Catastrophic Injury and Wrongful Death Representation
As the term implies, accidents are unexpected. Most people do not spend time preparing for the unlikely event of being injured, even those who work in dangerous jobs like construction or who participate in extreme sports. However, should the unthinkable happen, you’ll want a dedicated advocate on your side who will put your interests first in seeking compensation from any parties that may be liable for your injuries.
At Rhine Law Firm, P.C., we help clients determine their legal options for filing a claim for accidents caused by the negligence of others. We will put our decades of legal experience behind you in seeking the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled. From our office in Wilmington, we represent clients injured throughout North Carolina.
What Does it Mean When Injuries are “Catastrophic”?
A catastrophic injury has a severe and long-lasting impact on an individual’s life. These injuries can be physical, mental, or emotional, leaving the victim with significant challenges to overcome to live a normal and fulfilling life.
Common examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Multiple bone fractures
- Severe burns
Generally speaking, these kinds of injuries can cause permanent disability or damage that requires extensive medical treatment and physical and psychological rehabilitation. In addition, catastrophic injuries often take an enormous financial toll on victims and their families. Specialized medical treatments come at a high cost. Victims may need equipment, such as wheelchairs or prosthetics, to live independently. Furthermore, many victims may lose their ability to work as they recover from their injury, which can result in lost wages or reduced earning capacity.
When a catastrophic injury takes away your independence, it’s wise to enlist an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer who understands how to fight for your rights.
Why Catastrophic Injury Cases Require More Resources
The legal process for catastrophic injuries can be lengthy and complex, requiring more resources than most lawsuits because they include extensive research and additional evidence gathering. For a plaintiff to receive adequate compensation for their losses, they must prove that another party’s negligence or wrongdoing was responsible–requiring a comprehensive investigation into the nature of the accident and subsequent injuries. As such, catastrophic injury lawyers must possess a deep understanding of personal injury law and medical knowledge related to each case.
For instance, if a plaintiff has suffered severe head trauma, their legal team may need a neuropsychologist or neurologist who can adequately explain the potential long-term effects of this type of injury, including quality of life. Accessing these types of specialists can be expensive and time-consuming. However, this is often necessary for plaintiffs in catastrophic injury cases as it will help them prove their case at mediation or in court if necessary.
Steps to Take After Suffering a Catastrophic Injury
Seek Medical Treatment
The first step after a catastrophic injury is to seek appropriate medical care. Next, to build a winning case, you must document the extent of the physical injuries and emotional trauma that you or a family member may have sustained.
Document Evidence Related to Your Injury
Once you have sought medical attention, it is essential to document evidence. If you are unable, enlist a family member to help:
Take pictures of visible injuries and gather contact information from potential witnesses who can testify to what happened. Additionally, collect any evidence related to expenses associated with your injury, such as doctor visits, prescription medications, or other medical costs incurred due to treatment or rehabilitation. Keep a personal diary of your injuries, disability and pain as time passes. This information will be helpful when assessing damages and filing a claim for compensation. Your lawyer will need to focus on building substantial medical evidence that will typically motivate the highest possible settlement offers.
How an Attorney Can Help
When faced with a catastrophic injury in North Carolina, an attorney from Rhine Law Firm, P.C. will provide invaluable assistance and guidance. We understand the nuances of complex injury cases and are uniquely qualified to handle them. We will guide you through the legal process, ensure that all evidence is collected and properly documented, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.
Our team works hard to identify any potential sources of compensation for which you may be eligible. This includes compensation from Social Security Disability Insurance or other government programs. In addition, an attorney will know how to calculate damages for medical expenses and emotional distress incurred from your injuries. Don’t fight alone; choose Rhine Law Firm, P.C., for the best possible outcome.
Pursuing Just Compensation for Your Injuries
While much of our practice focuses on those injured by defective products, dangerous drugs and medical devices, and motor vehicle accidents, we routinely represent those injured in any context. Our Wilmington accident lawyers have experience with claims involving:
Many of these accidents result in catastrophic injuries: injuries that are considered life-altering. These include severe physical conditions like paraplegia or quadriplegia, or brain-related conditions that render someone cognitively impaired. Pursuing a legal claim while trying to recover from these injuries may seem like an insurmountable task. But when you work with our firm, we will advocate on your behalf and take care of all the legal details of your claim, guiding you through the process, step by step. We also have access to the forensic, engineering, and medical experts needed to help maximize your compensation.
North Carolina is what is known as a contributory negligence state, which differs from a comparative negligence state. In a comparative negligence state, an injury victim can be awarded damages, even if he was partially responsible for the accident. In a contributory negligence state, an injury victim cannot be awarded damages if he shares any amount of responsibility at all for the accident. For instance, suppose you were hit and injured by a drunk driver one night. If it turned out that one of your headlights was burned out at the time of the accident, a court could find you 1% liable for the accident – meaning you could be awarded NO damages at all.
- Childhood sexual abuse
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Loss of mobility and motor skills
- Amputation due to a severely injured limb
- Neurological damage
- Severe burn injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis and other serious problems
- Soft tissue injuries
- Loss of mobility and motor skills
- Neurological damage
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including those that do not appear serious at first
A personal injury claim can result in compensation for a host of damages, including:
- Current and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injury or disability
- Loss of limb
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental therapy
- Lost wages
- Loss of career or earning capacity
- Mental anguish and emotional duress
- Punitive damages
- Household and vehicle modifications if needed (wheelchair ramps, lifts, etc.)
The CDC says there are approximately 1.1 million burn injuries severe enough to require professional medical attention every year. Burns often occur in industrial accidents, explosions, or in house, electrical, or automobile fires. The three primary types of burns are thermal, chemical, and electrical. Scalds or hot-water burns are possible as well.
In personal injury cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the offender and also to deter others from conducting similar actions. They are only applicable if the defendant’s actions are fraudulent, willful or wanton, or done with malicious intent. Conduct that is willful or wanton in nature is not merely gross negligence – it must have been consciously done. North Carolina statute caps these damages at a maximum of three times the compensatory damages in the claim, or $250,000.
North Carolina is among those states with plenty of access to water, including the Atlantic Ocean, Fontana Lake, Lake Norman, The Nantahala River, and dozens more. Boating, surfing, whitewater rafting, and other activities are abundant. The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals ranks North Carolina 9th in volume of aboveground swimming pools, and 7th in volume of commercial swimming pools. Unfortunately, more water access leads to more potential for drowning. In the United States, there are about 3,500 drownings per year, many of which are the result of someone’s negligent actions.
“Joel Rhine and his staff did everything possible to help us in a very dark period of our lives.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better firm to handle my injury claim. If you do not have confidence with your attorney, you need to contact Rhine Law Firm immediately.”
“Rhine Law Firm went out of their way to make sure that my mother-in-law obtains everything she is entitled to in an injury case.”
“It was a long, arduous process and we cannot thank Joel and the rest of the team at Rhine Law Firm enough.”
“Joel will make sure you are well taken care of. He will fight for you and what you deserve and go to all measures to make sure you get it.”
We are proud to serve the people of North Carolina.
Although our primary office location is in Wilmington, North Carolina we represent clients nationally and across the state of North Carolina. Some of the many areas we serve are listed below.
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