While many injuries heal over time, traumatic harm can have a permanent impact on someone. These are commonly known as catastrophic injuries.
Catastrophic injuries can alter a person’s personal and professional life. This can be due to physical disabilities, chronic pain, or the inability to maintain employment. For many people suffering from catastrophic injuries, it could be impossible for them to perform daily tasks. They may require permanent medical care that could quickly become expensive.
A Montgomery County catastrophic injury lawyer could help you pursue compensation for these substantial costs. If you were injured due to the negligence of another individual, a hard-working local injury attorney could guide you during the claims process.
Examples of Devastating Losses
There is no formal definition of a catastrophic injury under state law. However, these injuries generally involve permanent or long-term consequences or disabilities. Understanding these traumatic injuries can help an injured Montgomery County resident assist their attorney in building a successful claim. Common catastrophic injuries include:
Given the devastating impact these injuries can have on a person’s life, it is vital that they seek legal counsel immediately. With skilled legal guidance, it could be possible to recover compensation for these injuries.
What Kinds of Accidents Could Cause Catastrophic Harm?
Any type of incident that could give rise to a typical personal injury claim could also lead to a catastrophic injury claim. The difference between these two types of cases is the severity of harm suffered by the plaintiff, not the specific action that caused it. Accordingly, a nearby catastrophic injury attorney could help file suit over life-altering damage suffered in various contexts, including workplace accidents, defective consumer products, mistakes by medical professionals, and even slips and falls.
Perhaps most importantly, a catastrophic injury by definition meets the criteria for a “serious injury” in the context of Pennsylvania’s no-fault car insurance system. In other words, a person who suffers a catastrophic injury in a car wreck can file a lawsuit against a negligent third party immediately, rather than first having to exhaust their own insurance coverage.
How is Negligence Proven in a Traumatic Injury Claim?
For a Montgomery County attorney, proving a catastrophic injury requires them to prove a defendant’s negligence. Negligence occurs when a person carelessly, recklessly, or intentionally harms another.
There are four elements required to prove negligence in a civil claim. First, it must be proven that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Second, a claimant must establish this duty was violated. The third step requires proving a connection between the violated duty and the plaintiff’s injuries. Finally, these injuries must qualify as compensable damages.
Negligence differs across different types of devastating accidents. For example, the duty owed in a catastrophic car accident could be different from that in a fall while visiting another’s property.
Proving a causal link between an accident and a traumatic injury can also be a challenge. Therefore, it is imperative for a person suffering from devastating harm to seek an experienced and accomplished injury attorney in Montgomery County to ensure this connection is proven.
Impact of Shared Fault on a Case
Negligence in a catastrophic injury case is not always clear. In some instances, the injured person could be partially responsible for the accident. In a vehicle crash, a claimant could be held partially liable if they were speeding before the crash.
In this situation, the courts apply a doctrine known as modified comparative negligence. This standard bars a plaintiff from recovering damages if their degree of responsibility is more than the defendant’s. If it is less, the plaintiff may still recover compensation. However, the court will reduce the claimant’s damage award by the degree of their fault. This could greatly reduce the compensation in a catastrophic injury case.
What Damages Could Be Recovered in a Permanent Injury Claim?
Unlike standard personal injury claims, which often focus on short-term losses like hospital bills and personal property damage, catastrophic injury lawsuits generally prioritize recovery for the future effects that the plaintiff’s newfound disability or disfigurement will have. In addition to objective economic losses like long-term expenses for inpatient and outpatient care, rehabilitative services, medical equipment, and home and/or vehicle modifications, a catastrophic accident lawyer in Montgomery County could help seek restitution for non-economic forms of harm like loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium with a spouse, loss of capacity to hold employment, and loss of ability to engage in personal hobbies.
What Filing Deadlines Apply to Catastrophic Injury Cases?
Unfortunately, despite the life-changing nature of catastrophic accidents, civil claims based on this type of incident are still must follow the same statute of limitations that applies to all personal injury lawsuits. Specifically, under 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §5524, people who suffer permanent injuries must file suit within two years of discovering the injury in question—long before many of the lifelong impacts of such a condition will manifest. In light of this, working with seasoned legal counsel to estimate a fair financial value for future damages can be crucial to seeking appropriate compensation in a catastrophic accident claim.
Get in Touch with a Montgomery County Catastrophic Injury Attorney
A catastrophic injury claim can be a difficult and lengthy process and attempting to handle it alone could make it far more difficult. When you work with skilled legal counsel, your chances of success may increase substantially.
A Montgomery County catastrophic injury lawyer has the experience and legal knowledge that could give you an advantage during the litigation process. To move forward with a claim, set up your free initial consultation today.