A Georgia Lawyer Helping Injured Victims Get the Compensation They Deserve
Catastrophic injuries are injuries that result in significant functional disabilities. They include injuries to the brain and spine and profoundly affect the rest of victims’ lives. Fortunately, in many cases, catastrophic injury victims are entitled to significant compensation for their injury-related losses, including their medical expenses, lost income, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and lost quality of life.
At Brauns Law, we are committed to helping injured victims obtain the compensation they deserve under Georgia law. We offer completely free, no-obligation consultations and a no-win, no-fee guarantee. To schedule your free case evaluation with an Atlanta catastrophic injury lawyer in Atlanta, call Brauns Law today at (404) 348-0889.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that allows your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. It transmits nerve signals that are necessary for movement and sensation, and when it is damaged, it can interfere with these signals. In some cases, a spinal cord injury can be so severe that communication is completely cut off, resulting in paralysis below the site of the injury. Even in cases where the brain can still communicate with the rest of the body, victims often experience significant issues like numbness, tingling, pain, loss of range of motion, and muscle weakness.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are often the result of a bump or blow to the head. They can also occur when the head snaps back and forth on the neck with force sufficient to cause the brain to hit against the inside of the skull. They cause a disruption in normal brain function and can cause significant issues, including:
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Slurred speech
Fortunately, in many cases, these symptoms resolve within a few weeks or months, allowing victims to live as they did prior to their accident. In more serious cases, however, victims can be left with significant physical and cognitive difficulties that may affect them for the rest of their lives. Many severe traumatic brain injury victims are unable to ever return to work and may not be able to live on their own. Common causes of traumatic brain injuries include motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, and sports accidents.
Other Catastrophic Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries are just two examples of serious catastrophic injuries that can have lifelong consequences. Any injury that can result in a significant functional disability can be considered catastrophic. Some examples of other catastrophic injuries include the following:
- Accidental amputations
- Facial injuries
- Foot injuries
- Eye injuries
- Organ damage
- Hand injuries
- Shoulder injuries
Protecting Your Rights After a Catastrophic Injury
By definition, catastrophic injuries will result in long-term consequences that will substantially affect victims’ lives. For this reason, they tend to result in cases involving significant sums of money, often well into the millions of dollars.
If you are dealing with a catastrophic injury that occurred in an accident, it’s critical that you do everything you can to protect your rights. The insurance company is not on your side and will do everything it can to pay you as little as possible. Some of the tactics that insurance companies may use to minimize the amount it compensates you include the following:
- Waiting for your medical expenses to accumulate before making a settlement offer, knowing that the financial pressure of mounting bills will make it more likely that you will settle for less.
- Telling you that the “need” a recorded statement in order to “process” your claim. The reality is that the insurance company does not need anything, but a recorded statement gives them an opportunity to trick you into saying something that may justify a lower settlement offer.
- Contacting you immediately after your accident with a settlement offer, hoping that you have not had a chance to speak to a lawyer to find out much your claim is actually worth.
- Starting with an unreasonably low settlement offer.
- Requesting an overbroad authorization to sift through your medical records, looking for anything in your past that could allow them to characterize your injuries as a “pre-existing condition.”
Fortunately, there are certain things that you can do to protect your legal rights after a catastrophic injury. The most important of these include:
- Seeking medical attention right away after an injury-causing accident.
- Engaging in follow-up care and following all of your doctor’s treatment recommendations.
- Keeping detailed notes about the way in which your injuries affect your day-to-day life. Things of which to make note include pain you experience, activities you can no longer enjoy, feelings of sadness, anxiety, or depression, problems sleeping, and social or family gatherings your injuries prevent you from attending.
- Staying off social media. Insurance companies may closely monitor your online activity to see if you post anything that may allow them to argue that your injuries are not as serious as you are saying that they are or that they are not affecting you in the way that you claim.
- Calling an attorney as soon as you can. Once you retain a personal injury lawyer, he or she will represent you in all communications with the insurance company and protect your rights. Waiting to start your claim can jeopardize your chances of obtaining compensation, as evidence critical to your case may disappear or get destroyed. In addition, if you wait too long, your claim could be completely barred by the statute of limitations.
Atlanta Catastrophic Injury FAQ
Some accident victims walk away with only a few scratches or no injuries at all. Others, however, have their lives instantly changed when they sustain catastrophic injuries. The following are some common questions about catastrophic injuries and resulting legal claims. To discuss your specific injuries and rights, contact an Atlanta catastrophic injury attorney at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm.
What is an Atlanta catastrophic injury?
The term “catastrophic injury” can have varying definitions in different settings. For legal purposes, an injury can be catastrophic if it permanently impairs the use of a body part or impacts your neurological functioning. Catastrophic injuries can often have long-term effects and require extensive and ongoing medical treatment.
One characteristic of many catastrophic injuries is an adverse effect on your abilities. This can involve physical or cognitive impairments, which might impair your ability to continue working at your job or engage in your usual activities. Because of the widespread effect of catastrophic injuries on your life, it is common for losses stemming from these injuries to be overwhelming.
Catastrophic injuries can be difficult to recover from, and this makes it more important than ever to have the right attorney on your side and protecting your rights. Because of the extent of losses from severe injuries, resulting claims can be complex matters, and you want the right Atlanta catastrophic injury lawyer handling your claim from the very start.
What injuries can be catastrophic?
Many types of injuries have the potential to alter your life, such as:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – This injury results from head trauma, and it can cause long-term cognitive, physical, and behavioral disabilities.
- Spinal cord injury (SCI) – Your spine delivers messages from your brain to your body, and complete damage to your spinal cord can cut off these messages, resulting in permanent paralysis.
- Burns – Severe burn injuries can be catastrophic, as they can result in permanent disfigurement, amputation, or other impaired use of certain burned areas of the body.
- Amputations – Losing a body part will change your life. Amputations might be traumatic and happen as part of the accident, or they might be surgical following a severe and irreparable crush injury or burn.
If you suffered a life-changing injury, you want the right legal representation moving forward.
What causes catastrophic injuries in Atlanta?
Catastrophic injuries occur for many reasons, and they are often the result of accidents or incidents that other parties cause.
Some common causes of catastrophic injuries that might lead to an injury claim are:
- Car accidents – When your vehicle collides with another car or otherwise crashes, it can result in head trauma, spinal injuries, and other lasting injuries.
- Truck accidents – Because large commercial trucks are so much bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, they have the potential to cause more catastrophic injuries when they crash.
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents – While motorcyclists and bicyclists might wear helmets, they have very little protection from severe and life-changing injuries if a car hits these vehicles.
- Pedestrian accidents – Pedestrians have even less protection than motorcyclists and bicyclists, as rarely do people wear helmets of any protective gear when walking. This leaves them much more vulnerable to severe injuries in an accident.
- Dog bites – When a dog attacks you, their jaws might tear through your skin and result in amputations of fingers or extremities. Dog attacks can also result in permanent disfigurement and disabilities.
- Falls – Falling often comes with the high risk of hitting your head or back on objects or the ground. This is true whether you fall from a high place or on even ground.
- Medical malpractice and birth injuries – Medical professionals are supposed to take care of patients to improve their conditions, not make errors that lead to catastrophic injuries. Birth injuries, in particular, run the risk of brain or spinal injuries that can impact a person’s lifetime.
- Violence – Assault is a common cause of serious injuries, including blunt force trauma, hitting someone with a vehicle, gunshot or stab wounds, and similar unlawful conduct.
These are far from the only causes of catastrophic injuries, and many situations can lead to injury claims. If you are unsure about your rights after an incident, have a lawyer review your situation and advise you of your options for financial recovery.
What treatment is common for Atlanta catastrophic injuries?
The treatment for catastrophic injuries can vary significantly based on the type of injuries suffered. For example, spinal cord injuries require different treatments than traumatic brain injuries do.
That said, some of the potential treatments that victims of catastrophic injuries may receive include:
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Mobility aids
While the treatments for catastrophic injuries can vary greatly, one thing that victims can safely assume is that they will incur substantial medical expenses in the months and years after their accident. By their very nature, catastrophic injuries result in long-term medical issues, so victims will necessarily incur a lifetime of accident-related losses. For example, according to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, a 25-year-old suffering from high tetraplegia can expect to pay more than $4.7 million in medical expenses throughout their lifetimes. Because of the astronomical costs associated with treating catastrophic injuries, victims must protect their rights by retaining an Atlanta catastrophic injury lawyer as soon as possible.
How can catastrophic injuries affect your professional life?
Catastrophic injuries usually restrict your abilities, whether they are physical or cognitive restrictions. Depending on your line of work, a catastrophic injury can impact your ability to continue in your position.
For example, if your job involves heavy lifting and physical labor, a spinal injury and paralysis can prevent you from working in that job moving forward. If you are a researcher or in academia, cognitive impairments from a brain injury might cause you to resign. If you are a surgeon or an artist, you might not use your hands in a controlled manner due to a catastrophic injury. All of these situations can be devastating, both financially and emotionally.
If you are in school pursuing a specific career path, a catastrophic injury might derail your plans. If you lose significant future earnings because of an injury, seek recovery for the earning power you lost. Having to leave a career you enjoyed can also lead to mental suffering, which is a compensable loss.
How can catastrophic injuries affect your personal life?
While having your career disrupted can be devastating, so can the effects of a catastrophic injury on your personal relationships and life. Some people might have more difficulty maintaining romantic relationships due to a severe disability.
Others might not participate in activities they once loved, such as:
- Exercise programs
- Tending to the house
- Caring for or playing with children
Losing relationships or beloved activities can have a serious effect on your psyche and might contribute to depression and other mental suffering.
What losses are common from Atlanta catastrophic injuries?
As mentioned, catastrophic injuries can affect almost every aspect of your life, and these effects can be long-lasting or permanent. This means that you might experience losses for your lifetime, and these losses can be overwhelmingly costly. Learn about your rights from the right attorney so you can recover for your losses.
Each claim is different, and each person will experience different losses due to catastrophic injuries. Some losses might include:
- Medical bills for treatment you already received
- The estimated expenses for the ongoing medical care you will need moving forward
- Wages you lost from missing work so far
- Future lost earnings
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Permanent disabilities, disfigurement, or impairments
In addition, if your catastrophic injuries resulted from willful conduct or gross negligence, you might receive punitive damages. These damages do not stem from your losses, but instead punish the wrongdoer. If you can obtain punitive damages, it can increase the value of your claim substantially.
Calculating damages – especially damages based on intangible losses – can be a complicated matter. You want a trusted catastrophic injury attorney to determine the value of your claim.
Can you seek financial recovery for your losses in Atlanta?
Just because you sustained a severe injury and experienced extensive losses does not necessarily mean that you have the right to receive compensation. To qualify for an injury claim, you need to demonstrate that another party was negligent and responsible for causing your injuries.
Liable parties can be:
- Other negligent individuals
- Companies that employ negligent individuals
- Companies that engage in negligent hiring, supervision, or vehicle maintenance
- Businesses that allow hazards on the premises
- Medical professionals
- Manufacturers that sell defective pharmaceuticals or products
In many instances, more than one party can be liable, such as a driver on the job and the driver’s employer. Your lawyer can identify all liable parties and prepare claims to file with the necessary insurance companies.
Insurance companies are notorious for challenging liability to avoid paying out on claims. This is only one way that insurers minimize payment. You need legal assistance so you can provide sufficient evidence of liability to have the right to seek compensation for all of your injury-related losses.
In general, you must prove that:
- A party owed you a duty of care
- The party breached its duty
- The breach caused the accident
- You suffered injuries and losses as a result
This might seem fairly straightforward, but proving injury claims is more complicated than you might imagine. Do not risk losing the compensation you deserve. Contact an Atlanta catastrophic injury attorney right away.
Should you call a catastrophic injury lawyer in Atlanta?
Yes. It’s highly advisable for anyone that has suffered a catastrophic injury in a preventable accident to retain an attorney as soon as possible. Catastrophic injury cases often involve significant sums of money, and it’s not unusual for settlements to involve hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Insurance companies will do everything they can to settle catastrophic injury cases for as little as possible, and the representation of an experienced lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the full and fair value of your claim.
Some of the specific ways that an attorney can help you after a catastrophic injury include:
- Determining whether you have a claim
- Identifying all potentially liable parties
- Evaluating your current and future accident-related losses
- Drafting a demand letter and submitting your claim
- Attempting to negotiate a settlement agreement with the insurance company or at-fault party
- Filing a lawsuit on your behalf
- Representing you in court
As a victim, it’s important to keep in mind that insurance companies are in the business of turning a profit, and they do so in part by paying out as little as they can on every claim they receive. In addition, they handle claims every day and know how to pressure victims into accepting less than their cases are actually worth.
The best way to protect yourself after a catastrophic injury is to retain an experienced lawyer with a track record of success representing severely injured accident victims.
Can you afford an Atlanta catastrophic injury attorney at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm?
After starting your medical treatment, you might already be facing a pile of medical bills and might have been out of work for a while. The last thing you might want to think about is spending money to hire an attorney regarding a possible case. In fact, too many people in this situation fail to speak with legal counsel because they do not think they can afford to do so.
The good news is that hiring a catastrophic injury lawyer costs nothing out of pocket since injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
- Consultations and case evaluations are completely free
- You do not pay a retainer or hourly fees
- If you do not recover compensation, you pay no lawyer’s fees at all
- If you receive a settlement or award, the lawyer’s fees will come from your compensation
- Your lawyer will receive a predetermined percentage of your financial recovery
Because you need no money upfront—or anything out of pocket at all – you can certainly afford to hire an experienced Atlanta catastrophic injury attorney.
Call Brauns Law Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With an Atlanta Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
If you suffered a catastrophic injury in a preventable accident, there’s a chance that you are legally entitled to significant compensation for your losses under Georgia law. Attorney David Brauns is committed to helping injured people obtain justice for their losses and will not hesitate to stand up to even the biggest insurance companies. To schedule a free case evaluation with Mr. Brauns, contact us online or call our office today at (404) 348-0889.
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