When you’ve been injured in an accident, there will often be a lot of jargon tossed around to describe your injuries. Many people hear the term non-catastrophic injury used to describe their injury and feel it doesn’t represent the pain and inconvenience that they’ve suffered from the accident, this term isn’t meant to marginalize the suffering that anyone has gone through. Simply put, a non-catastrophic injury is an injury that you are expected to recover fully from given proper time and treatment.
Catastrophic vs Non-Catastrophic Injuries
The distinction between non-catastrophic and catastrophic injuries isn’t necessarily clearly defined, since it’s often dependent on the opinions and projections of doctors about how your injury will heal with treatment. Since the classification is about whether you will fully heal or not, whether an injury qualifies as catastrophic is highly dependent on the exact circumstances of the injury.
If a person is in a small accident but suffers severe nerve damage to their wrists and hands, that may qualify as a catastrophic injury because their ability to work and function could potentially be affected for the rest of their life. If they were instead involved in a high-speed car accident and had severe bone and tissue damage, but doctors determined they would eventually make a full recovery, that injury would be non-catastrophic even though the initial injury was much more severe. This can make it difficult to figure out which injuries will be classified as catastrophic or non-catastrophic without being able to predict the future.
How to Determine Which Type of Injury You Have
People often overlook certain complications from their injury that they may never recover from. If an injury will cause lifelong inconveniences and damages, it should be considered catastrophic. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be debilitating forever, but just that you will always feel its effects.
Your medical professionals can help you determine what the long-term implications of your injuries are, and your personal injury lawyer can help you determine what compensation you may be entitled to, but you need to think about any and all ways that the injury may affect you in the future, no matter how small. Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) §616A.077 provides some legal definition of what is and isn’t considered a catastrophic injury in the context of industrial workplaces, and lists many types of injuries that would inherently be considered catastrophic.
The Differences in Potential Compensation
For both catastrophic and non-catastrophic injuries resulting from an accident that someone else was at fault for, you should be compensated for any damages the accident caused. This means that the distinction between the two has little bearing on the damages that you may be entitled to.
The main difference in compensation between the two is that often catastrophic injuries will be awarded compensation for a probable lifetime of future medical costs and damages, whereas a non-catastrophic injury will have a likely end to damages caused in the future by the accident.
Can a Claim Be Filed for a Non-Catastrophic Injury?
If you’ve suffered damages from an injury that was a result of someone else’s negligence, you have every right to file a claim and seek compensation. An injury that is considered non-catastrophic won’t usually have much bearing on the pain and increased expenses that you suffer as a result of the accident right now. Any damages to you caused by another’s negligent or reckless actions can potentially be awarded to you as compensation, regardless of the long-term damages of the injury.
What Compensation Can Be Awarded for Non-Catastrophic Injuries?
The potential compensation for any injury typically lines up with the total damages that were received by a plaintiff, though in some cases punitive damages may be awarded as well as a deterrent against the instigating negligence or recklessness in the future. Determining the total cost for an injury is difficult though. Not only do accidents often result in increased expenses from repairs, medical bills, and lost potential wages, but how do you quantify pain and suffering and the inconveniences you suffer daily as the result of someone else’s choices?
Assigning value to the damages from an injury often involves a lot of reflection and critical thinking about all the ways that the injury has impacted your life. Regardless of what form they take, the hardships suffered due to an accident where another is at fault could potentially result in compensation.
Economic damages are monetary losses and costs that you’ve sustained as a result of an accident, or other damages that can be assigned a monetary value. Even for non-catastrophic injuries, you still may be entitled to compensation for any costs you’ve incurred. These may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages or lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Future expenses associated with the injury
Non-economic damages are for any hardships that you experienced as a result of the accident that caused your injury that isn’t necessarily material, hard losses priced in dollars. While determining and assessing the value of these damages is one of the more challenging aspects of personal injury law, it’s important that these damages be included in your claim, which often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Serious disfigurement
- Deteriorated mental state
- Emotional anguish
- Lowered quality of life
Damages Should Be Compensated, Regardless of the Severity
The law in Nevada doesn’t free a negligent individual simply because doctors say that your injury will recover someday. If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, then you shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden for their reckless choices. Getting compensated for your hardships isn’t just the right thing for you personally, but justice only works when those at fault are called out for recklessly hurting people.
Contact Our Attorneys for Help Today
At Pacific West Injury Law, we’re experts in every kind of personal injury case. We’re here to fight for anyone in the Las Vegas and Henderson area to make sure no one ends up paying the bill for someone else’s bad choices. Contact us for a free consultation to see what we can do for your case.