Catastrophic Injuries: What They Are and How They’re Handled
Catastrophic injuries are life-altering and traumatic. When you suffer a catastrophic injury due to another person’s negligence or carelessness, you have a legal right to seek compensation for your losses.
To understand your legal options, it's important to know what is a catastrophic injury, how catastrophic injuries occur, and how a catastrophic injury claim works.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
Generally, a catastrophic injury is a severe injury that causes life-altering damage or permanent disabilities. Some states also include temporary long-term disabilities in their definition of catastrophic injuries. Every state has a different legal definition of catastrophic injury, so it's best to consult with an attorney who handles claims in your state.
Types of catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken arm or leg
- Neck injury
- Crushing injury
- Chest or abdominal injury
- Severe burn injuries
- Spinal cord injury
- Spinal fracture
- Full or partial paralysis
- Bleeding in the brain
- Skull fractures
A catastrophic injuries attorney will understand your state’s definitions and applicable laws. They can explain your legal rights and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Accidents
Catastrophic accidents can occur anywhere but are more likely to occur in certain situations. The most common causes of catastrophic and fatal injuries are:
- Automobile accidents
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Being struck by or against an object
If you suffered severe injury due to someone else’s actions, you could file a catastrophic personal injury claim to recover your losses. Speak with a personal injury lawyer specializing in catastrophic injury cases to learn more.
How Catastrophic Injury Cases Work
A catastrophic injury case is a civil action that lets you seek compensation from the parties responsible for your injury. Since catastrophic injuries are so severe, they often require more evidence to prove future losses as well as current damages.
To recover financial compensation in a catastrophic injury case, you build a case to prove the at-fault party's negligence, establish evidence to prove long-term effects, and negotiate an injury settlement with the other party or their insurance company.
Proving Negligence of the Responsible Party
One of the first steps in any injury claim is determining who is at fault. You may know that the other party is to blame for your injuries, but you must be able to prove it to the insurance company and a jury.
To prove negligence, you must show that the other party caused your injuries through negligent or careless actions. The following evidence could support your catastrophic injury claim:
- Videos or photos of the accident scene
- Statements from witnesses who saw the accident occur
- Your testimony under oath
- Accident reconstruction experts
- Testimony from a medical expert
Your evidence must demonstrate that the other party owed you a duty of care. You will have to prove that they failed in their duty and that their failure directly caused your catastrophic injuries. You must also prove that your severe injuries resulted in physical, financial, or psychological losses.
A catastrophic injury lawyer in your area can help you compile the necessary evidence to prove fault and establish negligence.
Proving Long-Term Effects and Diminished Quality of Life
Most personal injury cases let you pursue damages, including medical bills, lost work, and pain and suffering. Since catastrophic injuries are more severe, you can also seek damages for long-term effects and quality of life losses, such as:
- Inability to work or engage in activities you once enjoyed
- Loss of mobility
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Lost and reduced future income
- Loss of enjoyment
- Medical devices, prosthetics, and long-term medical care
- In-home nursing and domestic assistance
- Accessibility modifications
The goal of a catastrophic injury suit is to get compensation from the at-fault party to cover the full scope of your losses. When you are disabled by an injury, your losses are more than just hospital bills and missed work.
To establish the financial value of your losses, your attorney may also ask for testimony from economic experts who can substantiate your claim value. Be sure to work with a lawyer who is familiar with the burden of proof required for catastrophic injury cases.
Negotiating an Injury Settlement
Insurance companies in a personal injury lawsuit are usually motivated to pay as little as possible in a settlement. For catastrophic injuries, they will often try to pay only current medical bills and lost income without considering the challenges the injury poses for your future.
To ensure you do not miss important details, work with an experienced attorney. Catastrophic injury claims are especially challenging because the expenses are more difficult to calculate and substantiate. While they cannot guarantee an outcome, your catastrophic injury lawyer can aggressively defend your legal right to maximum compensation for all the losses you endured.
As negotiations proceed, your attorney may begin filing a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. Although your case could still settle out of court, it puts pressure on the insurance company or opposing party to settle. They may decide to offer a more reasonable settlement to avoid attorney fees, court costs, and other trial expenses.
Let a Catastrophic Injury Attorney Represent You
When you are severely injured because of another person’s negligence, you should not have to face the complex legal negotiations alone. An established catastrophic injury firm can give you the support you need throughout the legal process.
As you recover from your injuries, your attorney can handle the legal footwork, including:
- Collecting evidence to establish the responsible party’s fault
- Obtaining expert testimony to prove the extent and severity of your catastrophic injury losses
- Researching your condition to establish long-term and quality-of-life losses
- Handling calls, emails, and any other correspondence about your catastrophic injury claim
- Aggressively negotiating for a fair settlement that covers all your catastrophic injury losses
- Filing a lawsuit against the party responsible for your catastrophic injury
If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury, you deserve legal support from dedicated attorneys with experience handling cases like yours. At Daniels Law, we provide outstanding personalized representation from your initial case evaluation through the final settlement.
Contact our catastrophic injury attorneys today for a free consultation.