Catastrophic Personal Injury

All you wanted was some relief from the painful, bulging disk in your spine and perhaps the opportunity to play tennis again. But the surgeon in charge of your operation botched the procedure so badly that now you’re paralyzed from the neck down and may never regain mobility.

Your lawyer calls it a “catastrophic injury,” since it’s very likely you’ll be in a wheelchair and in need of special care for the rest of your life. While you try to process the bad news, you’re also unable to work, have a stack of medical bills, and need help doing everything from eating to brushing your teeth — adding insult to injury.

As bills pile up and your bank account quickly drains, your attorney (who also isn’t cheap) explains how the case may take a year or so to settle. Thankfully, you have a few options, including a risk-free lawsuit loan from Provident Legal Funding. You have expenses right now, so why wait?

What are Catastrophic Personal Injuries?

Any injury can seem catastrophic, but in legal parlance, catastrophic personal injuries are those that significantly impact your day-to-day activities, often for life. These typically involve the brain or spinal cord injuries but also may include amputations or other severe disfigurements.

Such injuries may require multiple medical procedures to remedy, a significantly long and often difficult recovery (if at all), and often a lifetime of adverse effects (such as the ongoing need for assistance with basic daily tasks). Also, they often result in the inability to work or a severely diminished earning capacity. Common examples include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Loss of a limb
  • Severe burning or scarring

Common Claims for Damages

If you’ve suffered substantial injury, it typically means your life has been dramatically altered — at least for a significant amount of time, but maybe for life. The exact damages claimed for such an injury will depend on the facts of the case and how the injury specifically impacts your life, but the following are some general guidelines.

Short-Term or More-Immediate Damages

The individual in the example above, having suffered a spinal cord injury, will claim certain damages for expenses incurred immediately following the surgery. These may include medical bills (including deductibles or any other expenses if the plaintiff is adequately insured); lost wages; around-the-clock (or whatever is required) help with daily tasks; and perhaps any modifications needed for mobility (i.e. motorized wheelchair, ramps, etc.).

Longer-Term or Lifelong Damages

For catastrophic injuries resulting in (for example) paralysis from the neck down for the rest of one’s life, the plaintiff would claim any expenses incurred by the disability or disfigurement. These might include not just lost wages but also diminished earning capacity; the ongoing (and future) costs of home care; any physical therapy or future medical treatments required; and the projected cost of future mobility aids, such as wheelchairs or home modifications.

Non-Economic Damages

In addition to these tangible costs and lost earnings, plaintiffs — especially those suffering a serious personal injury — may claim “non-economic” damages. These include less-tangible but no less real damages such as pain and suffering; disability (the overall personal toll of being disabled); loss of consortium (the inability to be intimate with your partner); and loss of enjoyment of life.

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