Atlanta Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
Catastrophic injuries are not only devastating for the victim, they can have a major impact on the lives of their families. Such injuries can cause huge financial burdens and emotional distress. While no one can change what happened, you can seek support and guidance to fight for the compensation you need to help you through these difficult times.
A catastrophic injury lawyer at The Pendergrass Law Firm can help you protect your rights. If you suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone’s negligence or wrongdoing, you have the right to seek compensation.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
A catastrophic injury is any physical injury or illness that is extremely serious or has life-altering consequences. In most cases, a catastrophic illness requires extended medical treatment, resulting in the patient missing time from work. The treatment can be expensive as it may require surgery, post-operative care, rehabilitation, long-term medication, and other types of medical care. The impact of a catastrophic injury can be challenging physically and emotionally.
Here are some of the most common catastrophic injuries:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common catastrophic injuries as it can result in permanent loss of total or partial brain function. While a TBI is most common when the head hits an object, it can also result from a sudden and forceful jolt to the head. Minor TBIs, such as concussions, might not be a catastrophic injury — but it can develop into one if there are complications.
Symptoms of catastrophic brain injuries include loss of consciousness, seizures, severe headaches, memory loss, impairment of motor skills, or coma.
Burn injuries are considered catastrophic if they damage cells under the skin layer such as the fat tissues, muscles, or bone. This is referred to as a third-degree burn. Second-degree burns can also be considered catastrophic injuries if the affected area is large or causes some type of permanent disability or impairment in quality of life.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Injuries to the spine can lead to life-altering conditions, such as muscle weakness, paraplegia, quadriplegia, bowel dysfunction, loss of sensation in the limbs, sexual dysfunction, and chronic pain.
Disfiguring injuries are injuries that cause permanent changes to the appearance of the person. These types of serious injuries could happen to any part of the body. Disfigurement injuries not only cause physical challenges, but they can also impact the victim’s mental well-being, particularly their self-esteem.
Amputation injuries result in the partial or full loss of a limb. While the victim can use prosthetics to help improve functionality and appearance, amputations still pose some serious challenges in daily life.
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries can happen for many reasons. The most common causes of catastrophic accidents include work accidents, sports accidents, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and slip-and-fall accidents. In most cases of catastrophic injuries, the victims suffer long-term or permanent damage and may need ongoing medical treatment.
Damages Available in Catastrophic Injuries
After a catastrophic injury, you may have the right to pursue legal action against the person or company who harmed you. You may be entitled to economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include medical bills, future medical treatment, lost wages, property damage, loss of earning capacity, and other financial costs as a result of the catastrophic injury.
Noneconomic damages include compensation for emotional distress and trauma. Victims of such injuries often suffer a loss of self-esteem, depression, anxiety, stress, and other psychological conditions.
If the defendant is found guilty of conduct beyond negligence where their behavior showed a reckless indifference to the safety of the plaintiff, a judge or jury may award punitive damages. The objective of punitive damages is to punish the defendant and deter others from similar conduct.
Establishing Liability in Catastrophic Injury Cases
Determining liability is a crucial step in recovering compensation for catastrophic injuries. The liability will be on the party that was responsible for the injury and will have to bear the consequences for their negligence or wrongdoing. Liability in catastrophic accidents can be complex, so you might benefit from hiring an experienced catastrophic injury claim lawyer who can help you through the process.
In most personal injury claims, fault is based on the principle of negligence. You would have to prove that the defendant had a duty of care toward you and breached this duty, causing you harm. For example, if you suffered a catastrophic injury due to an auto accident, you will have to demonstrate that the defendant’s reckless or negligent driving caused your injury. The defendant failed to act with reasonable care, which could have prevented the injury.
It’s also important to understand the concept of vicarious liability. If you were injured by a driver who is operating a company-owned vehicle, then their employer could be vicariously liable for your injuries. Vicarious liability is also referred to as indirect liability.
There are also other types of liability including product liability, which arises when a defect in the product has caused you harm. In such cases, the manufacturer could be held liable for your catastrophic injuries.
The state of Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system where your ability to recover damages is decided by your share of fault in the accident. According to Georgia law, if you are over 50% at fault for the accident, you won’t be able to recover any damages.
Georgia Personal Injury Claim Process
Generally, personal injury cases in Georgia are filed in the state’s superior court, which has the authority to rule on civil cases. If the claim amount is less than $15,000, you could consider filing your case in a small claims court.
The civil process is initiated by an official complaint identifying your lawsuit against the defendant. A summons is also sent to the defendant letting them know about the personal injury lawsuit against them.
If you have hired a lawyer, they will investigate and prepare your case. Evidence also helps establish who was at fault in the accident and your total economic and noneconomic damages.
A majority of personal injury claims, including those that involve a catastrophic injury, are settled out of court. It can take months or years for a personal injury case to finalize. It’s natural for victims to want justice as soon as possible, however, you have to be patient in the settlement process. Otherwise, your desperation could be used by the opposing party to undervalue the claim and settle on an unreasonably low settlement amount.
If the settlement isn’t going anywhere, you may need to take the case to court. While that will further delay your compensation, the verdict will be in the hands of the judge or jury. Your lawyer can guide you on the best legal strategy.
Statute of Limitations for Catastrophic Injury Cases
The statute of limitations refers to the timeline for filing an injury lawsuit. In Georgia, the statute of limitations on injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. This means that if you are not able to initiate legal action within this timeline, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your losses. There are a few exceptions to this timeline, so consult with catastrophic injury attorneys to check the applicable statute of limitations for your case.
How Can Atlanta Catastrophic Injury Lawyers Help?
There are several ways that experienced lawyers can help victims of catastrophic injuries. A key consideration in filing a personal injury case is the timing. Some lawyers only make the demand after the plaintiff has reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). This helps determine how much the settlement is worth. In some cases, the plaintiff might need long-term medical care, which can add to the overall value of the settlement amount. If the case goes to trial and the plaintiff has not reached MMI, the judge or jury may undervalue the case.
The attorney can also help reduce the burden of paperwork and other legal proceedings so the plaintiff can focus on their recovery. If there is any communication or negotiation needed with the opposing legal team or an insurance company, your lawyer can handle this. A skilled lawyer who has a good network has the resources to help you gather evidence for the case.
Schedule Consultation With an Atlanta Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s fault, allow the Atlanta personal unjust attorneys The Pendergrass Law Firm to get you full and fair compensation for your suffering. Our Atlanta catastrophic injury lawyers are well-versed in personal injury law and guide you on how to recover maximum compensation.