In Indiana, a car accident injury that is catastrophic can affect your life in Indiana. This type of injury will have a severe impact on the life of the victim. Damage to the brain could cause cognitive impairment that requires the victim to re-learn normal, everyday functions. Personality changes from brain injuries can impact relationships. Spinal cord damage can cause restricted movement and possibly paralysis.
After a catastrophic injury, the victim often loses the ability to live a normal life. They may be faced with crushing medical and hospital bills. They may be forced to undergo ongoing treatment at home for the remainder of their lives. As a result of their catastrophic injuries, they may lose the ability to earn an income. And, as if those consequences weren’t enough, their sudden and unexpected injuries can have dramatic and devastating effects on their families.
Types of Injuries That Are Considered Catastrophic
While all injuries cause some degree of pain and suffering, catastrophic injuries can severely alter the quality of the victim’s life. Some common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Amputations or loss of limbs
- Loss of eyesight or hearing
- Neurological disorders
- Permanent injuries to the body’s nervous system
- Burn injuries that cause scarring and disfigurement
- Internal organ damages as a result of blunt force from the cars crashing
These injuries and the impact they have on the victim’s ability to live a normal life lead to serious emotional issues, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Other Types of Accidents That Cause Catastrophic Injuries
Car accidents are not the only type of accident that can result in catastrophic injuries to the victim. Some other types of accidents that can cause catastrophic injuries to include:
- Tractor-trailer accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Boating accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Construction site falls
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
Damages Victims Recover After Catastrophic Injuries
When victims have suffered catastrophic injuries in a car accident, their losses are usually significant. Some of the damages they may be entitled to recover include:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance rides, surgery, hospital stays, doctor’s examinations, medication, and ongoing care
- Physical, occupational, speech, and other therapies
- Expenses related to the emotional trauma that the victim went through, such as medication, psychological or psychiatric counseling
- Lost wages from missed work and lost earning capacity if the victim is unable to return to work in the same job or possibly in any way
- Pain and suffering as a result of the extreme emotional anguish that the victim is experiencing
- A loss of relationships with family and friends who were impacted by the drastic changes to the victim’s life
- Property damage
In some cases, the victim is unable to recover from their catastrophic injuries. In this situation, the victim’s family may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim and recover specific damages related to wrongful death. They include:
- Medical expenses resulting from the victim’s accident
- Wages and benefits that were previously provided by the victim
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of protection and support
How Indiana’s Modified Comparative Fault Law Can Impact a Claim
In Indiana, personal injury cases—even those where the injuries are catastrophic—are subject to the “modified comparative fault” rule under IC § 34-51-2-5. This means that if the injured party is found to be partially at fault, the compensation awarded can be reduced or eliminated altogether. The compensation will be reduced by the injured party’s level of fault.
For example, if you are found to be 20 percent responsible for causing an accident, you would only be able to collect 80 percent of the total compensation to which you would have been entitled had you not been found somewhat at fault.
A lawyer can help calculate the total value of losses in an accident. He or she can also help you determine your degree of contribution to an accident and how that could impact your claim.
How the Statute of Limitations Applies to Catastrophic Injury Claims
IC § 34-11-2-4 imposes a two-year time limit for pursuing a claim for a personal injury accident, such as a car accident where the victim suffers catastrophic injuries. In the event of wrongful death, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the victim’s death. In either case, if a claim is not filed within two years, the victim or their family typically loses all right to pursue damages related to the case.
A car accident injury that is catastrophic can affect your life in Indiana. Call Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. today at (317) 636-7777 for a free, no-obligation review of your case.