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Catastrophic injuries and illnesses are severe, long-term medical conditions in which recovery is prolonged or unlikely. This type of injuries and illnesses typically result in 30 or more lost days of work. While “catastrophic” is often used to relate injuries and illnesses to lost work and wages, it can also describe limitations in personal and family life.

Personal injury law refers to the legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits. Personal injury lawsuits apply to any situation in which a defendant’s intentional conduct causes harm to another person. This includes traumatic events such as assault and battery or car accidents among other incidents.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer does not have to be costly. The amount you pay in legal fees largely depends on the billing methods of your law firm. At TorHoerman Law, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not owe any payment until we have won your case and you have been compensated.

What is Considered a Catastrophic Injury or Illness?

Law Insider defines catastrophic injury or illness as:

an injury or illness that is expected to incapacitate the employee for an extended period of time, or that incapacitates a member of the employee’s family, which incapacity requires the employee to take time off from work for an extended period of time to care for that family member, and taking extended time off work creates a financial hardship for the employee.

Catastrophic injuries and illnesses are severe, long-term medical conditions in which recovery is prolonged or unlikely. In the legal sense, they are due to another person or organization’s actions, negligence, lack of care, or faulty product design. Many states do not have rigid definitions of the “extended period of time,” but catastrophic injuries and illnesses typically result in 30 or more lost workdays.

While “catastrophic” is often used to relate injuries and illnesses to lost work and wages, it can also describe limitations in personal and family life.


The Types of Catastrophic Injuries

The loss of a limb by surgery, illness, or trauma.

Damage from brain injuries including concussions, contusions, diffuse axonal injuries, hemorrhaging, and hematomas.

Tissue damage from heat, chemical, electrical, and radiation exposure.

Broken bones, often due to high-force impact or stress.

Rupturing, bruising, or crushing of the body’s internal organs.

Loss of cognitive and executive functioning such as memory, judgment, and concentration.

Catastrophic Injuries and Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is a legal term used for situations where a person dies due to another person’s negligence or misconduct. This is common in catastrophic injury cases that lead to a person’s death. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the deceased person’s family members, friends, or associates if they suffered monetary losses or other losses because of the death of a loved one.


Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Intentional torts such as physical assault, battery, or abuse.

Injuries sustained from dangerous and defective products, drugs, and devices.

Slip and fall injuries sustained at residential, public, and business spaces.

Catastrophic injuries are caused by a health care professional or provider’s negligence or medical malpractice.

Instances when a pedestrian is hurt due to automobile, motorcycle, public transportation, Uber and Lyft, or infrastructure accidents or issues.

Injuries sustained due to an owner’s breached “duty of care” on-premises.

Exposure to toxic chemicals causes life-altering injuries.

Car accidents, auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other motor vehicle crash injuries caused by another driver’s negligence or lack of reasonable care.

Injuries occurring on employer property or at employer events, injuries caused by employer property (ex: machinery and equipment), and injuries from exposure due to dangerous work conditions.

What to Do if You Suffer a Catastrophic Injury

If you or a loved one suffer a severe, potentially catastrophic injury, you must prioritize safety and wellbeing. The specific steps you take depend on the incident and who is involved (for example, handling a car accident injury is different than one due to a product design defect). In general, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately. It’s crucial, and often lifesaving, to have your injuries treated as soon as possible.

After you have ensured that all involved individuals receive proper medical care, gather any necessary information, and assess the damages. Takedown any relevant information for medical, legal, and insurance purposes. This includes the names, insurance information, and phone numbers of any parties involved, including witnesses. If possible, take photos at the scene. Be sure to report your incident to the proper authorities. Contact a catastrophic injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.


Mitigating a Catastrophic Injury

Mitigation is the act of reducing the impact and costs of your injuries. This means seeking proper medical care and following the advice of your doctor. When dealing with a catastrophic injury or illness, mitigating your injuries is crucial. Proper mitigation will help ensure that you recover to the full extent and receive full compensation for your injuries. Failure to mitigate, on the other hand, could hinder both your recovery and your legal case.


Hiring a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer

Dealing with a catastrophic injury lawsuit alone can be overwhelming. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you navigate any legal challenges and ensure that your case is as strong as possible. This increases your chances for a successful case and settlement. He or she will also be able to help with issues involving health insurance companies, credit card disputes, and other relevant personal injury case disputes. Building a strong attorney-client relationship is important, so find a lawyer who will prioritize your needs and keep you updated on your case. Contact us for a free consultation and to learn more.


Filing a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury at the fault of another individual or organization, you could be eligible to file a catastrophic injury lawsuit. The goal of these suits is to help victims return as close as possible to the same physical, financial, and mental position as they were before the injury happened. Make sure that your case falls within your state’s statute of limitations. Consult with a catastrophic injury lawyer to make sure that your case fits the necessary criteria.

Your attorney will gather the proper information to determine if you have a viable case. If he or she decides that your claim is valid, it’s time to file a claim. Your lawyer will work with you through the civil litigation process while fighting for your case. If the verdict is made in your favor, or if the case is settled out of court, you will then earn compensation for your damages.


How is Compensation Determined?

Catastrophic personal injury compensation agreements can be settled at trial or outside of the courts. The involved parties’ attorneys will often negotiate a settlement amount based on the multiplier method or per diem method. Catastrophic injury attorneys will usually seek compensation that is two to five times the total costs of clients’ medical expenses and lost wages. If the parties cannot agree on an amount, the case will proceed to trial. The courts calculate compensation using guidelines established by the Judicial Studies Board.



Catastrophic Injury Damages

Damages are “awards,” or sums of money, to cover losses you experienced because of your injuries. This includes both special damages and general damages. Special damages are easy to calculate and include expenses such as medical debt and bills, litigation costs, and property damage (think of things that would have a receipt). General damages are more subjective and cover expenses related to emotional distress, healing, and lasting traumas. Catastrophic injury damages include, but are not limited to:

Including medical bills from the injury and costs of subsequent medical care.

Covers current and future lost wages due to the injuries.

The loss of ability to participate in and enjoy life.

Includes anxiety, depression, and other emotional distress.

Do My Injuries Qualify for a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit?

Catastrophic injury classification is dependent on a variety of factors including fault, the severity of injuries, and incurred losses. These lawsuits typically involve cases where a person was injured so badly that he or she was unable to continue with work and other day-to-day functions. The parameters for what qualifies as a catastrophic injury can vary based on state law and a judge’s interpretation. This is why it’s advised to work with a catastrophic injury lawyer who is experienced with these types of lawsuits. He or she will be able to help you determine if your injuries qualify and if a catastrophic injury lawsuit is a good fit.


TorHoerman Law, Catastrophic Injury Law Firm

TorHoerman Law is dedicated to fighting for the rights of those injured through no fault of their own. Our experienced team of catastrophic injury lawyers works hard so that victims and their families can focus on their physical recovery and well-being. We offer free, zero-obligation case consultations, and our legal services are based on contingency fees. This means none of our clients pay until we have helped them receive compensation. Contact the legal team at TorHoerman today for a free consultation.



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TorHoerman Law is an awesome firm to represent anyone that has been involved in a case that someone has stated that it's too difficult to win. The entire firm makes you feel like you’re part of the family, Tor, Eric, Jake, Kristie, Chad, Tyler, Kathy and Steven are the best at what they do.

They helped my elderly uncle receive compensation for the loss of his wife who was administered a dangerous drug. He consulted with this firm because of my personal recommendation and was very pleased with the compassion, attention to detail and response he received. Definitely recommend this firm for their 5 star service.

When I wanted to join the Xarelto class action lawsuit, I chose TorrHoerman Law from a search of a dozen or so law firm websites. I was impressed with the clarity of the information they presented. I gave them a call, and was again impressed, this time with the quality of our interactions.


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