Catastrophic injuries can occur in auto accidents or result from workplace hazards. Whatever the cause, these injuries often prevent the person from working and doing other activities.
Review the legal definition of catastrophic injury in West Virginia and learn more about the requirements for a legal claim in this situation.
Types of injuries
West Virginia law defines catastrophic injuries as significant and permanent. Examples of catastrophic injuries include but are not limited to:
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Serious burns
- Loss of mobility, including partial or total paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Limb loss
Impact of catastrophic injury
Depending on the type of injury, the person may be unable to work and require extensive, life-long medical care. He or she may need surgery, physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy to recover from the effects of the accident.
Some people even need 24-hour nursing care or must leave their homes and move to long-term care facilities. Often, the injured person and his or her family must absorb the cost of special medical transportation and renovations to make the home accessible.
When a person has a catastrophic injury claim, he or she can seek up to $500,000 in noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. The court may also award noneconomic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages. The injured person must prove that the defendant’s action or inaction directly caused the injury.
An individual who has a catastrophic injury has two years to file a lawsuit in West Virginia. After the statute of limitations runs out, the court will dismiss the injured person’s case.