lawyers guide catastrophic injuries

In a busy and congested city like New York, accidents are very common, and these can have devastating consequences for the victims. Of all the types of injuries though, catastrophic injuries in NYC are the ones that have life-altering and long-term effects on not just the person who suffered the injury but also on their near and dear ones.

The American Medical Association defines a catastrophic injury as a severe injury that results in damage to the spine, brain, spinal cord, or skull. Under the laws of New York, the definition of the term catastrophic injury is broader – it refers to any injury that is either physical or mental in nature and causes some form of permanent disability and alteration in the living circumstances of the affected individual.

Where Do NYC Catastrophic Injuries Commonly Occur?

NYC catastrophic injuries are generally observed after a severe motor vehicle crash or after any other type of accident that results in traumatic brain injury, amputation injury, or paralysis.

These injuries may occur through a road accident that involves cars or trucks or motorcycles, or on a construction site, at the workplace, in a surgeon’s operating theater, on another person’s premises or sometimes even within your own home due to the use of defective products.

In all cases of catastrophic injuries, the result is not just chronic physical pain and an altered lifestyle but also emotional suffering and ongoing financial loss if the victim loses employment due to the disability caused by the accident. Most victims of such injuries are also likely to suffer from a loss of companionship due to the stressful circumstances created by the nature of their injury.

What are the Types of Catastrophic Injuries in New York?

Based on their ability to bring about a permanent alteration in the life of the victim, the following injuries are considered catastrophic injuries.

  • Traumatic brain injury is caused when a strong force gets applied to the head as seen in the case of a penetrating head wound or a blow to the head.

  • Non-traumatic brain injuries arise due to a stroke, oxygen deficiency, or an infection of the brain.

  • Spinal cord injuries prevent the relay of information through the spinal cord, leading to permanent paralysis.

  • Limb loss occurs because a badly smashed arm or leg has to be amputated.

  • Burns of the third degree or deeper that result in permanent scarring, loss of sensation, and immobility and may even cause secondary infections.

  • Injuries of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck region cause loss of movement or reduce the mobility of the neck.

  • Compound fractures need to be fixed with surgical procedures using screws, plates, and rods.

  • Injuries that cause disfigurement and scarring, leading to severe pain and also have a psychological impact on the victim.

  • Loss of hearing or eyesight as a result of the injuries in the accident is an injury that causes significant changes to a person’s ability to work and live a normal life.

  • Severe psychological distress occurs after a traumatic accident.

What are the Causes of Catastrophic Injuries in NYC?

Every year, thousands of catastrophic injury victims reach the emergency rooms in the US and need hospitalization and extensive medical treatment. Some of the most common causes of these kinds of injuries include:

  • Car or truck accidents
  • Assaults
  • Fires
  • Construction site accidents
  • Medical malpractice cases
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Workplace accidents

In most such incidents, there is some element of risky behavior or high speed or negligence by an individual that is responsible for causing the accident.

The Role of Negligence in New York Catastrophic Injuries

Most catastrophic injuries in New York are caused due to the negligence of an individual. If a car driver does not drive in a careful manner, they are likely to cause an accident that injures people.

If a construction manager does not take care to employ the necessary safety measures on their worksite, even someone who is just passing by may suffer a catastrophic injury. A doctor who does not provide the patient with the right level of care or is negligent while performing surgical procedures may also cause permanent damage.

When injuries arise from such accidents, the victims can file a personal injury lawsuit that is considered a catastrophic injury case. In cases belonging in this category, it’s the injured person’s responsibility to prove that the person at fault owed them a duty of care, that their actions breached that duty, and that the injuries sustained and damages suffered were a result of this breach.

In some situations, the accident victim may also be partially responsible for the accident. In cases along these lines, New York has a comparative negligence law that allows them to still recover damages less the degree to which they were at fault for the accident.

What Type of Damages Can You Claim After a Catastrophic Injury in NYC?

Victims of accidents that cause catastrophic injuries often suffer from some form of disfigurement or immobility. They lose the ability to care for themselves and may need permanent assistance to perform even the basic acts of daily life.

Added to this is the problem of a financial setback due to a loss of income and ongoing medical expenses to deal with their injuries. When such injuries are caused due to the negligence of another party, it is vital that the victims pursue legal action to seek compensation from the party at fault for the injury.

Damages that catastrophic injury victims can claim include the following:

  • Medical expenses for doctor consultations, medications, home care, medical or mobility devices, home re-modeling to accommodate your medical needs, and rehabilitation therapy
  • Pain and suffering that has ensued as a result of the accident
  • Lost wages due to the victim’s inability to return to gainful employment
  • Loss of companionship that results due to the repercussions of the catastrophic injury on the victim’s emotional and personal relationships
  • Wrongful death if the injury resulted in a loved one’s loss of life

New York State’s Statute of Limitations

Soon after an accident that leaves you with a catastrophic injury, all your focus will definitely be on recovering your physical and emotional health. However, it’s critical that you do not put off taking the steps necessary to claim compensation for the damages that resulted from the accident. Under New York law, the statute of limitations specifies the time frame within which you need to file for damages as follows:

  • Wrongful death – 2 years
  • Medical malpractice – 2.5 years
  • Product liability – 3 years
  • Other types of catastrophic injury – 3 years

There may be exceptions when the court allows a case to be considered even after the expiry of the statute of limitations such as example in cases of fraud or when the defendant cannot be located or if the accident victim is a minor. However, such exceptions are rare and therefore, it is best to consult a catastrophic injury lawyer in NYC at the earliest once you have managed a reasonable recovery from the severity of your injuries.

Legal Help from a Catastrophic Injury Attorney in New York

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, it is natural for you to feel dejected, and most such persons tend to withdraw into a shell to heal. You may also not see the point of trying to claim compensation because what you lost in the accident can never be replaced. No one can put a price on your loss of ability to play with your kids, or earn your living or live an independent and pain-free life.

However, it is important to understand that the effects of the damages wrought by the catastrophic injury will likely stay forever, and having the financial resources to deal with them can go a long way to help you get the necessary medical and personal care.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our experienced personal injury lawyers have helped several victims of catastrophic accidents to get the compensation they deserve for their loss. We also have an extensive network of medical, financial, rehabilitation, and other relevant experts who can help us develop a life-care plan for you.

This comprehensive plan can be customized considering the medical prognosis and your specific life goals and the interests of your family to deliver you the medical, rehabilitation, and emotional care you need for the rest of your life.

Our compassionate lawyers have helped several persons who suffered catastrophic injuries in New York to win the maximum possible compensation to which they are legally entitled. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident that has resulted in a permanent disability, we can definitely help you recover damages from the party at fault for your sorry state.

To know more about how we can help you, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.


122 E. 42nd Street Suite 3800
New York, NY 10168

Tel: 1-800-660-2264



8900 Sutphin Blvd Suite 501
Queens, NY 11435

Tel: (718) 399-3100

*By Appointment Only



220-226 E 161st Street
The Bronx, NY 10451

Tel: (212) 344-1000

*By Appointment Only



1002 Dean St
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Tel: (516) 410-4445

*By Appointment Only