U.S. law defines a catastrophic injury as one that “permanently prevents an individual from performing any gainful work.” Catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries, are sudden events that dramatically alter the mental or physical capacity of a person.
Catastrophic injuries can be caused by car accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, or a number of other events. By definition, catastrophic injuries often require long-term medical care, prolonged absence from work (or inability to work altogether), huge medical bills, and serious mental or emotional effects.
Calculating the full cost of a catastrophic injury is a large undertaking, and it often requires the help of many professionals. The skilled attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi work with doctors, physical therapists, and vocational counselors on a daily basis to help assess our clients’ injuries. Our attorneys have decades’ worth of experience working with insurance companies in personal injury cases, and that expertise will help ensure you receive just compensation for your claim. Our vast resources and experience allow us to focus on you and your needs, giving your claim the best chance of success.
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s recklessness, carelessness, or misconduct, you could be eligible for compensation. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free, confidential consultation with Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
A number of injuries can qualify as catastrophic injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe burns
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Broken bones
In some cases, the life-changing injury from an accident is not apparent immediately. For example, a traumatic brain injury may take several weeks—or even months—to show its severity after the initial incident.
Catastrophic injuries can come from a wide variety of situations. Car accidents are one of the most significant causes of catastrophic injuries, accounting for approximately 2.36 million injuries and 33,500 fatalities in 2012. Whether caused by a distracted driver, driving under the influence, negligent driving, or defective car parts, a motor vehicle accident can result in a number of catastrophic injuries.
Workplace accidents can also contribute to catastrophic injuries, particularly on construction sites, where the chance of being injured on the job is nearly three times higher than average. More than 800 construction workers were killed on the job in 2013, and construction accidents make up nearly 20 percent of all work-related fatalities. Falls are the No. 1 cause of construction accidents, most of which could be prevented by complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s fall protection regulations. The pressure to keep costs low and keep projects on schedule causes supervisors, contractors, and engineers to cut corners and neglect important safety requirements, leading to serious and catastrophic injuries.
If your catastrophic injury was work-related, you are most likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This no-fault program is designed to compensate injured workers for medical expenses and lost wages, as well as provide death benefits to the workers’ dependents. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the workers’ compensation and ensure you are receiving fair compensation, as well as help you pursue a civil case against a negligent third party.
For a free legal consultation with a catastrophic injury lawyer serving Fort Lee, call (201) 585-9111
What Can You Win in a Catastrophic Injury Claim?
There are two types of compensation in New Jersey personal injury cases: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
The vast majority of personal injury cases deal with compensatory damages. This includes compensation for:
- Medical treatment, including the cost of ambulatory services, hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation. This includes reimbursement for treatment you have already received as well as compensation for future estimated medical costs, which are both significant in the case of a catastrophic injury.
- Income, including lost wages due to the injury and money the victim would have made in the future if not for the accident (i.e. decreased future earning capacity).
- Property damage, including damage to your vehicle, personal items, or clothing due to the accident.
- Pain and suffering, meaning the physical pain and discomfort caused by the accident.
- Emotional distress, which is essentially the mental pain and suffering caused by the accident. Emotional distress can include fear, loss of sleep, and anxiety.
- Loss of enjoyment or consortium, including inability to enjoy day-to-day activities, inability to pursue hobbies, inability to enjoy recreational activities, loss of companionship, and inability to maintain an intimate relationship with your spouse
There is no limit on compensatory damages in New Jersey. Therefore, so long as you can prove the extent of your injuries, you are eligible to recover the full amount.
Punitive damages are awarded only in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly careless or egregious, or if the defendant caused the accident intentionally. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for his or her outrageous conduct and act as a deterrent to similar actions in the future. In the state of New Jersey, punitive damages are limited to $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages (whichever is greater).
Fort Lee Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Near Me (201) 585-9111
Why Hire Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi?
A catastrophic injury is a life-changing event. Holding the guilty party (or parties) accountable requires a great deal of commitment, resources, and experience. Without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney on your side, your outcome is often at the mercy of insurance companies, employers, and opposing attorneys. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have a reputation for excellence and persistence in the courts of New York and New Jersey, causing competing lawyers and claims adjusters to take your claim seriously.
It is important to prepare for every case as if it is going to trial; with Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, you can rest assured your case will be trial-ready. Many attorneys claim to be “trial attorneys” but do not have the experience or skills to put that title to use. As certified civil trial attorneys, we are board-certified specialists in trial advocacy. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a group limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements, and senior partner Michael Maggiano is a past president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of New Jersey. We are proud to have achieved a number of significant verdicts and settlements for our clients—both in and out of court.
Many of your immediate concerns after a catastrophic injury are financial: medical bills, lost wages, and insurance claims to pay for the treatment of your injuries. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi will discuss the details of your situation with you and explain the full range of options available to you. Successful negotiation with the parties at fault requires commitment, diligence, experience, and tenacity, and we are more than ready to handle your unique case. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to schedule your free and confidential consultation.