Claims involving catastrophic injuries are extremely complex. Victims who sustained these types of life-altering injuries often need ongoing or lifelong medical care and may be unable to work to support themselves and their families.
Below we discuss catastrophic injuries in greater detail, including how these claims are likely to be evaluated. If you suffered a life-altering injury because of another party’s negligent, careless or willful acts, our Silver Spring personal injury lawyers are prepared to help. We offer a completely free consultation to discuss your situation, including whether you may be eligible to seek compensation in an injury claim.
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How are Catastrophic Injuries Defined in Maryland?
While Maryland does not specifically provide a definition for this type of serious physical harm, injuries may be considered catastrophic if the damages are long-term or life-altering. In some cases, the injuries may also be life-threatening.
Catastrophic injuries may be the result of a car crash, medical malpractice or some other type of accident. Common examples of catastrophic injuries that may result from another’s negligence or malpractice include:
- Internal organ damage: The damage could be permanent and potentially fatal if left untreated.
- Spinal cord Injuries: Victims may suffer partial or full, temporary or permanent paralysis from spinal cord injuries. These injuries cause a variety of other issues, such as loss of bladder control, intense pain and sexual dysfunction.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Not all TBIs are catastrophic, but those that are might cause temporary or permanent brain damage, difficulty sleeping, speaking or walking, memory loss, mood swings and more.
- Amputations/loss of one or more limbs: While not typically life-threatening, loss of a limb is considered a catastrophic and life-altering injury.
- Severe, second to third-degree burns: Depending on the severity of the burns, a victim may be severely disfigured and require multiple surgeries.
- Permanent hearing or vision loss: Victims who suffer hearing or vision loss may need surgery, special devices or rehabilitation therapy.
- Multiple compound fractures: Compound fractures may require multiple surgeries and physical therapy. Often these patients may later develop painful and debilitating arthritis.
Discussing a Catastrophic Injury with Your Doctor
While seeking immediate treatment is vital to your health and your chances of obtaining full compensation, it is also important to be detailed when discussing your injury with your doctor. Make sure to explain all the symptoms you are experiencing. If and when new symptoms develop, make sure to update your doctor at follow-up appointments. Your doctor cannot provide proper treatment unless he or she knows what is going on.
When you first meet with the doctor, tell him or her everything you remember about the crash and how you were injured. For example, tell the doctor if you hit your head or any other body parts during the collision.
You should also discuss preexisting medical issues, as this will allow the doctor to differentiate between your current injury and your preexisting medical problems. Existing medical issues may impact the healing process and potentially your treatment options. Your doctor needs to be informed to try to make the best decisions for stabilizing and treating your injury.
How Are Catastrophic Injuries Valued in Maryland?
Each case is different, and your attorney will need to consider many different factors to determine a value that will compensate you fairly, including the care you have received and will need in the future, lost wages and more.
The types of damages an eligible plaintiff (the injured victim) could receive include:
- Past, present and future medical care associated with the injury
- Loss of income while unable to work and the loss of future earning potential
- Personal care attendants
- Counseling or psychological therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Devices to help accommodate any changes to your mobility, such as a wheelchair or home modifications
When Can You Seek Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury?
An attorney will need to determine your eligibility to seek compensation for a catastrophic injury caused by another party’s negligence. Because the damages for these types of injuries are significant, you can expect the insurance company to push back and try to find a way to put some of the fault on you. Insurance companies are less concerned about your needs and more concerned about paying out as little on a claim as possible.
For this and other reasons, we strongly recommend that you speak with a qualified attorney as soon as possible and before speaking with the insurance company. The insurance company may sound friendly and concerned, but they may also use underhanded tactics to attempt to get you to admit fault for your injuries.
The qualified attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan have extensive experience and can help to determine your eligibility for seeking compensation after a catastrophic injury. We are dedicated to helping victims injured by the careless, negligent or reckless acts of others.
Call Our Firm When You Need Experienced Legal Help on Your Side
Our qualified team of legal professionals is standing by to help. These types of claims are often long and complex, and there are deadlines that apply. Delaying may put you at risk of losing the opportunity to recover the compensation you need.
At Goldberg Finnegan, you can call us anytime, 24/7 to schedule your free case review. There is no obligation to hire our services. This is an opportunity to get much-needed answers to your legal questions.