A catastrophic injury is one that leaves a person permanently disabled, no longer able to support themselves and their family, and perhaps no longer able to care for themselves. They are the most devastating injuries a person could experience.
A compassionate personal injury lawyer represents people whose catastrophic injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence. With savvy representation, an injured person could receive money damages from a negligent party and help make the future more secure for themselves and their family.
The law in Texas does not define catastrophic injury, but there is a consensus that a catastrophic injury is one from which either there is no complete recovery or recovery requires an extended period of healing and rehabilitation. Treatment could involve extended or multiple hospitalizations, surgeries, and significant rehabilitation efforts. A person with a catastrophic injury could suffer permanent loss of at least some functioning of a body part or organ system. Complete loss of function of one or more body parts or organ systems is common in catastrophic injury survivors.
The most common catastrophic injuries in the United States include:
A common feature of these injuries is that adapting to life with one of these conditions requires time, effort, and the assistance of highly trained professionals. As such, recovering from and living with a catastrophic injury is very expensive.
When a plaintiff’s attorney can prove that their client’s injury resulted from another person’s negligence, the client could receive money damages from the negligent party. Damages are sums of money that compensate an injured person for the losses they suffered because of their injury.
Expenses that are documentable are called economic damages. Medical expenses past and future lost wages, diminished earning capacity, rehabilitation costs, and all expenses related to caring for the injured person could be included in an award for economic damages.
Damages also could compensate for intangible losses such as pain, suffering, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life. Family members could seek damages for loss of support, loss of companionship, and loss of consortium.
Many states cap the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff might receive, and if the plaintiff is bringing a medical malpractice action, Texas law caps their non-economic damages at $750,000. In other personal injury cases alleging negligence, Texas allows a judge or jury to award any amount of non-economic damages they deem appropriate.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §41.003 allows a plaintiff to seek exemplary damages if the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious. These damages punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff. A plaintiff may seek exemplary damages only if they can prove that the defendant’s conduct was intentionally malicious or fraudulent, or so reckless that it amounted to indifference to the harm the conduct might pose to others.
Texas law caps exemplary damages at twice the economic damages plus the amount of non-economic damages up to $750,000. However, if the defendant’s negligent act was a felony, the cap does not apply. If a catastrophic injury resulted from being in a car accident with a drunk driver, there is no limit on the exemplary damages award the injured person might receive.
If your family is coping with a catastrophic injury, all of your thoughts and energy should be directed at healing and adapting. Worrying about your financial future is understandable and long-term security is important, but it should not be your focus at this time.
Permit a knowledgeable Harker Heights catastrophic injury lawyer to take that worry off your hands so that you can concentrate on moving forward. Schedule a consultation and case review to discuss your options with a wise and compassionate advocate.