Catastrophic injuries have lasting ramifications and can substantially alter a person’s life. They can impair the use of a limb or bodily function and often require extensive surgery and medical care to restore mobility and facilitate long-term recovery. Additionally, it may be necessary for the injured person to renovate their home and get additional help to accommodate changes to their life. The costs and losses arising from a catastrophic injury can be substantial. It is essential that victims recover just compensation for damages. But how do they know whether the insurance company’s offer is fair? Several factors must be considered, such as the injury’s effect on the individual’s life and the extent of medical care needed to treat it. A personal injury attorney can be instrumental in determining the amount of financial recovery to request and accept.
At Rourke and Blumenthal LLC, our Columbus team seeks justice for those severely injured in accidents caused by others. Schedule a consultation with us by calling (614) 321-3212 or submitting an online contact form today.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is a harm that significantly affects a person’s health. It can permanently prevent them from living the life they did before their accident.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Traumatic brain injuries
A person can suffer this type of harm in a range of situations.
They often arise from:
- Bicycle accidents
- Car accidents
- Defective products
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability
- Truck accidents
How Are Damages Calculated for a Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries can result in various expenses and losses. These include economic damages, which are calculable, and non-economic damages, which are subjective and don’t have an actual dollar amount attached.
When a person or entity other than the victim causes an accident leading to a catastrophic injury, they may be financially liable for damages. Generally, seeking compensation for damages requires proving that the other party was at fault because of negligence or carelessness. The standard involves showing that the at-fault party owed a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused the accident because of the breach.
The injured individual may send a demand letter to the insurance company, requesting a specific amount for damages. Several factors must be considered to determine the figure.
These can include, but are not limited to:
- Costs for medical care: Treating a catastrophic injury requires extensive surgeries and treatments. Often, the individual must remain in the hospital for long periods as they recover.
- Pain and discomfort: Severe harm can lead to immense pain, which can last for years after the wound heals.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: The individual may be unable to do the things they once did before their injury, which can have a substantial impact on mental well-being.
- Loss of income: Catastrophic injuries often prevent a person from returning to work, or the individual may only be able to accept a lower-paying position. This can affect current and future wages.
- Life changes: The individual will have to adjust to a new way of living. Sometimes this means renovating or modifying the home or vehicle to accommodate special assistance devices and equipment.
Is the Insurance Company’s Offer Fair?
After sending a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company, the injured individual will likely receive a counteroffer. Typically, it is much lower than requested, as insurance carriers tend to undervalue claims to limit the amount they pay out.
Whether the counteroffer is fair depends on the situation. As noted above, several variables determine the value of a catastrophic injury case. Because every person’s circumstances are unique, it’s difficult to say whether the insurance company’s offer is fair.
Accepting or rejecting an offer is an important decision and one that can more confidently be made with the help of an attorney. A lawyer can investigate the case to uncover the facts. They can speak with the victim, their friends, and their families to fully understand how the accident affected the injured party. The attorney may also gather evidence and consult experts to analyze it to determine the immediate and long-term impacts of the injury.
By taking care of the details of the case and applying legal insights and knowledge, the lawyer can advise their client on what’s fair compensation and what’s not.