One of the only constant things in life is change. Circumstances rarely remain constant over any extended period of time. People must learn to adapt often or face repeated undesirable outcomes. Unfortunately there are instances in which someone’s circumstances are altered drastically without warning. A common example of this type of change is the resulting shift in lifestyle following a major accident that results in injury. While the circumstances surrounding any incident resulting in catastrophic injury are important, it is the following recovery and next steps forward that can oftentimes be of greater importance to the victim and their support system.
What is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is informally defined as an injury so serious that it leaves long term effects and permanent damage to the injured person. Considered a life-threatening or otherwise life-altering injury, the recovery process for an injury of this magnitude is often a long, arduous road. Victims must adapt numerous basic functions of life. Whether it be the loss of a sense, physical impairment, or major emotional trauma the victim of a catastrophic injury can be placed in a situation where they have to depend on others for physical, emotional, and financial support for the rest of their lives.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries include:
- Head or brain injuries, TBI
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Eye injuries or vision loss
- Nerve damage
- Birth injuries
- Exposure to hazardous chemicals
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries commonly occur as a result of the following causes:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Bus accidents
- Railroad or aviation accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Sports or recreational activity accidents
- Blunt force trauma
- Swimming pool accidents
- Pharmacy errors
Nearly every industry in the country deals with catastrophic injuries.
Catastrophic Injury vs Personal Injury
Injuries that lead to court settlements are not uncommon. Many cases involve some form of damages meant to compensate a victim for an injury. What makes a catastrophic injury case unique is the scope in which the injury affects the victim and their family. A catastrophic injury is an injury considered to have far-reaching and life-long ramifications. Whereas a personal injury is largely considered a circumstance that can be corrected over time and overcome, a catastrophic injury follows the victim for the remainder of their life.
Catastrophic Injury Settlements
Due to the extreme nature of the injury, settlements related to catastrophic injury settlements trend higher than other injury settlements. The idea behind the larger settlements is to provide for a person after they have been impacted and are unable to live their life normally. Since no amount of money will be able to correct the injury and return the injured party to their previous way of life, a settlement ensures as much of the new and additional burdens created by the injury are alleviated. Because of this fact, catastrophic injury cases often go to trial where the defense can attempt to utilize extensive resources in order to generate the most favorable outcome for their position. Without a pre-trial settlement, the ultimate amount of damages awarded can be dependent upon the judgement of a jury or judge.
Catastrophic Injury Impacts
Outside of the life-changing circumstances for the victim of a catastrophic injury, a major accident creates a wide ripple effect .
Even the process of determining fault for a catastrophic injury is one fraught with tension and major implications. Insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to prevent themselves from any additional liability. They have been known to go to extreme lengths to avoid granting a large settlement. Insurance companies bring in their own teams of medical professionals to offer “expert” opinions, further muddying the waters during the determination of liability.
If a catastrophic injury occurs due to the negligence from someone in a professional capacity, that party has a vested interest in deflection. The loss of professional license or earning potential is a strong motivating factor for individuals looking to absolve themselves of liability.
Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
Whenever someone suffers a catastrophic injury, the effects of that injury can last the rest of their lives. The compensation provided in catastrophic injury settlements covers the expenses associated with the long-term effects of the injury. The compensation helps cover things such as continued medical expenses, lost income/wages, and physical pain/suffering as a result of the accident. It also covers the emotional distress that such a life-altering circumstance can create. Many instances of catastrophic injury require extensive rehabilitation services that can become quite expensive.
Settlements also provide for the lifestyle change that spouses/family members undergo in order to help care for the injured party. Paying for a caretaker also falls under the umbrella of uses for catastrophic injury settlement uses.
In cases where the settlement amount is so great that the financial blow to a company or organization puts them in an unfavorable situation, some defendants will choose to tie the case up in court for an indeterminate amount of time. This happens with hopes that the plaintiff will wear down, already weary from suffering a traumatic event and in need of compensation. The desire to create some semblance of normalcy is a strong motivating factor.
Why You Need a Catastrophic Injury Attorney
Being the victim of a horrible accident due to the negligence of another party is enough of a burden. The added stress and anguish associated with fighting within the court system for appropriate compensation can be avoided. Partnering with a compassionate, experienced attorney prevents this. Someone with the ability to take the lead for your injury claim will generate results. A dedicated litigator that will take the time to build the strongest case possible helps ensure you can achieve the result that you deserve based on your experience. Although you can’t put a price on happiness, a seasoned attorney can make sure the settlement that you receive allows you to return to as much normalcy as possible.
When meeting with clients facing the daunting situation of dealing with a trauma and the uncertainty of navigating the legal process, Greenwald Law Firm considers it a personal responsibility to act as a steady hand and trusted guide through every step of the case. Through our experience we anticipate what our clients may encounter during litigation. This enables us to develop the best strategy and deliver results.