Many people who are hurt in accidents face physical, financial, and emotional hardships. However, a catastrophic injury can have consequences that last a lifetime.
Catastrophic injuries are ones that cause massive damage or death. Survivors often contend with astronomical medical expenses, tremendous economic losses, and significant lost quality of life. For all of these reasons, catastrophic injury claims often result in high damages.
Did you or a loved one suffer a catastrophic injury on Oahu? At Recovery Law Center, we understand the pain and grief that accompanies such life-changing injuries. We also know that catastrophic injuries can have major short and long-term impacts on your life and livelihood. You’ll get the compassionate and strong support with need by working with Honolulu personal injury lawyer Glenn Honda.
Our legal team will fight for you to obtain maximum compensation that accounts for all of your needs, both now and in the future. Let’s get started now. Contact us today for a free, confidential case review.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is any injury that permanently prevents someone from performing work that allows them to earn a living. Catastrophic injuries frequently leave survivors with some kind of permanent physical or cognitive disability.
Many catastrophic injuries involve severe damage to the brain or spinal cord. Some also involve the permanent loss of a body part or function, such as a limb amputation or the ability to walk unassisted.
In short, catastrophic injuries can be life-changing. Many survivors are left dependent on public assistance to support themselves. They may also experience a dramatic change in their personal lives, forced to abandon careers and activities they once loved. In some cases, family members may have to quit their own jobs to serve as primary caregivers, causing a sudden and damaging gap in the household’s finances.
When a person suffers a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence, they have the right to seek fair compensation in Hawaii. A skilled attorney can identify the causes and effects of catastrophic injuries and hold at-fault parties accountable for their negligence.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Injuries caused by forceful blows, jolts, or penetrating injuries to the head. A severe TBI can lead to damaged brain cells, comas, seizures, and long-term cognitive problems.
- Spinal cord injuries: Any kind of damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent losses of strength, sensation, muscle control, and other bodily function below the site of an injury. Severe spinal cord injuries may lead to partial or total paralysis.
- Severe burns: Second, third, and fourth-degree burns may leave victims with irreparable skin damage, scarring, and disfigurement. Catastrophic burn injury victims can permanently lose their physical sensation, ability to sweat, and ability to ward off infections.
- Amputation: Accident victims who lose one or more limbs may be permanently unable to move around or function as they once did, making it difficult to perform many different types of jobs.
- Brachial plexus injuries: A preventable type of catastrophic injury that can cause permanent disability in the arms and hands.
- Multiple fractures: In complex fractures, the bones shatter in multiple locations. These fractures are difficult to heal and sometimes lead to permanent disabilities.
Accidents That Can Cause Catastrophic Injuries
There are many different accident scenarios that can cause catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents: The extreme forces of a motor vehicle collision can easily cause catastrophic injuries to vehicle occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Amputations, severe burns, broken bones, and injuries to the brain and spinal cord are all common car accident injuries.
- Slip and falls: People who experience serious slip and fall accidents on unsafe properties frequently suffer catastrophic injuries like bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, and head trauma.
- Medical malpractice: When medical providers are negligent, victims sometimes sustain catastrophic injuries such as brachial plexus trauma, organ damage, severe infections, and even accidental amputations.
- Construction and workplace accidents: Construction and work sites often have heavy machinery, equipment, and moving parts that can cause all kinds of catastrophic injuries.
- Sports accidents: High-impact sports such as football and hockey can leave athletes with catastrophic injuries such as TBIs, spinal cord trauma, and serious bone fractures.
- Recreational accidents: Hawaii provides residents and visitors with a wide array of recreational activities to enjoy, such as boating, surfing, parasailing, and more. If a rental company or other business is negligent in some way, a victim who suffers a catastrophic injury may have a case against the at-fault entity.
Should I Settle with the Insurance Company After a Catastrophic Injury?
If you suffered a catastrophic injury in Hawaii, you may be wondering whether an insurance settlement will provide you with the compensation you need to manage the effects of your injuries.
With a lifetime of potential disabilities on the line, it’s advisable to speak with an attorney before making any deals with an insurance company. There are several reasons why:
● The insurer will want to settle fast: Insurance adjusters will push you to accept a settlement quickly. However, some people mistakenly settle before they have a reasonable idea about what life after a catastrophic injury will be like. A lawyer can prevent you from settling too soon and missing out on the money you will need moving forward.
● An attorney can put a reasonable value on your claim: While some damages in a catastrophic injury case can be calculated, others (such as pain and suffering) are not easily quantified. A lawyer will be able to put a reasonable estimate on your claim and fight for the maximum possible amount.
● Your attorney knows what evidence is needed to support your claim for compensation. In Hawaii, you can receive money for your total and anticipated medical costs, rehabilitation, lost wages, costs of home modifications and medical equipment, cost of nursing care, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more.
If the insurance company fails to offer a settlement that’s fair, a catastrophic injury attorney may recommend that you take the at-fault party to court. Even when a lawsuit is filed, most cases settle before going to trial.
How Are Catastrophic Injury Claims Handled in Hawaii?
If you decide to pursue compensation for a catastrophic injury in Hawaii, you should consider how the following laws and rules could affect your claim:
- Statute of limitations: Hawaii’s statute of limitations law provides catastrophic injury victims with two years to file claims for compensation. This two-year time limit begins on the date of your accident or the date when you knew or should have known about your catastrophic injury.
- Comparative negligence: The rule of comparative negligence in Hawaii says that if you were partially responsible for the accident that caused your catastrophic injury, the amount of compensation you can claim will be reduced according to your overall percentage of fault. If you were more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you are prohibited from recovering compensation at all.
- Compensation limits: There is a $375,000 cap on pain and suffering damages in Hawaii. In addition, your ability to collect full and fair compensation could be affected based on the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits.
- Settlement tax policies: Any compensation you receive specifically for your catastrophic physical injury is not taxable. However, you may owe income taxes on any compensation you receive for pain and suffering that is not the direct result of your catastrophic injury.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Catastrophic injury cases often involve high-value compensation amounts, which means that at-fault parties have even more incentive to minimize or deny claims. A lawyer can help you succeed in your catastrophic injury claim by:
- Providing experienced advice: A catastrophic injury lawyer can help you understand your rights as well as any laws or regulations that apply to your case. A lawyer also has years of experience handling similar cases and can tell you how much your claim could be worth and whether it is likely to succeed.
- Locating compelling evidence: Attorneys can conduct investigations to uncover and preserve valuable evidence if the cause or effects of your accident are disputed.
- Consulting with experts: Lawyers often know medical professionals, occupational specialists, and accident reconstruction experts who can provide testimony to support your claim.
- Negotiating with insurance providers: Attorneys are seasoned negotiators who can communicate with insurance companies to argue for the maximum compensation you deserve for your catastrophic injury claim.
- Representing you in court: If insurance providers refuse to offer a reasonable settlement for your catastrophic injury claim, a lawyer can help you file a lawsuit to demand compensation in court.
Contact a Honolulu Personal Injury Lawyer If You’ve Been Injured
If you suffered a catastrophic injury in Honolulu, let Recovery Law Center manage your legal case so that you can focus on healing, rest, and rehabilitation.
There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting our catastrophic injury lawyer for a free consultation. Call or contact us today.