Experiencing any type of injury can be scary, especially if it threatens one’s income and, thereby, dependents. But the type of injury that can have the biggest impact on one’s life is catastrophic injury. If you think that you or a loved one is in such a situation, then you should do everything you can to educate yourself about your legal options as soon as possible. Here are answers to the three most common questions people ask catastrophic injury attorneys:
- What Is Classified as a Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries are any that prevent the injured person from being gainfully employed even after the degree of recovery that is possible. Catastrophic injuries are usually, though not always, sudden, and they often damage the central nervous system (your spine, spinal cord and brain). Amputations or paralysis might also be considered catastrophic. The most common cause of catastrophic injury is a car crash, with industrial accidents being the second. Medical malpractice can also cause catastrophic injuries.
- How Can Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Help?
If the injured person was hurt because another person or party was negligent (the other driver in a car crash, for example or an employer who created unsafe working conditions), then catastrophic injury attorneys can assist him or her in filing a personal injury action. This is similar in nature to other workplace or auto accident injury claims, but can be more difficult to evaluate and prove.
In most cases, the first step would be for you to meet with a lawyer who will know what kind of investigation needs to be done. After your lawyer — or people hired by the firm — has gathered sufficient evidence, you and your attorney will draft a demand letter. This is sent to the party in question before a lawsuit is filed, in most cases. It is only if settlement talks are unsuccessful that most attorneys would recommend actually taking someone to court.
- What Can Compensation for Injury Cover?
Although the exact process might differ depending on the type of injury and negligence involved, car accident settlements are a simple example: as in most claims, the first concern would be the immediate expenses associated with the accident (property and medical bills). But in catastrophic injury cases, it’s more important to understand both the costs of ongoing care — which the injured person may need the rest of his or her life — and the value of lost wages and opportunities if he or she can no longer work.
The trickiest part of such claims is putting a value on non-economic factors such as mental anguish caused as a result of the accident. Some jurisdictions put a cap on the damages that can be sought for these factors; an attorney in your area will be able to tell you more.
What other questions would you like to ask experienced personal injury lawyers? Join the discussion in the comments.