The impact of a car accident can cause a number of serious injuries. A catastrophic injury is defined as a sudden injury that leaves the victim with life-changing consequences.
Not every car accident injury is catastrophic. Those that are will affect the victim and their family permanently. These injuries will impose considerable costs both now and in the future. Catastrophic injuries include:
- Neck and spine injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Loss of a limb
The accident victim seldom fully recovers from a catastrophic injury, and they will have associated costs for the rest of their life. They will suffer greatly in the short term, and the difficulties will never disappear. When someone else has caused the accident through carelessness or recklessness, they have a legal obligation to pay for all the damages. These legal rights should never be taken for granted.
Every Dollar Is Crucial in a Catastrophic Car Accident Case
When you have suffered catastrophic car accident injuries, your settlement or award amount becomes crucial. Your settlement will need to cover past and future medical bills. The last thing you want is for medical expenses to consume your entire settlement. Then, you will have nothing to compensate you for your lost wages, your pain and suffering, and the permanent changes to your lifestyle. Therefore, it is critical to know the value of your claim now before you begin settlement negotiations.
When you or a loved one have suffered a catastrophic car accident injury, you may be entitled to the following elements of compensation:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Future medical expenses
Catastrophic injuries will result in large insurance claims or jury awards when you can prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. The first step is demonstrating that the other driver was negligent in the crash. Once you do that, you can talk about actual compensation with the insurance company. It is one of the most important conversations that you will ever have. It is also a conversation that you should not have alone but with the help of an experienced attorney who knows how to value your claim and negotiate with the insurance company.
Know the Value of Your Claim Before You Move Forward
The most important information you will need is the available insurance coverage and value of your claim. You will likely need medical care for the rest of your life, which can be challenging to estimate. Your settlement will need to cover your medical expenses in the future, even if those are difficult to know with any certainty now.
In addition, you might not return to work again. Even if you can work, it may be after a considerable absence and at a reduced capacity. Your lost wages will need to stretch years into the future to continue paying your family’s bills. However, many accident victims end up drowning in medical bills because they have not fully considered their future needs when they sign a settlement agreement.
Pain and Suffering Is a Key Element of Your Accident Damages
Finally, many car accident victims discount the worth of their pain and suffering. When you are dealing with lifelong catastrophic injuries, they will impose severe effects on your well-being. You may be anxious or depressed, knowing you will never be the same. The physical pain of your injury will cause serious consequences. The responsible driver will need to pay you for your pain and suffering, just the same as they would any other car accident damage. The insurance company likes to trivialize your injuries to avoid paying you what you deserve after your accident.
The settlement negotiation will be crucial. You can expect that your settlement with the insurance company will approach policy limits. When that happens, you can turn to your own auto insurance policy when you have underinsured motorist coverage. Every North Carolina auto insurance policy must offer this coverage alongside your liability coverage.
Then, you will also need to negotiate compensation with your insurance company to make up for the difference between the policy limit and your damages. You can also obtain a judgment against the driver personally, although these judgments are usually very difficult to collect.
When to Call a Car Accident Lawyer
You should never attempt to handle a catastrophic injury claim on your own. Even if you think you can easily obtain the policy limit, you will still need to prove liability before gaining any compensation. Then, you may still need to negotiate with possibly two insurance companies. Further, auto insurance companies may not offer you the policy limit at first. You may need to work towards that in settlement negotiations.
Contact a Wilmington Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have suffered catastrophic injuries in a car accident, you need legal help immediately to protect your interests and help you secure financial compensation. The attorneys at Horton & Mendez will work tirelessly and diligently for you throughout the process, leaving no stone unturned in your pursuit of justice. Call us today at (910) 668-8067 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.
Car Accident Injury FAQs
How much is my catastrophic injury worth in compensation?
It all depends on the scope and extent of your injuries. You have a legal right to be paid back for all your damages.
What happens if the insurance company’s offer is too low to compensate me fully?
You have the right to reject a settlement offer. There is no obligation to accept the insurance company’s offer.
Do I need a car accident lawyer for my claim?
Valuing your claim and negotiating financial compensation is extremely difficult for the average person, especially when dealing with serious injuries.