After an accident, some victims suffer injuries that result in long-term or permanent disabilities. Care for victims of catastrophic injuries like these requires a significant investment of time and money, especially for the victim’s family. An experienced personal injury attorney will advocate for you to get the help you and your loved ones need.
Types of Catastrophic Injury
Catastrophic injuries include traumatic brain injury, partial or full limb amputation, severe burns, and any injury that results in serious bodily harm. Recovery from catastrophic injuries is lengthy and stressful. In some cases, the victim is permanently disabled and never fully recovers.
Statute of Limitations
The Colorado statute of limitations on catastrophic injuries is based on the type of accident that causes the injury. Do not delay filing the personal injury claim, as this can affect your compensation and treatment options.
Proof of Negligence is Required
Personal injuries that qualify as a catastrophic injury are usually the result of motor vehicle accidents, violent crimes, fires, defective products, and medical malpractice. To receive compensation for a catastrophic injury, you must show that the person who caused the injury—the plaintiff—committed negligence.
Four elements are required to establish negligence. The plaintiff must have had a legal obligation to protect you, otherwise known as duty of care, from unreasonable harm. If they fail to protect you, they have breached their duty to you. If you are injured as a result of that failure to protect, you must show that the failure caused the injury.
A personal injury attorney who specializes in catastrophic injury cases will determine whether or not you can prove all four elements of negligence. If those elements are provable, your personal injury suit for catastrophic injury is more likely to result in a settlement in your favor. The Law Offices of James Colgan have the expertise and knowledge you need for your catastrophic injury case.
There are two types of compensation for catastrophic injuries. Economic compensation covers your expenses and other financial losses. Medical expenses include hospitalization, doctor visits and treatments, non-physician treatments, physical therapy, and any costs related to your physical recovery. If you are unable to work or lose your employment during your recovery, lost wages and lost earning capacity are also covered.
Non-economic compensation applies a financial cost to your other losses, including pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, emotional distress, and loss of companionship for yourself or your partner. These non-economic damages are harder to prove, but a personal injury attorney with experience in catastrophic injury cases will increase the likelihood that you will get the settlement you deserve.
Punitive damages are awarded only in cases where the breach of duty was willful or reckless. In Colorado, the plaintiff cannot request punitive damages. The court will determine, based on the facts in evidence, whether or not punitive damages are appropriate for your case.
Colorado courts rarely award punitive damages, but when they do, the punitive damages are capped. The maximum amount of punitive damages awarded will often be equal to the amount of damages awarded. However, it can also amount to less.
Contact the Law Offices of James Colgan to speak with a personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate your catastrophic injury case.