catastrophic injury lawyers

What Constitutes a Catastrophic Injury?

Catastrophic injuries may require months or even years of recovery and you may even be permanently disabled. Unfortunately, few people can pay for the massive expenses that result from such a severe accident. However, if someone else’s actions or negligence led to your incident, help is available to get you through this extraordinarily challenging time. 

Nix Patterson’s catastrophic injury attorneys may help you get compensation for your severe injury, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will tell you if you have a good case at no cost, and the decision to pursue legal action is yours alone.

What Is a Catastrophic Injury? 

While there is no precise definition of “catastrophic injury” in the personal injury field, they are usually understood to be severe injuries that prevent someone from being employed or continuing with their normal life. Catastrophic injuries could be interpreted to mean one or more of the following: 

  • Spinal cord injuries that cause complete or partial paralysis
  • Serious spine injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Loss of a limb
  • Injuries that cause significant scarring and disfigurement
  • Organ damage
  • Death

What Are Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries? 

Catastrophic injury cases happen for many reasons, but these types of accidents are the most common: 

  • Auto accidents
  • Tractor-trailer or semi-truck accidents
  • Falls
  • Poisoning
  • Medical malpractice
  • Fires and explosions
  • Product malfunctions 

What Is the Difference Between a Catastrophic Injury Claim and Other Cases? 

A catastrophic injury case is a form of personal injury litigation. But several factors differentiate catastrophic and other personal injury cases: 

What the Case Is Worth 

A catastrophic injury case may have a more significant value than other claims. This is because an injury has consequences for your life and career, and damages for medical bills and lost income are typically higher than in other injury cases. Catastrophic injury cases can also involve damages for pain and suffering, decline in quality of life, and emotional distress. These severe injuries alter a person’s life forever, and the law recognizes that they should be compensated when it’s someone else’s fault.

How much will your catastrophic injury claim be worth? Every case is different. However, catastrophic injuries are more severe and life-altering in almost all cases. For example, a recent study found that the estimated lifetime healthcare expenses for a loss of limb victim are over $640,000. Usually, a lot of money is on the line in these severe personal injury cases. 

Lingering Effects of the Injury 

Most catastrophic injury victims will never fully recover. You may have to deal with a lifetime of disability. There may also be a need for months or years of medical treatments, regular healthcare provider appointments, and mental health counseling. 

In the most severe injury cases, you may be unable to live on your own. Some injury victims need 24/7 care. Retaining a Nix Patterson catastrophic injury attorney early in your case can be vital for receiving sufficient compensation for future medical needs and other damages. 

Expert Witnesses May Testify

These complex cases usually involve several expert witnesses, including doctors, vocational specialists, economists, financial planners, physical therapists, and more. These expert witnesses are needed to explain the complexities and causes of the injuries to the judge and jury. It is essential that you work with attorneys who know the right expert witnesses and can pay their fees on your behalf. You will get that with Nix Patterson.

Length of the Case 

Many personal injury claims can be settled in a few weeks or months if minor or moderate injuries occur. However, getting fair compensation in a catastrophic injury lawsuit can be a significant fight. The defendant and their insurance company will probably vigorously dispute the claim because of the amount of money involved. The insurer is there to save their company money and may try to deny you the compensation you deserve. Nix Patterson’s lawyers deal with insurance companies every day and have seen all the tricks.

Legal Expertise Required

Deciding your future expenses and losses in a catastrophic injury case requires an attorney with profound skill and experience in personal injury law. The judge or jury requires exhaustive medical information and detailed expert testimony to decide how much compensation you deserve. 

Further, a corporate defendant will probably retain aggressive defense attorneys to work for a smaller settlement. However, our experienced Nix Patterson personal injury attorneys have taken many similar catastrophic cases to successful settlements and verdicts. We have been up against and beaten the best defense attorneys in the country. We can do so for you, too. 

Liability Concerns

In a personal injury case, proving the defendant was liable (or at fault) for the plaintiff’s injuries is always required. If you cannot prove their liability, you cannot receive damages. Or, if you were partially at fault too, the state’s comparative negligence rules may lower the amount of a settlement or verdict. 

In a catastrophic injury case with so much on the line, it is vital to prove the other party is fully liable, if possible. You could lose much of your settlement or verdict award if the defense successfully argues that you were partially to blame for your own injuries. 

Potential Damages in a Catastrophic Injury Case

Long-term or permanent disability often happens with catastrophic injury lawsuits. Catastrophic injury victims are more likely to be affected by severe pain, disability, reduction of life quality, post-traumatic-stress-disorder and other psychological problems. 

Your catastrophic injury attorney should seek a damages amount that provides you with all your past, current, and future financial losses. You may receive economic compensation at the end of your case for: 

Medical Bills

Severe and catastrophic injuries are costly to treat. You will need funds for the ER visit, surgeries, treatments, and hospitalization. Also, these severe injuries may require rehabilitation and long-term care. For instance, a severe burn injury in a car accident may need burn unit treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, and pain management. Someone with a spinal cord injury or broken bones from a workplace accident may require ongoing physical therapy to regain their strength or the functionality of their limbs.

Lost Earnings

A catastrophic injury can be devastating to your income and career. You may be entitled to money for your past lost earnings while you couldn’t work. Also, many catastrophic injury victims are compensated for their loss of earning capacity that they would have had if they had not been injured. If you can’t work due to an injury that was someone else’s fault, you may receive upfront the earnings that you would have earned in the future if you could still work.

You also may be entitled to compensation for these non-economic damages: 

Pain and Suffering

Catastrophic injuries may be terribly painful. While pain and suffering aren’t as easy to calculate as medical bills and lost earnings, they are real in these severe injury cases. With the right lawyers’ help, a jury can award large amounts of money for pain and suffering. You may even receive pain and suffering compensation substantially higher than your combined medical bills and lost income. 

Some of the pain and suffering you may be compensated for include chronic pain, emotional distress, PTSD, sleep problems, loss of self-esteem and shame, inconvenience, depression, and anxiety. Expert witnesses will help to place a value on these types of damages.

Speak to Our Catastrophic Attorneys Today 

Even if liability for your catastrophic injury seems clear, you will likely face fierce opposition to your claim. If someone’s negligence caused your devastating injury, you should speak today to a catastrophic injury attorney. These are complex personal injury cases with a lot of nuances, and you may be entitled to more compensation than you realize. 

Nix Patterson is an experienced catastrophic injury law firm ready to fight for your rights and recovery. Please contact us for a complimentary consultation.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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