Any type of accident can result in serious injuries. Catastrophic injuries, though, have long-lasting repercussions for accident victims. A catastrophic injury does not only change the life of the victim, sometimes forever, but it also changes the lives of their families. If you or someone you love has suffered this type of devastating injury due to someone else’s negligence, you can file a claim against them. Here’s what you need to know about catastrophic injury claims.
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What is a Catastrophic Injury?
The term ‘catastrophic injury’ does not have a single definition, but generally speaking, it refers to severe injuries to the spinal cord, brain, skull, and internal organs. Catastrophic injuries also typically prevent accident victims from obtaining gainful employment. The most common types of catastrophic injuries that form the basis of personal injury claims are as follows:
- Traumatic brain injuries: TBIs are most often the result of a direct blow to the head, such as when the head hits the steering wheel during a car accident.
- Spinal cord injuries: The most serious spinal cord injuries are those that involve the pinching or tearing of the bundles of nerves in the spine that control sensation and movement.
- Amputations: Accident victims can suffer from an amputation at the scene of the accident when an impact is forceful enough, or amputation may be necessary if a limb cannot be saved.
- Burns: Most burns are the result of coming into direct contact with steam, hot liquids, gases, and flammable liquids. However, burns can also result from electrocution, radiation, chemicals, and heat.
- Soft tissue injuries: Soft tissue injuries refer to damage to tendons, muscles, and ligaments. These injuries sometimes result in bruising and severe pain and can even cause permanent disability and impairment.
- Internal organ damage: A forceful blow to the organs can cause them to sweep, which can result in internal bleeding.
- Hypoxia: Hypoxia is a term that is used to refer to when the brain cannot get enough oxygen. It often results in brain damage or death.
The catastrophic injuries listed above are not only extremely painful, but they are also very costly to treat. In some instances, accident victims require months, or even years, of demanding therapy and rehabilitation.
How Much Do Catastrophic Injuries Cost?
Due to their nature, catastrophic injuries require extensive medical treatment. An accident victim who suffers from internal bleeding, for instance, may need to undergo many surgeries to repair puncture wounds and blood vessels. These surgeries are extremely intricate and complex, and they pose a risk of complications that can lead to further health issues.
Even after an accident victim has received the necessary medical treatment for a catastrophic injury, they still usually require ongoing care, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. These types of medical treatments are expensive, and victims are usually unable to return to work right away to pay for their medical bills. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a spinal cord injury can cost accident victims hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Paying for a catastrophic injury is not a one-time event, and it is difficult for injured individuals as they watch the costs pile up. When a catastrophic injury was caused by the negligent actions of another person, accident victims should not have to pay for these costs on their own. By filing a personal injury claim, injured individuals can recover their medical costs, lost income, costs of making accommodations to a home, and more. The compensation available in a personal injury claim is meant to restore accident victims. While it cannot undo the injury, it can help offset the financial burden the injury causes.
Statute of Limitations on Catastrophic Injury Claims
Like other types of personal injury claims, accident victims who have suffered a catastrophic injury only have a limited amount of time to file their claim. In Illinois, the statute of limitations, or time limit, is two years from the date of the accident. Accident victims in Missouri have more time than this, as catastrophic injuries in the state are governed by a five-year statute of limitations.
Sometimes, there are exceptions to these time limits. For example, claims involving catastrophic injuries that were caused by medical malpractice must be filed within two years of the date of the injury.
It is always important to speak to a personal injury lawyer who can advise on the statute of limitations applicable in your case. If you do not file your claim before time expires, you will likely forfeit your right to claim any damages.
Get Legal Help Today
If you or someone you love has suffered a catastrophic injury due to the careless actions of another person, our experienced persona injury attorneys can help. At the Law Office of Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC, our skilled attorneys know how difficult this time is for you, and we want to help you claim the compensation that can ease some of the burden. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.