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The Linguistics of Law: When is a Personal Injury Case Called Catastrophic?

Judges Gavel

Judges GavelWhen a person is severely injured, a lawsuit could ensue and could involve large damages and a lot of legal work. When it comes to personal injuries, however, the first question is always, when is it catastrophic and when is it less severe?

An experienced attorney is always a good idea whenever you face legal matters out of your depth. Several law firms, like TyroneLaw.com, offer free consultation. A conversation with a professional can shed light during complicated matters such as this.

Defining Catastrophic

A catastrophic injury refers to an incident in which the plaintiff is severely injured with long-term, if not permanent disability and disfigurement. It is legally defined as an injury that entails a long recovery process, a series of medical treatments and multiple surgeries, and anatomical anomalies.

Should the plaintiff be unable to return to work after the incident, it’s also catastrophic. If the plaintiff becomes unable to perform most, if not all of life’s functions on a long-term basis and if they require some level of assistance after, the injury is deemed catastrophic.

Other than the factor of returning to work or independence with life’s functions, a factor that draws the line between catastrophic and less severe is the life and livelihood of the victim. An injury is catastrophic if it prevents the victim from earning a living.

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

Examples of common catastrophic injuries liable for legal claims include long-term injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, partial or total paralysis, loss of limbs, severe burns, as well as injuries that result in significant scarring and disfigurement.

In summary, if the victim shows or has experienced the provisions that include classifying an injury as catastrophic, they can bring it to court. If the defendant is proven liable for the plaintiff’s injury, the defendant is required to pay damages that make the plaintiff whole again.

Just as Liable as the Principal Offender: How the Law Sees Accomplices


lawCriminal cases are not just a matter of finding out who did it, but also who helped in doing it. Accomplices are just as accountable to the law as principal offender, or the ones who actually carried out the crime.

As defense attorneys from DNTrialLaw.com explain, the law defines an accomplice as the person who intentionally helps in the commission of criminal activity; unlike the accessory to a crime, the accomplice is usually present when the crime happened.

Elements of Accomplice Liability

The court evaluates different factors when determining accomplice liability. For instance, they will look into the matter of intent. This means a person must have aimed to actually finish the criminal activity. They should have acted with the requisite state in their jurisdiction, intentionally giving assistance to the principal offender.

This implies that if a person is indeed at the crime scene, but didn’t actively participate in helping the perpetrator; it’s likely that the court will declare the accomplice not guilty.

The judge will also see to it that the main offender knows that the defendant is helping with the completion of the crime. Otherwise, the court won’t find the accomplice liable for any crime.

Defense Strategies

Criminal defense attorneys use several strategies to challenge a charge of accomplice liability. One such strategy is the assertion of withdrawal, that is, if the defendant stops from helping in the crime before the completion of the crime. This defense strategy will be evaluated based on the nature of assistance the accomplice offered in the first place.

For instance, if the defendant helped in terms of encouragement, they will be acquitted if they expressed rejection of the crime, so the court will regard the withdrawal as effective. But if assistance went beyond simple encouragement and involved actual, physical support, then they must have tried to prevent the criminal activity further.

The law sees accomplices the same way as the main actor of the crime. Consult criminal defense lawyers if you have more concerns about other matters concerning accomplice liability.