Catastrophic injuries can occur without warning. In a split second, you could lose the ability to work and to do the things you enjoy. Due to the negligence of another, you may find yourself suffering from life-changing trauma. You don’t want to drown under the financial pressure of lost wages, medical bills, and daily alterations to the way you live.
You’ve filed a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer, but the financial settlement they’ve offered you won’t even begin to compensate for what you’ve lost. How can you get justice? Where can you turn?
The right Merrillville catastrophic injury attorney can fight for you and allow you to focus on your long journey to getting your life back.
What is a catastrophic injury?
Legally, a catastrophic injury differs from the broader personal injury claim. The definition may vary based on the state where your injury occurs. However, as defined by Indiana law § 35-31.5-2-34.5, a catastrophic injury is a severe bodily injury that impairs your ability to live independently for at least one year.
Catastrophic injuries include:
- Chronic pain
- Intellectual impairment
- Loss of limb
- Paralysis (either partial or full)
- Spinal cord injuries
- TBIs (traumatic brain injuries)
- Third-degree burns
No one anticipates a catastrophic injury or the devastation wreaked by such trauma. If you’ve endured grievous injury as a result of another’s carelessness or dereliction of duty, you could be entitled to significant compensation.
How can a Merrillville attorney help?
A catastrophic injury can leave you in pain for the rest of your life. You shouldn’t have to rely on the fairness of the insurance company to ensure you receive a just settlement. Lawyers may be the last thing on your mind, yet the right legal team can immensely alleviate your stress.
A Merrillville catastrophic injury attorney can:
- Gather Evidence:
Any proof you have of the accident and your injuries can bolster your case. For example, physical evidence that clears you of fault for your injuries such as video or photographic documentation of the scene of the accident.
Photos or videos of your injuries, medical bills and documented diagnosis, and proof that your catastrophic injury has irrevocably changed your life will strengthen the foundation of your case.
- Obtain Eyewitness Testimony:
A good lawyer can interview people who witnessed your accident or who can testify to its traumatic aftermath. Eyewitnesses could include forensic experts such as medical professionals, loved ones, employers (both former and current), and co-workers.
- File Paperwork:
A lawyer can file any documentation and paperwork required by the insurance company or the courts so that you can concentrate on healing.
- Represent You in Negotiations and in Court:
The insurance claims process and any subsequent lawsuit you may file may require numerous face-to-face negotiations and court appearances. A catastrophic injury attorney can represent you in these meetings.
Are catastrophic injuries included in personal injury claims?
Although catastrophic injuries fall under the umbrella of personal injury claims, the two claims differ in significant ways. A general personal injury claim covers minor as well as severe injuries, and you could face a cap on the amount of damages you can receive.
On the other hand, a catastrophic injury may award significant damages.
What damages can you seek in a Merrillville catastrophic injury case?
Catastrophic injuries can require a noteworthy settlement. A Merrillville lawyer can help you determine what damages you should seek in your case. Some of the damages included in catastrophic injury claims can include:
Economic damages account for confirmed financial losses and cover (but aren’t limited to) the following:
- Cost of repairs or replacements
- Loss of employment
- Loss of property
- Lost wages and future earnings
- Present and future medical expenses
Non-economic damages refer to the pain and suffering you’ve endured that cannot be financially quantified. These damages don’t have defined monetary value, but often, your pain and suffering can cost you just as much as economic damages.
Non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Mental pain and anguish
- Physical pain and anguish
- Temporary or permanent disabilities and impairments
- Wrongful death
What to know in an Indiana catastrophic injury case
Any catastrophic injury case filed in Merrillville will have to adhere to Indiana laws. A lawyer can help ensure that your claim calls within legal mandates and can also help you calculate the financial settlement you choose to seek.
It’s tough to put a number on your pain and suffering and the losses you’ve experienced as a result of catastrophic injury. Nevertheless, as a general rule of thumb, there are formulas you can follow to calculate a monetary value.
Essentially, you can take the confirmed amount of your economic damages and multiply them based on the severity and permanence of your injuries, and how these injuries impact your daily life.
Indiana statute of limitations
In Indiana, you have a time limit on how long you can take before you file a catastrophic injury claim: Indiana state law IC § 34-11-2-4 provides two years from the date of your injury before legal recourse is unavailable to you. However, there are provisions for minors and for those mentally or physically incapacitated as a result of their injuries.
Damage caps on Indiana pain and suffering damages
Indiana also has laws pertaining to the monetary amount of economic damages you can seek in a catastrophic injury case. Indiana state law caps punitive damages at whichever is greater: $50,000 or 3 times the amount of economic damages.
As a comparative fault state, Indiana law also states that if you hold any fault for your injuries (under 50%), the amount of your settlement may be reduced. If you hold greater than 50% fault, you will not be permitted to seek compensation.
If the state or federal government is responsible for your injuries, the Indiana Tort Claims Act limits the amount of compensation you can receive.
Contact Yosha Law
After you’ve endured life-changing trauma, you shouldn’t have to battle the insurance company to receive the compensation you deserve. The catastrophic injury attorneys of Yosha Law can help fight for you in Merrillville and other regions across Indiana.
We’re passionate about helping you find justice in the aftermath of your injuries, and we consider every client to be a part of our family. We can help you explore the merits of your case and stand in your corner in any legal battle you may face. Contact us for a consultation today.