When trying to advance an insurance claim that involves catastrophic injuries, several differences make these cases distinct from typical personal injuries claims. Take a look at some of the issues a catastrophic injuries attorney may have to address while helping a client.
Proving the Injuries Were Catastrophic
The big thing that distinguishes these types of cases is that the claim of catastrophic injuries will be reviewed a little more closely. That's especially the case if the injuries aren't outwardly evident. While it's easy to a claims adjuster to confirm the validity of a claim involving facial disfigurement, for example, a case that involves damage to internal organs might require more extensive medical documentation.
Caps Are Removed
Many states have caps on what can be claimed in injury cases. Virtually all states, however, have exceptions that allow a catastrophic injuries lawyer to pursue much greater amounts of compensation. Without a cap on the damages that can be claimed, it's arguable that an insurance company has a stronger motive to settle the case. An adjuster's goal, after all, is to get a valid case resolved without exposing the insured party to further legal liability.
A Potentially Longer Process
Often, attorneys worry that their clients will accept a settlement only to learn that they have a previously undiscovered medical problem. It becomes borderline impossible for a client to pursue a second case against the at-fault party. The one major exception would be if there appeared to be evidence of fraud in the settlement.
For these reasons, a catastrophic injuries lawyer generally wants to take cases a bit slower than normal. This allows them and the client to collect medical documentation. If you needed exploratory surgery to determine just how extensive a spinal injury is, for example, that's a piece of information you'll want to have documented before you file your claim. Oftentimes, getting better information means waiting longer.
The Threat of Punitive Damages
Although punitive damages are pretty much never awarded in settlements, they can be awarded in trials. This is the nightmare scenario for most insurance companies and they would prefer to avoid this scenario at all costs. While you don't necessarily want to push for a trial just to get punitive damages, your catastrophic injuries attorney will likely use the threat to coax the insurance company toward a friendlier settlement offer.
If you've had a serious injury and think you have a case, contact local law firms to connect with a catastrophic injuries attorney.