If you’ve been injured, it is likely that you’re facing serious medical expenses, extensive treatment, and other losses, including wages, property, and transportation. You deserve compensation for your losses, but getting that compensation involves navigating the complexities of injury law. It might be surprising to learn that it is difficult to recover the full value of your claim, especially if you are working alone or with an inexperienced lawyer.
Because of the unique factors that are considered in injury cases, it is critical to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Our team at Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. can guide you through the steps of your injury case, and will fight to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available to you. One way we do this is by determining whether your injuries qualify as personal injuries or catastrophic injuries. Here are some things you should know about each category.
What Are Personal Injuries?
Personal injury is a catch-all phrase that refers to physical or emotional damages caused by a “tort,” or intentionally negligent action. The severity of injuries can range greatly, but they should all have one factor in common—the injuries are not permanent, and the victim is expected to largely recover and return to their life.
Personal injuries can take on any form of injury, such as burns, fractures, soft-tissue damage, concussions, and sprains. These injuries, however, are generally not considered severe, debilitating, or permanent. Emotional injuries can also be handled with personal injury cases, especially when the emotional injury, such as anxiety or depression, is a result of the victim’s injuries or the stress of the accident itself.
If a victim is expected to make a full or nearly-full recovery from their injuries, without major loss of function, it is likely that their case will be considered a personal injury case. Frequently, these cases net smaller settlements or verdict, but that’s for a good reason—personal injury cases are only awarding you compensation for the time you spend injured, out of work, or otherwise affected by the accident.
A larger settlement amount often equates to more significant injuries, longer healing times, and higher medical costs. A personal injury award is compensation for your losses during this time, not a ticket to instant riches at someone else’s expense. You can trust that our legal team will fight to ensure you receive every penny you deserve so your costs don’t need to come out of pocket.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
If personal injuries are temporary, less severe injuries, then catastrophic injuries are the opposite. As the name implies, catastrophic injuries are often a disaster for the victim and their loved ones. A catastrophic injury can take many forms, but it will always mean that the victim has sustained injuries severe enough to impact them for the rest of their lives. These injured victims are expected to never return to the life they enjoyed before the accident.
Catastrophic injuries often are characterized by significant pain and suffering, as well as expensive and ongoing medical treatment. Many victims will require treatment, medications, adaptive equipment, rehabilitation, counseling, and other medical expenses for the rest of their lives. Frequently, these injuries are fully or partially disabling, leaving the victim with fewer options when it comes to their employment, housing, education, transportation, diet, and nearly every other aspect of their lives.
Common catastrophic injuries include:
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Severe burn injuries
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Amputations or lost limbs
- Crushed or broken bones
- Loss of hearing, vision, or other sensation
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Severe emotional injuries
Often, these injuries are disabling to some degree, which can make it impossible for victims to return to their career or lives as they were prior to their injuries. This can cause a significant financial hurdle for injured people and their families, especially if the family relied on the injured individual’s income or domestic labor. While some people may be able to return to work in some capacity, many find themselves forced to work fewer hours, transfer to lower-paying jobs, or losing important benefits due to their injuries.
While employment is a commonly discussed issue in catastrophic injury cases, it’s also important not to overlook the costs of domestic labor and caretaking. Many families rely on a member of the family to look after children, care for aging parents, or keep house. If that family member has been injured and is no longer able to do so, the entire family faces a significant loss. This can be a financial blow, since working members of the family may have to take time away from work to handle these tasks. Families also may find themselves forced to hire other people to take on the tasks the injured person can no longer perform.
Additionally, it may be possible that the injured person requires assistance of their own. Care for an individual who has a disability can vary greatly. Some may need help managing more strenuous household tasks, managing transportation, and running errands. Others may need round-the-clock supervision and care. Still, others will fall somewhere in between.
Frequently, catastrophic injuries net million-dollar or greater settlements or verdicts. To an outsider, this can seem like striking the jackpot. To those living with the aftermath of a serious accident, this amount may not feel like nearly enough to compensate them for a lifetime of medical care, assistance, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost wages, and lost enjoyment of life. It is important to remember that this compensation is meant to last the injured person through the rest of their life.
For this reason, it is critical to work with an experienced catastrophic injury attorney who is familiar with the challenges you are facing and understands the full value of your losses. You deserve to be fairly compensated for what you are enduring, and our team at Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. will see to it that your compensation is maximized. We’re familiar with the way insurance companies work, so we’re ready for any tricks they may be hiding up their sleeves when it comes to your case.
Our Kansas City personal injury lawyers are passionate about what we do, and we will fight tirelessly for your best interests. We have extensive experience to call upon as we advocate for you in every step of your case. Don’t wait to get the dedicated, compassionate help you deserve.
Contact our legal team today to request a free consultation. We can be reached by calling (888) 398-2277.