What Are the Legal Elements of a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury claim falls under the personal injury laws in Pennsylvania. Even though a catastrophic injury claim falls under the same laws with other injury claims, an injury claim involving a catastrophic injury is different. The main difference is that the victim usually suffers permanently debilitating, life-altering injuries that require a lifetime of personal care and medical care.

For this reason, catastrophic injury claims typically are very high because of the financial costs involved over the course of a lifetime. In addition, these types of injuries tend to lower the victim’s quality of life.

Giving the substantial damages involved in a catastrophic injury claim, you would assume the laws would be slightly different for this type of claim. However, the elements involved in a catastrophic injury claim are not dissimilar from the elements in any other personal injury claim.

Proving Fault in a Catastrophic Injury Claim

To recover compensation for damages and injuries, you must prove that the other party is liable for your damages. In order to prove liability, you must meet all four elements of a catastrophic injury claim.

  1. Duty of Care — The first element is a duty of care owed to you by the defendant. The duty is to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm to another person. Most people owe a duty of care to others to avoid causing harm to others at all times.
  2. Breach of Duty — The second element is to show that the party breached the duty of care. A breach of duty can be the result of a person’s actions or his inactions. You must show that the person did not exercise reasonable care.
  3. Causation — Once you establish that the person owed a duty of care and he breached that duty, you must prove the breach resulted in the accident that caused your injury.
  4. Damages — The last element to prove is that you suffered damages because of the accident. Damages include your physical injuries and emotional suffering in addition to the financial damages incurred because of the injury (i.e. medical bills, lost income, etc.).

You must prove all four elements to recover money for your claim. If you cannot prove all the elements, the court may find in favor of the defendant. Therefore, you want to hire an experienced Erie personal injury attorney who understands the law and how to investigate a claim to identify liable parties.

Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries

There is not a universal definition of a catastrophic injury. In most cases, we define catastrophic injuries as injuries that result in permanent disability. These injuries usually prevent the person from returning to work or enjoying the same lifestyle as he or she did before the injury.

Examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Multiple bone fractures
  • Internal organ damage

A victim who sustains a catastrophic injury usually requires extensive surgery, physical therapy, and a lengthy recovery. Even after medical care and physical therapy, a person typically has a permanent impairment.

Catastrophic Injury Attorneys in Erie, PA

If you suffer a catastrophic injury because of another party’s negligent actions, we can help. Call the Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to request your free legal consultation with an Erie catastrophic injury lawyer. We want to help you seek justice from the person who caused your injury.