Catastrophic injuries can have devastating consequences on a person’s life both physically and emotionally, often causing long-term disabilities and requiring significant medical care and support. Importantly, if you have sustained catastrophic injuries through no fault of your own, but because of somebody else’s negligence, you may be eligible to make a catastrophic injury claim for compensation.
If your injury was caused by somebody else’s negligence, we are here to assist you. Our team of trained advisors can provide you with a no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim and provide you with free advice. If we determine that your catastrophic injury claim has a reasonable chance of success, we could refer you to one of our personal injury solicitors who will take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you will not be responsible for any legal fees unless your claim is successful and you are awarded compensation.
If you’d like to discuss a catastrophic injury claim right away, please call our team of claims advisors on 0800 6524 881. Or, to find out more before you call, please continue reading.
Table of contents
- What Is A Catastrophic Injury?
- Am I Eligible To Make A Catastrophic Injury Claim?
- Common Causes Of Catastrophic Injury Claims
- How Much Compensation For A Catastrophic Injury Could I Claim?
- Evidence To Support A Catastrophic Injury Claim
- Time Limits For Claiming Compensation
- How Long Does A Catastrophic Injury Claim Take?
- Starting The Catastrophic Injury Claims Process
Catastrophic injuries are among the most serious type of injuries other than fatal. Catastrophic injuries usually result in irreversible and life-changing consequences such as severe burn injuries, spinal injuries resulting in partial or complete paralysis, amputations, chronic pain, brain damage, loss of bladder and bowel control, or circulatory and respiratory problems. Any of these disabilities and others can seriously affect the quality of life and make it almost impossible to live a “normal” life.
Before starting the process of making a catastrophic injury claim, a personal injury solicitor on our team will first need to check whether:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care; and
- The defendant was negligent; and
- Their negligence resulted in you sustaining catastrophic injuries; and
- You’re still within the limitation period to make a claim.
Generally, all the above factors will need to be confirmed first to show that you may have grounds to make a claim for compensation. If you’re in any doubt, please contact our claims advisors who’ll be able to advise you on this.
There are numerous ways in which someone could sustain a catastrophic injury. Some of the more common ways include:
- Road traffic accidents (RTAs). Road traffic accidents are one of the top causes of catastrophic injuries. Accidents involving cars, buses, motorbikes, and lorries, can result in extremely serious injuries such as spinal injuries, brain trauma injuries and amputations.
- Medical negligence. Catastrophic injuries due to medical negligence can be caused by medication errors, surgical errors, and misdiagnosis and occur in any medical setting such as hospitals, doctor’s surgeries and clinics.
- Falls from heights. Falling from a height can happen in various settings such as construction sites, warehouses, factories and many other places of work. Causes may include insufficient training for workers, inadequate risk assessments, faulty equipment and human error.
- Sports injuries. Catastrophic injuries during sports such as rugby, football and other contact sports can include severe neck injuries, paralysis, back injuries and brain damage, among others. Injuries can be caused by illegal tackles by other players, lack of training or inadequate equipment.
- Building site accidents. Accidents at construction sites such as building, demolition and road construction sites etc are quite common. Injuries such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and fractures can occur due to faulty equipment, lack of safety measures in place, objects falling from a height and lack of adequate training.
- Criminal violence. Catastrophic injuries can occur due to violent acts such as stabbings and sexual assault. In these cases, we could help claim compensation through the CICA scheme.
- Near drowning. Severe brain and psychological injuries can result from near-drowning incidents. Various factors may lead to near-drownings at swimming pools etc from a lack of supervision, inadequate safety measures and fatal equipment.
- Electrical injuries. Electrical injuries can be very severe and sometimes fatal. They can happen in various places including accidents at home, accidents at work and so on. Burns, cardiac arrest, and brain damage are some of the possible catastrophic injuries sustained.
- Poisoning. Exposure to toxic chemicals and other substances may lead to catastrophic injuries such as organ damage, respiratory failure and damage to the brain. Causes may include being exposed to toxic fumes, ingesting toxic substances and being exposed to radioactive elements.
If you or someone you love has sustained catastrophic injuries due to somebody else’s negligence, please contact us to see if you are entitled to compensation.
The amount of compensation you could claim for a catastrophic injury will depend on various factors, including the severity of the injury, the impact it has on your life, and the circumstances surrounding the incident that caused the injury.
However, there are two main types of damages used to determine settlement amounts which are general damages and special damages. Here are some examples of each:
- General Damages
- Pain and suffering – Physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental distress caused by the catastrophic injury.
- Loss of amenity – The inability to engage in activities that you previously enjoyed due to the injury.
- Facial disfigurement – Any facial scars or other facial disfigurements resulting from the injury.
- Special Damages
- Medical expenses – Medical expenses directly related to the catastrophic injury which could include prescription costs, physiotherapy, and other medical treatments.
- Future medical expenses – Accounting for medical expenses that the claimant may incur in the future, such as ongoing medical treatments, rehabilitation, physiotherapy etc.
- Lost wages – Accounting for any wages or salary lost due to the injury, including time off work for medical treatment or recovery.
- Future loss of earnings – For the loss of ability to earn income in the future, due to the injury.
- Property damage – Accounting for any damage to property, such as a car or personal belongings, caused by the incident that led to the injury.
As catastrophic injuries typically have a significant impact on a claimant’s life, it’s essential to consider everything in fine detail to ensure a fair settlement.
To get an idea of what compensation may be available for general damages please use the calculator below.
An experienced personal injury solicitor on our team will be happy to discuss your claim with you, and if it’s taken on they will ensure all aspects are covered when determining the amount of catastrophic injury compensation to claim.
Any compensation claim will need to be supported with relevant evidence that shows the defendant was responsible for your catastrophic injury. Evidence may include:
- Photos and videos. Photos and videos of the scene of the accident/incident, as well as of the injury itself, can provide important evidence of the circumstances of the catastrophic injury and how severe it is. If there is any CCTV footage showing how you sustained your injury, try to obtain a copy.
- Medical records. Your medical records should detail the severity of the catastrophic injury, the treatments received, and any long-term effects the injury may have.
- Witness statements. Statements from witnesses to the incident that caused the injury, as well as from family members, friends, and colleagues at work, can be important evidence to establish the circumstances of the injury and its impact on your life.
- Financial records. Financial records, such as tax returns, pay slips, and employment records, can help establish your earning capacity before and after the injury, as well as the financial impact of the injury on your life.
- Diary. If you are able to, keep a diary of events and how the injury has affected your life.
Gathering evidence for a catastrophic injury claim is crucial otherwise you may run the risk of not receiving the amount of compensation you deserve or even any at all. It’s best to start gathering the evidence as soon as possible to make sure that important factors are not forgotten or lost.
The time limit for making a catastrophic injury claim is generally three years starting from the date of the injury. This is known as the limitation period, and it is set out in the Limitation Act 1980.
However, in some cases, the limitation period may begin from the date that the injured person became aware of their injury, or from the date that the injury was linked to the incident that caused it. This is known as the “date of knowledge,” and it may apply if the injured person was not aware of the injury immediately after the incident, such as in cases of occupational respiratory diseases.
It’s important to note that there are exceptions to the three-year limitation period, particularly in cases involving children or individuals who lack the mental capacity to make legal decisions. Therefore, if a loved one is mentally or physically incapacitated due to sustaining a catastrophic injury, or they’re under 18, it is possible to file a compensation claim on their behalf. You can do this by appointing a legal representative, known as a litigation friend, to handle the claim for them.
Most of the time, a litigation friend is a family member or close friend of the injured person. However, it can also be a professional advocate, for example, a Court of Protection deputy. The litigation friend has the responsibility of making decisions for the injured person, such as whether to accept or reject any settlement offers, or whether to pursue the claim in court.
Before appointing a litigation friend, we’d advise speaking with a personal injury solicitor on our team as the process can be complex.
The length of time it takes to settle a catastrophic injury claim will generally vary on a case-by-case basis due to various factors. Factors that can affect the duration of these types of claims include the severity of the injury, the complexity of the case, and the willingness of the parties involved to negotiate a settlement.
General, catastrophic injury claims can take much longer than other types of personal injury claims because they often involve more significant damages and long-term consequences. A catastrophic injury can require ongoing medical treatment and may result in permanent disabilities, which can make it difficult to determine the full extent of the damages until some time has passed.
If you speak with one of our personal injury solicitors they may be able to provide you with an estimation of how long your claim is likely to take based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Making a catastrophic injury claim can be a long and complex process and so we recommend seeking legal advice from a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible.
We offer a free consultation where a claims advisor will first assess your claim and provide an honest opinion of whether or not a claim is viable. If they do and it’s passed on to one of our personal injury solicitors, or a medical negligence solicitor on our team, depending on the type of injury, they would take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis. They can then start the catastrophic injury compensation claims process on your behalf, aiming to secure you the maximum amount.
If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury and would like to discuss making a catastrophic injury claim with a solicitor, please contact us for a free consultation today.