After enduring a debilitating injury, victims are often shocked at the lasting consequences associated with their injuries. It is common for accident survivors to find it difficult to complete daily living tasks on their own, go to work or school, and cope with the emotional trauma of what they have been through. Then there are also the devastating financial costs that can turn families’ lives upside down. 

When injury victims have suffered injuries that have a significant impact on their lives, their best option is often to connect with our top-rated and proven catastrophic injury lawyer at Brumback & Ottem Injury Law. Our personal injury team has spent decades advocating for our client’s rights to full compensation for their damages and suffering. Put our training and experience to work as soon as possible by contacting our office to request a 100% free consultation today.

What Makes an Injury Catastrophic?

Far too many injury victims fail to take legal action against liable parties because they worry that their injuries are not severe enough for their claims to be taken seriously. However, working with an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer may be the best way to determine whether filing an insurance claim, pursuing a civil lawsuit, or a combination of both is an option. There is no law that states injury victims must have suffered specific types of injuries to have grounds for a personal injury claim. Instead, the law specifies that the elements of negligence must be present, which include:

  • Duty of care 
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages


Essentially, this means the defendant must have owed the injury victim a duty of care. They must have had a legal obligation to keep the injury victim safe or out of harm’s way. The defendant must have breached this duty of care in some way, thereby causing the injury victim to suffer considerable injuries or damages. 

Even someone suffering a seemingly minor injury may have grounds for a claim if the injury has caused substantial damages or had a significant impact on the victim’s life. Therefore, the more impactful an injury, the more catastrophic and the more compensation an injury victim can expect to recover. Some of the most common types of injuries that could be considered catastrophic include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Third-degree burns
  • Internal bleeding and organ failure
  • Septic shock caused by infected lacerations
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Concussion
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Jaw, dental, or facial injuries
  • Back injuries and herniated discs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries, including whiplash
  • Knee, hip, and shoulder injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of limbs


If an injury victim is unsure whether they have grounds for a claim, the best way to find out is by connecting with our compassionate catastrophic injury attorneys at Brumback & Ottem Injury Law. Our team will closely evaluate the circumstances of prospective clients’ cases to determine whether they have the right to pursue compensation, how strong their case is, and what they could be awarded if our claim is successful.

Calculating the Value of a Catastrophic Injury in Yakima

Getting help from a knowledgeable major injury lawyer may be one of the best ways to ensure victims receive maximum compensation for their damages. This is because accident survivors often undervalue what their damages are worth. They may be unaware of some of the most valuable types of damages or even be tricked into accepting less than they deserve by profit-motivated insurance companies and liable parties. Here are some of the most common types of damages awarded and catastrophic injury claims in Yakima:

Pecuniary Damages

Pecuniary damages are also commonly referred to as economic damages. They are entirely monetary and, therefore, easier to calculate than most other types of damages. Some examples of pecuniary damages catastrophic injury victims may be entitled to include:

  • Loss of income
  • Full coverage of medical expenses
  • Personal property losses
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Household maintenance expenses
  • Future medical treatment and care
  • Healthcare devices and equipment
  • Diminished vehicle value
  • Loss of health insurance provided by employers
  • Loss of employer’s contributions to retirement savings accounts
  • Loss of bonuses, salary increases, and sick leave or paid time off


Non-Pecuniary Damages 

Non-pecuniary damages may require a major injury attorney. Also commonly known as non-economic damages, non-pecuniary damages do not have a fixed financial value. These types of losses are subjective, as their impact can vary significantly on a case-by-case basis. However, just because non-pecuniary damages do not have a financial value does not mean they should not be considered when calculating the value of a catastrophic injury claim. Some examples of these non-pecuniary damages could include:

  • Loss of guidance and support
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Physical chronic pain
  • Severe emotional trauma and distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of an intimate relationship with a spouse or partner
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Psychological torment
  • Embarrassment, shame, and indignity
  • Fear, anticipation, and apprehension
  • Disfigurement and permanent disability
  • Severe skin scarring


Exemplary Damages 

Our major injury attorneys will also consider whether exemplary damages apply to our clients. Also known as punitive damages, exemplary damages are not the same as compensatory damages. Compensatory damages consist of losses that injury victims have the right to recoup, whereas exemplary damages are only awarded if the defendant’s conduct warrants it. Most catastrophic injury claims will not have exemplary damages awards. 

However, if the defendant was intentionally harmful, reprehensible, or grossly negligent, the judge presiding over the injury victim’s case may find punitive damages applicable. A respected catastrophic injury attorney can also request exemplary damages be awarded if punitive damages apply. Although exemplary damages are not awarded in every case, when they are, they are often significant, as their intent is to punish the defendant for their conduct.

Catastrophic Injuries Can Happen at Any Time

Our serious injury lawyers will need to carefully evaluate the type of accident our clients are involved in to determine who is responsible for causing their injuries. Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries can happen at any time and in any place. Some of the most common types of accidents and incidents our clients have endured include:


Our legal team also has extensive experience handling catastrophic injury claims that ultimately turned into wrongful death.Surviving family members should prepare to discuss the specific details of their case with our legal team to prepare accordingly.

How to Take Legal Action Against the Liable Party After a Catastrophic Injury

Our serious injury lawyers are committed to helping our clients get the most out of their claims. Getting help from a serious injury attorney may be the right move for those hoping to maximize their payouts. Some of the most common options that may be available for catastrophic injury victims include:

  • Filing an insurance claim against the liable party
  • Filing a claim against a personal injury protection (PIP) or no-fault insurance policy
  • Filing a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party


Victims Do Not Have an Unlimited Amount of Time to File Their Claims

Time is limited to file a catastrophic injury claim. Our serious injury lawyers have considerable experience handling personal injury lawsuits and always ensure our client’s claims are filed before time runs out. Under Washington law, injury victims have just three years from the accident date to file suit under the statute of limitations. Our major injury lawyers will do everything possible to build a powerful case against the liable party as soon as possible so we have plenty of time to gather the evidence needed to win.

Yakima Catastrophic Injury FAQ

Pursuing a catastrophic injury claim can be more confusing than most injury victims realize. It is common for accident survivors to have questions regarding how personal injury claims work and what to expect from their cases. 

For this reason, we have compiled a quick catastrophic injury FAQ which discusses some of the most frequently asked questions regarding personal injuries and catastrophic injury lawsuits. Catastrophic injury victims with additional questions can discuss their concerns in greater detail during a free consultation with a serious injury lawyer at our personal injury law firm:

Can I Sue if My Child Has Suffered a Catastrophic Injury?

When a minor child has suffered catastrophic injuries, the statute of limitations will temporarily pause or toll. The statute of limitations will remain paused until the child reaches the legal age to pursue their claim on their own. However, that does not mean that parents or legal guardians of minor children cannot take charge of their child’s injuries and demand the liable party be brought to justice as soon as possible. 

Parents and legal guardians have the authority to pursue personal injury and insurance claims when their child has suffered catastrophic injuries. In doing so, parents and legal guardians have an opportunity to recover compensation to cover the child’s medical expenses and ensure they have access to the financial support they need to get through their childhood, regain mobility and functionality, and hopefully live as normal as possible based on the extent of their injuries and prognosis.

Should I Accept an Offer From the Insurance Company?

We never recommend accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company unless it has been reviewed by an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer. Insurance companies are known for being advantageous. They do not settle claims reasonably, and they do not settle claims without putting up a fight. Insurance adjusters are responsible for analyzing every word of the insurance claim and looking for opportunities to reduce settlements or issue claim denials. 

Often, insurance adjusters will recognize the true value of an injury victim’s claim and make a fast offer. Because the injury victim is in desperate need of financial support, they are willing to accept anything they can get, even if it is less than they are entitled to. Many injury victims do not understand or recognize the value of their damages, so they do not know they are being taken advantage of. 

All they know is the insurance company is offering them the money they need to cover their costs now. The insurance company is counting on the injury victim not understanding what they are entitled to and accepting the initial settlement offer. For this reason, it is crucial to review potential settlement offers with a legal advocate. This way, injury victims will know if the insurance company is attempting to get away with settling for less than the claim is worth and renegotiate the settlement terms for a more reasonable offer.

How Will I Prove Someone Else is At Fault?

Catastrophic injury victims can prove another party’s negligence by having their personal injury lawyers gather compelling supporting evidence. The burden of proof in civil claims is based on a preponderance of the evidence, so the evidence we obtain at the accident scene and throughout the course of our investigation will be imperative. Some of the most valuable types of evidence used in catastrophic injury claims include:

  • Photos of the victim’s injuries
  • Video footage of the accident
  • Copies of employment, inspection, and driving records
  • Crash reports and safety data
  • Data obtained from vehicle black boxes
  • Witness testimony and expert reports generated by accident reconstructionists
  • Testimony from law enforcement officials and the injury victim’s friends and family members
  • Copies of the injury victim’s medical records and physician statements


Get Help From Our Dedicated Yakima Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Today

Serious injury attorneys know what a catastrophic injury looks like and how significantly victims can be affected by the fallout of these accidents. Our personal injury advocates at Brumback & Ottem Injury Law have an extensive track record of success in winning maximum compensation for our clients and helping them get through some of the most difficult times in their lives. 

We are ready to help anyone suffering from the consequences of a catastrophic injury, hold the liable party accountable, and demand justice. Complete our secured contact form or call our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and start working on potential legal options as soon as today.