Whenever you suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Catastrophic injuries cause significant financial losses over a lifetime. This means you have a serious financial stake in your legal rights, and a Port Richey catastrophic injury lawyer can help protect these legal rights at every step of the claims process.
At Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers, we have helped many injury victims get the compensation they deserve, and we will fight hard for you, too. Learn more about the different types of catastrophic injuries, the medical treatment and rehabilitative services you might require, the losses for which you can seek compensation, who is responsible for paying for your injuries, and how a catastrophic injury lawyer can help you navigate the challenging legal issues that can arise in a catastrophic injury case.
Different parties define a “catastrophic injury” a little differently. In the area of personal injury law, catastrophic injuries usually refer to permanent injuries that will cause a lifetime of losses, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and ongoing medical bills.
Common examples of these injuries include:
This is not, of course, a complete list of all the injuries that medical or legal professionals might consider catastrophic. Injury victims also have the right to seek compensation for their losses regardless of the severity of the injury. This is why it is important to consult a Port Richey personal injury lawyer right away, especially considering the serious injuries you suffered and the severity of your losses.
With catastrophic injuries, medical bills are often significant. Many victims run up hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills within the first 24 hours after an injury occurs. Surgery and hospitalization are expensive. And once an injury victim gets released from the hospital, there will often be ongoing medical bills for years to come.
You will likely need to consult with specialists, who may need to run expensive diagnostic tests to determine the extent of your injuries and your prognosis. You will likely need rehabilitative services from a physical therapist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, or all three.
You may need help with pain management, and this can require the care of a chiropractor or pain management specialist. And, of course, you will need to see your primary care physician regularly to coordinate all the other care you are receiving and maintain an overall treatment plan that addresses your comprehensive medical needs.
All of this medical care is not cheap. Over a lifetime, you could spend hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars getting the treatment you need.
So how do you receive compensation for the future costs you will incur? In addition to medical care, you will have lost wages if you can’t return to work at your former pay level. You can also receive compensation for the future pain and suffering you will endure because of your injuries.
But in Florida, you must file a catastrophic injury lawsuit within two years of the date the accident occurred, which is before you will incur many of these losses. To get compensation for these future losses, your attorney can hire expert witnesses to project the value of these future expenses.
These expert witnesses might include:
As you can see, there are many significant costs associated with a catastrophic injury. You deserve compensation for all the medical bills you will incur due to your injury over your entire lifetime. You deserve compensation for all your lost wages, whether you return to work in a limited capacity or not. You also deserve compensation for a lifetime of pain and suffering. This includes the physical pain of your injuries, as well as the emotional suffering stemming from them.
These emotional losses are not insignificant – imagine you can’t walk across the stage at your own graduation or dance with your child at their wedding. Imagine you permanently can’t enjoy a beloved hobby, such as music or sports. Imagine the strain on a marriage when one spouse suddenly becomes incapacitated, and the other must take on a caregiver role that takes enormous amounts of time and energy. These are all very real losses that can change an injury victim’s life forever. Unfortunately, they are difficult to value with a specific dollar amount.
This is where your Port Richey catastrophic injury lawyer comes in. An experienced attorney will know what catastrophic injuries are fairly worth. When the insurance company tries to get away with a lowball settlement offer, your attorney will know how to prove the value of all your losses – even future losses. Injury victims who do not regularly deal with insurance companies will not know how to prove these values = to get a fair settlement offer.
They also will not know how to resolve complicated legal issues that can arise in the course of a Port Richey catastrophic injury case. What if, for example, there are multiple defendants, and each one denies that he or she is at fault for the accident? In this case, it is up to the injury victim to prove who was legally at fault and liable for losses. A catastrophic injury lawyer will have experience proving fault, both during settlement negotiations and – if necessary – to a jury at trial.
There are many ways in which a Port Richey catastrophic injury lawyer protects your legal rights. He or she will fight for fair compensation for all your losses. A lawyer knows how to prove who is at fault for causing your injuries. And your lawyer will handle all communications with the insurance company, which prevents you from saying or doing anything that could hurt your case. For all these reasons and more, injury victims who have a lawyer consistently receive more for their claims than those who choose to settle their cases without an attorney’s help.
Many potential defendants could have a legal obligation to pay for catastrophic injuries. To have an obligation to pay, the defendant’s negligence must be the cause of your losses.
Common examples of defendants in a catastrophic injury case include:
Many individuals and companies might owe you a duty of care – and thus, be liable for negligence if you suffer injuries. It is important to work with an experienced injury lawyer who knows how to find all potential defendants in your case.
Many different types of insurance can pay for catastrophic injuries. This depends on who is legally at fault for causing your injuries. If, for example, you suffer injuries in an auto accident, the at-fault driver should carry liability insurance that pays for injuries he or she causes.
If you suffer injuries in the workplace, your employer is likely required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage will pay for a portion of lost wages and your medical bills, but not pain and suffering. It also has limited benefits for permanent disabilities. Because of the limits of workers’ compensation, injury lawyers often seek out other insurance policies that could apply to the accident.
If, for example, you suffer injuries because of a defective product, the manufacturer should pay for your injuries and losses. This is because consumer goods have strong legal protections under the law that subject them to “strict liability.” This means the injury victim does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent – only that the product caused an injury while it was used as intended.
There are many different types of insurance policies that could apply to an accident that causes catastrophic injuries. It is important to locate all potential defendants and all potential insurance policies, so that you do not miss out on any sources of compensation that can help cover all of your losses. An experienced injury lawyer will know how to protect your legal right to receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Unfortunately, not all victims survive their injuries. Catastrophic injuries result from serious accidents, and sometimes serious accidents result in death. When this happens, the negligent defendant is not off the hook just because the injured party is no longer alive.
Surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim after a catastrophic injury results in death. The Florida Wrongful Death Act determines who may file a wrongful death claim, when parties must file, and the procedures they must follow when filing such a claim.
In a wrongful death claim, there is no compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering before his or her death. Instead, family members can sue for their own emotional losses. This is known as “loss of consortium.” It refers to the loss of companionship of a spouse or child, the loss of a parent’s guidance, and other emotional losses that occur as a result of an untimely death. It even covers a spouse’s loss of sexual relations.
These losses are difficult to define with a specific monetary value, but they are very real, and juries often award significant compensation for them. It is important to work with an experienced wrongful death attorney who knows how to prove the full value of all the losses you suffered due to a tragic loss.
A catastrophic injury has life-changing consequences for both the injury victim and their loved ones. When permanent injuries and severe disabilities happen due to negligence, injury victims have the legal right to obtain compensation for their financial losses and emotional suffering. These losses are drastic throughout a lifetime. Catastrophic injury settlements and jury awards are among the largest of all personal injury cases. This is why it is so important for victims to hire an experienced Port Richey catastrophic injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident occurs.
At Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers, we are here to answer your questions. Our lawyers have prepared this guide with answers to some of the most common questions we hear about catastrophic injuries. Of course, we cannot answer all of your questions here, and we cannot give you any legal advice that is specific to your unique situation. This is why it is important to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled accident lawyers.
There are many different ways that legal and medical professionals define a “catastrophic injury.” Often, these injuries result in one of the following conditions:
Of course, there are many different ways to define an injury that is catastrophic to you. And regardless of the severity of injuries, victims have the right to compensation when they suffer harm in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. This is why it is so important to consult with an injury lawyer after any type of accident – regardless of the severity of your injuries.
There are many ways that a person could suffer a catastrophic injury. Here are some of the most common cases our injury lawyers come across in our practice:
Many accidents can leave a victim with catastrophic injuries. The key is whether your injuries happened due to negligence. If an individual or company negligently caused the accident that injured you, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses, regardless of the type of accident that occurred.
After any accident, make your immediate priority the safety of everyone on the scene. Call 911 right away to get medical help for anyone who needs it. If you sustained injuries in an auto accident, get out of the way of traffic, so you are not struck again by oncoming traffic. (Many auto accidents cause secondary crashes by drivers who are not paying attention.) If your vehicle is not driveable, leave it, and find a place on the side of the road to wait safely away from the path of oncoming traffic.
Once you have dealt with law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, and other first responders on the scene, you should consider your immediate medical needs. Catastrophic injuries usually result from a dramatic accident scene in which the victim has no choice but to be transported in an ambulance.
But even if this is not the case, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Look for an emergency department or urgent care center in your area. It is not always possible to tell how serious your injuries are right after an accident occurs. Some injuries – like internal bleeding – become worse over time, and you might not notice the symptoms until it is too late.
By seeing a doctor right away, you are ensuring that you get all the immediate medical treatment you need and do not have any further serious injuries. You are also protecting your legal right to compensation. In some cases, an insurance company can claim that you made your own injuries worse by failing to seek medical attention right away. Do not allow the insurance company to deny any part of your claim for medical expenses. Protect both your health and your legal rights by getting medical attention right away.
Catastrophic injuries lead to a lifetime of medical and care expenses – not to mention significant pain and suffering. You are entitled to compensation for all of these losses. But the statute of limitations on most injury cases is two years, which means you will continue accruing these losses long after your case resolves. So how do catastrophic injury victims get compensated for a lifetime of medical bills and emotional suffering?
Injury lawyers work with expert witnesses to project the value of your losses over a lifetime. A life care planner, for example, is an expert who has certification in the area of projecting medical costs. This person can prepare a written report of the expected costs of all the medical care you will require due to your injury and adjust these values for inflation.
The report can also include other expenses such as in-home care workers, modifications to your home to accommodate your disability, and other costs that are related to your injury. You can submit the written report to the defendant’s insurance company to support your claim for future medical expenses. The insurance company can either accept these costs or hire their own life care planner to contest the report.
If the parties can’t agree on the value of your future medical expenses, the case may have to go to trial, where the jury will hear evidence from both experts and decide who is more credible. These cases are known as a “battle of the experts.” Other witnesses, such as an economist who projects the value of your future lost wages, can also be challenged in this manner.
Medical and care expenses are not the only areas of compensation in a Port Richey catastrophic injury claim. Victims who suffer catastrophic injuries and suffer permanent disabilities are also entitled to compensation for their intangible losses. These include the physical pain of the injuries, the loss of enjoyment of life from activities the victim can no longer participate in, the impact injuries have on family relationships, and the lost sense of pride that comes with gainful employment.
These intangible losses fall under the category of “pain and suffering.” They are very real losses, but they are difficult to value with an exact dollar amount. This is why insurance companies fight so hard to reduce the value of pain and suffering awards. Pain and suffering is often the largest area of compensation in a Port Richey catastrophic injury award. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced injury lawyer who knows how to make a compelling case for the value of your pain and suffering to the insurance company or jury. In catastrophic injury cases, pain and suffering is often substantial.
Most injury lawyers do not require their clients to pay a fee upfront. Instead, they work on a contingency basis. This means that the client agrees to pay them an agreed percentage of whatever the lawyer can recover in a settlement or litigation. If the attorney must file a lawsuit on your behalf, the amount of work your attorney must do on your case increases dramatically. This is why most Port Richey catastrophic injury lawyers require a higher percentage if they end up filing a lawsuit in your case.
It is also important to understand how court costs will get paid (such as filing fees and expert witness fees). A written fee agreement should clearly set out all of these details. If you have any questions about the fee arrangements, be sure to ask your lawyer before signing any type of representation agreement.
Some injury victims have concerns about the cost of hiring an attorney. The fact is that injury victims who have the right legal representation consistently get larger settlements than those who do not. Even more concerning is that you could accidentally say or do something to hurt your own case if you speak directly to the insurance company instead of making them go through your lawyer’s office.
In a catastrophic injury case, your damages are significant, and the stakes are high. You do not want to miss out on the compensation that you deserve because you didn’t have a lawyer. If nothing else, meet with a lawyer for a free consultation to get an idea of what they can do to protect your legal rights and financial interests.
Identifying liable parties in your catastrophic injury claim might be relatively straightforward, as a single driver or another individual might be the liable party. However, in other situations, liability can get significantly more complicated, as there might be multiple parties responsible for your injuries and losses.
There are different instances in which parties might share liability:
These are only some examples of when more than one party should compensate you for your losses, and it is important to have a lawyer who can identify all liable parties and seek compensation from all possible sources.
The vast majority of Port Richey catastrophic injury cases reach settlements out of court.
To settle, the parties must agree:
Many parties agree on these points in cases that involve straightforward accidents, or simple injuries, or small amounts of damages. Unfortunately, catastrophic injury cases are more complicated on almost every point. Victim’s injuries can be complicated and permanent, and their damages can continue over a lifetime. All of these factors can make it more difficult to settle a catastrophic injury case than a case involving more mild injuries.
If you do need to go to court for whatever reason, your injury lawyer will prepare you for what to expect and be there to assist you at every step of the way. You will not have to face the court or the defense attorney on your own as long as you hired your own injury lawyer.
Because catastrophic injury cases are more complicated than cases involving mild injuries, they often take longer to resolve. Your doctors will need time to assess the full extent of your injuries and make an accurate prognosis for your recovery. Your lawyer will need time to hire expert witnesses who can project the value of your future losses.
Very few catastrophic injury cases are resolved in weeks – or even months. If your case has to go to trial, it could take a few years to file the lawsuit, proceed through the pretrial process, get a trial date, and ultimately get a jury verdict. But all of this varies greatly depending on the facts of this case. To get a better idea of how long your case will take, you will need to meet with an injury lawyer about the facts and circumstances of your particular accident and injuries.
Do not wait to contact Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers for the legal assistance you need.
A catastrophic injury is a devastating event. For most injury victims and their families, life will never be the same. You don’t have to navigate these changes on your own. You have important legal rights after suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence, so protect these rights by hiring an experienced Port Richey catastrophic injury lawyer.
Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers are here to help. We have helped many Port Richey injury victims stand up for their right to fair compensation, and we will fight hard for your legal rights, as well.
Contact us online or call (727) 845-5972 for your free consultation. The sooner you have an experienced injury lawyer fighting on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be.
“The Nicoletti Law firm is by far the best law firm for your needs. The entire firm treats you as family and are there for you when needed the most. Above all else they will give you straight honest answers and guide you to the best outcome for your case. Highly recommend this firm.”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐