Catastrophic injuries – in a legal sense, those that prevent a person from performing gainful work – are completely life-changing. These types of injuries often result from physical harm to the brain or spinal cord, but they also include things like serious burns, amputations, organ damage and other types of damage.
If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to financial compensation – and you may want to talk to a catastrophic injury attorney about your case.
Could You File a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit?
A catastrophic injury lawsuit may be your best chance at getting the compensation you deserve. Often, these types of cases end up settling out of court – but either way, if you’ve been catastrophically injured because someone else (or a company) was careless, you have the right to demand what you deserve.
Catastrophic injuries typically fall into one of three categories:
- Physical injuries. These include amputation, burns, severe fractures, organ damage and other types of damage.
- Spinal cord injuries. These injuries cause permanent mobility problems due to their involvement with the spinal cord.
- Cognitive injuries. These injuries involve damage to the brain that can affect someone’s ability to speak, learn or work – and they can affect other areas of function, as well.
Settling Catastrophic Injury Cases Out of Court
Most personal injury cases, including those involving catastrophic injury, settle out of court. This happens when the victim and the other party’s insurance company agree to a fair amount of compensation. Usually, the settled-upon amount is the result of back-and-forth negotiations between attorneys.
However, it’s not always possible to settle this type of case without going to court. In many cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to pay a fair amount; sometimes they won’t even pay enough to cover medical care, which is typically unacceptable. In cases like those, a formal lawsuit is the way to go.
Related: Should I get a lawyer after a car accident?
Catastrophic Injury Lawsuits
A formal lawsuit requires both sides to go through the court system for resolution. The victim’s attorney will file a lawsuit and the at-fault party will have to respond. Both sides can bring in witnesses and show evidence, and eventually, a judge will decide the outcome. If you win a formal lawsuit, the judge in your case can award you two types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Both are financial awards, and it’s up to you what you do with the money – it’s just that legally, these two types of damages have different purposes.
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate you (pay you back) for the losses you’ve incurred as a result of your injuries. The judge in your case will look at your medical bills, the projected cost of your future medical care and your lost wages (now and in the future) to determine how much the at-fault party should pay you in compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages can include things like those listed in the table below.
|Medical bills (present and future)||Rehabilitation expenses and therapy||Ambulance and emergency service expenses|
|Medications and prescriptions||Medical equipment||Domestic services|
|Lost wages and employment income (present and future)||Increased living expenses (present and future)||Long-term physical pain and suffering|
|Mental anguish||Property repair or replacement||Loss of consortium|
|Loss of enjoyment of life||Loss of opportunity||Disfigurement|
Punitive damages, while the money goes to you and you can spend it however you see fit, serve a different purpose. They’re designed to punish bad actors – and in many cases, to “make an example” out of them. A court could award you punitive damages as a way of punishing the individual or company that caused your catastrophic injury.
Why You’re Entitled to File a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit
One of the most basic tenets of living in a society is that people (and companies) should be careful not to harm others – and when someone is careless or negligent enough to cause another person life-changing injuries, they should be held accountable. You have to remember:
- A catastrophic injury is expensive. Your medical bills can quickly pile up and put you into bankruptcy. Even worse, think about what could happen to you if you can no longer afford medical treatment at all.
- A catastrophic injury prevents you from working, or from earning the wages you could earn prior to the accident.
- A catastrophic injury affects you both physically and emotionally. It’s about more than simply being able to work – it’s about mental pain and suffering, as well.
Do You Need to Talk to a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve been catastrophically injured – or if someone you care about has – it may be time to talk to an attorney about your options. You could be entitled to compensation for what you’ve been through, and we may be able to help you get it. Call us at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to tell us what happened. We’ll be happy to visit you at home, in the hospital or in our office – and if you’re entitled to compensation, we can help you get what you deserve.