According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, about 50,000 people are injured in car accidents in the state each year. For many victims, these injuries are catastrophic.
What is a catastrophic injury? How can you protect your rights if you have serious car accident injuries? Our car accident lawyers explain catastrophic injury accidents.
What is a catastrophic accident?
A catastrophic accident is one that causes particularly serious injuries. It interrupts the victim’s normal life in a significant way. Catastrophic injuries may interrupt bodily functions or life activities. They may also be disfiguring.
What qualifies as a catastrophic injury?
A catastrophic injury is one that changes the victim’s life significantly. It may require intensive medical care or long-term treatment. It affects a major life function and changes the victim’s life.
Do I have a catastrophic injury?
If you have any of the following injuries, you may have a catastrophic injury:
- Traumatic brain injury, concussion
- Paralysis, spinal cord injury, loss of feeling, central nervous system damage
- Disfigurement, significant scars
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage; organ perforation
- Loss of one of the senses – eyesight, hearing and other senses
To know if you have a catastrophic injury, look at the impact of the injury. Will it quickly heal? Are you able to care for yourself? Has your ability to work or care for your family changed? If the answers are yes, you may have a catastrophic injury.
How do I prove a catastrophic injury?
When you have a catastrophic injury, proving it is crucial. To get the compensation you deserve under the law, you must prove that you have the injury. You must also identify the long-term expenses and losses that come with it.
While each case is different, things you may rely on to prove your catastrophic injury may include:
- Evidence of how severe the accident was – Speeds involved, impact to the vehicles and testimony of what occurred to cause the accident
- Emergency care providers – What they observed, the injuries that the person had at the scene
- Hospital records – What care was needed to stabilize the victims? What did the treating medical team observe and document?
- Injury records – What injuries was the victim diagnosed as having? What was the treatment plan initially after the accident?
- Medical experts – Experts may explain the long-term impact of the injuries. They can talk about how injuries may heal over time, the cost associated with medical care and the impact on the victim
- Occupational experts – The right professionals can explain how the victim may no longer be able to work in a normal manner
- Psychiatric records – A catastrophic injury is a mental injury, too. Mental health treatment can help prove this aspect of your damages
When you’re proving a catastrophic injury, you must show what your injuries are, how much it is going to cost to treat them long into the future and the ways that the injury impacts your life. You may rely on photographs and records, witness testimony and the appropriate experts to explain this complex information. An experienced attorney can help you gather the information that you need.
Missouri Law for Catastrophic Car Accident Injuries
Can you claim compensation for a catastrophic car accident injury in Missouri?
Under Missouri law, you can claim compensation for catastrophic injury in a car accident if someone else is at legal fault for the accident. You may claim economic damages like medical expenses, lost earning capacity and household services plus non-economic damages including pain and suffering and distress.
What if I am partially at fault for a catastrophic car accident in Missouri?
Even if you are partially at fault for a catastrophic car accident in Missouri, the pure comparative fault rule may allow some financial recovery.
How long do I have to claim for a catastrophic car injury in Missouri?
Missouri Revised Statutes § 516.120 usually places a five-year time limit on a claim for catastrophic injury. However, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years. Plus, you must notify the insurance company promptly after the car accident.
Attorneys for Catastrophic Car Accidents
The Krause & Kinsman Law Firm helps car accident victims, including handling complex claims involving catastrophic injury. It can be hard to know what to do next and move forward after a car accident. We are a full-service law firm. Contact us today to begin.