How Catastrophic Injury Cases Differ From Regular Ones
One of the biggest factors that will affect how much compensation an injured person might get from a claim or lawsuit is whether their injuries are considered catastrophic. Many states have laws capping non-catastrophic claims. Likewise, lots of insurance policies also have similar caps.
Proving that you suffered a catastrophic injury could mean a couple of orders of magnitude more compensation in an extreme case. It is important to understand what a catastrophic injury claim is and whether you might be able to pursue one. Also, you should understand the differences between this kind of a claim and more typical personal injury case.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury for Legal Purposes?
If you're talking with a catastrophic injury attorney, the main thing they'll be looking for in a claim is whether you've suffered life-altering injuries. Anything that would paralyze a person, such as a spinal or major nerve injury, is probably going to be catastrophic. The loss of part or all of a limb falls in this category, too. Facial disfigurement also does. Generally, the injury is catastrophic if it permanently prevents you from living a normal life or could require many years of medical recovery.
Why Do You Have to Prove an Injury Was Catastrophic?
An insurance claims adjuster may acknowledge the catastrophic nature of what happened and offer an appropriate settlement. However, unlike normal personal injury claims, the insurance company has no cost controls when it comes to catastrophic cases. In other words, there is no maximum limit on what the insurer could pay if you went to court and received a judgment in your favor.
The insurer has plenty of financial motivation to settle a case as a normal injury claim rather than a catastrophic one. If there is a $150,000 cap on a non-catastrophic claim, for example, that could save the insurer significant money compared to a $15 million catastrophic injury judgment.
How Do You Prove an Injury Is Catastrophically Bad?
In this regard, the process is fairly similar to what happens in a normal personal injury case. A catastrophic injury law services firm will collect medical reports from your doctors. They will also example reports from first responders and testimony from witnesses about the incident. The goal is to present the fullest picture possible of how bad the injuries are and why the defendant is liable for what happened.
A catastrophic injury attorney may need to work more with specialists to prove the extent of a victim's injuries. This is especially true with less visible injuries, particularly brain damage.