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Most personal injury cases do not qualify as fitting the definition of “catastrophic.” For these victims, a return to normal life or to work is not possible in the foreseeable future or at all for the remainder of a person’s life.

In fact, there is no strict legal definition of a catastrophic injury. However, when using this term, most medical, legal, and insurance professionals that deal with catastrophic injury cases are generally referring to cases in which the patient will require significant recovery time involving years of treatment and/or multiple surgeries.

Often, catastrophic injuries also require long-term care, in-home hospice, or live-in care. Likewise, from a litigation standpoint, plaintiffs in these cases are typically unable to earn a living for themselves or their family either on a long-term basis or permanently.

No list can possibly cover the extent of catastrophic injury cases. Many injury cases involve many other debilitating and painful situations as well as combinations of issues. Every case has a unique set of challenges.

Many actions or inactions can cause catastrophic injuries, including:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Industrial accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Sporting accidents
  • Acts of violence
  • Medical malpractice
  • Military incidents
  • Negligent surgery

Call Litster Frost Injury Lawyers to discuss your case. We help catastrophic or serious injury victims by planning a strong litigation strategy where possible, based on experience in such cases in Idaho. Our team knows how to prevent insurance carriers from forcing you out of an award or settlement that is commensurate with what you and your case deserve.

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EXAMPLES OF POSSIBLE CATASTROPHIC INJURY CASES

factor 1

Loss of Speech

Speech can be negatively affected by a range of factors, including brain injury. Loss of speech is undeniably a devastating event that no one should have to endure. As clear-cut as the facts may seem, your attorney will take care to develop a convincing case. There are no shortcuts to a well-developed catastrophic injury case, no matter how obvious the injury.

factor 2

Vision Loss

Vision can be affected by chemical eye burns, irritation and inflammation by foreign particles, computer usage, and UV ray exposure. A great deal of these are common on-the-job hazards. Vision can also be lost in accidents causing blunt injury to the eye or traumatic brain injury. Whether your vision was lost over time or in a single accident, your lawyer will work to develop a compelling case that will win you as much compensation as possible for your catastrophic injury.

factor 3

Hearing Loss

Loss of hearing can result from a wide range of accidents or injuries. For one thing, ears can be damaged by ototoxic medications. Many times, though, hearing loss is caused by occupational hazards. Have you ever shouted to coworkers in order to be heard by them? If so, that means the noise at your job was within the range that can damage hearing. In any case, there can be no denying the fact that loss of hearing cripples an individual for life. However, care must be taken in developing the case so that maximum compensation can be awarded.

factor 4

Spinal Cord Injury

Often, serious spinal cord injuries involve permanent damage, loss of motor function, significant and debilitating pain, weakness and nerve issues, and more.

factor 5

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury is the “silent epidemic” that, for people in their early forties or younger, causes more physical problems or death than almost any other cause. TBI-related health issues can be difficult to diagnose and can exhibit long after the inciting incident.

factor 6

Amputation or Loss of Limbs

Loss of a limb is still common despite countless advances in such things as workplace safety and automobile crash standards. In a case involving the loss of a limb, there is no doubt by any party that the plaintiff has suffered a true and permanently life-altering loss. However, a serious injury case has countless nuances, and success often depends on an attorney team that understands those nuances through experience.

factor 7

Burns

Severe burns involve multiple aspects of a serious personal injury. For example, possible permanent disfigurement, psychological or post-traumatic damage, life-threatening infections, and some of the worst pain known to man. Severe burn cases that were caused by the acts or negligence of another party must be treated as the serious cases that they are and thus are rarely if ever settled on the first offer from an insurance carrier.

factor 8

Damage to Internal Organs

Internal organ damage can easily lead to a lifetime requiring medical support. Organ damage can come from traumatic impact in an accident as well as from medical malpractice and poor surgical procedure.

factor 9

Bone Fractures

Bone breaks and fractures are the most common injury type in most accidents. However, as routine as bone breaks are to ER doctors, some cases prove to be more complex than setting and placing the bone in a cast. In serious cases, surgery may be required involving reconstruction. In these cases, the added potential for further associated complications (such as nerve damage, bone infection, and organ damage due to bone fragments) exists. Some bone breaks involving joints can also permanently and severely limit or eliminate some range of motion and prevent the injury plaintiff from resuming work.

factor 10

Loss of Speech

factor 10

Vision Loss

factor 10

Hearing Loss

factor 10

Spinal Cord Injury

factor 10

Traumatic Brain Injury

factor 10

Amputation or Loss of Limbs

factor 10

Burns

factor 10

Damage to Internal Organs

factor 10

Bone Fractures

* While these are not the only possible catastrophic injuries, these are very common.

HOW CAN YOU BE COMPENSATED?

01

File a personal injury claim.

Filing a personal injury claim against a negligent party helps ensure that you have the best chance of getting financial help for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
02

Document the expenses of your case well.

Do this from the time of your injury onward. Usually, the initial medical bills are not the only costs associated with catastrophic injuries. You may need follow-up care, additional surgeries, physical therapy, and even psychological therapy over the years. If you are suing for a catastrophic injury, you should keep copies of all appointments and costs associated with the injury. Our team will help you with this.
03

Select an attorney experienced in settlements and in trial work.

It can sometimes be difficult to prove the extent of an injury. If the person who caused the injury is found to be negligent, you may be entitled to additional punitive damages.

In the event that you won’t be able to settle the case, you must go to trial. You and your attorney will have to prove that the injury you suffered significantly changed your life.

04

These may be physicians, psychiatrists, or accident reconstruction experts. Their testimony helps to explain to the court and the jury⁠—if you have a jury trial⁠—what type of medical and/or psychological issues you are having. An accident reconstruction expert will attempt to prove that the accident was the fault of the person or company that injured you, and if negligence is suspected, may be able to help prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the catastrophic injury.

Expert witnesses are an important part of the trial because the defendant’s negligence could entitle you to claim non-economic damages including the loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, permanent disability, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and disfigurement. If the court finds that the injuries are catastrophic, the value of these damages may be higher.

WHAT ABOUT CHALLENGING LIABILITY?

01

The Defense

Because a defense attorney will have a hard time limiting damages that may be awarded to you if you suffer a catastrophic injury, the defense attorney—the attorney representing the person or company you are suing—may try to show that you were at least partly at fault for the accident that caused your injuries.
02

The Offense

Thus, it is imperative to document the accident that caused the injury, plus any medical treatments (including surgeries) needed to attempt to repair the damage. If the court finds that you are partially liable for your own injuries—that you are partially at fault for the cause of the accident—your trial award may be significantly smaller.
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WHAT IS

Comparative Negligence Rule

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