Serious accidents happen every day in the Silver State. If you were in a horrific Nevada accident and sustained catastrophic injuries as a result, you're fortunate to be alive. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to feel excited about life when yours is suddenly unrecognizable. 

Catastrophic injuries can be physically, psychologically, and financially devastating – leaving victims struggling to cope with severe physical limitations, the emotional effects of living with a disability, mounting medical and household expenses, and astronomical long-term care costs. 

Finding yourself in a situation like this can be truly distressing but, if the incident in which you were injured was caused by another person or company's negligence, you may not have to bear the financial consequences of their wrongdoing on your own. You may be entitled to compensation. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the party (or parties) responsible for your injuries allows you to seek damages for a wide range of losses.

However, catastrophic injury cases are complex and involve complicated legal issues. When you've suffered catastrophic injuries in a car or truck crash, motorcycle wreck, bicycle or pedestrian collision, slip and fall, or other personal injury accident, there's far too much at stake to go it alone. Obtaining a full and fair recovery requires the representation of a skilled attorney. 

At Jones Wilson, LLP, we've helped countless clients recover compensation for life-altering injuries. We may be able to do the same for you. Here's what you need to know about catastrophic injury cases, including how hiring an attorney can greatly increase the chances of a successful outcome and maximize the value of your claim.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Victims of negligence-related accidents often wonder what makes a serious injury “catastrophic” and if their injuries qualify. In personal injury cases, the severity and permanency of the injuries in question are key factors in determining whether they're considered catastrophic. 

While  serious injuries may heal with time and proper treatment, the effects of a catastrophic injury last a lifetime. These injuries can impair your ability to hold a job or care for yourself, make you more vulnerable to other injuries and diseases, and often have a dramatically adverse effect on the lives of victims and their families. Some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries include:

Multiple or Complex Bone Fractures.

Severely broken or crushed bones may require multiple reconstructive surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, and can result in permanently reduced mobility.

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (​TBIs)

These injuries can lead to profound physical, cognitive, sensory processing, communication, and behavioral or mental health impairments. Treatment for TBIs is often extensive and ongoing.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Damage to the spine can cause varying degrees of paralysis that may be temporary or permanent. Victims with these injuries often require lifelong medical treatment and assistive care.

Severe Burns

Particularly severe or widespread burns are more than just painful – they can necessitate multiple skin grafts and other reconstructive surgeries, and can result in devastating scarring or disfigurement.

Scarring or Disfigurement

Burns aren't the only accident-related injuries that can be disfiguring. Severe lacerations and abrasion injuries, as well as amputations, can also have an extremely damaging impact on a victim's appearance and confidence.

Amputations

The loss of a limb can be life shattering. In addition to the physical challenges amputation victims face, they may also grapple with depression and other mental health conditions related to their disfigurement.

Internal Organ Damage

Accident victims can suffer internal bleeding, or organ damage or ruptures. Even if a damaged organ can be successfully repaired or removed, victims may be forced to take daily medication to maintain organ health and function.

Catastrophic Injuries and Wrongful Death Claims

Sadly, catastrophic injuries are often fatal. When an individual or company's negligence results in the catastrophic injury and death of another person, the victim's surviving family members (or a representative of their estate) may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for your loved one's death allows you to seek compensation for financial and emotional losses related to their untimely passing. Our experienced Nevada wrongful death attorneys can help you investigate your right to compensation and fight for the recovery – and justice – your family deserves.

Damages Available in Catastrophic Injury Cases

The losses in catastrophic injury cases tend to be significant, as do the resulting settlements and financial awards. If you sustained catastrophic injuries in a personal injury accident that wasn't your fault, Nevada law allows you to pursue compensation for damages both quantifiable and subjective. The most common types of damages available in catastrophic injury cases include:

Medical Expenses

This category of damages is extremely wide ranging, potentially covering all reasonable and necessary medical costs related to the accident, such as ambulance transportation, emergency department care, x-rays and other diagnostic tests, visits with doctors or specialists, hospitalizations, surgical procedures, physical and occupational therapies, prescription medications, medical equipment, accessibility-related home modifications, and the cost of future care.

Lost Income

You can also fight for compensation for the wages you lost while out of work recovering from your injuries, as well as for the loss of earning capacity if your accident-related injuries forced you into a lower-paying position or will permanently prevent you from returning to the workforce.

Pain and Suffering

This category of damages provides compensation for subjective, intangible losses related to catastrophic injuries such as inconvenience, physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish, scarring and disfigurement, limb loss or the loss of limb function, reduced quality of life, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Another type of damages – punitive damages – may also be available. Though these damages are awarded much less frequently than other kinds of damages, they may be applicable in catastrophic injury cases involving particularly egregious or repeatedly reckless conduct by the defendant.

Why You Can't Trust the Insurance Company to Look Out for Your Best Interests

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses keenly focused on the preservation of their bottom lines, so if you're counting on the negligent party's insurer to voluntarily offer you full and fair compensation for your catastrophic injuries, you're in for a rude awakening. In the insurance industry, collecting more in premiums than is paid out in claims is essential to remaining profitable. Sadly, this fixation on profit may lead to the devaluing or denial of valid claims. Here are some of the most common tricks insurance companies use to try to reduce their financial obligation to claimants:

Stalling

Insurance adjusters may drag their feet processing your claim, knowing that the longer they wait, the more desperate you'll be settle. As a result, you may end up accepting less than what you deserve.

Gathering Needless Information

After an accident, dealing with the constant demands for information from the other party's insurance company can be exhausting. Whether it's a request for a recorded statement, a release of your medical records, or other type of information, an adjuster may try to convince you that the information they've asked for is essential and you're required to provide it. This is false on both counts. Not only are you not required to cooperate with the negligent party's insurance company, but doing so usually isn't in your best interest.

Disputing Medical Treatment and Charges

The at-fault party's insurer should cover all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the accident and injuries in question. However, insurance adjusters may intentionally dispute valid treatments and their costs.

Lying about the amount of available insurance coverage. Insurance companies may purposefully misstate their clients' policy limits in order to make you think there's less coverage available than there actually is, so you'll accept a settlement that's less than what you're owed.

Spying On You

Insurance companies may hire a private investigator to follow you or go through your social media accounts with a fine-tooth comb looking for anything they can use to cast doubt on your catastrophic injury claim. Be careful not to give them any information they can use against you; this means not discussing your case on social media or with anyone other than your attorney, and being careful not to engage in activities your injuries should preclude. 

Trying to negotiate a catastrophic injuries settlement with an at-fault party's insurance company by yourself is ill advised and, in some instances, may irreparably harm your case. Without the representation of a knowledgeable and skillful personal injury attorney, insurance companies may see you as particularly vulnerable to their underhanded tactics. Don't make yourself an easy target. If you suffered catastrophic injuries in an accident caused by a negligent person or company, it's vital that you speak to a reputable attorney about your legal rights and options as soon as possible.

Why You Need an Experienced Attorney to Handle Your Catastrophic Injuries Case 

Though obtaining full and fair compensation for catastrophic injuries can be challenging, your chances for making a successful recovery greatly improve if you have an accomplished attorney by your side. That's because, when it comes to catastrophic injury claims, what you don't know can seriously hurt your case.

For example, while you may not have any idea how much your claim is worth, you can bet the responsible party's insurer and defense attorney do – and they're hoping to use your ignorance of the law (and your rights) as an excuse to pay you as little as possible. Don't let them. Level the playing field. Hire a knowledgeable attorney to fight for your rights and advocate for your best interests. 

Here are just a few of the many things an adept attorney can do for you and your case:

  • Review your case to identify its strengths and weaknesses
  • Identify the liable party (or parties)
  • Investigate all potential avenues of compensation
  • Handle all communications with the at-fault party's insurance company and/or defense team
  • Show the insurance company and/or defense team that you're serious
  • Help you avoid case-damaging mistakes
  • Preserve valuable evidence
  • Document the accident scene
  • Obtain witness statements
  • Document and communicate your injuries and losses to the insurance company, defense team, judge, and jury
  • Assist you in finding the right doctor to treat your injuries and testify on your behalf
  • Help you collect fair compensation, even if you were partially responsible for the accident in which you were hurt
  • Maximize the value of your catastrophic injuries claim 
  • And much, much more.

Good News: You CAN Afford a Personal Injury Attorney

Catastrophic injury victims aren't unaware of the severity of their injuries or the fact that they they can benefit from informed and aggressive legal representation. Oftentimes, when victims make the mistake of waiting to hire an attorney, it's because they're worried they can't afford the expense – especially while they're out of work and sinking deeper and deeper into debt. 

Sound familiar? If so, we have good news: You can afford an attorney. The seasoned injury recovery professionals at Jones Wilson, LLC work on a contingency basis, which means we only bill you for our services if we resolve the case in your favor. When you hire our firm, you don't have to worry about astronomically-priced hourly billing. Instead, we're paid an agreed-upon percentage of the settlement or financial award you receive when your case concludes. 

We May Be the Firm for You If...

  • You sustained catastrophic injuries (or lost a loved one) in an accident that occurred less than 18 months ago 
  • You were less than 50 percent at fault for the accident 
  • Your medical bills and lost wages are significant 
  • You got prompt medical treatment 
  • You complied with your doctor's recommendations and completed your treatment as prescribed

Request a Consultation

Want to learn more about the personal injury recovery process or our contingency fee agreement? Contact us online or call Jones Wilson, LLC, at 702-405-6000 (or toll free at 866-299-0558) to schedule an appointment for a free, initial consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can assist you with your case. Don't wait – in Nevada, you have just two years to file a catastrophic injury or wrongful death claim.

 

Cory M. Jones
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Representing injured victims throughout Henderson and the surrounding Las Vegas area since 1993.