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How Do You Categorize a Catastrophic Accident or Injury?

July 10 2023 | Personal Injury

In personal injury law, a catastrophic injury is one that will impact the victim for the foreseeable future or the rest of his or her life. The damages, or financial compensation, that may be paid out to a victim of a catastrophic accident in Connecticut may be different than in a noncatastrophic injury case. It is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in a preventable accident in New Haven.

What Is a Catastrophic Accident or Injury?

Some accidents are more severe than others. A catastrophic accident is one that causes life-changing or permanent injuries to one or more victims. They are the most serious accidents involved in personal injury law other than fatal accidents and wrongful death claims. Catastrophic injuries are so severe that they can result in a significant and permanent loss of a bodily function or interfere with a victim’s ability to return to normal, pre-injury life. Injuries from a catastrophic accident may include:  

  • Amputations
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Paralysis (quadriplegia, paraplegia, etc.) 
  • Significant scarring or disfigurement
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Third-degree burn injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries and brain damage

In the majority of cases, a victim with a catastrophic injury will no longer be able to work because of the incident. The injury causes a major impact on the victim’s daily life, with long-term or permanent consequences. This marks the incident and injury as catastrophic in the eyes of civil law in Connecticut. Catastrophic injury cases are dealt with slightly differently than mild to moderate injuries.

Damages for a Catastrophic Accident and Injury in Connecticut

Catastrophic accidents can include motor vehicle collisions, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, falls, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and acts of violence. Any accident that results in a catastrophic injury can be deemed a catastrophic accident. Filing a civil claim for a catastrophic accident and injury in Connecticut could result in financial compensation for damages that may persist for the victim’s lifetime, such as:

  • Economic damages: the costs of treating and living with a catastrophic injury, such as hospital bills, surgeries, ongoing medical care, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medical devices and prescription medications. This can also include lost wages and lost earning capacity due to a long-term disability.
  • Noneconomic damages: the intangible effects the catastrophic injury has had on the victim’s life, such as chronic pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, difficulty communicating with others, disability, inconvenience, loss of consortium, and reduced quality or enjoyment of life.

Some catastrophic injury cases in Connecticut can also result in punitive damages – an additional amount granted to punish a defendant for acts that are grossly negligent, reckless or wanton. Many states impose damage caps on personal injury lawsuits, or maximums on the amount of compensation that a victim can recover. However, catastrophic injuries are almost always exceptions to these damage caps.

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney After a Catastrophic Accident

If you or someone you love has suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident in Connecticut, you may be facing a future of uncertainty. Expensive ongoing medical costs, a permanent disability and the inability to work may all arise from a catastrophic injury. You and your family can benefit from hiring a catastrophic injury attorney in New Haven to help you secure the financial compensation you need to get by for the rest of your life. A lawyer can prevent an insurance company from taking advantage of you to protect your financial future.  

An experienced New Haven personal injury lawyer from Jacobs & Jacobs can aggressively pursue just case results on your behalf. Call (203) 777-2300 today for a free catastrophic injury case evaluation.

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