Raleigh, NC Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
Catastrophic injuries can be devastating to your life and the lives of those who love you. You may be unable to work for months or years or for the rest of your life. You may not be able to take part in activities that you once enjoyed. You may be left with significant medical debt leading to financial ruin. If someone else caused your injury, the at-fault individual or business may be financially responsible to compensate you for your losses, pain, and suffering.
At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our attorneys understand how a catastrophic injury can turn your life upside down and require you to adapt to a new life. At this most trying time, you need trusted legal guidance. Our North Carolina personal injury attorneys take a client-centered approach to each case we handle.
Let us review the details of your catastrophic injury and discuss your legal options for seeking compensation to rebuild your life. Contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. today for a free consultation.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury usually involves serious harm to the brain, spinal cord, or multiple other parts of the body that causes the victim to suffer serious long-term health problems and disability. Catastrophic injuries can result in a diminished quality of life and an inability to take part in certain activities. They can also have major financial repercussions if the patient needs long-term medical treatment or is prevented from working as they did prior to the injury. Medical bills often run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A catastrophic injury may require you to relearn certain basic skills such as walking, reading, or even eating. When you are facing that kind of challenge, you shouldn’t have to worry about filing insurance claims or negotiating with adjusters. With the help of an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer, you or your loved one can seek full compensation from whoever was responsible for your injuries.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Some of the catastrophic injuries we handle include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – A traumatic brain injury can have a devastating impact on a person’s physical and mental well-being. Depending on the specific injury and its severity, an individual may lose some or all of their ability to move. The person may be limited in the kinds of activities they can undertake, such as eating, speaking, or reading. A person also may experience mental changes, including personality changes, impaired cognition and memory loss. Traumatic brain injuries are especially catastrophic because the damage to the brain is sometimes permanent.
- Spinal cord injuries – As part of the body’s central nervous system, the spinal cord relays nerve signals from the brain to the rest of the body, as well as from the body to the brain. Any injury to the spinal cord can have major effects on bodily functions, including breathing, circulation, and the patient’s ability to move. Severe spinal cord injuries can lead to paraplegia (paralysis of the legs) or quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down).
- Partial or total paralysis – Partial or complete paralysis can completely change the way a patient interacts with the world, from how they care for themselves to how they earn a living. A patient’s prognosis depends in part on the extent of the paralysis.
- Loss of limbs – Losing a limb in a traumatic accident can change how a person lives their life. Many people living with limb loss lead productive lives, but the loss of a limb can reduce earning potential and affect the quality of life if the patient can no longer take part in the hobbies and activities they once did.
- Serious burns – Second- or third-degree burns can permanently damage skin and muscle tissue, leading to significant scarring and the need for skin grafts. Facial burns can cause disfigurement and require extensive cosmetic surgery to address. Burns can also cause nerve damage, affecting bodily functions. Serious burns are among the most painful of all injuries.
- Internal organ damage – An injury to an internal organ can affect basic bodily functions in addition to being painful. For example, an injury to the heart or lungs can severely impair the circulatory or respiratory systems, limiting mobility and endurance. While some organs can be removed with minimal side effects, such as the spleen or appendix, in most cases an injury to an organ will have permanent, significant effects on a patient’s life.
- Loss of hearing or sight – Sight and hearing are the two senses most people rely on to navigate the world around us. An injury that affects a patient’s ability to see or hear can be especially catastrophic. The effects of these injuries can be even more difficult to adjust to later in life and can have a serious impact on a victim’s ability to care for themselves, earn a living, and lead an active life.
Types of Catastrophic Injury Accidents
Many circumstances can result in a catastrophic injury. The most common types of catastrophic injury accidents include:
- Motor-Vehicle Accidents – Motor-vehicle accidents can lead to broken bones, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, internal organ injuries, and more.
- Workplace Accidents – A fall at work can cause a catastrophic head or spinal cord injury. Other workplace accidents that can lead to catastrophic injuries include fires, electrical shocks, becoming entrapped in machinery, exposure to toxic chemicals and being struck by falling objects.
- Defective Products – Defective products can lead to any number of accidents, from car crashes to explosions and fires to side effects of prescription medications. If you have been injured because a product had a design or manufacturing defect, or the product lacked an adequate warning of risks posed by the product, you may have grounds for a product liability lawsuit.
- Physical Assaults – While many catastrophic injuries are caused by accidents, others are caused by deliberate misconduct or violent attacks. Victims of physical assaults can be left with serious injuries and emotional trauma that makes it difficult to conduct their daily lives. In some cases the owner of the premises where the assault occurred may be held liable for the injuries because of inadequate and negligent security.
- Premises Liability Injuries – Slip-and-falls caused by untended spills, loose flooring, collapsing structures and broken stairs are a common cause of premises liability accidents.
Recovering Damages for a Catastrophic Injury
To recover compensation for a catastrophic injury in North Carolina you must be able to prove that your injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence. In other words, you have to demonstrate that someone failed to live up to their legal responsibility, and that you were harmed as a result of their actions or failure to act. For example, this could be because a motorist failed to obey traffic rules and slammed into your car or because a grocery store failed to post a warning of a wet floor leading to a serious slip-and-fall accident. If you can demonstrate the at-fault party’s negligence, then you may have a right to seek compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Damaged personal property
What Is the Difference Between Catastrophic Injury Cases and Other Personal Injury Cases?
Catastrophic injury cases are different because they involve:
- More severe physical injuries and more emotional distress require the testimony of competent doctors and therapists.
- Greater financial losses sometimes require the attorney to hire an economist or accountant as an expert witness to prove the amount of loss.
- Longer recovery times thus resulting in higher medical bills and lost income.
- Consideration of permanent disability and future losses that require the testimony of medical doctors and life care planners.
- Larger claims sometimes require the use of structured settlement experts to help the victim to manage the money from the settlement or verdict in the long term.
What To Do After a Catastrophic Injury in North Carolina
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in North Carolina, you should:
- Call 911 to report the injury and summon emergency medical help
- Document the accident scene as best you can by using your phone to take pictures and video
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible
- Save all medical records
- Do not post anything about the injuries or the accident on social media
- Do not give any statements to an insurance company before talking to a lawyer
- Hire an experienced catastrophic injury attorney
Statute of Limitations in North Carolina
You have three years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in North Carolina. It is generally a good idea to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Waiting too long to get started on your case could make it harder to gather evidence and find witnesses to support your claim. If you wait too close to the statute of limitations you may have a hard time finding a lawyer to take your case. A lawyer cannot ethically file a law suit in North Carolina without adequate investigation of the case.
Hurt in an Accident? Contact Our Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Today
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in North Carolina and believe that someone else is to blame, the team at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., is ready to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free case review and let us know how we can help.