Catastrophic injuries can change the lives of injured persons and their loved ones forever. Financial burdens can quickly mount, as can the emotional and physical challenges of living with a severe injury. The negative impact of these injuries worsens if they result in long-term disabilities. Thankfully, injured persons can pursue compensation to cover their losses and protect their financial stability.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
It refers to any injury that has long-term or permanent effects. This could include paralysis, amputation and brain damage. Making a full recovery does not negate the fact that a catastrophic injury existed and does not eliminate the medical expenses and other losses accompanying that recovery. Consequently, even people who recover can pursue damages if their cases still fall within Utah’s statutes of limitations.
What Are Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries?
Even seemingly minor incidents can result in catastrophic injuries. The existence of a previous injury or condition increases the likelihood. Here are some of the most common causes of severe injuries:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Sports injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
How Much Is a Catastrophic Injury Case Worth?
It is difficult to assign a value to any personal injury case, let alone one involving a catastrophic injury. There is also no guarantee that the injured person will win the case and that total liability will go to the defendant.
However, an experienced attorney can review the details of a case and make an educated guess. The nature of catastrophic injuries often necessitates higher compensation values. If gross negligence played a role, the court might further increase this by awarding punitive damages.
Successful catastrophic injury cases range from five to eight figures in compensation value. However, the injury alone does not determine the final amount. Courts also consider the following factors:
- Age of the Affected Person: A younger person has a longer life expectancy and will likely require more extensive medical treatment. A longer life expectancy also adds up to more medical treatments over time.
- Quality of Life: If the injury negatively impacts a person’s ability to live a high quality of life, compensation value climbs. Factors affecting the quality of life include the ability to eat normally, tend to hygiene or maintain independence.
- Type of Treatment: The more expensive and involved the treatment is, the higher the damages will be. This includes surgeries, hospital stays, ongoing physical therapy, daily medications and in-home care.
- Household Position: Breadwinners with dependents might receive higher compensation than single persons without dependents. The higher payment addresses the potential ripple effect of losing a breadwinner.
What Damages Can an Attorney Pursue for Catastrophic Injuries?
When reviewing personal injury cases, lawyers need to look for losses that might result in compensation. Each case is different, so some of these damages might not apply to every one.
- Loss of Income: Catastrophic injuries can cause people to lose their careers. Some employers might allow them to return to work in reduced capacities or different positions. Doctors might forbid them from returning to work in their fields or at all. These factors negatively impact people’s ability to earn a living and provide for their families. An attorney can seek damages for these losses.
- Medical Expenses: Many Americans are one hospital bill away from financial ruin. In fact, a three-day stay in a U.S. hospital costs $30,000 on average. Even with health insurance, bills can reach thousands of dollars or more. Severe injuries almost always result in extended hospital stays or frequent visits to the doctor. The costs can add up quickly, especially when paired with the loss of income.
- Pain and Suffering: The court also awards noneconomic damages for the pain and suffering the injured person experiences. This accounts for the physical pain, mental anguish and emotional distress that comes with the injury. The quality of life plays a role here because the lower the quality of life, the more mental anguish a person usually faces.
- Property Damage: This type of damage applies most commonly in car accidents. The court may award compensation to cover the total value of the vehicle. Injured persons can also lose other personal property at the time, such as laptops, phones, travel trailers, bicycles and wedding rings.
What Is the Process of Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
The first step in filing a personal injury claim is seeking medical treatment. This might involve an ambulance ride to the hospital, followed by X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and blood tests. The injured person needs to document everything related to the accident and their injuries.
After the injured person receives treatment, they can contact an attorney for a free case evaluation. An experienced lawyer will likely want to see all the documentation from the accident and treatment. He or she might review this before agreeing to take on the case. If both parties agree to work together, the lawyer will send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company and any other liability entity it identifies.
The insurance company or other responsible party will have a certain period to respond to this letter. The response could range from denying liability to offering a lowball settlement amount. Ideally, the responsible party agrees to settle for a fair amount. An experienced attorney will negotiate for the highest amount possible.
If negotiations fail, the attorney might choose to proceed with filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. Until the trial case concludes, both parties can settle privately at any time.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Utah Catastrophic Injury Lawyer?
There are many benefits to hiring a catastrophic injury lawyer. One of the most important is that an attorney can handle all aspects of the case, from start to finish. This includes investigating the accident, gathering evidence, dealing with insurance companies and filing any necessary paperwork.
Another benefit is that an attorney can help you seek the maximum amount of compensation possible. They will know what types of damages to pursue and how to argue your case in court. In some cases, an attorney can also help you settle with the responsible party without going to trial.
After decades of handling catastrophic injury cases, experienced attorneys also build strong relationships with health care professionals. Consequently, he or she can sometimes connect injured persons with the professionals they need to ensure a strong chance of making a full recovery.
How Can You Find a Good Catastrophic Injury Lawyer in Utah?
Ask family members, friends or colleagues for references when looking for a good attorney. Search for catastrophic lawyers in your area to see if you notice any overlaps. These steps can make it significantly easier to narrow your options later on.
Next, consider experience. How long has the attorney practiced personal injury law in Utah? How many catastrophic injury cases has he or she handled? What were the results of these cases?
Finally, pay attention to how the law office treats its clients. Every law office claims to put their clients first, but do they? Do previous clients generally have good things to say in the reviews found on independent website listings? Is there a common complaint you see repeated?
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, our attorneys at Siegfried and Jensen are ready to fight for you. We have recovered more than $1.2 billion for our clients and would love the opportunity to recover compensation for you. Contact us to get started.
Siegfried and Jensen’s Utah-based catastrophic injury attorneys are here to help you, whether your injuries were caused by:
- Electrical Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Animal Attacks
- Dangerous Drugs
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Slip And Falls Accidents
- Defective Products
- Auto Or Truck Accidents
What you need to know about catastrophic injuries
No one can undo a tragedy, but victims of someone else’s negligence have a right to a monetary settlement for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, ongoing care, diminished earning capacity, lost income, and other costs and losses.
We’re here to help you and your family get fair treatment for the challenges you’re facing:
- How do you pay bills without the income of the injured, especially if they were the primary breadwinner?
- Will you lose your home?
- How do you do all of the things the injured person did like car maintenance, housework, yard work, house repair, child care, or elder care?
- How do you move forward with a life you could not have prepared for?
- How do you cope with the sudden stress of a major life-change that affects everyone and everything in your family?
Find out how Siegfried & Jensen’s catastrophic injury attorneys can help you.
You need an attorney who’ll fight for you.
No one can undo a tragedy, but as compensation, victims of catastrophic injuries caused by someone else’s negligence have a right to a monetary settlement for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, ongoing care, diminished earning capacity, lost income, and other costs and losses.
Too often, injury victims and their families are not in a position to make sure they’re treated fairly. If you want to talk to someone about your legal rights, contact Siegfried and Jensen right now for a free, no-pressure consultation with one of our injury lawyers.
- We’ll answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the entire process.
- We’ll pull together the information needed to build your case, including medical records, accident reports,
insurance policies, expert testimony, etc.
- We’ll work to get you what you need to adapt to your new life.
- We’ll make sure that everybody plays by the rules and treats you fairly.