Challenges of Catastrophic Crash Injury Claims

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on December 28, 2021 in Personal Injury
Updated on February 24, 2022

woman wheelchair catastrophic injuryMany traffic accident injuries may heal over several weeks or months. However, more severe injuries may take longer and need more medical treatments. Severe or catastrophic damages are likely to have a huge impact on a victim’s life. If you were severely harmed by another’s negligence, you may also be eligible to seek significant compensation in a catastrophic crash injury claim.

At PKSD, one of our qualified Milwaukee-based personal injury lawyers is here to talk about the legal options. This free initial consultation carries no obligation to use our services. If your claim has merit, and you do hire our firm, there are no upfront fees to pay.

Defining Severe and Catastrophic Injuries

Wisconsin law does not provide a definition for catastrophic injuries. However, the law does define severe injuries, which are those that cause great bodily harm and involve:

  • Substantial risk of death
  • Significant and permanent disfigurement
  • Extensive loss or impairment of the function of a body part or organ

How Do I Know if I Have a Catastrophic Injury?

To determine if you suffered a catastrophic injury, consider if it has a lengthy or lasting impact. For example, if you suffer an arm fracture in an accident, it may need multiple surgeries and physical therapy. After months or longer of ongoing treatment, you may regain full functionality. However, your arm may never feel the way it did before the accident. That said, if you can return to work and take care of yourself, the law considers your injury serious, but not catastrophic.

If your injury causes you to become disabled, disfigured or requires extensive treatment, then it may be deemed catastrophic. For example, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often a severe injury that disrupts normal brain function. It is typically caused by an external force or trauma, such as a violent jolt to the head during an accident. The lasting impact of a TBI can leave you with a permanent physical change.

A severe or catastrophic injury greatly alters a person’s life. These victims may never be able to return to work, support themselves or their family members. Often these severely injured victims may also have a hard time maintaining their personal and professional relationships.

The amount of treatment required to help make a victim “whole” again (which may not happen) can be costly. It can also be physically and emotionally taxing for the injured victim.

Impact of a Catastrophic Injury in a Case

Catastrophic injuries often lead to complex legal cases and can have a significant impact on a claim.

Greater Medical Costs

If you sustained a catastrophic injury, you would likely have significantly higher medical bills, especially if you were hospitalized for several months. You may also have to live in a rehabilitation facility while undergoing intensive medical care and physical therapy. Even after being discharged, you may need at-home care, additional surgeries, assistive devices (i.e. a wheelchair), and more.

Significant Life Adjustments

There are other adjustments that may be needed to help you manage your daily life after a catastrophic injury. For instance, some crash victims may be unable to drive anymore and may have to use a transportation service. Others may only be able to drive if they buy a new, specially modified vehicle. Your injury may also require you to make modifications to your home, such as adding ramps or lifts. If this is not possible, you may have to move, which is also costly.

Ability to Earn

Depending on the extent and type of your catastrophic injury, you may not be able to go back to your former job. If you can work in a reduced capacity, you may earn significantly less. Sometimes, catastrophic injury victims are not able to work at all. If that happens, not only have you lost income, but your ability to earn in the future has also been drastically reduced from before the accident.

Mental Well-Being

A catastrophic injury can change your life in an instant, having a profound impact on your mental well-being. This could include having anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or trouble sleeping.

For these and other reasons, severe or catastrophic injuries often involve larger settlements or verdicts. This is why you need an experienced lawyer who is well-versed in the losses victims suffer after sustaining this type of injury.

PKSD is prepared to work tirelessly on your behalf to help you recover the compensation you need. A knowledgeable attorney at our firm is ready to:

  • Examine your medical records to determine all your injuries
  • Help you to document the pain from your injuries and the effect they have had on your life

Seeking Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries

To recover compensation for a catastrophic injury, you will need to file a legal claim. This action requires you and your attorney to prove that:

  • One or more parties owed you a duty of care
  • That duty of care was breached by their negligence
  • Their act of negligence led to your accident and caused your injuries

Insurance companies representing the at-fault party will do all they can to reduce their liability. Their goal is to pay as little as possible. Unfortunately, if insurers succeed, it may leave the victim with a low settlement that does not begin to cover all the damages. A qualified lawyer will determine the full value of your case and seek maximum compensation on your behalf.

Wisconsin’s statute of limitations requires victims to file a lawsuit within a certain amount of time. Generally, you must file a lawsuit within three years from the date of the accident for most personal injuries. While there are exceptions to the rule, they are rare. Missing the deadline could result in being barred from seeking any recovery at all for the damages.

See How Our Lawyers May Be Able to Help

If you or someone you know has sustained a severe or catastrophic injury, do not hesitate to contact PKSD. Our lawyers have a proven track record, recovering millions of dollars for clients. We are ready to represent your best interests and work hard for you to receive the compensation you need.

Set up a free consultation to get started. You are under no obligation after this initial meeting to hire our firm. If you do move forward, there are no upfront fees while we investigate and work on a case.

Learn if you have a case. 877-877-2228

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