No one plans to suffer severe injuries in an accident. Catastrophic injuries are so severe that they could result in permanent disfigurement, impairment, or death. Catastrophic injuries may stem from a variety of accidents, including motor vehicle accidents, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents, use of defective products, dog bites, and even slip and falls. Serious accidents such as these could also leave you with a life-altering disability.
State law establishes strict timelines for pursuing personal injury claims. As a result, you may wish to take steps to protect your rights as quickly as possible following a catastrophic accident. It is best to enlist the services of a skilled Omaha catastrophic injury lawyer before filing a claim.
Examples of Catastrophic Injuries in Omaha
In some cases, individuals sustain minor injuries in accidents that eventually result in a full recovery. Broken bones may be fully treated through surgery, casts, and physical therapy. Cuts and bruises are likely to heal and fade. However, catastrophic injuries may never heal. They can result in permanent impairments or significant losses in functional ability that were not present before the accident.
A catastrophic injury attorney in Omaha may be able to help you fight for your financial well-being if you have suffered life-threatening injuries. Some typical examples of life-altering injuries include:
- Severe burns
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Impairment of organs or other bodily functions
Not only are these catastrophic injuries likely to result in substantial medical expenses, but they may also require continuing medical care for permanent impairments and medical conditions.
How Severe Injuries Typically Occur
Any accident or situation that results in lifelong, permanent injuries could be the basis for a catastrophic injury claim. Many of these lawsuits stem from motor vehicle accidents, including collisions involving passenger vehicles, motorcycles, commercial trucks, bicycles, and pedestrians. The weight of most motor vehicles combined with the speed at which many accidents happen can lead to devastating injuries.
Slips, trips, and falls due to hazards on another person’s property also have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries. The nature of these injuries depends in large part on the part of the body that absorbs the impact. If you land on your head or neck after a fall, you could face a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or paralysis.
Negligent security in or around a building could also lead to violent acts that cause catastrophic injuries. For example, an assault outside of an apartment building could result in severe physical trauma.
Fires are another common cause of catastrophic injuries. A building fire or explosion after a car accident could result in severe burns that lead to disfigurement, chronic pain, and even nerve damage. No matter what type of accident led to your catastrophic injury, you should get in touch with a determined Omaha lawyer who can fight for your right to compensation from the at-fault party.
Negligence and Catastrophic Injury Claims
Negligence forms the basis of most personal injury claims, including accidents that result in catastrophic injuries. When other people act carelessly or recklessly, and injuries occur, they may be responsible for the costs related to those injuries. A negligence standard measures how a reasonable person would act under the same or similar circumstances.
For example, distracted drivers, those who violate speed limits, or otherwise commit traffic violations may be liable for injuries if they cause an accident. This is especially true if you sustain catastrophic injuries. Likewise, if store owners fail to remedy uneven carpeting or flooring, clean up ice and snow, or eliminate spills in a timely fashion, then they may be liable if you slip, fall, and suffer severe injuries as a result.
In some situations, the other party may claim that you bear some responsibility for the accident that led to your injuries. For instance, in a motor vehicle accident, the other party may argue that you were speeding, contributing to the crash.
The court permits you to obtain compensation if you are less than 50% responsible for your injuries. However, the court will reduce your compensation by your share of fault. A dedicated attorney can help you prove that the other party is entirely responsible for your catastrophic injury.
Potential Compensation for a Life-Changing Injury
The monetary damages that result from a catastrophic injury can vary substantially from one case to another. When you pursue a severe injury claim with a skilled attorney, you can recover compensation for losses such as past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and diminished earning power.
Past and Future Medical Expenses
The cost of medical care is usually a central issue with catastrophic injury claims. Many catastrophic injuries require long-term medical care. This could include anything from physical therapy to additional surgical procedures or in-home care. A personal injury lawsuit could recover monetary compensation for the cost of this care.
One of the hardships that can follow a catastrophic injury is the inability to work. You may be physically unable to return to your job for days, weeks, or months following these injuries. A civil claim could help you recover the wages you would have earned if you had not been injured.
Diminished Earning Capacity
Depending on your medical condition, you might not be able to return to work in your current profession after the accident. As a result, you may have to accept a position with significantly less pay. It could be possible to recover the difference in income through a legal claim. Additionally, if you are no longer able to hold any job, you could seek compensation for the amount of money you would have been expected to earn over the course of your career.
Obtaining a Favorable Outcome Through a Settlement
When working with an attorney, there are two ways to obtain compensation for a catastrophic injury. The first involves a negotiated settlement between you and the at-fault party. The second option involves obtaining a judgment following a trial.
Many catastrophic injury claims do not go to trial. Instead, a large number of severe accident cases are resolved through settlements early on in the legal process. Even if you and your lawyer file a lawsuit in court, there is a chance you could settle the case before the trial begins.
Though many catastrophic injury cases settle, it does not mean reasonable compensation is easy to come by. In many cases, the at-fault party and their insurance company will push for a quick settlement in hopes that they can resolve a claim for less than it is worth.
Many people fail to recognize the severity of their injuries right away, which can lead them to accept an inadequate settlement offer. This can present a problem, as you cannot file a lawsuit or pursue a second settlement once you accept an offer.
An attorney can play an important role in not only negotiating a settlement offer but also ensuring that the offer is reasonable before you accept it. By consulting a seasoned lawyer, you can avoid severely underestimating the value of your settlement claim.
Choosing to Settle or Go to Trial
Settlements might be common in these cases, but the other party may not want to settle with you. You can only resolve a claim outside of court if all parties agree to it. There are many reasons why the at-fault party or their insurance provider might refuse to enter into a settlement.
In some cases, the other person might not have the resources available to settle a claim. This is common when dealing with uninsured drivers in car wreck cases. Additionally, the responsible parties are likely to reject any attempts to settle if they believe they are not at fault.
If the other party refuses to settle with you, your lawyer may need to take the case to trial. One potential drawback of going to trial is that you have less control over the outcome of the cause. The jury may award less compensation than you expected or no compensation at all. Regardless of whether you pursue a lawsuit or a settlement for your catastrophic injury case, an aggressive lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
The Deadline to File a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit
Pursuing a catastrophic injury claim without a lawyer can be dangerous, especially if you are unfamiliar with state law. The statute of limitations is the firm legal deadline that applies to all lawsuits. If you file your lawsuit after the expiration of the statute, the court can bar you from pursuing your claim at all.
This is true even if the underlying facts of the case would have likely resulted in a judgment in your favor. In Omaha, the statute of limitations is four years. This statutory period begins to expire the day the injury occurs.
Call an Omaha Catastrophic Injury Attorney for Assistance
The aftermath of an accident where you suffered catastrophic injuries can be stressful, painful, and lengthy. While you are attempting to recover physically and build a new life following a major accident, you may need assistance in procuring financial help to cover out-of-pocket expenses. An Omaha catastrophic injury lawyer may be able to handle legal and financial matters on your behalf while you concentrate your efforts on physical recovery.
Personal injury lawsuits are time-sensitive and can be very complex, both in terms of establishing liability and proving damages. Retaining legal representation throughout a claim could be essential to recovering the full compensation you deserve. Call Berry Law today to schedule a free consultation.