Why Legal Counsel Is So Crucial for Catastrophic Injury Claims
When another party has injured you, state law dictates that you have the right to seek accountability for their damaging actions with a personal injury claim. This civil suit for damages seeks repayment of all the losses you suffered, both economic and non-economic in nature. This may seem like a straightforward legal mechanism, but the reality is that any personal injury claim can be complicated by numerous factors.
If you tried to file your personal injury claim on your own, you would face the risk of making unintentional errors that jeopardize your claim, potentially even nullifying your right to seek compensation from the defendant who injured you. Furthermore, even if you managed to succeed in proving their liability for your damages, you would then face the risk of unknowingly settling for a much smaller recovery than you legally deserve.
Hiring legal counsel you can trust eliminates these risks and increases your chances of recovering as fully as possible under state law. You will be able to focus on your recovery with peace of mind knowing your case is in capable hands. When you choose Easton & Easton to represent you, we will carefully assist you in gathering the evidence needed to firmly prove fault for your catastrophic injury, and we will take time to closely examine the full scope of the effects the injury has had on your life. Our goal in every personal injury case we accept is to help our client recover as fully and efficiently as possible.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries in Las Vegas
The term “catastrophic injury” is quite broad and generally applies to any personal injury causing long-term or permanent harm to the victim. A few examples of injuries that often satisfy the definition of a catastrophic injury include the following:
- Severe burns. Any burn-related injury is not only likely to be extremely painful but also result in permanent damage to the victim. Burns are hard to treat and often cause persistent symptoms that are sometimes permanent. Scar tissue is also disfiguring, and many people who medically recover from severe burns are left with permanent scars that cause psychological distress.
- Spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerve tissue that extends from the brain down through the spinal column, extending into every area of the body. The spinal cord carries brain signals throughout the body, allowing for conscious and unconscious control of bodily functions. Any injury to the spinal cord is permanent as the spinal cord does not self-repair from injury like the rest of the body. An incomplete injury that does not fully sever the cord can cause diminished touch sensation and reduced mobility of the regions of the body connected below the injury site. A complete injury that severs the cord will usually result in complete paralysis throughout the body below the injury site.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries are not only hard to treat but also highly unpredictable in the range of effects they can have on victims. Many brain injuries result in long-term or permanent medical complications for victims, including diminished sensory processing, memory loss, personality changes, cognitive impairment, and more. Blunt force trauma to the head, chemical exposure, and penetrating head injuries are commonly reported causes of brain injuries resulting in permanent harm.
- Amputation injuries. An amputation is the removal of a limb from the victim’s body. It’s possible for a person to suffer an amputation through an acute traumatic injury like a car accident, workplace accident, or a crushing injury. It is also possible for a person to require amputation to save their life if a limb becomes damaged beyond repair and poses a risk of infection. Amputation is not only psychologically jarring for the victim, but they will also face an extensive rehabilitation process and may be unable to perform their previous work duties after initial recovery.
Ultimately, any personal injury resulting in long-term or permanent physical disability and/or psychological distress can qualify as a catastrophic injury. When such an injury occurs due to the negligence or illegal misconduct of another party, the victim has the right to pursue accountability and compensation for their damages through a personal injury claim.
Proving Liability for Your Catastrophic Injury
The first step you must accomplish in a catastrophic injury claim is proving exactly how the injury occurred. Under state law, when another party has caused any personal injury to you or a family member through negligence or intentional misconduct of any kind, this forms the foundation of a personal injury case.
When negligence is responsible for your catastrophic injury, your Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorney can help you gather evidence to prove that the defendant owed you some duty of care they failed to fulfill and, in doing so, directly caused your claimed damages. In the event your injury resulted from any type of intentional and illegal misconduct, the state will likely press criminal charges against the defendant, and their criminal court proceedings may impact your civil claim for damages in multiple ways.
Depending on how your injury occurred, the evidence and testimony you will need to substantiate your claim for damages will vary. A few commonly cited causes of catastrophic injuries in Las Vegas include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, which are a leading cause of accidental injury and death throughout the United States. If a driver caused your injury, you could file a claim against their auto insurance policy, but their coverage is unlikely to account for the full scope of damages you incurred if you suffered a catastrophic injury. The attorneys at Easton & Easton can guide you through the insurance claim filing process and then assist you with filing your personal injury claim if necessary.
- Premises liability claims. Nevada law requires private property owners to ensure their properties are safe for lawful guests and visitors. Therefore, if you suffered a slip and fall or other accident resulting in catastrophic injury, the property owner is liable for your damages.
- Dog attacks. The state does not enforce a strict liability rule for dog attacks, so if someone else’s dog attacked you, unless the dog has a history of aggression, the most you can typically recover is compensation for your medical expenses. However, if the dog caused a catastrophic injury, or if the dog’s owner was negligent in any way in their handling of the dog, you can file a claim against the dog owner seeking compensation for the full scope of the losses you suffered from the attack.
- Workplace injuries. Many people work in inherently dangerous industries like construction. When a catastrophic injury happens at work, the victim likely has the ability to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, but if a specific party is responsible for causing the injury, the victim can also file a personal injury claim against them.
- Interpersonal violence. Unfortunately, as a major tourist destination, Las Vegas also attracts criminal elements, and some victims of criminal activity suffer life-changing injuries. If the defendant who injured you did so through an assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery resulting in injury, or any other intentional criminal act, they likely face severe penalties once convicted alongside their liability for your damages.
The process of proving liability for a catastrophic injury will vary from case to case. However, one constant that applies to every catastrophic injury victim in Las Vegas is the value of experienced legal representation. Your Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorney can help you gather evidence to firmly establish fault for the damages you suffered.
Comparative Fault in Las Vegas Catastrophic Injury Claims
Nevada is one of many states that upholds a modified comparative negligence statute. This law comes into play in any civil claim in which the defendant asserts that the plaintiff shares fault for causing the damages in question. Under the modified comparative negligence law, the plaintiff fault threshold that bars recovery of damages is 50%. This means that as long as the plaintiff is less than 50% at fault for the incident in question, they can still recover their damages minus a penalty. However, if their fault is discovered to be more than 50%, they cannot seek compensation from the defendant.
If a plaintiff bears partial liability for a personal injury in Las Vegas, the judge handling their case assigns the plaintiff a fault percentage. This percentage is then deducted from the total compensation won from the defendant. For example, bearing 10% fault in a $500,000 claim could result in the plaintiff losing $50,000 from their case award. If you are concerned in any way about bearing partial liability for your claimed damages, it is crucial to work with an experienced Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorney who can help you maximize your case award.
Claimable Damages for Your Catastrophic Injury
A catastrophic injury will likely cause a host of damages to the victim and their family. Some of these damages will be economic in nature, as any personal injury will have a direct financial impact on the victim. However, catastrophic injuries also cause a host of non-economic damages, specifically pain and suffering. These are also compensable losses under the state’s personal injury statutes.
Once you have successfully proven fault for your catastrophic injury and identified the party who caused your damages, you must then prove the exact scope of those damages. Under state law, claimable economic damages in a personal injury case may include the following:
- Medical treatment costs. If the defendant in your claim caused a physical injury, they assume liability for the cost of treating your injury. Your Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorney can help you calculate hospital bills, prescription medication costs, and other immediate health care expenses resulting from the incident in question and add these to your claim as economic damages.
- Long-term expenses for medical care. Catastrophic injuries almost always require extensive ongoing care. Therefore, the defendant who caused your injury is not only liable for the immediate health care expenses you face for the treatment of the injuries they caused but also for the ongoing medical expenses you will incur for rehabilitative care, future surgeries, and any and all other medical procedures necessary for helping you reach maximum medical improvement.
- Property damage. If the defendant’s actions also resulted in the loss of your personal property, you can include the value of your lost property as economic damages in your personal injury claim.
- Lost wages. Your injury may leave you without the ability to work during your recovery. The defendant who injured you is then liable for all the income you are unable to earn because of their actions.
- Lost future earning potential. Catastrophic injuries entail long-term or permanent disability and/or disfigurement that can prevent the victim from working and earning income. If you cannot go back to your previous work duties because of your catastrophic injury, or if you cannot work at all due to the seriousness of your injury, The defendant must pay for the future income you are no longer able to earn.
Remember that when it comes to your claimable economic damages, you have the right to recover both immediate and projected future losses resulting from the defendant’s negligence or misconduct. However, you must have clear evidence showing the defendant is directly responsible for these damages and that they did not result from some other cause.
Aside from your economic damages, state law allows you to seek remuneration for the physical pain and emotional suffering the defendant inflicted on you. State law does not limit non-economic damages in personal injury claims, and the amount a plaintiff recovers is meant to reflect the seriousness of their experience. Since a catastrophic injury will likely negatively impact your quality of life in many ways, your pain and suffering compensation could be the bulk of your total case award.
Your Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorney can help determine a fair amount to claim based on the seriousness of your condition and the scope of the future complications you are likely to experience because of the injury. Your attorney will likely use a multiplier method to determine appropriate pain and suffering compensation for a catastrophic injury. This method entails multiplying the plaintiff’s economic losses by one to five or more, depending on the seriousness of the plaintiff’s injury. Your Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorney can advise you as to a reasonable amount of pain and suffering compensation you could feasibly obtain because of the serious nature of your condition after your injury.
When you hire Easton & Easton as your Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorneys, we will do everything we can to settle your case as quickly as possible, seeking the maximum amount of compensation allowed under state law in doing so. In addition, we know that your injury has impacted your life in many ways, and we will do everything we can to hold the at-fault party fully accountable for the entire scope of the damages you suffered from their actions.
Las Vegas Catastrophic Injury Lawyer FAQs
Q: When Does a Personal Injury Qualify as Catastrophic in Las Vegas?
A: The basic definition of a catastrophic personal injury is one that results in permanent damage to the victim. For example, a spinal cord injury will qualify as catastrophic if it leaves a victim paralyzed from the injury. Likewise, a traumatic brain injury will qualify as catastrophic if it results in any permanent cognitive or sensory impairment. Paralysis, blindness, amputation, and severely disfiguring injuries are just a few examples of what would likely qualify as catastrophic under state law.
Q: How Much Is My Catastrophic Injury Claim Worth in Las Vegas?
A: The purpose of a personal injury claim is for the victim to recover compensation they need to be as “whole” as possible again after their injury. You have the right to seek remuneration for all the economic losses you suffered, which are likely to be substantial when it comes to catastrophic physical injuries. However, the bulk of your case award will likely come from the pain and suffering compensation you receive. The defendant is accountable for the physical pain, psychological distress, and diminished quality of life they caused with their actions. There is no limit on pain and suffering compensation for personal injury claims, so it’s vital to find an attorney who can maximize this aspect of your award.
Q: How Long Will My Claim Take to Resolve?
A: The time your case will require to complete hinges mostly on the defendant’s willingness to accept their responsibility and agree to settlement negotiations. Settlement for personal injury claims filed in Las Vegas typically takes weeks, but a catastrophic injury claim is inherently more complex and will likely take longer to resolve. If your case needs to be resolved at trial for any reason, litigation can take several months to reach any sort of conclusion. Your Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorney can provide an estimate of what to expect in terms of your case’s most likely timetable.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney for a Catastrophic Injury Claim in Las Vegas?
A: The attorneys at Easton & Easton accept personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis, eliminating the need to worry about the cost of your legal representation. With a contingency fee agreement, we only take a fee once we win your case, and our fee is a percentage of the total amount recovered on your behalf. Therefore, there are no upfront or ongoing legal fees for our representation and no fee at all if we are unable to secure compensation on your behalf.
Q: Is It Really Necessary to Hire a Las Vegas Catastrophic Injury Attorney?
A: Even if the fault for your recent injury seems perfectly clear, do not make the mistake of assuming you can handle your claim proceedings unassisted by counsel. You might manage to succeed with your claim, but you would be likely to overlook important avenues of compensation that you did not realize were available. In addition, once you accept a settlement, you cannot reopen the case later if you happen to discover further damages you did not claim from the defendant at first. Hiring legal counsel you can trust not only makes it easier to manage your case proceedings but it also increases the chances of maximizing your recovery as much as state law allows.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have decades of professional experience in personal injury law, and we know how devastating any catastrophic injury can be for the victim and their family. When you choose our firm to represent you, our goal is to guide you through your case proceedings as efficiently as possible and to help you secure as much compensation as state law allows for your damages. If you are ready to learn what an experienced Las Vegas catastrophic injury attorney can do for your recovery, contact us and set up a consultation today with our team to start building your case.