As personal injury attorneys, our job is to represent clients who have sustained injuries in a wide variety of accidents. Over time, we have become familiar with the types of injuries those accidents inflict. There are bad injuries, like broken bones and injured ligaments. There are severe injuries that require short hospital stays and physical therapy. And then, there are catastrophic injuries.
Catastrophic injuries change life as our clients know it, forever.
Our clients with catastrophic injuries have been told by doctors they may never walk again, or that their loved one will never regain consciousness, or that they will have to learn to navigate life with a prosthetic limb. Catastrophic injuries leave our clients with special needs for long-term physical and emotional support. Catastrophic injuries can cost millions of dollars to manage over our clients’ lifetimes.
If an accident or incident in the Seattle area has left you or a loved one catastrophically injured, you may have legal rights to recover substantial sums of money to help you move forward in life. Contact the talented, determined catastrophic injury attorneys at Boohoff Law today to learn more.
The Boohoff Law Difference
Attorney Tatiana Boohoff founded Boohoff Law in Florida more than a decade ago. The firm relocated to the Seattle area, bringing with it a sterling reputation as a team of top-flight personal injury litigators. Attorney Boohoff is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, one of the top law schools in the nation. With her degree, she could have gone to work for a large corporate law firm. Instead, Attorney Boohoff focused her practice on serving the needs of people injured through no fault of her own. Today, Boohoff Law prides itself as a law firm unafraid to take on the largest defendants in seeking justice for injured clients, and which has a track record of success to match.
Common Catastrophic Injuries
What makes an injury catastrophic? In our legal practice at Boohoff Law, we consider any injury that permanently alters how our clients are able to live their lives as catastrophic. These injuries typically require massive medical intervention in order to achieve a full recovery that falls far short of returning our client to pre-injury condition. Many catastrophic injury victims will need a lifetime of medical care or supervision in order to maintain a quality of life. Examples of common catastrophic personal injuries include:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI occurs when the brain sustains damage from a sudden impact, penetrating injury, or oxygen deprivation. A TBI amounts to a catastrophic injury when it leaves the victim with severe cognitive or motor impairment, or worse, living in an unconscious or semi-conscious state.
Spinal cord injury. A blow or penetrating injury to the spinal column can damage the nerves and structures that allow the brain to communicate with the body. When these injuries are permanent, they commonly lead to partial or total paralysis, such as paraplegia and tetraplegia, which makes them catastrophic. Victims of spinal cord injury must rely on assistive devices for mobility, may have to modify their homes, and could be confined permanently to a wheelchair.
Burns. Burns come in varying levels of severity. They qualify as catastrophic injuries when they cause permanent health complications, physical impairments, and disfigurement.
Crushed or amputated limbs. Almost by definition, a crushed or amputated limb is a catastrophic injury because it results in the functional or actual loss of an appendage. People who sustain these injuries have to learn how to navigate life without their lost limb, either through a prosthetic or by adapting their lifestyles to what limited functionality remains in the limb.
Organ failure/health complications. Any time someone’s actions, or inactions, result in our client suffering from a breakdown of their organs and systems, we classify those injuries as catastrophic. Likewise, when a medical misdiagnosis leads to our client developing a life-threatening health condition she would not otherwise have had.
In truth, any injury could qualify as catastrophic in the context of a client’s life. That is why, as personal injury lawyers, we approach every client’s case as one involving a potentially catastrophic injury, and we fight aggressively for every last dollar of compensation our client requires to return to as close to a normal life as possible.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic personal injuries result from a wide variety of circumstances. Of course, some scenarios are far more common than others as causes of catastrophic accidents, because of the physical violence or high degree of danger they involve. Those include:
Motor vehicle accidents. Accidents involving cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles, injure millions of Americans every year. The Seattle area is no exception. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) reports crashes resulted in 580 serious injuries on the roads of King County in 2018. Many of these would no doubt qualify as catastrophic.
Bicycle and pedestrian accidents. The same goes for cyclists and pedestrians. The WTSC data also show that in 2018, 137 pedestrians and 38 cyclists sustained serious injuries in motor vehicle-related accidents in King County. When vehicles collide with pedestrians and cyclists, it is those unprotected people who suffer the brunt of the injury.
Premises liability incidents (a.k.a. slip and fall). Sometimes an easily preventable condition on someone’s property, like a wet floor or a loose handrail, leads to the most devastating injuries. Falls represent a particular danger for older adults, but even younger people can suffer massive trauma from falling (or having something fall on them).
Workplace and construction accidents. Workplaces and construction sites teem with injury dangers, from uneven footing to highly complex, heavy, and dangerous machinery. Some of the worst injuries in these settings occur when a worker falls from a high height, or someone’s limb becomes trapped in a moving machine part.
Defective products. As consumers, we rely on the products we buy and use to operate as intended. Products with a defect of design, construction, or lack of warning can fail unexpectedly, resulting in a limitless range of terrible injuries, including burns and amputated limbs.
Medical malpractice. Doctors, nurses, surgical techs, and other medical service providers have an obligation to deliver a standard of care to patients. Sometimes, for any number of reasons, they fail to live up to that standard. The consequences of these failures can be extreme, such as when a doctor fails to diagnose cancer in time to stop it, or a surgeon operates on the wrong part of a patient’s body.
Nursing home abuse. At Boohoff Law, we consider any intentional or negligent injury inflicted on a vulnerable adult in a nursing home to be a catastrophic injury, because there is no excuse for that sort of abuse to happen.
Dangerous drugs. Taking the wrong medication, or the right medication in the wrong dose, can easily result in massive health complications, or can cause secondary consequences that lead to accidents and catastrophic injuries.
Dog bites. Dog bites leave victims with physical and emotional trauma. These injuries most often rise to the level of catastrophic when the victim is a young child who does not recognize the signs of an agitated dog that is about to attack.
As above, these are just a sampling of the most common causes of a catastrophic injury. No matter how your injury occurred, the team at Boohoff Law is ready to help in any way they can.
Common Damages for Catastrophic Injuries
Under Washington law, the victim of a catastrophic injury caused by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness has a legal right, in most cases, to seek compensatory damages as a remedy. In general, the law classifies damages into two broad categories: economic (or special) damages, and non-economic (or general) damages.
Economic damages aim to cover the out-of-pocket costs related to a catastrophic injury. Economic damages for catastrophic injuries typically include:
- Un-reimbursed medical bills;
- Chronic or long-term care costs;
- Assistive medical devices, prosthetics, and home modifications;
- Physical therapy;
- Lost wages from time off from work while recovering or helping a loved one recover; and
- Lost income or employment opportunity due to injuries or permanent disabilities.
In Washington, unlike most other states, courts may allow the party with legal liability for economic damages to pay those damages in periodic installments, rather than in a lump-sum.
Non-economic damages compensate for the effects of a catastrophic injury that are more difficult to quantify in dollars-and-cents. They may include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Damage to personal relationships (a.k.a. loss of consortium/companionship/parent-child relationship); and
- Negative impacts on quality of life.
Non-economic damages are typically not as large in Washington as they are in other jurisdictions. That is because Washington law caps non-economic damages at a maximum of 43 percent of the average annual wage in Washington (an amount set by law) multiplied by the injury victim’s life expectancy at the time of the catastrophic injury (which is a minimum of 15 years). Washington law also does not typically allow a court to award punitive (or exemplary) damages.
Why You Need the Help of a Catastrophic Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible
Because catastrophic injuries are life-changing, their immediate aftermath can feel overwhelming. Victims and their families must face the prospect of an entirely new normal, at least for the short-to-medium term, and potentially for the rest of their lives. That comes with significant life complications and stressors, not to mention (frequently) financial strain.
The last thing on the minds of catastrophic injury victims and their families is getting a lawyer right away. And yet, that is something they should be thinking about. The longer a person waits to hire an experienced Seattle catastrophic injury lawyer, the more difficult it can become to obtain the compensation that person deserves under Washington law.
That’s the case for at least two reasons. First, the general statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Washington is three years from the moment of the accident. That time passes quickly, but even more significantly, as it ticks away, building a solid case for damages can become more-and-more challenging. The best time to collect evidence and interview witnesses about how a catastrophic injury happened is as soon as possible after the injury happens, so that evidence doesn’t go missing and memories do not fade.
Second, it’s important to seek legal advice and start an investigation as soon as possible after a catastrophic injury because insurance companies will be doing exactly the same thing. However, unlike an attorney who represents the injured client’s interests, insurance adjusters represent their employer, and their job is to minimize the company’s financial exposure. Insurance adjusters will often try to speak with accident victims right away after an accident, in hopes of getting the victims to say something that undermines their legal rights. Insurance companies may also try to dangle an inadequate settlement offer, hoping a victim will jump at the money before realizing the value of the legal rights they’re giving up.
Seeking the advice of an experienced Seattle catastrophic injury attorney protects catastrophic injury victims from these tactics, and gives the injured victim an advocate whose only job is to fight for every dollar of compensation the victim and her family deserve.
Call Boohoff Law if You Suffered a Catastrophic Injury in Seattle
Tatiana Boohoff and the talented team of legal professionals at Boohoff Law have years of combined experience representing clients who have suffered the worst kind of injuries. They make it their mission to deliver compassionate, responsive client service while standing strong against powerful insurance companies and corporate defendants out to undermine the client’s legal rights. When possible, they explore negotiated settlements with the parties who owe damages to their clients. When necessary, they have no hesitation about taking their clients’ cases to court.
Do not wait to connect with a skilled, determined catastrophic injury lawyer at Boohoff Law after a catastrophic injury leaves your life upended. You deserve sophisticated legal representation that gives you the best chance of recovering the maximum compensation available under the law. Contact Boohoff Law or call them at (877) 999-9999 today to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of their team.
“Everyone here is so helpful. They jumped through every hoop necessary to get me the settlement I rightfully deserved. Tracey and Maria are super sweet. They made me feel right at home. I absolutely recommend Boohooff Law and will use them again in the future if I am ever in a similar situation. Thank you all at Boohooff who helped me with my case. 10/10 stars hands down!”
– Brandy K.