Although there is not a specific legal definition for a “catastrophic” injury, the term is generally understood to refer severe injuries that are permanent or result in long-term disfigurement and/or disability. There is usually a lengthy and difficult recovery process associated with catastrophic injuries, with the potential for a lifetime of needed medical treatment. This means that people who suffer from catastrophic injuries have the potential to receive a significant amount of compensation for their injuries when filing personal injury claims.
However, while there is the potential to receive much higher financial damages in a catastrophic injury claim, there is also a much greater burden of proof on the claimant to demonstrate the full extent of his or her condition and that this condition will affect them for a long time. Attorneys need to have a good understanding of the medical process to demonstrate how a plaintiff’s injuries will affect them permanently. It is also helpful to have medical professionals testify on the claimant’s behalf to add some weight to the argument. This gives the court a better idea of not only the seriousness of the injury, but also of the potential cost of medical coverage over an extended period of time.
Catastrophic injury claimants are also more likely to receive large non-economic damages, including punitive damages, where the defendants’ acts were clearly reckless, against the negligent party in question. While many states place limits on the amount of non-economic damages a person can receive in a given case, there are exceptions available for certain types of injuries or for when there was the presence of especially egregious conduct on the part of the defendant.
For more information on filing a lawsuit after suffering a catastrophic injury, consult a knowledgeable Jacksonville personal injury attorney.
Personal injury attorney Mark Link contributed to this blog post.