When to Hire a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
Catastrophic Injury After an Accident
Injuries that are severe enough to cause permanent impairment or loss of function and that require lifelong care are known as “catastrophic injuries.” As the name suggests, these injuries can have a profoundly negative effect on a victim’s quality of life. Furthermore, the cost of medical care entailed by these injuries can be exorbitant. A catastrophic injury lawyer is essential if your injuries were caused due to the negligence of another, such as after a car accident. He or she can help you seek just compensation for both medical bills and pain and suffering.
What is a Catastrophic Injury?
The American Medical Association defines catastrophic injuries as severe trauma to the brain and/or spinal cord. The US Department of Labor, however, defined catastrophic injuries more broadly as those that are life threatening, or that are expected to cause lifelong deficits and indefinite need for medical care. By this definition and the AMAs, we can consider the following examples of catastrophic personal injuries:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe burns
- Loss of limb (amputations)
- Spinal cord injury and/or paralysis
- Organ damage
- Permanent neck or back injury
- Multiple and severe fractures
This is not a comprehensive list. Your injury may be deemed catastrophic based on your ongoing need for medical care and proof of reduced quality of life. You will not be expected to prove your pain and suffering on your own. Your catastrophic injury lawyer will help compile all the necessary evidence to earn your fair settlement.
What Will a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Do?
First and foremost, your catastrophic injury attorney will help identify the party or parties responsible for your injuries and then initiate the litigation process. He or she will then request and review any and all documentation, witness statements, and photographic evidence regarding your case (a period known as “discovery”). Your lawyer will identify each and every single loss you have suffered as a result of your injuries and determine a fair settlement amount. The opposing party can choose to settle out of court or proceed to a trial, where the final amount awarded will be determined by a jury.
Needless to say, these lawsuits can be complex and emotionally trying for the victim. In many cases, the severity of the injuries means victims may be physically and/or mentally unable to testify on their own behalf. Even if this is not the case, your catastrophic injury lawyer will perform all communications for you and also ensure you do not receive any unwanted contact from at-fault parties or their legal team. Your priority will be recovery, while your lawyer will ensure your suffering is justly compensated.
Damages Awarded in Catastrophic Injury Cases
As with other types of personal injury, catastrophic injury victims and their attorneys may claim both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are those that may be assigned a tangible sum based on bills, receipts, and projections. For example:
- Loss of past and future income
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Future medical care
- Decline in earning power
- Mental health care
Non-economic damages are those related to the emotional trauma endured by the victim. These include, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and reduced enjoyment of activities.
Another unfortunate reality in catastrophic injury cases is the effect they have on relationships. Divorce and separation rates are shockingly high, especially in cases of traumatic brain injury. Studies conducted since the 1970s suggest marriage dissolution rates can be as high as 78 percent within seven years of the injury. Most of these separations, however, occur within the first 1-2 years of the injury.
If your catastrophic injury lawyer can prove that your marriage or partnership ended as a result of your injuries, you may be entitled to further economic and non-economic damages.
There is no cap in the state of Colorado on economic damages. Non-economic damages, however, are capped at $642,180 (up to $1.28 million upon “clear and convincing evidence”). The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case is three years from the date of the accident.
Denver Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
Catastrophic injury cases require compassion, skill, and an unwavering dedication to the client. You should be able to concentrate on recovering and preserving relationships, not having to prove the extent to which you are suffering. Let an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer do that part for you. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in Denver, please contact the Roth Group for a free consultation. Call or go online today to get started.