An accident that occurs in the blink of an eye can have life-altering consequences. If the negligent actions of another party left you or a loved one permanently disabled, contacting a catastrophic injury lawyer in Houston, TX is the first step towards securing compensation. Catastrophic injury cases are notoriously complex, and you can expect the insurance company to fight back against your claims. Our compassionate attorneys will support you throughout the legal process.
What Constitutes a Catastrophic Injury?
According to the legal definition, a catastrophic injury has “direct and proximate consequences” that “permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.” Some injuries that routinely prove catastrophic include brain damage and spinal cord trauma.
While the legal definition of “catastrophic injury” deals with a person’s earning capacity, permanent disabilities have other far-reaching effects on a person’s life. A lifetime of medical treatments, both at home and at medical facilities, may be required. Additionally, many individuals who have sustained traumatic injuries find that they can no longer support their families or engage in enjoyable activities.
What Should I Expect From a Catastrophic Injury Case?
There is a world of difference between a light case of whiplash and a catastrophic injury. The outcome of a catastrophic injury case can have a major impact on the quality of the plaintiff’s life, so it is best to know what to expect from the legal proceedings before you take action.
You Can Claim Future Lost Wages and Future Medical Expenses
The payouts for catastrophic injury cases tend to be much higher than the payouts for cases that involve minor injuries. Depending on the value of the damages, a catastrophic injury case could yield millions of dollars.
In a personal injury case involving a medical condition that has already been resolved, most of the payout usually goes towards medical expenses and lost wages that have already been incurred. When you are dealing with a life-long disability, however, you can collect compensation for future medical expenses and future lost wages. Over a lifetime, these damages can add up to a large amount of money.
The Insurance Company Will Try Hard to Avoid Liability
Insurance companies are for-profit entities that do not care how your life or the life of a loved one has been affected by an accident. When the stakes are higher, they will bring a stronger defense.
The best way to prepare to go up against an insurance company is by working with a highly skilled catastrophic injury attorney. Our lawyers have decades of experience holding insurance companies accountable for honoring their policy terms, especially when our clients need compensation for catastrophic injuries.
There Is a Strong Likelihood That the Case Will Go to Trial
In Texas, only about 5% of personal injury cases go to trial. Under normal circumstances, both the injured party and the insurance company are incentivized to avoid paying additional legal fees by reaching an agreement outside of court.
Unfortunately, in the case of a catastrophic injury, the insurance company is likely to wage a legal battle that goes all the way to court. While you might be able to reach a settlement, you should be prepared for a trial.
The Plaintiff May Not Be Able to Appear in Court
While we never advise representing yourself in a personal injury case, the plaintiff is usually able to appear in court alongside their attorney. However, a person who has suffered a catastrophic injury may be under intensive treatment at the hospital throughout the trial. He or she may even be in a comma. In most cases, a severely injured person’s family members are allowed to appear in court on their behalf.
The Noneconomic Losses Are Likely to Be High
In any legal case involving a personal injury, the intangible damages are categorized as noneconomic losses. The direct impact of noneconomic losses on a person’s life is usually emotional rather than financial, although there can be considerable indirect financial effects.
Courts calculate a claimant’s noneconomic losses as a percentage of the economic losses, which are easier to express in financial terms. In general, the more the injury affects the quality of a person’s life, the higher the compensation needs to be. Noneconomic losses can include:
Stress and Anxiety
Dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophic injury is incredibly stressful and disruptive. Apart from the need to coordinate medical care and reallocate family responsibilities, a catastrophic injury can cause high levels of mental anguish and uncertainty about the future.
Pain and Suffering
While physical discomfort does not have a monetary value, you have the right to collect compensation for the pain and suffering associated with a catastrophic injury. Both the injury itself and the medical treatments needed to address it can be sources of pain and suffering in the eyes of the court.
Amputations, scarring, and any other visible changes to a person’s body are considered types of disfigurement. While some types of disfigurement can be treated, others remain with a person for life. Many people find that adjusting to disfigurement is a difficult process, psychologically, and the law recognizes that you deserve compensation if your appearance has been altered as the result of an accident.
Decreased Quality of Life
A permanent disability can require a person to spend a lot of their life undergoing treatments. At the same time, people who have sustained permanent disabilities often find that they can no longer engage in the same kinds of leisure activities they once enjoyed. While a catastrophic injury has the potential to affect a person’s ability to pursue any kind of recreation, sports and other physical activities can be especially difficult to continue.
The Plaintiff May Need to Hire Expert Witnesses
An expert witness is an individual whose experience and training qualify them to weigh in on a particular aspect of a case, such as the cost of the medical care or the plaintiff’s expected earning capacity. For example, a doctor might testify that the plaintiff will likely need costly medical equipment at home. As a result of the doctor’s testimony, the court may increase the plaintiff’s compensation to enable them to pay for the equipment.
Catastrophic injury cases often necessitate medical evaluations, economic predictions, and determinations of fault. These issues can be difficult for the average person to understand without professional guidance. The kinds of expert witnesses that are frequently brought into the courtroom include:
- Doctors and rehabilitation specialists
- Accident reconstruction experts
- Occupational therapists
Find a Qualified Catastrophic Injury Lawyer in Houston, TX
Not every lawyer is qualified to take on a catastrophic injury case. At our law firm, we have won millions of dollars in compensation for individuals who have been involved in life-altering accidents. We offer free consultations, which can be scheduled by calling 713-597-6013.
When you are dealing with a catastrophic injury on behalf of yourself or someone you love, you deserve a high level of support. Our attorneys will ease the burden you are facing by handling the legal aspects of your case with compassion and professionalism. We will fight to make sure the compensation you receive reflects the seriousness of the damages you sustained. To set up an appointment with a catastrophic injury lawyer in Houston, TX, contact Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC.