What you should know about catastrophic injury claims

What you should know about catastrophic injury claimsIt’s a widely accepted aphorism that accidents can and will happen, but sometimes they shouldn’t – and when they result in something as serious as a catastrophic injury, it’s important to know your entitlements.

A catastrophic injury is one that results in permanent disability, long-lasting medical problems and reduced life expectancy. The treatment and follow up care for such cases tend to be expensive, requiring repeated procedures and lasting round-the-clock care, and they typically impair a person’s quality of life or their ability to support themselves.

Here, Romain Coleman, London’s catastrophic injury claims solicitors, discuss the definition of a catastrophic injury, how to file for compensation and your rights if you do sustain an injury that significantly impacts your everyday business and day-to-day life.

Have you suffered a catastrophic injury?

Whether an injury qualifies as catastrophic depends on two factors. The first factor is the debilitating nature of the injury and how long it lasts; the second is how it impacts a person’s life and livelihood. If an injured person cannot independently perform day-to-day tasks for a sustained period of time, the injury may be considered catastrophic. Similarly, a person who loses their financial independence and ability to live a normal life as a result of their condition can also be considered to have suffered a catastrophic injury.

While typically associated with traffic accidents, the causes of catastrophic injury can be more diverse, including maritime accidents, medical negligence, defective products, electric shock, burns and sports injuries. Some catastrophic injuries can be especially dangerous and life-threatening because their symptoms are not immediately evident to the victim and doctors and can linger for years before manifesting.

Beyond the initial treatment, catastrophic injuries often require future therapy in order for victims to regain mobility, repair motor skills and to reclaim some quality of life. Often these procedures will span decades and become a part of that individual’s everyday routine. Survivors of catastrophic injuries often need modified vehicles, living facilities and other prosthetics and equipment for daily tasks. In cases where the patients are unable to care for themselves, caregivers or institutional care may be needed, which can be costly for the person’s family.

Examples of catastrophic injury may include:

  • Spinal cord injuries – These are particularly dangerous and can leave a person paralysed.
  • Traumatic brain injuries – Traumatic brain injuries can affect various functions of the brain, from speech impairment to motor skill deficiency, and can lead to long-term complications.
  • Internal organ damage – When there is damage to vital organs, transplants, surgeries and lifetime medical care may be required.
  • Blindness/Deafness -The injuries mentioned above can result in the loss of sight or hearing and can severely affect a person’s life and livelihood.
  • Severe burns – A deep or extensive burn caused by fire, electricity or chemicals can leave a person permanently scarred and needing long-term medical care.

Filing a catastrophic injury claim

Typically, when you sustain a catastrophic injury your lawyer will advise of an estimated value for your claim. If you’re not able to settle the claim out of court with the defendant, or in circumstances where the defendant says they are not liable, you will have to take up litigious proceedings.

In order to file for a claim for compensation, the court must establish that there is a negligent party, meaning that someone else was at fault – either wholly or in part – for your injury. There is also a time limit of three years in which you have to claim for personal injury compensation, although a court may decide to extend the time limit, depending on the circumstances of the case. To establish the details of your case, your solicitor will need to know:

  • details of the accident
  • contact details for any witnesses
  • details of injuries, medical diagnosis and treatment received

The solicitor may also need to have:

  • proof of loss of earnings and other financial expenses due to your injury
  • documents relating to any insurance policies you have, such as household or motor insurance, to check whether these will cover the legal costs of your claim
  • any evidence that can be used to support your claim, including documents from before your accident or previous accidents in similar circumstances

Legal action for compensation due to personal injury can be expensive. You might be able to get help with legal costs from a conditional fee agreement or an insurance policy – many house contents policies, car insurance or travel insurance policies have legal expenses cover attached. For more information about the best practices for claiming compensation for your catastrophic injury, Romain Coleman, London’s specialist accident and injury claims solicitors, can assist and advise.

Get back on your feet with a catastrophic injury claim

When someone has experienced a catastrophic injury, it’s imperative that they receive the best care possible in order to recover and regain the best quality of life possible. Often, this means long-term rehabilitative care and occupational therapy as well as ongoing medical treatments where required. The damages to your financial stability also need to be accounted for, with loss of wages and future earning potential the main considerations. If another party was liable for causing your ordeal, you can seek legal redress by applying for compensation. There are different time limits within which you must begin legal action in a personal injury claim. You should get legal advice urgently if you want to claim compensation.

Legal action for compensation for a catastrophic injury can be expensive, but not as expensive as the damages to your health and future financial stability. If you want to take legal action, you should consult a solicitor who is a member of the Law Society’s personal injury accreditation scheme, such as Romain Coleman.

Specialist catastrophic injury solicitors

Romain Coleman catastrophic injury solicitors have the know-how, as well as a database of experts we can call on for our clients in the event of a catastrophic injury compensation claim. Our case managers often consult with occupational therapists, disabled-friendly realty specialists, special assistance technology experts, specialist dentists and vehicular specialists. Our network of specialists is called on to testify for, as well as directly help an injured client in order to adapt to a new life. It is the quality of our teams that have helped our clients achieve their claims to overcome their difficulties.

Contact us for your free first consultation

If you’d like to speak to one of our solicitors about making a catastrophic injury claim, you can call us today at 0208 520 4555, we are waiting to hear from you. A house call may be arranged if you are unable to make the trip.

If you prefer, you can complete our Free Online Enquiry, and someone will get back to you shortly.

If you found this helpful, see our catastrophic injury series:

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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