“Catastrophic” Injuries and Why They Matter

If you or someone you know has ever suffered harm in a Las Vegas accident, you may have heard the term “catastrophic” tossed around. While this term does not have a strict legal definition, there are ways to identify these types of injuries. Generally these types of injuries prevent the victim from being able to engage in the workforce. Oftentimes catastrophic injuries are caused by the carelessness or negligence of another. Finally, catastrophic injuries typically happen as a result of a car accident, a work-related injury, or harm suffered from a malfunctioning tool or machine.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Different from a personal injury, a Las Vegas catastrophic injury often requires intensive medical treatments and continued medical care – sometimes for the remainder of the victim’s lifetime. Catastrophic injuries are significant changes in the lives of both the victim and his or her loved ones; those affected by catastrophic injuries are typically unable to afford the necessary care required to keep up with their new “normal.”

There are several types of catastrophic injuries. Some examples include:

  • Paraplegia;

  • Paralysis;

  • Brain injuries;

  • Spinal cord injuries;

  • Disfigurement.

Monetary Compensation Available

In a Las Vegas catastrophic injury case, the injured party, known as the plaintiff, files a claim against the negligent person, business, or agency, known as the defendant, believed to be at fault for the injuries suffered. Because catastrophic injuries are so severe, the monetary compensation awarded in these types of cases are typically higher than the monetary compensation awarded in a personal injury case. Similar to personal injury cases, however, a harmed plaintiff in a Las Vegas catastrophic injury case may seek monetary compensation for:

  • Surgical intervention;

  • Ongoing medical care;

  • Loss of wages and earning capacity;

  • Emergency room care;

  • Emotional and mental trauma; and

  • Therapy sessions.

Catastrophic Injury Cases vs Other Cases

Not only are damages or monetary compensation much higher in catastrophic injury cases, but the arguments and facts required to prove the extent of these severe injuries is more complicated. One key factor that will determine whether a Las Vegas injury is designated as catastrophic or not is the how debilitating the injury is and how long it is expected to last. Another key factor in catastrophic injuries is the impact the harm has on the victim’s life and livelihood.

Limits on Monetary Compensation

Many states across the country, including Nevada, limit the amount of damages a plaintiff can receive in certain personal injury cases. Even if the injured plaintiff’s harm exceeds the limit in a particular category, he or she can only recover up to the amount stipulated by law. The purpose of capping damage awards, in theory, is to reduce the cost of litigation, which, in theory, should reduce the costs and expenses for everyone involved. The three types of damage caps in Nevada personal injury cases include those that are against government employees, pain and suffering damages in malpractice claims, and punitive damages in most personal injury cases. Each type of limit on a monetary award operates differently under slightly different rules that limit a victim’s financial recovery.

If you have suffered  harm in Nevada due to the fault of another, or know someone who has, reach out to a knowledgeable attorney for help. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau today for an initial case evaluation.

(image courtesy of Zhen Hu)