After sustaining a catastrophic injury due to the careless actions of another individual or company, you likely have many questions and concerns about your future. Following a catastrophic injury, you may be facing serious, permanent changes in your lifestyle.
This is especially true when these changes prevent you from performing the same job you held prior to the injury, which can result in a large financial burden.
A Lincoln catastrophic injury lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you need and deserve. The diligent injury attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping people in your position and can fight for your rights.
Common Causes of Severe Injuries
Acts of negligence that lead to catastrophic injuries can result in claims for compensation. However, negligence is a broad term that can apply in a variety of contexts. Some common causes of severe injuries that may involve negligence include:
- Car, Truck, or Motorcycle Accidents
- Premises Liability Accidents (Injury on someone else’s property)
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Dog Attacks
The type of catastrophic accident you were in will heavily influence how your lawyer approaches your case. It is best to seek legal help as soon as you can after the accident to discuss your situation.
Understanding the Nature of Catastrophic Injuries
There is no formal legal definition for a catastrophic injury. However, certain types of injuries are commonly considered to be catastrophic due to their permanent nature. Understanding these common types of severe injuries could help you prepare for your lawsuit.
While not all burn injuries are catastrophic, severe burns can be life-changing. These burns can lead to scarring and disfigurement that can last forever. Additionally, severe burn injuries can damage the nerve endings beneath the skin, leading to a lifetime of chronic pain.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) come in many different forms. While any injury to the brain is significant, TBIs can lead to unpredictable health consequences. Some of the most common brain injuries include contusions, concussions, and coup-contrecoup injuries.
From severe falls to high-speed collisions, any incident resulting in an impact to the head could lead to a traumatic brain injury. An individual who suffers a brain injury may have difficulty thinking, concentrating, and remembering information. Long-term issues can include cognitive impairment, sensory deficits, and permanent memory loss.
Some accidents are so severe that they result in the loss of a limb either through physical trauma or surgery. Learning to navigate life without a certain body part can be extremely devastating. Amputation could prevent an individual from enjoying certain activities or working. Although prosthetics may be an option for some people, the cost of these aids can be quite high.
Spinal Cord Damage
The spinal cord is one of the most important parts of the nervous system. This cord transmits signals to and from the brain, allowing the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. Damage to the spinal cord could lead to a variety of health conditions. The most severe outcome for most spinal cord injuries is paralysis.
The loss of feeling or motor control in any part of the body is referred to as paralysis. This condition is often tied to damage to the spine, head, or neck. In some cases, there are medical treatments and equipment that can aid in restoring functionality and mobility. In other cases, an individual may never regain the abilities that he or she lost due to the negligent party’s actions.
Regardless of whether you can expect to regain lost abilities, a catastrophic injury is life-altering and will likely require many years of management and treatment. A catastrophic injury attorney in Lincoln can help you gather medical records and bills to be used as evidence of your losses.
The Deadline to File an Injury Lawsuit
It is important to move quickly in the aftermath of a catastrophic injury. There is a strict deadline—referred to as the statute of limitations—that applies to every personal injury lawsuit. If you file your claim after the deadline has expired, the judge will typically dismiss the lawsuit forever.
In most cases, the statute of limitations expires after four years. This four-year period begins to run on the date the injury occurred. For example, if you suffered an injury in a car accident, you would typically have four years from the day of the crash to file suit.
However, there are some important exceptions to consider when it comes to the statute of limitations. An experienced attorney will ensure that your catastrophic injury lawsuit is filed on time—no matter what individual or entity was at fault.
Potential Compensation for a Life-Changing Accident in Lincoln
Medical expenses can be extensive in catastrophic injury cases. Individuals with catastrophic injuries tend to need specialized care and services, such as rehabilitation services and occupational therapy. If you require such services for years or the rest of your life, your claim may include both past expenditures and future costs.
Loss of income or earning capacity may also be an aspect of damages in a catastrophic injury case. An accident victim may have spent years working in an industry or field in which he or she can no longer work due to his or her injuries.
If you suffer such a degree of impairment from the injury that you can no longer do your job, the loss of income or earning capacity may be compensable. A skilled local attorney can explain these and other types of compensation that may be recovered in a lawsuit for a life-altering injury.
Pain and Suffering
Another type of compensation commonly sought in these cases is pain and suffering. Unlike lost wages or medical bills, the extent of a person’s physical pain cannot be precisely measured. While these damages are subjective, that does not mean financial recovery is impossible. In fact, pain and suffering claims are often one of the largest parts of a catastrophic injury case.
When juries consider a pain and suffering claim, they will take into account how the pain impacted your quality of life. While any amount of unnecessary pain could result in compensation, severe or life-altering pain could lead to substantial monetary settlements.
Some courts use a person’s medical expenses as the basis for their pain and suffering claim. It is not uncommon for the court to award a multiple of the amount of medical bills as a pain and suffering award. This serves the purpose of providing more compensation for more severe injuries.
Partial Fault for a Catastrophic Injury
The reality in some catastrophic injury cases is that both parties involved may share some of the blame. Even an individual suffering a catastrophic injury could be partially liable for his or her accident. The good news is that the seriously injured person might be entitled to financial compensation even if they share some fault for the accident.
State law does not bar injured people from pursuing personal injury cases when they bear some degree of fault. Instead, the state applies something known as the “modified comparative fault” rule. Under this rule, you can seek compensation for your injuries if you bear less than 50% of the fault for the accident.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to recover compensation for the full value of your monetary damages. The court will reduce your available compensation by your degree of fault.
How Comparative Fault Works in Practice
Consider the following example. A motorist suffers a catastrophic injury in a drunk driving accident. Although the negligent driver was intoxicated, the injured party was speeding at the time of the crash.
The injured party suffered $100,000 in damages but cannot recover compensation for the full value of the claim because the jury determines he or she is 40% at fault. In this situation, the injured person would only receive $60,000 in compensation. If the jury found the accident victim to be 50% at fault, he or she would recover nothing.
Given the severe impact that partial fault can have on your claim, it is crucial to seek legal help immediately after the accident. An experienced lawyer can help you argue against any accusations that you were partially negligent.
How a Lincoln Catastrophic Injury Attorney Can Help You
A catastrophic injury could leave you with a lifetime of financial, emotional, and physical hardships. Minor tasks like checking the mail or cooking dinner could become more difficult than you ever thought possible. While a monetary settlement cannot undo those injuries, it could help you return to your standard quality of life.
If you suffered a life-altering injury due to another person’s negligence, you deserve to have an ally by your side. The persistent attorneys at Berry Law will fight for the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact a Lincoln catastrophic injury lawyer today for a free case evaluation.