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What is Considered a Catastrophic Injury in North Carolina?

Not every state has a legal definition of catastrophic injuries. In North Carolina, a catastrophic injury is legally defined as any serious injury that causes permanent or irreversible consequences that prevent the injured party from performing any gainful employment. These injuries are considered to be so severe that they often leave a victim with permanent brain damage or irreparable damage to their spinal cords.

Personal injury claims are a type of personal injury case in which victims have suffered serious, long-term, or life-altering injuries to their body or mind. Catastrophic injury cases are unique compared to other personal injury cases in North Carolina because they will result in serious financial losses to the injured party and their families, which is why full compensation is so important to the plaintiff.

Catastrophic injury cases require more legal resources, not least of all because insurance companies and at-fault parties are facing high-value injury claims and are reluctant to part with so much money. Because so much is riding on the injury claim, it is highly recommended that injured parties and their family members retain professional legal counsel from experienced catastrophic injury lawyers.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured and suffered life-altering consequences as a result of another person’s negligence, maliciousness, or carelessness, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation by filing a catastrophic injury claim.

Catastrophic injury claims must be filed within the three-year statute of limitations. If you try to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, your claim will not be valid. State law establishes that a three-year window begins from the date the injury occurred.

Our award-winning legal team has years of experience representing clients in complex personal injury cases, including those that involve catastrophic injuries. To learn more about our legal services, please get in touch with our law firm to schedule your free initial consultation today.

What Are Different Types of Catastrophic Injuries?

If an injury has life-altering consequences and enormous financial losses to the injured party, then that injury case could be considered catastrophic. However, certain injury cases are more likely to be considered catastrophic injury cases, such as the following:

  • Amputation and forced loss of limbs.
  • Birth injuries.
  • Complete or partial paralysis.
  • Hearing loss, vision loss, or loss of speech.
  • Internal organ damage.
  • Loss of bodily function, including internal organ function.
  • Multiple broken bones or bone fractures.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Paraplegia or quadriplegia.
  • Permanent brain damage.
  • Permanent disability.
  • Permanent disfigurement.
  • Permanent ligament damage.
  • Serious medical malpractice claims.
  • Serious orthopedic injuries.
  • Severe burn injuries and scarring to the face or body.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
  • And more.

What Are Common Causes for Catastrophic Injury Accidents?

While any accident could potentially result in catastrophic injuries to the injured party, some accidents are more commonly associated with catastrophic injuries than others.

These include:

  • Assaults.
  • Aviation accidents.
  • Bicycle accidents.
  • Boating accidents.
  • Car accidents.
  • Commercial truck accidents.
  • Construction site accidents.
  • Dangerous drugs.
  • Defective products.
  • Dog bites and animal attacks.
  • Falls.
  • Gunshot injuries.
  • Medical malpractice.
  • Motorcycle accidents.
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect.
  • Pedestrian accidents.

What Type of Financial Recovery is Available to Catastrophic Injury Victims?

With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can recover financial compensation for your catastrophic injury claims. This compensation may come in the form of economic or noneconomic damages.

The following are examples of damages that you may potentially recover:

  • Past medical bills and future medical expenses. This includes emergency room treatment, reconstruction procedures, surgeries, physical therapy expenses, inpatient hospitalization, The need for new medical devices or accommodative changes, medical monitoring, therapy and rehabilitation, daily living assistance, assisted living care, and more.
  • Physical pain and suffering.
  • Lost wages, both for the catastrophic injury victim and their family members who must now devote so much time to care for them.
  • Lost future income in cases where an injury or disability prevents the injured party from returning to work.
  • Emotional injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental anguish, lost quality of life, and more.
  • Loss of companionship or consortium.
  • Property damage, such as motor vehicle repairs.
  • Wrongful death claims.

There is also the potential to pursue punitive damages from the defendant. Punitive damages may come into play in cases of wanton negligence, unreasonably dangerous conduct, and malicious intent. There is a cap on punitive damages of $250,000, or three times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

What Factors May Influence Your Full Settlement Amount?

Several factors may influence the maximum compensation you could recover for your catastrophic injury case.

These include:

  • The severity of the injuries you suffered.
  • The type of injuries you sustained.
  • Duration of medical treatment, rehab, and personal care necessary to recover or live with new injuries or disabilities.
  • Whether you will miss time from work or render you unable to work.
  • The number of potentially legally liable parties in your catastrophic injury case.
  • The financial resources of the at-fault parties.
  • The insurance coverage of the at-fault parties.
  • Whether the injured party shared any fault for the accident.
  • The strength of the evidence in your case.
  • Whether you file a catastrophic injury lawsuit.

What is Contributory Negligence?

North Carolina follows the contributory negligence rule of law and injury cases. Under this law, injured parties cannot pursue financial compensation if they were in any way at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. Many consider this rule to be harsh to injury victims, especially compared to most states which have comparative negligence laws.

Because of this, it is all the more important that you retain professional legal representation from experienced personal injury attorneys to represent you and your catastrophic injury case.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Catastrophic Injury Attorney Today

Catastrophic injury victims are strongly encouraged to retain professional legal representation from experienced catastrophic injury attorneys. Our legal team has years of experience representing injured clients and their families in complex catastrophic injury cases. We would be proud to represent your interests in pursuit of maximum compensation.

To discuss your catastrophic injury case in more detail, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation today. You may reach our law office at (919) 277-0150.