability to move as they once did; losing a hand, foot, or limb can be positively devastating and disabling.
Electrocution injuries. Sustaining a serious electric shock can have multiple, devastating consequences. Electric shock can cause burns, loss of skin requiring large skin grafts, brain damage, and even amputation of a limb or death.
While the above lists the injury types that are most commonly referred to as being catastrophic, other severe injuries, such as severe fracture injuries, may also fall into this category.
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries like those described above are typically the result of traumatic accidents that involve large amounts of force and energy. These accidents might include motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle, pedestrian, commercial vehicle, and bicycle accidents; workplace accidents, such as workplace explosions, or falls from heights; roof or earth collapse; medical malpractice injuries, such as operating on the wrong body part or making an anesthesia error and more.
Liability for a Catastrophic Injury
When a catastrophic injury occurs, the affected person will incur numerous losses ranging from medical bills to lost wages, pain and suffering to emotional distress and more. These losses are often felt for a lifetime.
If the accident that caused the catastrophic injury was the result of another party’s negligence, then the injury victim maintains the right to bring forth a negligence-based claim against the at-fault party. Using some of the same examples listed above, types of negligence that can lead to severe accidents and catastrophic injuries include driving while drunk, failing to adhere to scaffolding safety requirements, failing to maintain or repair a power line, failing to ensure that players in a football game are wearing the right equipment, and more. Negligence merely means failing to exercise the proper degree of care, and is a theory of liability that can be applied to numerous different injury case types.
Recover the Compensation You and Your Family Need
At The Masters Law Firm, our lawyers truly believe that those who have suffered catastrophic injuries, as well as their family members, deserve justice. While nothing can be done to undo the harm that has occurred, and while criminal charges against the at-fault party may not be appropriate, filing a claim or lawsuit for monetary damages can provide a sense of closure and the economic means that your family needs to provide for itself.
Our lawyers will work hard to build your claim, gather evidence to support your case, prove that your injury would not have occurred but for the negligence of the responsible party, calculate your damages, and negotiate your settlement. We know that you have costs now, and that the severity of your injury will mean that you will have costs in the future, too. We are dedicated to helping you get compensated for all of these losses, present and future, economic and noneconomic.
Economic Damages: These are damages for direct monetary losses, which may include hospitalization costs, costs for surgeries and other procedures, rehabilitation expenses, the cost of ongoing medical care, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage, funeral and burial expenses (in the case of a wrongful death).
Noneconomic Damages: These are damages for the intangible losses that the victim suffers, such as physical pain-and-suffering, mental anguish, psychological distress, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium, disfigurement, and permanent injury.
How Families are Affected by Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury is not only hard on the victim; it can be extremely difficult for close family members as well. Many times, the spouse of a severely injured person is suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver. And if they have not worked in the medical field before, all of this may be entirely new to them. When someone requires frequent or round-the-clock care, it can be very stressful for the person who is primarily responsible for this job.
Adding to the stress of caregiving for an injured loved one is trying to make ends meet financially. If the person who suffered a catastrophic injury was a primary breadwinner, for example, this means that the household will lose a significant portion of its income. If they are no longer able to work, the spouse will likely have to be the one to pick up the slack. But balancing extra work with being a caregiver is an overwhelming prospect, and they may need to reach out to their circle of family and friends for help.
Children can be hit especially hard by one of their parents suffering a catastrophic injury. Imagine a parent that they have always looked up to as a source of strength and support who suddenly has a debilitating condition. Depending on their age, this situation can be very difficult for a child to understand and process. This child will no longer be able to relate to their injured parent the same way again, and in some cases, they might need professional help to deal with the emotional trauma they are experiencing.
Reach Out to Our West Virginia Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Today
Being involved in a serious accident that results in a catastrophic injury will no doubt feel unjust, and may lead to feelings of hopelessness, anger, and deep frustration within you. While you may feel alone and without options, our lawyers want you to know that we are here for you. We have over 30 years of experience working on catastrophic injury cases, and have been recognized by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers for our outstanding legal services. If you’ve been injured, please turn to us for the counsel and support you can trust.
Our lawyers are available for a free consultation at your convenience. You can reach us by phone at 304-342-3106, online, or in person at our Charleston, WV office.