The aftermath of a major accident can have a devastating impact on the life of the victim. Another person's fault or negligence could leave you nursing injuries that cause excruciating physical and psychological pain. Catastrophic injuries typically call for intensive and extensive medical care, making it challenging for victims to regain a semblance of normalcy in different areas of their lives. At Dallas Horton & Associates, we focus on representing Las Vegas, NV accident victims who have suffered permanent damage. We are dedicated to helping them seek justice and compensation equivalent to their injuries and suffering.
Our experience in the field puts us in a position to understand the unique set of challenges that come with different types of injuries. While some incidences cause loss of working ability and pain, others cause incapacitation or even death. You can trust us to consider your claim's unique aspects and provide personalized assistance for the best possible outcome.
What is a "Catastrophic" Injury?
It's hard to pinpoint the precise definition of "catastrophic" in matters of personal injury. However, as per the 2011 US Code, title 42 § 3796b, catastrophic injuries are injuries that cause proximate and direct consequences that forever hinder a victim from engaging in gainful work. This means such injuries are so severe that they cause permanent damage.
Even with the above legal definition, "catastrophic injuries" is still a broad term. It also refers to injuries that harm the spinal cord or brain. Even those that cause short-term functional incapacitation are still considered catastrophic.
Typically catastrophic injuries make you lose a part of yourself, even after seeking treatment. An accident could leave you without a limb, with cognitive issues, or with the inability to work and enjoy life. That said, if an accident has left you with injuries severe enough to cause permanent or long-term concerns, then you have suffered a catastrophic injury.
Unlike other forms of personal injuries, this type of claim presents tougher challenges. We will need to prove how a specific injury impacts your current life and future and determine your case's practical value. This can be challenging, especially when a victim suffers "permanent" damages.
When the negligence of another person leaves you facing life-altering repercussions, there are good reasons why you must seek compensation.
You are entitled to enjoy a settlement because:
- Treating catastrophic injuries is not cheap. Medical expenses allied with surgeries, rehabilitation programs, and even permanent reliance on medication and medical devices could sum up to a fortune.
- An injury can deprive you of the ability to work and make ends meet. In this case, you need compensation for loss of wages to make your life and that of your loved ones more bearable.
- An accident causes more than just physical pain. It also causes emotional suffering that could take a toll on various areas of your life.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries
The following list merely indicates the severe physical injuries caused by catastrophic accidents. Victims are also known to suffer emotional and psychological trauma that takes years to heal, if not a lifetime. When we represent our clients, we consider more than just the obvious physical pain and suffering. We are keen to note each client's specific set of circumstances to ensure we provide the best representation.
Here are some of the catastrophic injuries a victim may suffer following an accident:
Spinal Cord Injuries
When great force hits the spinal cord, this may cause more than just severe physical pain. Accident victims with grave spinal cord injuries may also suffer from respiratory problems, loss of feeling, overall physical weakness, and even extensive loss of motor functions in certain parts of their bodies, mainly the limbs.
Different forms of spinal cord injuries cause different kinds of problems. These forms of injuries include lumbar spinal injuries, cervical spinal injuries, and thoracic spinal injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injury
When an accident causes brain injury, this can easily lead to death. Victims that survive great force that hits the head may also face the risk of nursing cognitive injuries that can take away their ability to remember, create new memories, speak, or work. Some victims cannot earn a living because of an accident, while others remain confined in hospital beds for prolonged periods.
Amputation/ Loss of Limbs
If a workplace accident or vehicular accident leads to the amputation of one or more of your limbs, you must hold the negligent party accountable. Remember that this kind of injury can affect just about every area of your life, including your professional and social life.
Spinal cord injuries are notorious for causing paralysis in the form of paraplegia or quadriplegia, depending on the impacted areas. Legally, injuries that cause the loss of any form of motor function or sensory function are also classified under paralysis claims.
Burn injuries are arguably the most severe because they often cause some level of permanent scarring and disfigurement. Even with top-notch medical intervention and cosmetic surgery, the chances of victims returning to their former selves after catastrophic burns are rare. This is irrespective of whether burns are a result of exposure to fire, chemicals, or electricity.
In some instances, an accident causes injury to internal organs, and this affects how they function. We can help table facts that prove that any internal part of your body’s critical functions was directly affected by a specific incident. When organs like the kidneys or the liver are impacted, this may call for ongoing medical care, not to mention that your lifestyle and daily routines may also need to change.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
The list of accidents that can cause catastrophic injuries is endless. Each kind of accident presents a unique set of dangers with the potential of causing permanent injury or death.
Let's take a look at the common types of accidents that lead to catastrophic injuries:
Car Wrecks and Truck Collisions
Car accidents are perhaps the most common cause of catastrophic injuries and personal injury claims as a whole. While most cases involve minor incidents that cause easy to treat cuts and bruises, serious accidents can cause permanent impairment, long-term medical issues, disfigurement, and even loss of life.
Passenger vehicle wrecks are bad enough. Truck collisions are often devastating. This is more so when a commercial truck collides with a pedestrian, cyclist, or a passenger car. In any case, such claims are often complicated because they typically involve more than one liable party.
Motorcycle Wreck and Bicycle Accidents
Motorcyclists and bicyclists face a higher risk of dying or suffering from catastrophic injuries when hit by another car. Depending on the collision's impact, the cyclist may suffer severe spinal cord injuries, brain damage, or even permanent impairment. We can help build a solid case to ensure you don't receive a penny less than what you deserve.
Unfortunately, no one is safe from the risk of accidents that cause catastrophic injuries. Merely because you are not using a motorized vehicle doesn't guarantee your safety. With drunk, tired and distracted drivers using public roads daily, the number of pedestrian accidents registered yearly is alarming.
Pedestrian accidents result in more fatalities than catastrophic injuries. Those who are lucky to survive are often faced with permanent impairments or grave health concerns requiring ongoing care. Again, let us stand in your corner and help you seek the right amount of financial compensation for your pain and suffering.
Medical malpractice cases that result in serious, sometimes permanent injuries are not as rare as many may assume. Between healthcare providers failing to meet the set standards of care and pharmacists prescribing the wrong medication, the list of medical negligence victims grows by the day. If you or your loved one is suffering grave injuries because of another individual's reckless or careless acts, you have all the rights to pursue compensation.
Another category of claims that we commonly handle is premises liability. You can file a claim if dangerous conditions within a premise cause an accident. For instance, a slip and fall accident that leaves you with brain injuries should be compensated by the property owner.
Defective and Harmful Products
This is a broad area of personal injury cases that deals with injuries suffered because of a product manufacturer or seller's negligence. For instance, if your brand new car comes with a defective airbag that fails to protect you as promised, you have a right to file a defective product claim. Victims who use products that cause them physical harm can also pursue the liable parties and file for compensation.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, not all employers are required by law to have workers' compensation insurance coverage. These employers are known as non-subscribers, and they lack certain legal protections that employers with policies enjoy. For instance, if you are injured in your workplace yet your employer lacks coverage, you can file a lawsuit against him or her directly.
Depending on your profession and the duties you carry out, an accident within the workplace can again cause serious injuries, including death. We can offer assistance by helping you prove the negligence of your employer. Let us represent you and give you the best chances of receiving compensation.
What Can You Recover By Filing a Catastrophic Injury Claim?
Getting back on your feet following an accident that causes catastrophic injuries will not be easy. That is why you must not underestimate the need to seek reliable legal representation. Your chances of putting your life back together sooner than later are highly at the mercy of your odds of receiving the compensation you truly deserve.
Special damages compensation is the financial relief awarded for the tangible harms caused by an accident. Settlement for general damage is, on the other hand, the monetary relief awarded for non-economic damages. Exemplary or punitive damages propose to punish the at-fault party for their hand in causing your injuries, pain, and suffering. Unlike special and general damages, punitive damages don't aim at compensating the victim.
We can help you recover compensation for the following:
Past and Future Medical Expenses
Medical costs typically encompass emergency treatment fees, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, medication, and assistive medical devices' purchase and maintenance.
To determine the actual value of lost wages, we must take note of the decrease or complete inability of a victim to earn a living in the future.
Impairment and Irreversible Physical Disability
Catastrophic injuries may leave a victim permanently confined to a wheelchair or other assistive medical equipment. Accidents that cause cognitive concerns can, on the other hand, permanently limit the ability of victims to function as usual and perhaps enjoy their social and professional lives to the fullest.
Loss of Consortium
This is compensation for the harm caused directly to your family members. For instance, a spinal injury that leaves you partially paralyzed may have a direct impact on how you relate with your spouse on an everyday basis.
Loss of Household Services
Physical or cognitive impairment can deprive you of the chance to provide services of economic value to your household. For instance, it can be challenging to mow your lawn in person if an accident causes your limbs' amputation.
Mental Anguish and Future Pain and Suffering
As mentioned earlier, catastrophic injuries cause "permanent" life-altering repercussions. Naturally, this throws victims into never-ending spirals of mental anguish, not to mention devastating physical pain and suffering.
At Dallas Horton & Associates, our focus is on providing impeccable legal representation the first time. Our experienced legal team has had a front-row seat in watching innocent victims waste away because they accepted inadequate compensation. While there is much we can do when handling a case for the first time, the laws may hinder victims from seeking further compensation once a case is closed. This is something we remind ourselves of when handling each case.
That said, you can trust us to stand up for you and help you recover as much as possible for your injuries. Our expertise allows us to maximize the value of a claim and ensure our clients receive fair and full recovery of the damages they suffer. We will fight to increase your chances of obtaining compensation for special damages, general damages, and exemplary damages.
Understanding the Main Difference Between Catastrophic and Personal Injury Claims
Because of the permanence of the aftermath of an accident that causes catastrophic injuries, victims need to know the difference between this type of claims and personal injury claims. Generally, these two claims differ in their magnitude and the significance of their effects.
Here are the key differences between these two types of claims
Extent of Damage
Catastrophic injuries cause physical and psychological pain and suffering on a larger scale. This means that the extent of damage is more significant when viewing just about every aspect of a claim, including the loss of income, medical expenses, non-economic damages, and even the emotional suffering caused by the suffered impairments.
Duration of Damage
Personal injury cases often involve injuries that heal after weeks, months, or years. However, catastrophic injuries will usually have some lingering effects that often never heal completely. Injuries like catastrophic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and even birth injuries persist throughout a victim's life.
Because of the long-standing duration of damage, victims have to face life with never-ending medical appointments, physiotherapy routines, and medication. They need to make significant modifications to their routines and lifestyles to accommodate their new reality.
Need For Superior Expertise
Compared to the medical analysis of personal injuries, catastrophic injury cases are more complicated. Accidents that cause permanent injuries call for more medical documentation, and expert testimony may be vital to proving the possible future medical expenses that will be incurred.
Degree of Opposition
The monetary compensation at stake when dealing with catastrophic injuries is more significant. Naturally, insurance companies will be fired up to fight vigorously against a claim. Typically, insurers settle and give payouts quicker when dealing with personal injury cases. In this case, a payout could quickly sum up to hundreds of thousands or even millions depending on the extent of damage suffered by a victim. Because insurers would rather dispute liability than settle, you owe yourself the favor of having a strong legal team behind you.
We understand how insurers and at-fault parties fight, and we will be armed to the tooth, defending your rights and best interests. If we cannot obtain a fair settlement during negotiations, we will not cower from going to trial.
From experience, we know that the extra challenges caused by catastrophic injuries warrant an additional payout. After all, most claims are filed when a victim is merely at the start of a long, perhaps lifetime recovery process. It is with pride that we fight to make their futures more bearable.
How Does the Statute of Limitations Affect Catastrophic Injury Cases?
Catastrophic injuries often have a long-term and life-changing outcome. The loss of limbs, paralysis, cognitive problems, or disfigurement can end life as you know it in an instant and throw you into a completely different form of existence. In some cases, a victim's life hangs by a thread, or the severity of damages is at first hard to understand. This may affect when the time limit for filing begins and may also change certain aspects of your claim.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, the time limit for filing personal injury claims is two years from when an injury is suffered. A judge can, however, provide additional time in case of special conditions. These conditions include if a victim remains mentally incapacitated or a specific kind of physical damage is not uncovered until later.
In case of mental incapacitation such as a coma, the standard statute of limitations cannot provide the usual 2-year limit. The clock starts ticking once the victim regains awareness of the surroundings. Victims of catastrophic injuries often have more time to initiate a claim. We can help ensure that you are still eligible for pursuing a catastrophic injury claim by communicating with the court authorities within the required time.
How We Can Stop the Statute of Limitations
We have discussed the main differences between personal and catastrophic injury cases. While these two cases have more than a few profound differences, they share certain similarities and are even dealt with under the same laws.
Fortunately, the courts understand that catastrophic injuries throw victims into varying degrees of stress. This makes it necessary for the statute of limitations to offer some level of flexibility.
For instance, the state can stop the statute of limitations indefinitely till a victim regains mental awareness and competence. The clock on the time limit starts ticking again once the courts confirm that the plaintiff is mentally capable of proceeding with a claim. Moreover, it is common for specific injuries to pop up months or years following catastrophic injuries. In such instances, the statute of limitations starts after the diagnosis of the catastrophic injury.
It remains imperative not to make any assumptions, especially when so much is at stake. In case you don't understand how the Statute of Limitations works or how it could affect your case, the best thing you can do is seek prompt legal advice. We will analyze your case in detail to offer you detailed legal guidance. When it comes to dealing with catastrophic injury claims, information is power.
Find a Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
The reckless acts or carelessness of another person can turn your life into a nightmare overnight. An accident can leave you with wounds and at the same time paying hefty hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation fees. As this happens, you are also likely to take time off work and possibly never resume working because of your injuries' severity.
At Dallas Horton & Associates, we understand the intensity of the permanent damages caused by accidents. We can save you from making the mistake of taking lesser compensation than you deserve or require to regain your footing in life. Our capable team of personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas, NV, will fight to ensure insurers don't win if they attempt to challenge or deny your claim. Get in touch with us at 702-380-3100 for a free, no-obligation consultation.