If you were recently involved in an accident and suffered a catastrophic injury, you may want to file a claim on your own. Although it’s possible to do so, it’s not recommended. Insurance adjusters are trained to settle claims for as little as possible and often rely on injured individuals’ lack of knowledge about their rights.
If you want to ensure that you receive full compensation for the serious personal injuries that you’ve suffered, it’s critical to know when it is considered catastrophic. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to assess your case and handle the process of filing a claim for you. If this is something you’re interested in doing, here’s what you need to know:
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What Is A Catastrophic Injury Claim?
A catastrophic injury claim is a legal action where the plaintiff seeks to recover compensation for injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence or intentional acts. Catastrophic injuries are serious injuries that require ongoing medical treatment and may result in permanent disability and expenses that can be substantial.
What Are Examples Of Catastrophic Injuries?
Catastrophic injuries are not limited to physical injuries. They can also include mental, emotional, and psychological trauma. Some examples of catastrophic physical injuries are paralysis, spinal cord injury, severe burn injury, traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, amputation, scarring and disfigurement, and many others.
Unfortunately, such injuries may lead to pain and suffering, inability to perform gainful work, and lower quality of life. This is why you may seek to recover damages for emotional distress.
Who Is Liable For A Catastrophic Injury?
When you’re injured in an accident or in the company where you work, the person responsible for your injuries is liable. This may be the person who caused the accident, the person or company that created a dangerous working condition that caused you to suffer injuries or the owner of the property where your accident occurred. The latter is applicable if that owner was negligent or reckless in maintaining their property.
If multiple parties are at fault for your injury, each party will share liability for payment of damages based on their percentage of fault. In other words, everyone pays their fair share according to the extent of their responsibility for what happened.
How To File A Claim
You can start by doing the following:
- Get An Expert Lawyer
A lawyer with extensive experience in handling catastrophic injury cases will be able to explain your rights and options thoroughly. This is immensely beneficial as you’d spend less time trying to figure things out for yourself.
Furthermore, choosing an attorney with considerable courtroom experience is vital. Lawyers with trial experience are more skillful in negotiating with the defense attorney. They’re also more capable of building a compelling case, often working with several experts to determine the full extent of your injuries and their future ramifications.
With the assistance of an experienced and competent lawyer, you stand a good chance of securing full compensation for your injuries.
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- Gather Evidence
It’s crucial to gather evidence to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident in question. For instance, if your injuries were due to a vehicular accident, you’d need to present photos of the scene of the accident from different angles. The photos should also clearly show the damage to both cars, skid marks, debris, and other details that may be relevant.
If the accident happened in the workplace, you’d need photos of the accident site taken from various angles as well as areas showing hazards that may have caused the accident.
- Keep Your Hospital Bills And Receipts
Keep a copy of all medical-related documents and receipts such as the following:
- Hospital bills
- Doctor’s prescriptions
- Pharmacy receipts for medications
- Receipts for medical equipment such as wheelchairs or crutches
- Medical reports and medical certificates
These documents and receipts are crucial in valuing your catastrophic injury claim.
- Make A List Of Witnesses
You need to get the names of witnesses and their contact information. It’s best to reach out to them as soon as possible and request them to write down the details of what they saw or observed before, during, and after the accident.
What Damages Can I Recover In A Catastrophic Injury Claim?
Two kinds of damages may be recovered in a catastrophic injury case.
The first is compensatory damages, which are intended to compensate victims for what they lost because of the injuries they suffered. Such damages may include medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment and consortium.
The other one is punitive damages, which are meant to punish the other party’s grossly negligent behavior.
There are many causes of catastrophic injuries. It could be due to a car accident, a slip or an unnatural fall, or an industrial accident. In filing a claim, seek the assistance of a lawyer with considerable experience in handling such cases. This will help ensure the best outcome for your catastrophic injury claim.