By definition, catastrophic injuries cause permanent impairment. Victims of these injuries are no longer able to engage in life as they once did. In a catastrophic injury lawsuit, plaintiffs seek compensation for various damages, such as lifetime care costs.

How are these costs handled? And what methods are employed to arrive at a just figure?

Assessing Lifetime Care Needs

The first step in arriving at a suitable figure for lifetime care costs is assessing the lifetime care needs of the victim. The measure of compensation each victim needs ultimately depends on their specific catastrophic injury.

Common catastrophic injuries include:

  • Spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis
  • Limb amputation
  • Severe traumatic brain injuries
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Blindness

Each of these injuries typically leads to a lifetime of costs for one or more of the following expenses:

  • Continuing medical care and treatment, including hospitalizations
  • Medication
  • Medical devices and equipment
  • Specialized treatment
  • Modifications to home and vehicles
  • Homecare costs, such as house cleaning and laundry
  • Transportation costs

In a catastrophic injury lawsuit, these costs are meticulously calculated based on the extent and nature of the victim’s injuries and their impact on the victim’s life.

Understanding the Financial Burden of Catastrophic Injuries

The financial burden of catastrophic injuries is typically suffocating. All of a victim’s financial dreams and goals usually disappear upon suffering a catastrophic injury. Those dreams are replaced with devastating financial burdens, including the loss of employment and neverending medical bills.

Ultimately, these financial blows breed emotional and psychological issues and an overall loss of enjoyment of life. 

Legal Strategies to Account for Care Costs

Catastrophic injury lawyers use various legal strategies and methods to meticulously account for every reasonable cost their clients will face. Leaving out costs can be financially devastating, which is why strategies are used to ensure their inclusion.

Life Care Plans

Life care plans are detailed listings of the present and future costs necessary to care for a catastrophically injured person. The purpose is to ensure that all care costs are considered by listing them, typically in a line-item fashion or by category.

Several professionals, experts, and other knowledgeable individuals may be involved in developing a client’s life care plan, including:

  • Physicians and healthcare planners
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation professionals
  • Mental health professionals
  • Close family members and friends of the victims

The injured person may also participate. The ultimate goal is to recover enough money for the future.

Insurance Representation and Analysis

Insurance plays a major role in catastrophic injury lawsuits. Various companies may provide coverage at one point or another in the treatment journey of a catastrophic injury victim. Understanding the rights and duties of each of the relevant insurance companies in a case is crucial.

Additionally, gaining a thorough understanding of the future costs of deductibles, copays, and other related expenses will make for a more comprehensive calculation of life care costs.  

Negotiating Settlements to Ensure Long-Term Financial Security

Catastrophic injury victims need an advocate who understands the high stakes involved in catastrophic injury lawsuits and who can recover proper compensation during settlement negotiations.

Injury victims should always be aware that in catastrophic injury cases, large sums of money are the norm. A substantial payout can deeply impact an insurance company’s bottom line. To preserve profits, adjusters fight for the lowest settlements possible.

Sadly, many unsuspecting victims of catastrophic injuries or their family members are unaware of how much their claims are actually worth. Without an attorney, they don’t get what they deserve.

Instead, many follow the lead of the insurance companies handling their cases, sometimes believing that the insurance company has their best interests in mind. However, the opposite is true.

During insurance negotiations, skilled catastrophic injury attorneys vigorously pursue full compensation until the insurance company offers a satisfactory settlement. They are well aware of the future life care costs of their clients and will go all the way to trial if necessary.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Catastrophic Injury Cases?

Catastrophic injury lawsuits based on negligence have a statute of limitations of two years. Negligence cases involve unintentional harms, such as those caused by negligent driving or negligent property owners.

Minors who experience catastrophic injury may have the statute of limitations paused (tolled) for as long as seven years in some cases.

Intentional harms, such as assault, and certain cases of negligence have a four-year statute of limitations. Regardless of the time limit, it is always important to take prompt legal action to recover damages.

Do Catastrophic Injury Cases Go to Trial?

Some catastrophic injury cases go to trial. However, the overwhelming majority of them are settled. Usually, cases that do make it into a courtroom involve complex issues, such as medical complexities. High-dollar damages also may cause a case to go to trial.

What Happens if Insurance Does Not Cover an Injury Victim’s Damages?

It is not uncommon that catastrophic injury lawsuit damages exceed all available forms of insurance. When they do, the victim is not necessarily left out in the cold for the remaining damages. The victim may file a lawsuit directly against the defendant for the remaining damages.

Depending on how much in damages remains unpaid, this course of action could reasonably see the recovery of some or all of the difference. However, it may prove to be a fruitless quest if the defendant has no assets or salary. 

Get Guidance From an Experienced Catastrophic Injury Lawyer

Properly calculating lifetime care costs requires an experienced professional who has the best legal interests of the victim in mind. Every penny counts, and insurance companies work vigorously to limit their exposure.

For a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, contact Ratzan Weissman & Boldt. First, we listen. Second, we fight for full accountability. Call today.