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Understanding Damages in Catastrophic Injury Cases

Catastrophic injuries are generally defined as long-term, permanent, or life-changing injuries that severely impair one’s ability to live a normal life. In the context of personal injury law, these types of injuries generally have the greatest monetary awards given the complexity of the underlying legal issues and long-term consequences of the injuries sustained. Catastrophic injuries can arise out of almost any accident, but are most common when a victim becomes paralyzed or suffers a traumatic brain injury due to the negligent acts of another.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

Any personal injury can be severe depending on the context and circumstances. When a person is injured to the extent that they will likely need around-the-clock care, significant accommodations for the duration of their life, and/or if they lose their ability to make a living, they have likely suffered a catastrophic injury. These types of legal cases are extremely complex given the amount of money at issue and the circumstances surrounding the accidents. For example, while a drunk driving case may have criminal components, a drunk driving accident resulting in serious bodily injury to another will likely have civil components as well. These cases focus on the damage to the individual victim and how the accident will have a financial and emotional impact on their lives.

Damages in Catastrophic Injury Cases

“Damages” is the legal term for money. Damages are awarded when they can be reasonably proven to a judge or jury. In accidents such as these, the following will be considered:

  • Nature and circumstances of the accident
  • The job/occupation of the injured individual
  • Unique skills/ education of the injured individual
  • Role in the family
  • Activities/interests
  • Education level
  • Family dynamic

These considerations are paramount in determining the future earning capacity of the individual. A person who was the sole breadwinner of the household will likely have a greater recovery than someone who did not previously work. Additionally, there are considerations regarding the pain and suffering of the individual, loss of ability to enjoy life, emotional and physical needs, and relevant medical expenses.

Most, if not all, of these monetary considerations can be awarded in a catastrophic injury lawsuit. Most victims will require long-term care, which is considered and calculated by the court before making a monetary award. Additional monetary damages may be awarded to those with permanent injury, scarring, or disfigurement. Damages that are proven with relative certainty (past medical care, future medical care, bills, and time lost from work) are called “compensatory” damages, but awards can also be given for “punitive” damages—that is, damages that are intended to punish or make an example of the person or entity that caused the harm.

South Carolina Catastrophic Injury Attorneys

Suffering a life changing injury due to the negligence of another is something no one should have to face alone. At Solomon Law Group, our experienced catastrophic injury attorneys believe you should focus on healing and let us take care of the rest. Catastrophic injury cases are among the most complex of civil litigation due to the large sums of money that are often at stake. Our passionate lawyers will help you understand what is going on every step of the way and work hard to negotiate with insurance companies and opposing attorneys to get the best result possible. Contact us at our Columbia, South Carolina office to learn more about your legal rights if you or anyone you know has been catastrophically injured.

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