Learn how catastrophic injury lawyers differ from personal injury lawyers and why this distinction matters when you’re building a legal case.
The Basics of Personal Injury
A personal injury case is also called a “tort case.” These claims happen when a person sustains injury due to the fault of a third party.
This third party is at fault for the injury through negligence or action. When a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer proves the third party is at fault, they are liable to pay compensation through their insurance or out of pocket.
Some examples of common personal injury cases include slip-and-fall claims, auto accident injuries, dog bites, product liability issues, and premises liability cases.
Personal injury claims may cover medical bills, lost wages, temporary disability, and pain and suffering. Common injuries sustained include:
- Concussions (minor head injuries)
- Limited bone fractures
These injuries can cause serious pain and discomfort alongside financial stress. However, they usually do not cause lifelong disability or permanent lifestyle changes.
How Is Catastrophic Injury Law Different?
Catastrophic injury law is a subsection of personal injury. These injuries are more serious claims because the wounds are worse.
To qualify as “catastrophic,” an injury needs to cause long-term changes to your lifestyle. In many cases, the impacts may be lifelong.
The federal government says that an injury is catastrophic if it prevents you from working again long-term. However, state-specific and other legal definitions broaden this definition. In most cases, a catastrophic injury can be any type of injury that causes long-term disability and makes it hard to do basic daily tasks.
Some common catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Serious nerve damage
- Multiple bone fractures or serious breakage
- Paralysis-inducing neck or back injuries
- Loss of senses like vision or hearing
- Disfigurement from burns or lacerations
Basically, if you can no longer function in professional or social settings as you used to, you may have a catastrophic injury case.
Personal Injury vs Catastrophic Injury: The Main Differences
A reduction in your quality of life is the basic criterion for something to qualify as a catastrophic injury. If you can’t enjoy activities that you used to, you likely have a serious injury claim. If you can’t work the same jobs you once did and find yourself unable to earn as much income, your claim could be even stronger.
The level of therapy and rehabilitation needed also sets a catastrophic injury claim apart from personal injury cases. If you’re going to need significant inpatient care, your quality of life will decrease. The same applies if you need a personal assistant or 24-hour home care.
Catastrophic injuries are severe while general personal injuries are of minor or moderate severity. This means that those with a catastrophic injury will naturally take more time to recover.
This is especially true because a lot of them involve the brain, neck, and spine. Those who sustain these injuries could have a lot of physical and psychological therapy to undergo. They may have limited mobility for many years and extremely lengthy recovery times.
This is also true for those who lose limbs or deal with disfigurement. It could take years to readjust to a new lifestyle without the same capacity for movement as they once had.
Damages to Recover
Additional therapy, constant care, and personal aids cost a lot of money. This is just the tip of the iceberg for those recovering from a serious injury. That’s why the overall amount of damages sets a catastrophic injury case apart from a regular tort claim.
In addition to the common compensation that personal injury victims require, you also may be entitled to funds that cover:
- Specialist care
- Long-term hospital stays
- Long-term loss of wages
- Permanent loss of your quality of life
- Medical testing and imaging
- Long-term mobility aids
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Compensation for future medical bills as well as current ones
Catastrophic injury lawyers aim to get you more money than you could recover in a basic tort case.
Recovering damages is a similar process in all injury cases. Compensation is gained through the process of a law suit. An experienced attorney can prove third-party fault, negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance or defense attorney, and may get you the most money possible.
However, there are some key differences between prevailing in a personal versus catastrophic injury case.
In many situations, personal injury cases can be much easier to resolve than a catastrophic injury case. Generally, catastrophic injury cases take longer to resolve because these types of cases usually require more work. Additionally, insurance companies and at-fault parties will likely want to put up a fight since catastrophic injury cases often merit more compensation.
This means that expert witness testimonies will be a likely requirement. Photographs, extensive medical records, and video content can help a claim move forward.
Catastrophic injury lawyers also will need to go through a longer claims process. Litigation will be more lengthy and thorough.
That’s why it’s important to hire a law firm with extensive experience in catastrophic injury. A catastrophic injury lawyer should be familiar with complex litigation and can gather quality evidence because they have done so before. They can help you get the most compensation available.
Find Quality Catastrophic Injury Lawyers Now
Now that you know the differences between personal injury attorneys and catastrophic injury lawyers, it’s time to begin building a case. Our Louisiana attorneys are dedicated to helping those who have sustained serious, life-changing injuries get financial compensation for their suffering.
We have over 50 years of experience and specialize in fighting for our clients, so contact Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello to schedule a consultation and get started today.