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Published on December 6, 2023

How Are Catastrophic Injuries Defined in New Jersey?

Catastrophic injuries are seismic events in the lives of their victims by their severe long-term impacts. For those in New Jersey, understanding the legal intricacies of catastrophic injuries is paramount. This article aims to provide a comprehensive definition of catastrophic injuries in the state, explaining the legal ramifications, and exploring the consequences for victims and their families.

Legal Definition of Catastrophic Injuries in New Jersey

The definition of catastrophic injuries is intricately woven into specific New Jersey statutes and laws. These legal frameworks establish the criteria by which an injury is deemed catastrophic. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, and amputations are exemplary instances, each carrying the weight of severe and enduring impairment. Understanding these legal definitions is pivotal for both victims and legal practitioners navigating the various complex types of catastrophic injury cases.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

All types of catastrophic injuries require specialized medical care and long-term emotional and physical support for those affected and their families. Here are a few common examples of catastrophic injuries and their definitions:

Traumatic brain injuries: occur when an external force traumatically injures the brain. This force can result from a variety of incidents involving blows to the head. TBIs can range from mild to severe and can have a wide range of effects on cognitive, physical, and emotional functions.

Spinal cord injuries: refer to damage to the spinal cord, which is a crucial part of the central nervous system. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that extends from the base of the brain down the back, protected by the vertebrae of the spine. Spinal cord injuries can result from trauma, disease, or degeneration, and they can be classified as either traumatic or non-traumatic:

Amputations: severe accidents involving machinery, vehicles, or crushing injuries can cause irreparable damage to a limb. In some cases, amputation may be necessary to save the person’s life or prevent the spread of infection.

Fourth Degree Burns: these burns extend through all layers of the skin and underlying tissues, reaching the muscle, bone, or other structures beneath the skin. Fourth-degree burns are often associated with extensive tissue damage. They can have serious and life-threatening consequences.

The Impact of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries extend far beyond the physical realm by profoundly affecting victims emotionally, financially, and socially. The financial strain often manifests through extensive medical expenses and the necessity for prolonged medical care. The emotional toll can be immeasurable, reshaping the trajectory of a victim’s life and altering their quality of life.

Legal Implications and Rights of Catastrophic Injury Victims

Victims of catastrophic injuries in New Jersey deserve the legal right to pursue compensation. This pursuit involves navigating a complex web of legal processes, negotiating with insurance companies, and establishing liability for the injuries sustained. Timeliness is of the essence, as understanding the statute of limitations is crucial. The Cherry Hill personal injury lawyers at Cuneo & Leonetti explain that individuals seeking to file an action for injury caused by a wrongful act generally have two years from the date the incident occurred to do so. This applies specifically to multiple different New Jersey catastrophic injury examples.


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