Some accidents are so severe that victims sustain long-term or permanent disability or disfigurement. These types of injuries frequently result in a long recovery process, possibly extending for the duration of a person’s life. If the injured person can no longer perform all of life’s functions for the long-term, then the injury may be considered “catastrophic,” as that term is defined by law. These types of injuries usually result in the victim’s inability to return to the same or similar line of work that they were in before the injury occurred.
Examples of Catastrophic Injuries
In determining whether an injury is “catastrophic,” insurance companies will look at the severity and duration of the injury, disfigurement, or disability. Common examples of catastrophic injuries include:
What Damages Could I Be Entitled To?
After a catastrophic injury, if a person, business, organization, or entity is found liable, they can be required to pay damages that “make the plaintiff whole again.” This means that plaintiffs who are able to prove that their injury was the result of negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct can receive enough money to pay for all expenses incurred as a result of their injury, including damages for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, emotional damages, loss of family, social and education experiences, and more.
Ascertaining the extent of damages in a catastrophic injury case can be very complicated. These types of cases should be handled by a lawyer with significant experience litigating these types of matters because it can be difficult to project the true costs of an injury over a person’s lifetime. Costs can fluctuate as new research, development, and treatments change over time. At Davis & Brusca, LLC, we work with qualified medical experts to ensure that we have a grasp on the true cost of our clients’ injuries over a lifetime.
Depending on what state you are in, there may be a cap on “non-economic” damages such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment. Some states place a cap on punitive damages. However, many of these caps contain exceptions for severe catastrophic injuries and a defendant’s intentional conduct.
When insurance companies are facing a claim, they use a formula to determine how much compensation the case is “worth.” Although an insurance company’s goal is always to pay out as little as possible, the quantified worth of a claim is usually a moving target during settlement negotiations. The first part of the formula requires a calculation of “medical special damages,” or simply “specials.” These include the actual total medical expenses related to the injury. Next, they will attempt to quantify “general damages,” including pain and suffering, emotional damages, and damages for permanent disability. General damages are usually a multiplier of special damages, of between one and a half to five times the amount of the special damages. Then, the adjuster will add any income you have lost as a result of your injuries.
Whenever someone’s negligence results in a catastrophic injury, the injured victim may be entitled to compensation for losses relating to the accident. If you are in search of a personal injury law firm in New Jersey, contact our personal injury lawyers in Princeton at Davis & Brusca, LLC today at 609-786-2540 or contact us online. We have the experience needed to ascertain the full extent of your losses, and to hold the responsible parties accountable.