A catastrophic injury has the potential to permanently impair a person’s ability to work and fully participate in life. Examples include amputations, spinal cord damage, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, organ system damage, and virtually any permanent injury that will diminish the sufferer’s independence and functioning.
Catastrophic injuries are physically, emotionally, and financially devastating to the injured person and their family. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident that led to the injuries, the injured person and their family could pursue monetary damages with the help of a New Brunswick catastrophic injury lawyer. Of course, financial relief does not compensate for all that was lost, but it can help a family prepare for the future.
Recovering after a catastrophic injury is an extended process of coming to terms with the injured person’s future abilities and limitations. A family can help themselves by contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
The theory behind monetary damages is that an injured person should not have to suffer because of someone else’s negligence. Although nothing can prevent their physical or emotional suffering if they have sustained catastrophic injuries, they should not bear the financial burden of their injury.
The damages available to a person who sustains a life-altering injury include:
Family members could seek damages for losses they suffered due to their loved one’s injury. These might include sums for loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and loss of support. A legal professional could assess the damages that might be available to family members in a particular case.
Sometimes the negligence that caused an accident is so extreme, and the results so disastrous for the injured person and their family, that compensatory damages are not enough. The negligent person deserves punishment.
Punitive damages provide a mechanism to punish an egregiously negligent person. New Jersey General and Permanent Statutes §2A:15-5.12 allow a plaintiff to seek punitive or exemplary damages if the defendant’s behavior indicated a reckless or wanton disregard for the plaintiff’s well-being or if the defendant’s actions involved malicious deceit.
A court cannot award punitive damages unless a plaintiff’s attorney asks for them, and they must prove that the defendant’s behavior merits punitive damages. Any award cannot exceed five times the plaintiff’s compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is greater.
In the weeks and months following a catastrophic injury, families naturally focus on supporting their loved one’s recovery and coming to terms with their new normal. Unfortunately, many families hurt themselves by delaying the process of seeking justice.
New Jersey law allows someone only two years from the date of an accident to bring a lawsuit seeking damages for personal injuries. Someone who has suffered a catastrophic injury might still be in the recovery stage when their time to sue runs out.
Seeking counsel as soon as possible after an accident is the best way for an injured person and their family to protect their rights. Accident lawyers have experts skilled at estimating future costs, so there is no good reason to delay.
If someone’s negligence has caused you and your family to suffer the impact of a devastating, permanent injury, you naturally want to hold that person accountable.
Seeking compensatory damages and punitive damages, if appropriate, can be a way to bring closure and help you move forward.
A New Brunswick catastrophic injury lawyer has the legal expertise and empathy to guide your family toward a favorable outcome. Reach out for their help as soon as possible.