Your life can change in an instant. Most people don’t prepare for the unlikely event of a catastrophic injury. Unfortunately, many people learn that they’re a moment away from comfortably driving their car, swimming at the local public pool, or browsing at the store to an accident that causes permanent changes to their life.
If a catastrophic injury has happened to you and it was someone else’s fault, you can demand that the responsible party pays for their recklessness. The Charlotte catastrophic injury lawyers from DeMayo Law Offices can help you pursue fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
To find out more about how DeMayo Law Offices can help you recover the damages you’re owed, call (704) 333-1000 to schedule a free initial consultation.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is long-term, serious, or life-altering. They’re different from other injuries because they result in significant financial losses. If another person caused your catastrophic injury, the maximum settlement available would be much higher than a less serious injury.
Most personal injury claims end when the responsible parties and their insurance company settle with the injured party by paying for medical treatment and other expenses so that the victim can move forward with their life.
Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries are different. These injuries change lives, causing victims permanent disability and medical conditions that last a lifetime.
Catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe burns or scarring
- Loss of limb and amputation
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Spinal cord injury, paralysis, paraplegia, or quadriplegia
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Multiple broken bones
This list doesn’t include every catastrophic injury. Our Charlotte lawyers can review your case to determine whether your injury qualifies for a catastrophic injury claim or lawsuit.
What Causes a Catastrophic Injury?
Any serious accident can cause a catastrophic injury, but some accidents are more likely to cause them. The most common causes of catastrophic injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective products
Even simple mistakes can create dangers that put the safety of other people at risk. Drivers who take their eyes off the road to check their phones and veer into oncoming traffic can crash head-on into other vehicles. Collisions like these can lead to catastrophic injuries and even fatalities.
Catastrophic injuries cause a great deal of pain to both the victims and their families. They require extensive medical treatment, often including surgery and long-term physical therapy. Permanent disabilities need lifelong medical care, meaning thousands of dollars in medical bills.
If someone else caused your injury, you shouldn’t have to pay for it yourself. Our attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices can help make sure you get what you’re owed.
Building a Strong Catastrophic Injury Claim
Personal injury cases are complex, especially when they involve catastrophic injuries. But an experienced Charlotte catastrophic injury lawyer like ours at DeMayo Law Offices will be ready to help.
We’ll demand that the responsible party’s insurance company pays a full, fair, appropriate settlement for the damages you suffered. We can be the advocate you need so that you don’t lose out on the compensation you deserve.
To prove the details of your injury, DeMayo Law Offices will perform an investigation and collect as much relevant evidence as possible. That will include the following:
- Accident or police reports
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Medical records and bills
- Receipts, invoices, estimates
- Car repair or other property repair bills
- Video surveillance
- Letters from experts
Most injury claims depend on whether you can prove a theory of negligence or recklessness. There are four major elements that you must prove existed in order to claim the costs of your catastrophic injury under this theory:
- Duty: The defendant owed you a reasonable duty of care to keep you safe from harm.
- Breach: They breached their duty.
- Causation: The breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of your injury.
- Damages: You suffered damages that should be repaid.
What are the Damages in a Catastrophic Injury Case?
At-fault parties must pay compensatory damages to injured individuals for their losses. There are two categories of compensatory damages: economic and noneconomic. When an insurance company or jury looks at what you should be paid for your accident, they will consider the following factors:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Circumstances surrounding the accident
- Permanent or temporary disability
- Inability to return to work
- Role within your family
- Impact on quality of life
- Amount of treatment needed
Some damages account for the money injured victims won’t be able to earn in the future because of their catastrophic injury. If a permanent disability keeps you from performing your past job or some other work, you’ll need a settlement that covers your future medical treatment, lost wages, and future expenses.
The economic damages you can claim include:
- Bills from the hospital, physicians, imaging, operations, physical therapy
- Lost income
- Lost future earnings
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Damage to personal property
- Out of pocket expenses
Noneconomic damages available in a claim include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
- Emotional pain or trauma
- Permanent disability
- Physical impairment, scarring, or disfigurement
- Loss of companionship, care, or consortium
If your catastrophic injury was the result of someone’s actions that are deemed especially egregious, you might be able to seek punitive damages. These damages function as punishment for what the responsible party did, instead of compensation from the insurance company for your losses. An attorney can advise you whether you may be owed punitive damages.
You must meet a three-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit in North Carolina for a catastrophic injury. This deadline is strictly enforced in the civil court system. If you try to sue after the statute passes, a judge may dismiss your case. It’s important to contact DeMayo Law Offices as soon as possible to avoid losing your right to full, fair compensation.
Don’t Let the Insurance Company Take Away Your Rights
After you suffer a catastrophic injury, there are steps you can take to protect your right to demand compensation from the responsible party and their insurance company. Follow this list of do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re not signing away your rights or risking a denied claim.
- Follow your doctor’s orders and continue with your prescribed treatment.
- Hire a Charlotte catastrophic injury lawyer, like the ones at DeMayo Law Offices.
- Be honest with your physicians about the symptoms you’re experiencing and how the injury limits your physical or mental abilities.
- Keep all receipts, documents, records, reports, emails, and other evidence related to your case.
- Keep track of your missed work hours and lost wages.
- Provide your medical insurance to all your providers so that they don’t send unpaid bills to collections while you’re waiting for payment.
- Keep detailed notes about how the accident happened, who was there with you, if there were witnesses and anything else you can remember.
- Don’t admit fault for the incident that caused your catastrophic injuries. If you share any amount of liability, you could lose your right to compensation under North Carolina’s contributory negligence law.
- Don’t sign any forms or documents from your own or any other insurance carrier without your Charlotte catastrophic injury lawyer reviewing it first.
- Don’t settle the claim before you finish treatment, your doctor releases you, and your attorney evaluates the settlement.
- Don’t agree to a recorded statement with the insurance adjuster.
- Don’t discuss your case with anyone other than your attorney.
- Don’t post anything on social media that could indicate your injury isn’t that serious.
Catastrophic Injury FAQs
How long will my case take?
Catastrophic injury cases involve extensive treatment, which means settling a claim or lawsuit won’t happen quickly. Each victim’s situation is unique, and the duration of your case will depend on the type of injury you sustained and what kind of entities are at-fault. The more money involved, the more lawyers you can expect on the other side. Your claim may take years to resolve.
Should I file a claim or lawsuit?
Whether you file an insurance claim or a lawsuit depends on the circumstances of your accident. If the at-fault party’s liability insurance is high enough to cover your total damages, filing a claim may be sufficient. If you have injuries that require lifelong treatment or the other party’s actions were particularly egregious, you may need to seek monetary compensation through a lawsuit.
Who is responsible for my catastrophic injury?
The person or entity that caused the accident resulting in your catastrophic injury is ultimately legally responsible, or liable, for it. An attorney can investigate your accident and determine whether one person, a business, or multiple parties are responsible for your injury.
Should I talk to the insurance adjuster?
No. If you hire a Charlotte catastrophic injury lawyer, they will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. Even if an adjuster asks you some seemingly simple questions, don’t answer them. Let them know you hired a lawyer and provide the contact information. Saying the wrong thing could negatively affect the result of your claim.
Contact DeMayo Law Offices
The personal injury attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices are ready to fight for your rights and seek the justice you rightfully deserve. We’ll work hard to win you a full and fair settlement from the insurance company or a favorable jury verdict in court. We’ll use all of our considerable resources to investigate your accident, collect crucial evidence, and build a solid case.
We care about our clients, so we treat them like family. You’ll always be our first priority, which will show in how we communicate, treat you with respect, and make ourselves available 24/7.
To find out how our Charlotte catastrophic injury lawyers can recover the money you’re owed for your medical expenses, missed work, and pain and suffering, call us at (704) 333-1000.