Catastrophic injuries can occur in serious accidents, like slip and falls, motor vehicle collisions, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and construction accidents, to name just a few examples. When a person suffers a catastrophic injury in one of these types of accidents, they might need to be hospitalized for a long time and undergo one or more complicated medical procedures, such as surgeries.
At other times, the injured person may need to attend regular medical visits with a specialist or go to physical therapy regularly. All of this treatment can be extremely costly and may lead to mounting medical bills. In addition, a person who suffers a catastrophic injury in an accident might not go to work for a long time, resulting in significant lost earnings.
Finally, catastrophic injuries can have an impact on the accident victim’s quality of life and ability to participate in once-enjoyed recreational activities. When catastrophic injuries suffered in an accident are permanent, the accident victim might not function in the same way as they did before the accident.
If you or a person you love has suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident that resulted from the carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of another person, you may have legal options that are open and available to you. The skilled team of St. Louis and Metro East catastrophic injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can explain all of your legal options to you and help you select the best option for handling your catastrophic injury case.
In some instances, your attorney might pursue a favorable monetary settlement on your behalf, while at other times, you may need to litigate your case in court. No matter the situation, you can rest assured that our legal team is prepared to zealously advocate for your interests and pursue the compensation that you deserve to recover for your catastrophic injuries. Please call us today to find out more about how we can assist you with pursuing your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Accidents That Can Lead to One or More Catastrophic Injuries
Several serious accidents may lead to accident victims suffering serious and potentially catastrophic injuries and damages.
Some of the most common types of accidents that can lead to catastrophic injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, especially those that occur at high rates of speed, involve a head-on collision with another motor vehicle or a large truck or tractor-trailer
- Pedestrian accidents where a motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian or an adjacent sidewalk
- Slip and fall accidents (indoor and outdoor) that happen on premises belonging to someone else
- Bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents, especially where the rider is dislodged from the bike and makes direct contact with the ground
- Injuries and complications that arise from medical malpractice and negligence, including botched surgeries and other complicated medical procedures
- Accidents that occur on construction sites, especially where a worker suffers harm due to a piece of construction equipment or falls to the ground from a ladder or scaffolding
If you or a person you care about suffered a catastrophic injury in such an incident, get in touch with a skilled St. Louis and Metro East catastrophic injury lawyer at Dixon Injury Firm immediately. Our legal team will review your situation and help you pursue the compensation that you need and deserve for your catastrophic injury.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries That an Accident Victim Might Suffer
Serious accidents like the ones mentioned above can lead to various types of catastrophic injuries that can leave an accident victim debilitated and in need of extensive medical treatment. Catastrophically injured accident victims might need to have surgery or another procedure and may come under the care of a doctor for a significant time, incurring expensive medical bills as a result.
Some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries that accident victims may suffer include:
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Soft tissue sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
If you have suffered one or more of these catastrophic injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you need a team of lawyers on your side that will zealously pursue your claim to get you the compensation that you need. The knowledgeable St. Louis and Metro East catastrophic injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can file the necessary claim or lawsuit on your behalf and will help you settle or litigate your catastrophic injury case to a favorable conclusion.
What Does It Take to Medically Establish That You Suffered a Permanent and Debilitating Injury in an Accident?
Victims of catastrophic injuries have the legal burden of proof in any claim or lawsuit that they file for personal injuries and damages. First of all, the accident victim must demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the at-fault person acted unreasonably under the circumstances.
For example, if the accident victim suffered their injuries in a motor vehicle collision, the accident victim must show that the other driver violated the law, such as by speeding, failing to yield the right of way, or operating their vehicle recklessly and carelessly under the circumstances. In addition, the accident victim must demonstrate that the accident happened because of another person or entity’s negligence. Finally, the accident victim needs to show that they suffered one or more catastrophic injuries and damages in the accident.
For an accident victim to establish that they suffered a permanent injury, competent medical testimony is often necessary. Specifically, a healthcare provider must be in a position to demonstrate, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the accident victim suffered a permanent injury.
A permanent injury is one that the accident victim will suffer from for the remainder of his or her life. Given the serious and extensive nature of many catastrophic injuries, it stands to reason that these injuries will be permanent and will impact the accident victim in the long term.
The experienced St. Louis and Metro East catastrophic injury attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can assist you with establishing that you suffered a catastrophic and permanent injury in your accident. We can help you satisfy your legal burden of proof so that you can recover appropriate monetary compensation and damages.
Filing a Catastrophic Injury Claim
The catastrophic injury claims-filing process begins when an accident victim submits a demand package to the at-fault person’s insurance company. The insurance company adjuster will review the demand package and determine whether or not to accept fault or liability for the case.
When deciding whether or not to accept liability, the insurance company adjuster will consider a variety of documentation, including the settlement demand letter, the accident victim’s medical records and bills, witness statements, police diagrams, lost wage documentation, and permanency evaluations prepared by one or more healthcare providers.
If the insurance company accepts liability for the catastrophic accident, the adjuster will usually make an offer to resolve the case out of court. While many initial settlement offers in run-of-the-mill personal injury cases are low, in catastrophic injury cases, the medical damages may be so high that the adjuster will offer the full limits of the available insurance policy. If not, several rounds of negotiations may take place between the accident victim’s lawyer and the insurance company adjuster in hopes of reaching a favorable settlement offer.
If a reasonable settlement offer is not forthcoming, the accident victim can file a lawsuit in the court system and pursue litigation. Even after a suit has been filed, settlement is still a good possibility in most severe injury cases. In addition, there may be several alternatives to taking a catastrophic injury case to trial. One of the most common options is binding arbitration, where a neutral, third-party arbitrator evaluates the case, including all of the medical documentation and bills, and decides the issue of damages.
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in a serious accident, the St. Louis and Metro East catastrophic injury attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can pursue a claim or lawsuit on your behalf and bring it to a prompt and favorable conclusion for you.
Statutory Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit Arising From a Catastrophic Injury
Victims of catastrophic accidents and injuries do not have an unlimited time in which to file their claim or lawsuit. In the state of Missouri, accident victims have a period of five years from the date of their accident in which to bring a claim or lawsuit. Illinois offers a much shorter deadline. In that state, accident victims only have two years from the date of their accident in which to bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If the statute of limitations is not followed and the claim or lawsuit is filed late, the accident victim cannot pursue monetary compensation and damages at any point in the future. This is because the court will bar the claim.
Given these relatively short statutes of limitations, take proper legal action as soon as possible after you are involved in a serious accident. The knowledgeable and experienced St. Louis and Metro East catastrophic injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can take the proper legal actions in your case.
If you must file a lawsuit to protect the statute of limitations from running out, we can do so quickly and efficiently. We can then pursue your case to a favorable conclusion through a settlement, trial, or alternative dispute resolution proceeding.
Compensable Injuries in St. Louis and Metro East Catastrophic Injury Claims
Victims of catastrophic accidents who suffer severe injuries might pursue and recover monetary compensation.
Since catastrophic injuries require significant and extensive medical treatment and can lead to permanent consequences, victims of these accidents might pursue monetary damages for:
- Costs associated with lifetime care at a nursing home or assisted living facility
- Medical costs associated with doctor visits, medical procedures, and physical therapy (both past costs and anticipated future costs)
- Compensation for loss of earning capacity, in the event the accident victim has to switch jobs or occupations (often at a lower rate of pay) due to the catastrophic injury sustained in the accident
- Compensation for permanent pain and suffering
- Compensation for lost quality of life
- Compensation for your inconvenience, mental distress, and emotional anguish
- Compensation for loss of the ability to use a certain body part due to suffering a catastrophic injury
- Compensation for a permanent disability, often associated with limited bodily functioning
- Loss of family support or spousal companionship
The experienced team of St. Louis and Metro East catastrophic injury lawyers at Dixon Injury Firm can determine your eligibility for these types of damages and will do everything possible to help you recover maximum compensation for the catastrophic injuries that you suffered in your accident.
St. Louis Catastrophic Injury FAQs
Catastrophic injuries refer to those injuries that are life-altering and that typically result in a lifetime of losses. The damages associated with catastrophic injuries can include physical, financial, and emotional consequences. In fact, the negative effects of a catastrophic injury are difficult to overstate.
If someone else’s negligence causes you or someone you love to suffer a catastrophic injury, you need an experienced St. Louis catastrophic injury attorney on your side.
The Dixon Injury Firm-proudly serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas-is on your side and here to help. Obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is the surest way to help you reach your most complete recovery and live your post-accident life to the fullest. Our catastrophic injury attorneys have the experience and legal insight you are looking for and need.
What Are St. Louis Catastrophic Injury Risks?
Our firm is proud to serve the beautiful City of St. Louis, which has much to offer residents and visitors alike.
Some of the more popular attractions in St. Louis include:
- Bike trails, walking paths, and parks, including Forest Park (one of the largest urban parks in the country)
- Iconic neighborhoods like the Central West End, the University City Loop, Washington Avenue, and South Grand
- Varied art and performance venues that include the Fabulous Fox Theater, The St. Louis Museum (SLAM), the City Museum, and Citygarden
- Sports venues that include Busch Stadium (home of the St. Louis Cardinals) and Enterprise Center (formerly the Kiel Center, where the St. Louis Blues play)
Unfortunately, attractions like these and our vibrant dining and entertainment scene often cause catastrophic injuries. Whether you are sitting in rush hour traffic on Interstate 64 or shopping at the St. Louis Galleria, there is a chance that someone else’s negligence will result in an accident that leaves you severely injured. Fortunately, our team of catastrophic injury lawyers in St. Louis is here to help.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
Catastrophic injuries refer to injuries that alter the course of your life in the blink of an eye.
For legal purposes, however, Missouri statutes define these profound injuries as:
- Injuries that result in quadriplegia, which is the permanent loss of controlled movement in all four limbs
- Injuries that result in paraplegia, which is the permanent loss of controlled movement in two limbs
- The loss of two or more limbs
- An injury to the brain that results in permanent cognitive impairment resulting in the permanent inability to make independent decisions or engage in one or more of the following activities of daily living: eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring, and walking
- An injury that leads to an irreversible failure of one or more major organ systems
- Vision loss that meets specific parameters
What injuries are most likely to be catastrophic?
Virtually any injury can be catastrophic. That said, some injuries tend to be much more catastrophic than others.
Some of the more common include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which are as dangerous as they are unpredictable and often lead to overwhelming psychological effects
- Spinal cord injuries like paralysis
- Burn injuries, which often lead to serious infections and can lead to profound secondary health concerns
- Dangerous infections (which are common to serious burns, cuts, and abrasions) that lead to limb loss
- Internal injuries
What kinds of accidents are most likely to cause catastrophic injuries?
While nearly any kind of serious accident can lead to catastrophic injuries, the following are some of the most common:
- Traffic accidents of every kind, including car, truck, bike, and bus accidents
- Accidents on construction sites
- Nursing home negligence and abuse
What compensation can I seek for a catastrophic injury?
You can seek compensation for the covered losses you experience (called damages in legal terms) due to the other party’s negligence. If the injuries you sustain are catastrophic, you can expect each of your categories of loss to be considerable.
Your Medical Costs
The medical expenses you experience as a result of a catastrophic injury are likely to be not only considerable but also ongoing (in response to your evolving healthcare requirements and any secondary health concerns you face).
- Emergency services
- Hospital stays
- Medical tests, procedures, and treatments
- Follow-up care
- Pain management
- Physical therapy and/or occupational therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Home health care
- Adaptive medical devices, such as walkers, scooters, wheelchairs, and more
- Assistance with the activities of daily living
- Prescription medications
- Treatment and care from doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals
- Adaptations to one’s home and vehicle
Your Lost Income
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you may not be returning to work at all. Even if you can work, however, you must take the matter of your lost earning potential into careful consideration. Additionally, your injury will very likely significantly alter the course of your career. Losses of this type are as emotionally devastating as they are financially due to the important role that our careers play in our lives.
Your Pain and Suffering
The pain and suffering you experience due to a catastrophic injury are likely to be profound.
There is not only your actual physical and psychological pain and suffering to consider but also:
- The immense inconvenience you experience
- Your physical impairments
- Any physical disfigurement (which is often caused by burns that are on or near the face)
- Any decrease in your capacity to enjoy life
- Your loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of benefits related to family life, including both affection and sexual relations)
Additionally, a catastrophic injury can lead to serious emotional effects that can derail your life as you know it, including:
- Severe mood swings
- Increased irritability
- Heightened anxiety that can lead to anxiety attacks
- Bouts of depression
- Sleep disturbances that can include insomnia and/or nightmares
- Difficulty concentrating and/or focusing
- Terrifying accident flashbacks
- A tendency to self-isolate and/or to push others away
- A shift in personality
- Difficulty coping with life’s stressors
- Emotional lability
Unfortunately, the mental and emotional toll of a catastrophic injury can often isolate victims from their families and loved ones when their support is most important.
Do I need to hire a catastrophic injury attorney?
Working with a catastrophic injury attorney after an accident is highly advisable. After a life-altering injury, the stakes involved are so great that representing yourself could result in disaster.
You’ve suffered immense physical, financial, and emotional consequences due to someone else’s negligence, and having a savvy catastrophic injury attorney in your corner can make a significant difference in your ability to obtain an advantageous outcome.
While you attend to regaining your health and well-being to the extent possible, your catastrophic injury lawyer will attend to all of these important matters:
- Gathering all the relevant evidence to build your strongest claim
- Locating and hiring expert witnesses in support of your claim
- Helping you make the best decisions for you as your claim progresses
- Skillfully negotiating with the insurance company for fair terms
- Preparing for trial (in response to any unfair dealings on the part of the insurance company)
- If necessary, filing a lawsuit in the appropriate court and representing you during trial
How much does a catastrophic injury attorney cost?
Catastrophic injury attorneys generally work on contingency. Working on contingency means that your attorney will receive a prearranged percentage of whatever amount your claim settles for (or whatever amount the court awards you if your case goes to trial). There is, in other words, no financial risk to you.
When a catastrophic injury attorney accepts your claim, it means they believe in its ability to prevail with a settlement that addresses your losses fairly (as determined by their experience successfully guiding claims like yours toward beneficial resolutions).
Once you have an attorney on your side, you can rest assured they will do everything in their legal power to negotiate your claim’s most favorable resolution. Ultimately, if your claim is denied and receives no court award, you won’t owe your attorney anything.
Will my claim go to court?
Most personal injury claims do not go to court, and yours is also unlikely to do so. Because the stakes are so high when the injury involved is catastrophic, however, going to court may be necessary to help ensure that the compensation you receive is adequate to addressing the losses you experience now and into the future.
Your catastrophic injury attorney will let you know if or when filing a lawsuit is the best course of action. Insurance companies sometimes stoop to tactics that can make filing a lawsuit the best course of action. In addition, in some cases, simply filing a lawsuit is enough to get the insurance company to make a reasonable settlement. As a result, filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean your claim is going to court.
#1. Denying Claims From the Start
Sometimes, insurance companies will simply deny claims outright in an attempt to make them go away with very little effort. They sometimes use this technique even when the injuries involved are catastrophic.
The insurance company recognizes that victims of catastrophic injuries are at their most vulnerable and are far more likely to give up out of the sheer frustration and lack of hope a claim denial inspires. The law-not the insurance company-will decide how your case concludes, and this is an instance when filing a lawsuit is likely well-advised.
#2. Prolonging and Complicating the Claims Process
The insurance company may stall to further complicate and prolong the process to push you to simply give up. When a claimant walks away, the insurance company helps bolster its profits. The company handling your claim is well aware that taking steps to artificially complicate the matter may be just the nudge you need to give up.
#3. Casting Doubt on the Other Party’s Fault
The insurance company may go to great lengths to demonstrate that its policyholder isn’t actually at fault. Again, however, fault is a determination of law-not the insurance company-and your dedicated catastrophic injury attorney will gather all the relevant evidence in your claim’s bid to demonstrate the other party’s fault in the matter.
#4. Denying the Extent of Your Losses
The insurance company may attempt to deny the severity of your losses. If, however, you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury, such an attempt can backfire. The other party’s negligence forever altered your life, and the related losses you suffer are so immense that they can be difficult to exaggerate.
How can I help protect my claim?
While your claim is unique to you and the situation involved, there are several basic steps that you can take to help protect it.
- Carefully following your doctor and medical team’s instructions and advice (failure to do so can negatively affect your health and your claim)
- Working closely with a practiced catastrophic injury attorney
- Refraining from discussing your claim with the insurance company, which is hoping to elicit a statement that it can use to tarnish your claim
- Allowing your trusted catastrophic injury attorney to communicate and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Taking a break from social media while your claim is pending (you can rely upon the insurance company to be watching and waiting for you to post something it can twist to your claim’s disadvantage)
Reach out to an Experienced St. Louis Catastrophic Injury Attorney Today
If someone else’s negligence causes you or someone you love to suffer a catastrophic injury, the journey forward will be challenging.
The catastrophic injury lawyers at The Dixon Injury Firm-serving both St. Louis and Metro East areas-take great pride in our impressive track record of helping clients like you prevail in their claims. Your rights are important, and we’re here to enforce them, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at (314) 208-2808 for more information today.
The Dixon Injury Firm
9666 Olive Blvd #202,
St. Louis, MO 63132
Phone: (314) 208-2808
I highly recommend Chris Dixon to anyone dealing with a personal injury case. He was there every step of the way, he was prompt and easy to get a hold of at any time during this process. He is very educated and highly skilled in his field and helped me receive the best medical attention possible. If you’re looking for the best personal injury in St. Louis, look no further. Chris Dixon, in my eyes, is the best!
– Ryan B.