Any type of accident can cause a catastrophic injury that has a life-changing effect on a victim’s health and finances. Accidents may even cause permanent disabilities that affect your ability to work or even care for yourself.
If someone’s negligence caused the catastrophic injury, you have options. An injury claim can provide resources to help you or a loved one get medical treatment, therapy, and medication. Accident victims who suffer disabling injuries can even get compensation for lost income to pay for living expenses and caretakers.
Every catastrophic injury case is different. You need a Bronx catastrophic injury attorney who understands the challenges you face and can fight for the resources you need to meet those challenges.
Contact The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond for a free case evaluation—and speak to our Bronx personal injury lawyers to learn about your legal rights and the options you have to pursue fair injury compensation.
Examples of Catastrophic Injuries
Under any definition, most reasonable people would agree that these injuries qualify as catastrophic:
Permanent Brain Damage
Your brain controls your nervous system. Everything in your body responds to nerve signals, including involuntary systems like your circulation, respiration, and digestion systems. When part of your brain gets damaged, these systems can stop.
Your brain also controls your muscles. Brain damage can interfere with your brain’s ability to move your body. You could suffer localized paralysis.
Sense organs send sensory signals to your brain. The brain decodes these signals to create sense impressions like images, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes. Brain damage can rob you of your senses or cause misperceptions like blurry vision, ringing ears, and numbness or tingling.
Brain damage can also affect your ability to think, process information, and even express emotions. You might suffer from confusion, amnesia, depression, anxiety, and emotional outbursts. A brain injury could even stop you from learning new information.
Importantly, brain cells cannot regrow after they die. When you suffer a brain injury, therapy might help you work around any disabilities you experience. But the disabilities will remain.
Your brain connects to your body through the spinal cord. The spinal cord carries control signals from your brain to your muscles and organs. It also carries sense signals to your brain from your sense organs.
When the spinal cord gets severed, you suffer total or partial paralysis. Total paralysis happens when all the nerves of the spinal cord get severed. Partial paralysis occurs when only some of the nerves get severed. Doctors cannot cure paralysis because nerve cells cannot regrow.
The location of the injury will determine the extent of your paralysis. Suppose that your spinal cord gets severed in your neck. In that case, you will suffer from quadriplegia, which is paralysis in all four limbs, the chest, and the abdomen.
If the injury happens in your back, you will have paralysis in your legs and pelvis, also known as paraplegia.
Amputations happen when you suffer such serious vascular damage that doctors cannot restore circulation to your injured limb. Without circulation, the tissue will die and eventually cause gangrene.
An amputation deprives you of a body part and its functions. It also disfigures you. Even with a prosthetic, you will never regain the same functionality you had before your accident. You could also suffer long-term complications from amputation, such as depression or phantom limb pain.
Third-degree burns happen when the entire thickness of your skin gets burned. This burn damages tissue at such a deep level that it causes no pain because the nerve endings get destroyed.
Deep burns deprive you of touch sensations in the burned area. They also carry a high risk of infection and dehydration.
Over the long term, you could suffer keloid scars and contractures. Scars happen when replacement cells lack the elasticity of the original skin cells. Contractures result from the shrinking and stiffening of tissue after a severe burn injury, resulting in significant loss of motion.
Other Catastrophic Injuries
Regardless of the definition used, accident victims who suffer other catastrophic injuries need medical treatment and resources to pay for rent, food, and other necessities. As a result, accident victims and their families should explore every possible option for injury compensation with an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond.
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries usually result from catastrophic accidents.
The top accidents in the U.S. that cause unintentional injury include:
Workplace accidents and medical malpractice also have a significant risk of causing catastrophic injuries.
Devastating accidents can cause injuries in many different ways.
Poisonings, drownings, and smoke inhalation could deprive your brain of oxygen. When the brain does not get enough oxygen, brain cells die. After just four minutes, the brain will suffer permanent damage.
Burns happen when a reaction destroys your tissue.
Common burns include:
- Thermal burns from hot objects, fluids, and gases
- Combustion burns when flesh catches on fire
- Radiation burns from electromagnetic waves
- Chemical burns from caustic substances
- Electrical burns from electric currents
Depending on the intensity of the reaction, burns can cause disfiguring scars and nerve damage.
When your body suffers a powerful impact from a fall, traffic crash, or other collision, you can break bones, tear soft tissue, and rattle your brain. If you fracture a vertebra, a bone fragment can sever your spinal cord. And the violent shaking of your brain can cause a brain contusion or diffuse axonal injury, resulting in permanent brain damage.
Penetrating injuries happen when an object pierces your body. This injury damages your tissues and leaves an open wound that is susceptible to bleeding and infection.
Grounds for Catastrophic Injury Claims
All catastrophic injury claims fall into three categories. To recover compensation, you must show that one of these categories applies and that you have the evidence to prove the other party’s liability for your catastrophic injury.
The three categories include:
When someone intends to make harmful contact with another person, they commit battery. Examples of battery include bar fights, domestic violence, and road rage. When a victim suffers a catastrophic injury, they can pursue a claim against the batterer.
To win a claim for battery, a catastrophic injury lawyer must prove the other person performed an intentional act. This does not require proof that they intended to harm you. But you must prove they intended to swing their fist, throw an object, or do whatever caused the harmful contact.
Negligence is the most common basis for a catastrophic injury claim.
Negligence provides the foundation for most claims for:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Premises liability incidents
- Medical malpractice incidents
Negligence happens when someone performs an act or omission that they know or should know poses a risk to others.
To prove negligence, your catastrophic injury attorney must show:
- Duty of care
- Breach of the duty
Take, for example, a traffic accident where a pedestrian suffered a catastrophic injury after being hit by a car. The driver didn’t notice the pedestrian because they were texting while driving.
All drivers have a legal duty to drive with reasonable care. The driver violated that duty by breaking a traffic law.
The pedestrian suffered financial and physical harm as a result of the collision. Since the driver’s violation caused the collision, the pedestrian could prove the four elements of a negligence claim.
Strict liability applies to only two types of catastrophic injury claims in New York. Product manufacturers bear strict liability for catastrophic injuries that result from defective products. And dog owners bear strict liability for medical bills associated with catastrophic injuries from dog attacks.
To win a strict liability claim, you do not need to prove negligence or intent. Thus, you do not need to prove the existence of a legal duty or a breach of it. You do not need to prove what the other party intended or demonstrate what the other party should have done.
Instead, a catastrophic injury attorney only needs to prove the existence of the hazard and a causal link between the hazard and your catastrophic injury. For a product liability claim, you must show the product was defective due to its design, manufacturing, or instructions. For a dog bite claim, you must show the dog was dangerous.
Parties Liable for Catastrophic Injuries
You can pursue a claim against businesses or individuals responsible for causing your catastrophic injury.
To do this, you and your lawyer will look at each party’s actions to determine whether they played a role in your accident. And you will look at their actions in light of the standard that applies to them. Thus, a landlord might owe you a duty of reasonable care, while the manufacturer of your apartment’s refrigerator is strictly liable for a defective product.
Multiple parties might share the liability for your catastrophic injuries.
Suppose that you were in a car accident where you got ejected from the vehicle and suffered paralysis. The driver who hit your vehicle in a head-on collision while driving on the wrong side of the road was negligent. And the manufacturer who built the seat belt that broke and allowed you to fly through the windshield created a defective product.
In this situation, both parties share liability for your accident and should each pay a share of the compensation you receive.
In addition to their own liability, a party can also bear liability for others.
- Employers may be liable for the actions of their employees
- Parents may be liable for the actions of their children
- Principals may be liable for the actions of their agents
Levels of liability can be complicated. Suppose that after a truck accident, your catastrophic injury attorney investigates the cause of the crash.
The investigation reveals that the trucking company loaded the trailer improperly, leading to a rollover accident that injured you. It also reveals that the driver failed to inspect the load.
The trucking company has liability for loading the trailer. It also has vicarious liability for the driver’s mistake.
Multiple causes of action will not multiply the amount you receive. But they give juries more options when holding parties responsible for losses.
Damages Recoverable by a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
In a catastrophic injury claim, you can seek two forms of compensation:
Economic losses encompass the financial costs of your injury.
Some typical costs include:
- Lost wages
- Future income losses due to disabilities
- Costs for medical treatment, therapy, and medication
These economic losses could be significant in a catastrophic injury claim. A catastrophic injury could prevent you from working for months, years, or the span of your remaining life.
Non-economic losses cover the diminishment in your quality of life due to your catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Pain & Suffering
- Loss of marital relations
Jurors and claim adjusters presume your non-economic losses based on your injuries. Generally, you can expect to receive more for severe injuries that last a long time.
Hire Our Bronx Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
After you suffer a catastrophic injury, you face an uncertain future. You may need a lifetime of care and be unable to work. A catastrophic injury attorney understands how to get full and just compensation for catastrophic injuries.
The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond
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