Catastrophic Injuries – New Hampshire Injury Attorney
Not all injuries are alike in their causes and effects. Catastrophic injuries can have long-term ramifications that can wreak havoc on your work, your personal finances, your personal life and your relationships for years (perhaps even for the rest of your life). Personal injury law is based on the principle that if you have been harmed in such a manner, and if someone else is at least partly at fault for it, you should not have to shoulder the economic consequences alone.
If you are suffering from a catastrophic injury Teale Law can help. Get a Free Confidential Consultation. Contact us today at 603-935-7425 to schedule your no obligation consultation.
What is a Catastrophic Injury?
The first thing you should know when deciding whether to take legal action based on an injury to yourself or to a loved one is how to define what a serious or catastrophic injury is. There are two ways you can look at it: long-term physical effects, and lasting impact on your lifestyle.
Physical effects: Catastrophic injuries usually involve major damage to or loss of limbs, internal organs, bones, skin, or senses such as vision or hearing. They are often connected to harm to the central nervous system, such as spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury, because these parts of the body heal very slowly or not at all – and when you lose function with them, you can suffer in multiple ways.
For example, brain injuries can result from:
- Slip & Falls
- Car accidents
- Physical assaults
- Sports injuries
- Being struck by falling objects and other kinds of blunt-force trauma to the head.
In their milder form brain injuries can lead to concussion symptoms. More serious brain injuries can result in:
- Prolonged unconsciousness (coma)
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Weakness in legs and arms
- Impaired vision and hearing
- Inability to focus attention
- Partial or complete amnesia
Imagine how any of these impairments would affect your ability to work. You could potentially lose your employment income for many years, or even find yourself permanently disabled. How would this affect your ability to pay your mortgage, your expenses, your debts, or your medical bills?
What are Acquired Brain Injuries?
Keep in mind that not all brain injuries come from trauma. You could also find yourself the victim of an “acquired” brain injury, meaning that the source is one other than physical contact. These include strokes, tumors, infections, exposure to toxic substances like lead or mercury, or oxygen deprivation to name a few. What if someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the underlying cause of your acquired brain injury, such as being exposed to harmful chemicals at work or being exposed to an infectious disease while at a hospital? What if you underwent surgery and the surgeon or anesthesiologist made a mistake that reduced the supply of oxygen to your brain? You were never struck in any of these situations, but the lasting injury to your brain can be just as debilitating as if you were.
The ultimate consequence of a traumatic injury is, unfortunately, death. If someone you count on dies, how do you or your children adjust to the loss of that person’s earning ability?
Lifestyle effects: Catastrophic injuries often do not happen in a vacuum. Your family can suffer right along with you. What becomes of your intimacy with your spouse if you become paralyzed? How can you provide guidance and support for your children if you have trouble remembering their names? How can you provide for them if your loss of vision or hearing makes it impossible to go back to work, or to earn the salary you used to make? The lingering damage to your most important relationships in life goes beyond what can be calculated, such as lost income; “pain and suffering” refers to real emotional effects that can be shattering to you and everyone who counts on you.
What can you do if you suffer a catastrophic injury?
Receiving high quality and frequently specialized medical care is essential for those who have been seriously injured because the stakes – how you will live for years to come, or even whether you survive -are so high. Long-duration hospitalization, surgery or multiple surgeries, and rehabilitation costs add up fast. There is a reason why settlements and court awards from catastrophic injury cases often run into millions of dollars, much of which takes the form of compensation for future lost wages and ongoing health care costs. Even if the victim dies from his or her injuries, this can happen only after considerable effort by medical professionals to prevent that outcome, so the costs can still accumulate quickly.
However, “economic” damages like those above (damages that can be relatively easily calculated) are only part of the total recovery for a catastrophic injury. There are also non-economic damages to account for, like pain and suffering, mental anguish and destress, anxiety and depression, aggressive behaviors, impulsiveness, and even changes to personality that affect both the injury victim and those who are close to that person. These damages do not lend themselves to precise calculation. Especially where brain injuries are concerned, the psychological harm is not as readily apparent as the physical harm is. Someone suffering from memory loss, headaches, mood changes or even personality disorders might appear to be unaffected on the outside, but such non-visible injuries are still subject to compensation even if they do not result in a direct physical impairment.
Does New Hampshire have limits on damages from a permanent injury?
Many states place artificial limits on non-economic damages. New Hampshire is not one of them. State laws that did set limits on these damages have been struck down by courts in this state, which means that the jury is generally free to set the compensatory amount as high as it sees fit under the circumstances.
An experienced lawyer can help you recover from your serious injury
A possible lifetime’s worth of recovery could be on the line. Whatever that amount may be, it will have a significant impact on your quality of life and the on the quality of life of your loved ones. You cannot afford to treat a case for recovery in a catastrophic injury case lightly. Your attorney must be a thorough investigator of the facts that led to the injury, must know the applicable fields of law, must be a skilled negotiator (many of these cases are settled out of court), and if need be, must be a careful and tenacious litigator if the case does not settle before trial.
Contact Teale Law today at 603-935-7425 to arrange for a no-cost initial case evaluation and consultation with an experienced injury attorney regarding your catastrophic injury claim.