Catastrophic Injury vs. Personal Injury: What’s the Difference?
Every individual case or situation is unique. The severity of your injury has a lot to do with the type of legal claim you can make and how much compensation you deserve. For many people, a personal injury is temporary. However, injuries that are life-changing and permanent are considered catastrophic injuries¹.
Accidents that result in catastrophic injuries are devastating for victims and their entire families. These cases are more complex than general personal injury claims and will need the help of catastrophic injury lawyers for the claims process.
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What Determines a Catastrophic Injury?
For an injury to be considered catastrophic, it must permanently change the victim’s life. Some of the issues that may qualify a case as catastrophic include:
- Inability to return to work or have gainful employment due to the injury
- Inability to physically care for oneself due to the injury
- Need for ongoing medical care
- Need for medical device assistance (wheelchair or other devices)
- Must make modifications to home and vehicles to accommodate the effects of the injury
- A spouse may need to leave their job to provide continual care
Other issues, such as the type of injury and severity of pain, may also qualify the injury as catastrophic. Working with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney will help you establish the kind of injury you have and claim the full value of your damages.
What Are Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries?
Injuries are catastrophic when they have severe and long-term consequences. A person’s life is permanently altered by these types of injuries. Some common catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Loss of Limb
- Severe or large area burn injuries
- Loss of senses, such as hearing, sight, sound
- Traumatic internal organ damage
These life-altering injuries can result from different accidents, including car accidents or slip and falls. Many of these injuries will change how a person can function and often lead to necessary changes in lifestyle. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, you deserve compensation for all your losses, including future expenses.
How Are Damages For Catastrophic Injuries Different?
When you are permanently disabled or catastrophically injured after an accident, your attorney is going to be very aggressive about the amount you receive. Your compensation must fairly represent all your damages and the ways you’ve suffered, including:
- Current and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation and therapy costs
- Cost of medical equipment or assistive devices
- Cost of modifying a home or vehicle
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Exemplary or punitive damages
Settlements for catastrophic injury claims are often significant because the injury has severely impacted the victim’s life. Your lawyer will value all of your damages, including future expenses for ongoing care, modifications to your home or car, and the cost of necessary medical equipment.
You would not typically see some of these damages included in a standard personal injury case because the victim will eventually reach a full recovery. However, including these for catastrophic injury claims is necessary to ensure the victim gets fair compensation.
Are Catastrophic Injury Cases and Personal Injury Cases Handled Differently?
Yes and no. Catastrophic injury cases are handled much like any personal injury case in that there are specific things that must be done with these cases to comply with the law, the court, and the statute of limitations.
However, there are some significant differences between these two types of cases. Catastrophic injury claims often involve:
- Higher amount of compensation
- Different types of damages
- Expert testimony from medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, occupational therapists, economic experts, etc.
- Meticulous settlement negotiations
Catastrophic injury victims deserve much larger settlements for their damages, and the insurance companies often delay or try to lower the value of the case.
A catastrophic injury claim may have to go to trial in some cases. If this happens, it will lengthen the time it takes to settle the case. However, this is always in the best interest of the client. It is far better to take more time to resolve the case fairly than to accept an offer quickly and not have the money you need to cover your future medical care and expenses.
Should You Work With a Catastrophic Injury Attorney?
A traumatic accident that results in catastrophic injuries is hard enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about medical bills and ongoing care also. Our catastrophic injury lawyers are ready to offer legal advice, fight for justice, and get you or your loved one the maximum settlement under the law.
You and your family members deserve fair monetary payment to cover your expenses and compensate you for your suffering. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today to see how we can help you during this difficult time.
¹HG.org. Catastrophic Injury Law. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
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