How Much is a Catastrophic Injury Case Worth?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Jan V. Hinson with Tilton & Tilton LLP.
Catastrophic injuries are injuries that will go on to have a significant impact on the injured party’s life even after reaching their MMR or Maximum Medical Recovery. Catastrophic injuries may result in long-term or even permanent life changes, disabilities, loss of opportunities, and more, and can seriously impact not only the injured person but their loved ones as well. All of this and more will be taken into consideration when estimating the value of a particular catastrophic injury case.
However, beware any number assigned to your case before extensive investigation and comparison has been conducted by personal injury experts; it takes time, experience, and hard work to suss out each and every damage that may be relevant to your case and that should be compensated in a fair personal injury claim. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and work on contingency, which means clients don’t pay unless they win their case. This allows the injury victim and their families to focus on healing and recovery rather than worrying about one more bill to add to the pile.
There are two categories of compensatory damages that can affect the worth of a personal injury lawsuit.
- Economic damages: Economic damages typically refer to those that have a set price tag attached. Medical bills, lost wages, and other calculable expenses may all fall under economic damages. In catastrophic injury cases, the economic damages can be extreme and far-reaching. Life care expenses, such as in-home care and living modifications, may also be applicable depending on the situation and should be compensated accordingly. For example, if the injured party will be required to use a wheelchair for the rest of their life, the cost of wheelchair repairs and replacements should also be included in the compensation. It’s important to find an attorney who will help estimate not only your economic damages thus far but those that can be expected in the future as well.
- Non-economic damages: Non-economic damages typically refer to those that are not immediately definable in regard to monetary value, but that nevertheless constitute a significant loss to the injured party’s and/or their family’s life. Pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life are common damages in this category. They can refer to both chronic physical pain as well as the emotional pain from no longer being able to pick up a child or engage with a spouse or family member like before the injury. Any loss is important after a catastrophic injury, some incalculably so. When this is the case, it’s important to find an experienced attorney who can sit down with you to assess the ways your life has changed and is expected to change as a result of your experience.
Depending on the case, punitive damages may also be applicable.
Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages and are considerably less common; instead of focusing on the victim, these damages focus on the wrongdoing of the defendant. Punitive damages may arise when the party responsible for the injury was grossly negligent or reckless in their conduct. In this scenario, punitive damages may be applied as a punishment for the negligent party as well as a deterrent from future similar conduct. Punitive damages may also deter other similar parties from behaving in the same manner.
To learn more about catastrophic injuries or for help assessing the worth of your case, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.