About 24.2 million people across the USA visit the ER for unintentional injuries each year. If you have recently been the victim of a catastrophic incident, you may be entitled to fair legal compensation.
But what is a catastrophic injury, exactly? It’s more serious than other personal injuries.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries are a specific type of severe injury. To qualify as catastrophic, an injury must cause long-term changes to the lifestyle of the person who sustained it.
While these changes often are permanent, they can also begin improving after a few years.
The US federal government specifically defines a “catastrophic injury” as one that permanently stops you from working. This definition applies all across the United States. However, there are also state-specific definitions that place the “catastrophic” label on other types of injuries.
In Louisiana, a catastrophic injury is simply one that results in a severe loss of physical or mental ability. This broad definition means that several different injuries can qualify as “catastrophic” if they cause long-term impairment.
Injuries that cause physical deformity are also often labeled as “catastrophic.” This is because disfigurement can hugely impact a person’s quality of life both in social and professional settings.
If you suspect that the injury you sustained may fall into the category of catastrophic injury, an attorney can talk with you and let you know their professional opinion. You can then figure out the next steps in your lawsuit based on this information.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Many types of injuries can qualify as catastrophic. Some of the most common include:
- Traumatic brain injuries that result in cognitive impairment
- Brain injuries that result in motor issues
- Injuries that make you lose vision or hearing
- Amputation/limb loss
- Paralysis-inducing neck and back injuries
- Disfiguring burns or gashes
- Serious nerve or joint damage
- Multiple bones being broken or fractured
Catastrophic Injury vs Personal Injury
Many people equate catastrophic injury with personal injury, also known as tort law, but they are legally distinct. Catastrophic injury law is a subcategory of personal injury. Not all tort cases are catastrophic injury cases, but all catastrophic injury claims fall under the tort umbrella.
This is because you may have a personal injury case that doesn’t qualify as catastrophic. If you’ve been hurt and someone else is liable, you likely are entitled to some damages. However, if the injuries were minor or only caused short-term disability, you’re not going to get as much compensation as if the injury permanently impacted your quality of life.
A knowledgeable attorney who knows the ins and outs of serious injuries can help you determine what sort of claim you have. They can walk you through what sorts of compensation you can can fight for and a rough estimate of the amount.
What Compensation Can You Get in a Catastrophic Injury Settlement?
There are many different types of compensation that you may be able to get after a catastrophic injury. Many of them are financial damages, including:
- Money to pay medical bills
- Funds to make up for lost wages (because you couldn’t work)
- Payments to buy mobility devices like wheelchairs or crutches
- Funds to undergo trauma therapy or counseling for a period of time
- Compensation for pain and suffering
The above are all types of compensation that you could also fight for in a regular personal injury lawsuit. It is possible you could get more money for each type of compensation if the injury is more serious.
However, there are other damages unique to catastrophic injuries:
- Permanent disability
- Funds to cover payment for a personal assistant
- Money to cover future medical bills if you require long-term treatment
- Lifelong physical therapy bills
- 24-hour care payments for as long as needed (inpatient or home care)
- Payments as compensation for loss of quality of life
- Permanent psychological trauma counseling
Compensation is determined on a case-by-case basis. What you get will depend on the nature of your injury and how much it costs to take care of it.
Working with an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer is the best way to get the most compensation possible. Quality attorneys know how to impartially assess your case, figure out what you’re owed, and negotiate on your behalf. They’ll fight for the maximum compensation, so that you can readjust to your new life after an injury that changes everything.
How to Choose a Louisiana Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
To get the funds you deserve, however, you’ll need to choose a great catastrophic injury lawyer in Louisiana. Make sure that you’re working with someone who specializes in serious injury law. A general personal injury attorney may not know the ins and outs of negotiating permanent disability payments or life-altering medical treatments.
Make sure that you find a legal team with experience in this area. This will ensure that you get the highest quality representation whether your case goes to court or not. You can count on a team with a lot of past success to do well by you, so ask about previous cases and how lawyers plan to apply that knowledge to your case.
Schedule a consultation to ask about their rates, credentials, education, payment methods, and specific attorneys. About 17% of legal teams including Talbot, Carmouche, & Marcello allow you to do so directly on their website.
Learn who will be handling your case and how much time they plan to invest in it. Make note of how well you get along with the person you speak to so that you know you’re a good fit.
Follow up with references and look at online reviews before making a commitment. This will help you feel confident in your decision so that you can dive headfirst into your case.
Get Legal Assistance Today
Now that you have answered the question, “What is a catastrophic injury?”, it’s time to hire a lawyer to work to obtain financial compensation. Our Louisiana attorneys are here to help fight for your case. Contact Talbot, Carmouche & Marcello to schedule a consultation.