When you have an injury that could end up altering your life, you may wonder where to start, be it justice, compensation, or even how to overcome the trauma that comes with catastrophic injuries. The injuries may affect your life and the quality of your loved ones' lives. Apart from seeking medical attention after suffering an injury, you will need to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. After suffering a catastrophic injury, hiring a personal injury attorney could help you receive compensation faster. You will, therefore, need to understand how the law treats catastrophic injuries.
When someone's negligence leads to your injury, which robs you of your ability to earn and leaves your family financially unstable, taking legal action will come in handy. Hiring an experienced attorney will help you seek the maximum compensation to cover your medical bills, loss of income, among others. Our legal team at the Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm will fight on your behalf and ensure that you are compensated when your injury is due to someones’ wrongdoing or negligence.
What is the Legal Definition of Catastrophic Injury?
The law defines catastrophic injury as an injury that irrevocably harms a person, leaving permanent damage. The damage sustained has long-lasting effects and affects the victim's ability to carry out their daily chores, leading to a severe decline in the quality of life and a change in their lifestyle. A catastrophic injury may stem from medical malpractice, automobile accident, or any form of negligence.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries
When you suffer a catastrophic injury, it means that you have lost a crucial part of yourself. This loss could be in the form of a limb, the ability to think, cognitive skills, or even walking. There are some common types of catastrophic injuries which include:
- Traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury becomes disastrous when it leaves permanent or temporary brain damage. A devastating brain injury will lead to mood swings, inability to walk, memory loss, among others.
- Birth injury
- Spinal injury. A spinal injury will lead to partial paralysis or even total paralysis, and its effect has a short or long-term impact on the victim. Other medical complications may arise after suffering from a spinal cord injury like sexual dysfunction excruciating pain.
- Loss of hearing or sight.
- Chronic pain
- Severe or permanent nerve damage.
- Crushed bones
- Severe burns. Whether the burns wounds are second or third degree, they will leave you with disfigurement, which may require several surgeries.
- Punctured internal organs.
- Neurological damages.
- Mental impairments.
- Facial injury
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Most catastrophic injuries arise from our daily environment and sometimes can be avoided if due diligence is observed. Some of the most common causes of these injuries are:
- Auto accidents.
- Medical malpractice.
- Defective products.
- Motorcycle accidents.
- Construction accidents.
- Truck accidents.
Calculating Damages in Catastrophic Injuries Cases
Your attorney will have to review several factors before determining the compensation value of your injuries. Each injury is unique and affects different people differently. Among the facts that your attorney will include your medical care, loss of income, what you will require in the future due to your injuries, among others. Your attorney will sue for the following damages:
- Loss of current and future earnings due to the injury.
- Past, current, and even future medical expenses brought about by your injury.
- Emotional anguish.
- Personal caregivers.
- Psychological counseling.
- Physical pain.
A qualified and experienced personal injury attorney will help you come up with the compensation amount for your pain and suffering. Sometimes they will involve the services of a doctor who will advise on the amount that is adequate to cover your medical expenses and other expenses brought by your injuries.
How to Measure Catastrophic Injuries Loss
Catastrophic injuries leave severe damage on the victim, like losing sight or a limb. With such losses, the value for your compensation is much higher. Other losses happen due to some medical procedures leaving you in excruciating pain. These losses will significantly affect the quality of your life and will also increase your compensation claim.
You are awarded compensation to restore your life and give you mobility, and at the same time help in your recovery. For instance, if a catastrophic injury leaves you in dire need of fitting your home with some medical equipment to assist in your daily living, then you should be compensated to cater to these changes.
Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
Although most catastrophic injuries involve one responsible party, like the car driver who hit you, sometimes more parties may be involved. Thus, the law allows you to file a lawsuit against each party responsible for your catastrophic injury. Filing these lawsuits is challenging unless you seek the assistance of a qualified personal injury attorney. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury and the facts, you may end up suing the following parties:
- Property owners
- Negligent parties. A negligent person acts recklessly when they fail to work in a manner that a reasonable person should.
- Legal entities like a partnership or corporations.
- Animal owners
- Product distributors
- Product sellers
- Product manufacturers.
What Happens When I’m Partially at Fault for My Catastrophic Injuries?
You may realize that sometimes you may be partially responsible for your catastrophic injuries. You do not have to worry, as, under California law, you are entitled to compensation under comparative negligence law. Under this law, you are entitled to recover damages to a certain percentage or recover damages following your level of responsibility. A jury determines the percentage of your fault, but you can also settle it out of court.
For instance, if you are late for work and while overtaking at high speed, your car is hit by an oncoming truck that is also speeding, and the impact leaves you with a catastrophic injury. The truck driver may end up unhurt, and a jury may decide that you were responsible for 70% of your injuries. If the compensatory damages are then determined at $1,000,000, you will then receive $300,000 from the truck driver or their insurance provider.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries Compensation
If your lawsuit is successful, you will receive the following types of compensation:
Lost wages include the amount you would have earned if you had not suffered the catastrophic injury. Lost wages include your regular pay, commissions, overtime pay, bonuses, lost job perks, and business income. You may wonder how your lost wages will be calculated, but this should not worry you as your injury attorney should take care of it. If, for instance, you were due for a raise, or your salary was based on your performance, your attorney will bring in a forensic or occupational expert to give their testimony which will assist in calculating your wages.
Medical Expenses and Medical Bills
When you suffer a catastrophic injury in California, the person liable for your damage should be responsible for paying all your medical expenses and bills. But you will realize that the majority don't pay right away or when you want them to. You could explore several options to ensure your medical expenses and bills are paid on time while waiting for your injury case to go through. These options include and are not limited to:
- An employer covers medical insurance.
- Personal insurance.
- Government insurance.
Sometimes you may be injured and wonder what to do, especially if you do not have insurance cover. You can receive treatment, but you will have to negotiate a discount with the hospital and develop a viable payment plan. Your attorney may recommend a health care provider or even a doctor who treats you and waits for payment after receiving your compensation.
Loss of Future Earnings
In most cases, a catastrophic injury will rob you of your ability to earn. Loss of future earnings means losing the amount you could make if you hadn't been injured. Proving the loss of future profits can be tricky since you are yet to incur the loss.
Loss of future earnings happens due to the “lost earning capacity.” Your attorney will have to prove the amount you would earn if you were not injured and then compare it with the amount you will make after the injury(if any).
While filing for loss of future earnings, you should consider the following:
- Overtime pay,
- Other job perks like free meals and car allowances
- Off days
- Self-employment income
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are non-economic damages since you can’t put a price tag on your feelings, but you can put a price on the cost of therapy, loss of income, and medication. When it comes to pain and suffering, you may sue for compensation for past, current, and future emotional distress, mental, physical pain, humiliation, disfigurement, inconvenience, physical impairment, anxiety, grief that you suffer, or are due to the catastrophic injury.
You can sue for punitive damages when someone else’s reckless behavior causes your catastrophic injuries. These damages aim to punish someone's careless acts.
Sometimes you may suffer catastrophic injury due to a car accident, your car may be totaled, and the cost of repairing or replacing it should be included in your claim. When making a property loss claim, it should be equivalent to its market value.
Loss of Consortium
This claim is not all about sex as most misconceptions about it are. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you may end up losing your ability to love, be affectionate, provide companionship to your loved ones, and even participate in household activities. You can therefore file for a loss of consortium claim.
If your loved one's death is due to catastrophic injury, you and your family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible. A wrongful death lawsuit aims at receiving compensation for any financial aid that the decedent was earning and contributing to the family, funeral expenses, loss of consortium and love, loss of companionship, among others.
Is There a Statute of Limitations When It Comes to Catastrophic Injuries Case?
Under California law, you have up to two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit. With the statute of limitations, the law has established an alternative time frame within which you can file your case depending on the circumstances of your case. Sometimes you may discover your injury much later, and you do not have to worry as the law allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit within one year from the time you discover your injuries.
When to Seek Compensation After a Catastrophic Injury
When you engage the services of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, they will determine if you qualify for catastrophic injury compensation or not. Given how severe the damages from a catastrophic injury can be, the insurance companies will try to make you at fault for the injury. Due to this, you should engage the services of experienced lawyers as soon as you can. You should realize that the insurance companies will try to make you admit fault, despite acting friendly and concerned.
An experienced attorney will review your case and assist you in determining whether you qualify in seeking compensation for your injuries or not. A personal injury lawyer will ensure that you obtain adequate compensation when injured due to someone's reckless, careless, or even negligent behavior. You obtain fair compensation, which will go a long way in managing your injuries.
The Role Of A Personal Injury Attorney In Catastrophic Injury Case
An experienced personal injury lawyer will help your case, especially when making deals. With the services of a good lawyer, they will help you seek excellent medical care, write necessary letters, investigate and make your claim, and represent and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies. They will also represent and accompany you to court. The benefits of hiring and retaining a personal injury attorney in your catastrophic injuries lawsuit are:
Obtaining Medical Care
When you have an attorney at your back, they will help you receive the best medical care as soon as possible. An attorney will ensure that you receive treatment from a doctor who can accept your mode of payment. Also, ensure you put your attorney on your emergency contact list, as this will ensure that they are called in as soon as you are injured. The immediate treatment you receive will ensure you are on the road to a quick recovery. You will be at an advantage when your attorney is experienced in dealing with personal injury and medical malpractice cases. You will be in a position to concentrate on your recovery while your attorney seeks justice for your catastrophic injuries.
Sometimes the parties responsible for your injuries may not pay for your treatment on time; an attorney will ensure that you obtain the best medical assistance as you wait for your case to settle. You should know that some injuries take time before manifesting, but you will have the best medical care with the proper legal representation.
Gathering Relevant Facts
An experienced attorney will take photographic records, secure medical facts, and conduct interviews. Your attorney will ask the other parties for relevant evidence, which, sadly, they may tamper or conceal otherwise. An attorney ensures that all the relevant information about your case is found and well-kept for your case.
Investigating Your Claim
Your attorney will interview you and your family to learn more about your case. They will also gather vital evidence, which will be crucial in your case. An attorney will check the insurance company's records, subpoena audio or video records, and investigate the background of the parties involved in your injury. Ultimately, it's very crucial to engage the services of a car accident lawyer to ensure that you receive maximum compensation on your claim. Let your attorney handle all the communications with the parties involved. You wouldn’t want your settlement to be lower due to your statements; therefore, it's crucial to let your attorney handle discussions on your behalf. Sometimes, if they deem it fit, they may bring in experts who will help interpret some facts to the court and support your case in the long run.
Documenting your Injuries and all Expenses
With the severity of your injuries, sometimes keeping a record of all your expenses can be a little bit tricky. An attorney will help you record all your damages and the costs incurred. This will ensure that you are compensated for all the expenses you take care of before receiving your compensation.
Writing Demand Letters to Your Opposing Parties
When you hire a car accident attorney to work on your catastrophic injury, they will have to write demand letters to the parties involved. A demand letter states your claim and the liability of the other party. A demand letter's facts are your name, injury, losses incurred due to the injury, damages suffered, and a demand for compensation. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies and all the involved parties or take your case to court.
Guiding You on The Entire Process
After suffering a catastrophic injury, hiring a car accident attorney ensures you have someone to guide you through the entire legal process. Understanding the legal process may prove difficult, apart from the challenging times after a catastrophic injury. Therefore, you will need an attorney to walk with you through this journey and prepare you on what to expect.
An excellent attorney will present all relevant documents about your case and update you on the process. Your attorney will also represent you in court. The idea of appearing in court may be scary, and you may be unsure of what is expected or how to proceed. However, this is uncalled for when you have an experienced catastrophic injury attorney in your corner.
They Are Objective and Professional
A catastrophic injury leaves a lot of pain and suffering, making it difficult to be objective and make decisions concerning your life. A car accident attorney will file your claim and bring their vast experience to your case. Apart from filling your claim, they will guide you through the entire process, help you make the decisions that will positively impact your life, and ensure you obtain a maximum settlement on your case.
Determining how much to claim may be a difficult task. Still, with an experienced attorney at your corner, you do not have to worry about calculating damages and the amount of compensation to receive. A qualified personal injury attorney will help you estimate your claim amount based on your injuries and expert opinions like medical and financial professionals.
Negotiating with Relevant Parties
After filing your claim, you will realize that the insurance company's representatives will keep calling you, trying to make you settle for much lower compensation. Insurance agents are well skilled when it comes to negotiating and can be very persuasive, and they employ tactics which, if you are not careful, may make you accept their offers which will be lower. That's why it's essential to have a car accident attorney negotiating on your behalf, for they will be rarely taken in by persuasive insurance agents.
Helping You Obtain Compensation Quickly
Catastrophic injuries leave you in a position that alters your life completely, and if you wait to heal to seek compensation, you may wait for a long time. With the assistance of an attorney, they can file your claim as you recover, and this will ensure you receive your compensation sooner. Additionally, an experienced personal injury attorney has vast experience in catastrophic injuries. Their experiences make them know what to expect and how to avoid any setback that may delay your settlement.
You, Will, Have Peace of Mind
Catastrophic injuries leave behind trauma and a complete lifestyle change in most cases. Following up on a fatal injury case may be very challenging and stressful. Therefore, it's vital to hire a personal injury attorney to handle the legalities surrounding your case. As you take your time to heal, you will have peace of mind knowing you have someone working diligently to ensure you obtain justice, and this will ensure your recovery is speedy.
Contact A Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Catastrophic injuries cases are severe, and you should engage the services of an experienced attorney who will diligently work on your case. A devastating injury will affect both your livelihood and rights. You will therefore require the services of a skilled attorney to negotiate on your behalf and if you go to trial to win the case. At Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm, our attorneys understand the California personal injury judicial system and use this vast knowledge to their advantage. If you are suing for catastrophic injury, our lawyers will assess your case, analyze all the facts, and develop a strategy to ensure maximum compensation. Feel free to contact us at 702-576-0010 and schedule your first no-obligation consultation.