As the name suggests, catastrophic injuries are severe in nature and always need to be addressed immediately.
Catastrophic injuries include:
- Spine damage
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Other serious head injuries
- Loss of a limb
- Serious burn injuries
- Disfigurement and significant scarring
- Skull fractures
- Spinal fractures
Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries are relatively common as a result of car accidents, work-related accidents, sports-related accidents, and other traumatic events that can occur out of everyday activities.
Here are three things you should know about catastrophic injuries:
#1 - An injury is considered catastrophic if it prevents you from performing any “gainful work.”
According to 42 USC § 3796b, “‘catastrophic injury’ means consequences of an injury that permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.”
Said another way, a catastrophic injury is so severe that the impacts of the accident leave you with lifelong damage. Essentially, it doesn’t matter what injury you sustained or where on your body the injury occurred. All that matters in terms of the law is that you’ll suffer permanent damage as a result of the incident.
#2 - If someone else’s negligence caused you to sustain a catastrophic injury, you’re likely entitled to compensation.
There are many ways to sustain a catastrophic injury, but if another’s negligence caused your injury, then you may be entitled to damages.
Negligence occurs when someone else fails to execute an anticipated standard of care, which leads to your injuries. For instance, if another driver on the road forgets to wear their eyeglasses and doing so is required by his or her driver’s license, and then the individual causes an injury-sustaining car accident, the person will be held liable for the resulting injuries.
Elements of Negligence
You must be able to prove the following in order to prove negligence:
- You were owed a duty of care (by the person who caused your injuries) to act in a way that would be expected from a “reasonable” individual.
- Breach of Duty
- You must be able to prove that the person who caused your injuries failed to live up to the duty of care.
- Proximate Cause
- The breach of duty was a cause which in a direct sequence unbroken by any superseding cause, produces the injury or event complained of and without which such injury or event would not have happened.
- You suffered real damages as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Washington state follows the contributory fault rule, which states that you may claim damages for your injuries in proportion to how much your actions contributed to the injury-sustaining accident.
For example, if you’re involved in a car accident, and you are determined to be 30% at fault for the crash, you may only claim 70% of the damages for your injuries. If your damages come to a total of $10,000, you will only be able to recover $7,000.
#3 - The statute of limitations for a catastrophic injury case is usually three years.
If you sustain a catastrophic injury due to another’s negligence, you have three years from the date the injury occurred to file suit.
If you fail to file a catastrophic injury lawsuit before the three-year time period expires, you will not be able to recover any compensation at all. The court will likely throw out your case if you try to file after the three-year period.
If you’ve undergone a catastrophic injury as a result of another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Attorney Jim Dore is highly skilled in the area of catastrophic injury law and has helped many others in similar situations. Let our team see if we can help you, too.
Give our Kent personal injury attorney at Dore Law Group, PLLC a call today at (253) 236-3888 to discuss your case.