The treatment for a typical, non-life-threatening injury may cost thousands of dollars, even with health insurance, and force a person into debt or bankruptcy. In fact, a Harvard University study a few years back found that 62% of bankruptcy filers did so because of medical expenses, and 78% of those filers had health insurance. Now, imagine the financial burden that can be created by a catastrophic injury.
A catastrophic injury is one that immediately results in life threatening harm or is highly likely to cause permanent consequences. Examples of catastrophic injuries include spinal cord injuries, brain damage, amputation, and blindness. If treating something as relatively straightforward as a broken arm can cause overwhelming debt, then a catastrophic injury nearly ensures it. Unless legal action is taken and taken correctly.
MMI Could Be Far Away
Anyone who suffers a catastrophic injury must be careful of any initial offers from insurance companies representing the liable party. It is nearly a guarantee that any upfront offer like this is not going to be enough to cover injuries and damages. This is not even a matter of an insurance company trying to act sly, it is more of a matter of the information needed to make a fair settlement offer not even being available yet.
No one, not the injured party or their opposition, won’t know how much compensation is needed until the patient reaches their MMI, or maximum medical improvement; a person has reached their MMI once it is believed that no amount of medical treatment, surgery, therapy, or medicine could help their situation. For a catastrophic injury, it could be months or years until the patient’s doctors declare the MMI has been reached. How could an initial settlement even get close to the right amount? It won’t.
Accurately Predicting & Fighting for Full Compensation
Knowing how much a catastrophic injury will ultimately cost is difficult, but it is not impossible. With the help of a highly-experienced personal injury attorney, a person filing an injury claim can start to get an accurate idea and use that as their starting point.
When predicting necessary compensation, the following should be considered:
- Average cost to treat similar injuries
- Average years taken to reach MMI for such an injury
- Patient’s average monthly wages
- Salary difference if reentering workforce is possible
- Costs necessary for life adjustments
- Likelihood of experiencing emotional grief
When in doubt, overshooting doesn’t really cause any harm, as settlement negotiations are difficult to avoid. If matters go to litigation, the judge or jury still has a say in how much is rewarded as well. What is important is that legal action is taken sooner than later, however, as a statute of limitations will eventually trigger and prevent any further lawsuits for the accident or injury.
To get started on your case, contact Carlson & Dumeer, LLC. Our Hartford personal injury attorneys have won six- and seven-figure verdicts and settlements for our clients in the past. Get a free consultation by calling 877.795.5594 and learning what we can do for your catastrophic injury claim.