If you or a loved one are in an accident or suffer an injury because of the negligence of another party, you may wonder what kind of personal injury case you have. When it comes to accidents and injuries, the range of severity and type of injuries a victim can sustain will vary greatly. Some victims of a personal injury accident may face mild to moderate injuries that will eventually heal and recover.
Catastrophic injuries differ from personal injury cases in that the implications on a victim’s life as a result of the accident are often devastating. The accumulated costs, the impact of the injuries, and the extent of care and treatment far surpass that of other categories of personal injuries.
How Do You Know If Your Injury Qualifies as Catastrophic?
Any injury that alters the life of a victim dramatically and has life-long consequences is potentially a catastrophic injury. While the best way to know if you or a loved one have a catastrophic injury case is to consult with a personal injury attorney, there are some indications that what you are dealing with is a catastrophic injury rather than a personal injury matter.
Commonalities in catastrophic injury cases can include scenarios in which some or all of the following are present in a case:
- The recovery of injuries is spoken of in terms of years or an indefinite period
- The injuries result in permanent damage or disability
- A victim suffers long-term hospitalizations, is in a coma, or is unable to communicate for themselves
- The individual not only suffers catastrophic injuries to their body but also experiences significant personal trauma
- A victim requires long-term care and assistance
- The individual is unable to work and may be unable to work for the rest of their life
What Is the Difference in Compensation for a Victim of a Catastrophic Injury Versus a Personal Injury?
Catastrophic injury costs and potential compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit are very high. Damages for a victim of a catastrophic injury are much more intricate and involved, as they must account not only for the current injuries and losses but also the future the victim faces because of their level of injuries. Catastrophic injuries can include brain damage, spinal cord injury, amputation, severe burns, disfigurement, or the development of other conditions and damage that affect a person’s way of life in every aspect.
Catastrophic injury damages will include losses such as:
- Medical treatment and expenses currently and in the future
- The costs of care and personal assistance when a victim cannot care for themselves
- The loss of wages and the future losses of income and income potential due to injuries
- Impacts to the victim’s quality of life and their family life and relationships
- Pain and suffering from the accident, the injuries and the chronic conditions and damage including physical, mental, and emotional distress and trauma
Can a Family Member Contact an Attorney If Their Loved One Is Unable To?
Catastrophic injuries often leave victims in a state of unconsciousness or with such debilitating injuries that they are unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves. If you have a loved one that is in a catastrophic injury accident but cannot call an attorney, you may contact a law office to discuss the case and for further guidance on the best course of action to protect your loved one’s rights while they are incapacitated. In certain circumstances, a catastrophic injury lawyer can move forward in a case to protect a victim’s interests and rights to compensation with the help of a loved one.
What If Your Family Member Dies From Catastrophic Injuries?
Due to the permanent nature of catastrophic injuries and the host of complications that can arise in its aftermath, it is not uncommon for a victim to succumb to their injuries in the days, weeks, months, or years following a negligent accident. If your loved one dies due to their catastrophic injuries, you may be eligible to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim allows certain family members to file a claim or lawsuit against the parties responsible for the loss of their loved one’s life.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case Arising from a Catastrophic Injury Can Include:
- Medical expenses prior to their death
- Loss of a family member’s financial contribution to the family unit
- Funeral and burial costs
- Pain and suffering of the family due to the loss
- Loss of the loved one’s companionship and support
Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You with a Catastrophic Personal Injury Case?
Absolutely. However, you must make certain that the personal injury lawyer you hire has experience with catastrophic injury cases. Catastrophic injury cases are complex and require a vast amount of knowledge about handling the calculation of damages in these cases and negotiations with insurance companies.
The challenge of a catastrophic injury case is the uncertainty for the future of a victim; you will need an attorney that understands that and will fight for the compensation a victim will need for their care for the remainder of their life.
Contact a Catastrophic Injury Attorney to Navigate the Aftermath of a Severe Accident
If you or a loved one are a victim of a catastrophic injury accident due to the fault of another party, you are likely eligible for compensation for your losses and damages. Insurance companies and at-fault parties know the potential costs of a catastrophic injury and they will make it difficult for a victim or their family to get the compensation they deserve under the law. Contact a catastrophic injury attorney as soon as you can after suffering an injury with permanent and life-altering impacts.