While suffering harm due to another’s careless or reckless actions is always serious, it is especially devastating when another’s negligence results in catastrophic injuries. Severe harm can permanently alter a person’s life and cause substantial financial burdens.

Fortunately, state law allows you to seek financial recourse for your harm in the form of damages with the help of a skilled local attorney. A Maryland Heights catastrophic injury lawyer could help you build a strong claim and represent your best interests throughout the legal process.

What Makes an Injury Catastrophic?

There is no set definition for a catastrophic injury, any harm that results in permanent or long-term impacts could be considered catastrophic. For the purposes of medical malpractice actions, Missouri Revised Statutes §538.205 defines a catastrophic injury as harm that causes:

  • Amputation of two or more limbs
  • Loss of the use of two limbs (paraplegia) or four limbs (quadriplegia)
  • Significant loss of vision
  • Severe cognitive impairment resulting from brain injury
  • Permanent failure of a major organ system

However, this definition does not necessarily apply to all negligence actions. A court will look at the impact an injury had on a claimant to determine if it could be considered catastrophic.

If an injury affects a person’s ability to continue at the same job, live in the same home, or engage in activities they previously enjoyed, the injury had a catastrophic impact on the plaintiff’s life, even if it does not meet the legal definition. An experienced attorney in the area could present evidence of the changes the traumatic injury caused to prove the impact was severe, and the plaintiff deserves significant compensation.

Recoverable Damages After Traumatic Harm

Damages provide compensation to reimburse all the costs the plaintiff and their family faced and will face because of the injury. These include past and future medical expenses, rehabilitation services, modification of homes and vehicles, mental health services, any other expenses necessary because of the injury.

People with devastating injuries often cannot return to their former jobs and their future employment prospects might be limited. Damage awards could include wages lost during the injured person’s recovery and payments for their lost future earnings and diminished employment opportunities.

A compassionate local attorney could work with the injured person and their family to document all the ways the catastrophic injury has impacted their quality of life. This evidence could support a claim for damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, lost enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, diminished quality of life, mental anguish, and emotional distress.

Legal Time Limit to File a Claim Against the Government

Plaintiffs face significant time pressures if the negligence of a state or local government contributed to their harm. When government negligence causes an injury, a plaintiff has only 90 days from the date of injury to notify the government of their claim. In the case of catastrophic injuries, the injured person might still be in the hospital and will certainly still be recovering.

Nevertheless, a plaintiff who fails to timely file a notice of claim will be barred from filing a lawsuit naming the negligent government. It is wise to consult a knowledgeable Maryland Heights attorney soon after a catastrophic injury, so that the appropriate notice is filed to preserve the injured person’s right to sue all potential defendants.

Seek Guidance from a Maryland Heights Catastrophic Injury Attorney

Due to the severity of catastrophic injuries, the recoverable damages in these cases are often substantial. However, this means the negligent party will work hard to avoid liability and even shift the blame onto the injured individual.

If you suffered devastating harm caused by another’s negligence, you should not hesitate to seek dedicated representation. Contact a Maryland Heights catastrophic injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury to get a strong ally by your side. Call today to learn more.