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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

What Is a Catastrophic Injury? | Impact on a Personal Injury Claim

When seeking huge sums of money for injuries and other damages suffered due to someone else's negligence, it is important to be very specific and accurate when presenting the case before the courts in New York.

Simply saying the victim sustained injuries is not enough. The severity of the physical injury needs to be demonstrated if the victims are to walk away with fair compensation.

A good lawyer knows how to differentiate minor injuries from severe injuries when building a catastrophic injury case. Simple definitions and the presentation of evidence can be the difference between walking away with millions in compensation or being awarded a settlement that is barely enough to cover the victim's medical treatment.

With extensive experience dealing with motor vehicle accidents and similar cases that result in catastrophic injuries, The Law Office of Carl Maltese is perfectly poised to assist victims in New York to fight for the justice and compensation they deserve. They can provide assistance with questions like what if my personal injury was partially my fault NY?

When dealing with the burden of costly medical expenses and lost wages, victims can simply dial +1 631-857-3703 and request a free case evaluation from the top-rated injury lawyers in Long Island, NY.

What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury is often characterized by very serious damage to either a specific organ or the entire body. Such a severe injury often impacts the proper functioning of the body and can result in permanent disability.

In most cases, there are three types of catastrophic injuries, which are:

Physical Injuries

Physical trauma can result in a wide range of catastrophic injuries such as severe burns, soft tissue damage, broken bones, and amputations. These types of catastrophic injuries are often easy to see and make the job of fighting for fair compensation a lot easier for the personal injury attorney.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can be very serious and often result in full or partial paralysis of the victim. These can be regarded as catastrophic injuries due to the negative impact such injuries will have on the quality of life of the victims and their family members.

Cognitive Injuries

Severe brain injuries, such as traumatic brain damage, can result in significant loss of cognitive function. In some cases, the symptoms may be difficult to identify, and it can be years until the victim starts to feel the effects of such a catastrophic injury. However, this type of injury can result in memory problems, loss of the ability to work, and other serious physical and psychological symptoms.

Importance of the Catastrophic Injury Legal Definition

In a personal injury claim, the judge or jury has to decide how much to award the victim for the damages they have suffered due to injuries caused by someone else's negligence. The more minor injuries often result in very low settlements.

However, considering how high the medical expenses for a catastrophic injury can be, and the significant amount of lost wages the bed-ridden victim can incur, it is important for the attorney to properly demonstrate the nature of such injuries.

By properly defining a catastrophic injury, victims can recover compensation that is proportional to the cost of medical bills and lifelong medical care that they will require.

Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Intentional acts of violence and serious accidents are the most common causes of the majority of catastrophic injuries that result in personal injury lawsuits. Human error and negligence can also be responsible in some cases.

The following incidents can result in a catastrophic injury occurring:

  • Motor vehicle and other road accidents

  • Medical malpractice and birth injuries

  • Serious falls and other premises liability accidents

  • Truck accidents

  • Construction and other workplace accidents

  • Boating, subway, and metro accidents

  • Defective product injuries

Possible Damages in Catastrophic Injury Claims

When a victim suffers what is considered a catastrophic injury, the law in New York entitles them to seek compensation from the at-fault party in the form of a variety of economic and non-economic damages. In some cases, the judge may also award punitive damages to the negligent party if their action is deemed to warrant further punishment.

The following are some of the damages commonly awarded in a catastrophic injury lawsuit:

  • Medical bills

  • Lost wages

  • Property damage

  • Pain and suffering

  • Wrongful death (if the victim dies before the conclusion of the lawsuit)

  • Lifelong disability

  • Permanent damage

  • Permanent disfigurement

  • Cost of long-term medical care

How Much Is a Catastrophic Injury Settlement Worth?

The amount of money awarded in a catastrophic injury lawsuit depends on the severity of the injuries the victim has suffered, and the impact such injuries will have on the quality of their life. In cases of intentional wrongdoing by the at-fault party, punitive damages will greatly affect the final settlement amount offered to the victim.

Statements from various experts, such as psychologists or psychiatrists may further highlight the impact these catastrophic injuries have had on the victim, which may help the jury sympathize with the injured party.

An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to calculate the average settlement a New York victim can expect after suffering catastrophic injuries in, for example, workplace or car accidents.

Statute of Limitations for a Catastrophic Injury Settlement

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits is three years from the date the incident occurred. This also applies to cases where the victims have suffered catastrophic injuries.

Trial Vs. Settlement in a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit

In some cases, the insurance company may make a settlement offer to the victims to avoid going to trial. While this offer may be lower than what victims can receive from a jury, it is a lot more convenient because there will be no need to go to trial. A good lawyer can advise their client on the best option for their circumstances. They can help answer questions such as what is a Contrecoup Injury?

Wrongful Death Due to Catastrophic Injuries

With catastrophic injuries, there is always a high chance that the victim may lose their life before the trial is concluded. In such cases, the lawsuit will become a wrongful death claim, and the deceased's loved ones can sue for damages from the at-fault party.

A Good Attorney Can Help in Catastrophic Injury Cases

A Good Attorney Can Help in Catastrophic Injury Cases

The worst-case scenario for victims of catastrophic injuries would be to walk away with barely enough money to cover their medical expenses or compensate them for their pain and suffering. A good lawyer will not let that happen.

New York residents can visit The Law Office of Carl Maltese in Long Island and take the first steps towards receiving the financial compensation they deserve in their catastrophic injury settlement.


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