Red Deer, Alberta Catastrophic Injury Lawyers

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While many personal injury cases are relatively routine, featuring injuries that require just a few months of recovery and a few thousands of dollars to pay for, others are life-changing. These are the cases that leave their victims disabled, severely impairing their ability to go to work, keep house, spend time with their families, or continue their educations. 

Injuries like this: that cause a severe functional disability, or severe head and neck trauma, are known as catastrophic injuries. They leave you unable to walk, or work. They leave you with a lifetime of chronic pain. They require you to buy special equipment or to make changes to your home environment just so you can function. These are truly life changing injuries, and when you receive one you need the best lawyer you can get by your side. This is because cases featuring catastrophic injury cases are the most complex personal injury cases that a lawyer can possibly encounter. 

Catastrophic injuries happen in all kinds of accidents. While they’re most common in truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and cyclist accidents, we’ve certainly seen them in routine car accidents as well. In certain elderly populations a slip and fall can cause catastrophic injuries. Some product liability cases result in catastrophic injuries as well. These cases are always heartbreaking and terrifying for everyone involved. 

Have you or your loved one been severely injured in an accident? Here’s what you need to know about catastrophic injuries, and how your lawyer can help you get the compensation you’ll need to pay your bills after the accident that caused them. 

Types and Levels of Catastrophic Injuries

The most common traumatic injuries are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Burn injuries.
  • Any injury which causes blindness.
  • Injuries which result in the paralysis of limbs.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Injuries which require amputations. 
  • Injuries resulting in blindness.
  • Any combination of injuries that results in 55% impairment or more.
  • A severe mental or behavioral disorder arising as a result of your injuries.

Even after reaching maximum medical improvement, people who suffer from these injuries will usually be unable to return to “life as it was.” Those who are able to work will need special accommodations to do so. They’ll need assistive equipment or round-the-clock care. They’ll be disfigured or scarred in ways that plastic surgery can’t wholly correct. There will be mental, emotional, financial, and social consequences. 

In short, these catastrophic impairments are the most severe injuries that it’s possible to sustain after any major accident. 

Benefits and Damages Clients are Entitled to after a Catastrophic Injury

Catastrophic injury clients are eligible both for benefits from their own insurance policies and for claims on the at-fault party’s insurance company. 

Many catastrophic injury clients will start getting Section B disability benefits from their own car insurance company long before they see the proceeds of a personal injury case. These benefits pay up to 80% of your lost wages to a maximum of $600 per week for up to two years. They also pay up to $50,000 in medical coverage, though most catastrophic accident victims burn through those benefits relatively quickly. 

Some accident victims also have short-term disability riders added to their workplace life insurance policies. These can help accident victims keep their immediate bills paid. So can programs like AISH, the Alberta Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program. Some of our clients have private disability insurance as well. 

Finally, after a successful personal injury case a catastrophic injury victim’s settlement should cover the following.

  • Past medical bills.
  • Projected future medical expenses. 
  • Medical equipment.
  • Prescription medicines.
  • Housekeeping and home maintenance if the injured party can no longer perform these services for themselves.
  • Lost wages.
  • Loss of earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering awards.

Pain and suffering awards are subjective and negotiable. They’re a measure of how much the injury has impacted or changed a person’s life as a result. In catastrophic cases, these awards do tend to get closer to the $370,000 pain and suffering cap allowed for by Alberta law. As with any injury case, however, much will depend on the skill of your lawyer and the strength of your case. 

What Complicates a Catastrophic Injury Case?

You may think a catastrophic injury case would be straightforward. After all, not only has someone else’s negligence harmed you, but the harm is grave and grievous and intensely visible. 

In a perfect world, the at-fault party would just offer a fair settlement and pay up because they know you desperately need that money. They’d be respectful of the pain that you are in and the suffering that lies ahead.

Instead, catastrophic injury cases are the ones where the defendants are most likely to dig in their heels and fight hard to do anything they have to do to avoid paying out.

Insurance companies will try to blame you for the accident as much as possible. Even if they can’t blame you for the accident 100%, if they can assign partial blame to you then they can keep you from recovering the full amount of the settlement thanks to Alberta’s comparative negligence laws. For example, if they can say you were at least 30% responsible for your own injuries, then they can reduce your settlement by 30%.

They may even try to downplay your injuries by attempting to make the case that some of them were the result of pre-existing conditions so they don’t have to pay for those either, which is why you should never let an insurance company talk you into signing a medical release form.

They will also try to downplay your monetary losses. For example, coming up with a number for a loss of earning capacity isn’t always easy or straightforward. It requires making assumptions about the number of working years a person has left in them and about the trajectory their career might have taken, how employable they would have been, and more. lawyers sometimes have to involve a variety of experts to come up with a number, and the number is still somewhat subjective. Non-earners may have a very hard time getting compensated for the fact that they have been robbed of the ability to seek any career at all in the future. Deft legal maneuvering and tough negotiation skills are required. 

They do all of this because catastrophic injury cases are some of the most expensive cases you can possibly bring. They’re the cases with the big payouts, the ones that force insurance companies to pay out right to their policy limits. With that much money at stake the insurance company has every incentive to hold out on negotiations and to mount every legal defence they can think of. 

The only way to counter this is to hire a truly experienced catastrophic injury lawyer, one who knows exactly how to put forth an excellent case on your behalf. 

How Can You Prove Catastrophic Impairment?

In some cases “proving” a catastrophic injury isn’t necessary. Even the most hardened defence team will not generally argue that paraplegia, quadriplegia, blindness, or amputation is not catastrophic. Less visible catastrophic injuries, such as those arising from multiple injuries or those which cause mental impairment, can require your lawyer to build a case that actually proves the severity of your injuries.

Fortunately there are many ways for your lawyer to do this. For example, when the ambulance picks you up you may be assigned a score on the Glasgow Coma Scale, or GCS. It’s a measurement of consciousness after a brain injury. The lower the score, the more severe the injury. Any score of 8 or less would tend to indicate a catastrophic injury.

Your lawyer can also bring out MRIs, SPECT scans, dental X-rays, and other test results to show that you have sustained a catastrophic injury. Psychological evaluations and physician recommendations can all matter too. If necessary, we can call upon expert witnesses to testify to the fact that your injuries warrant compensation to the fullest extent of the law. 

Get Help Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a catastrophic accident, you have no time to lose. The longer you wait the weaker your case gets. 

Make your risk-free call to Red Deer Injury Lawyers today. Most of our lawyers have over 20 years of experience handling catastrophic injury cases. We’ve helped thousands of Albertans get the funds they’ll need to live their lives after their accidents, and we’ve managed every kind of personal injury case known to the legal system.

Remember, we don’t get paid unless we bring your case to a satisfactory conclusion. You don’t have to worry about coming up with a retainer or an exorbitant hourly rate. We also keep your meeting convenient for you. Need to meet over Zoom and send documents over email? No problem! We’re happy to do that for you.

Get your appointment today. Call (403) 269-7777 to get started today.

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