While many injuries require medical care and time away from work, a catastrophic injury changes the victim’s life forever. It leads to a lifetime of challenges. In some instances, it can make even everyday tasks impossible.
The catastrophic injury attorneys with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates are determined to achieve full compensation on your behalf. Compensation can help you recover from your spinal cord injury and support your family as you seek treatment. Call (800) 985-1819 to discuss your case today.
How to tell if your injury is catastrophic
While we have decades of experience helping clients who have suffered severe injuries, the following is intended for informational purposes only. You should always seek the opinion of a licensed medical professional after experiencing any type of serious injury.
You might not be able to work in the same capacity or be able to work at all. In other instances, your injury can greatly impact your ability to do day-to-day tasks such as limiting your ability to make your own meals or bathe without help.
The effects of this kind of injury can last for the remainder of your life. You may experience physical as well as emotional setbacks. Anxiety, depression, and other types of mental trauma are common among people who’ve suffered an injury that has left them disabled or disfigured.
What are some common types of catastrophic injuries?
Brain injury that results in long-term or permanent disability, such as cognitive impairment will likely be considered catastrophic. In addition to affecting one’s ability to physically perform tasks, traumatic brain injury can also cause emotional and psychological distress for the victim and their loved ones when behavioral changes are present.
Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Many SCIs, including paraplegia and quadriplegia, cause permanent paralysis or loss of sensation in two or more limbs. Spinal cord injuries often require expensive medical treatment and may impact one’s ability to work and participate in daily activities.
Severe burns covering a large area of the body can be catastrophic as they can require multiple surgeries and can lead to a loss of function, scarring, disfigurement, ongoing pain, and other issues.
Regardless of the type or cause of the amputation, losing a body part, such as an arm or a leg, can ruin a person’s quality of life because it could make it difficult or impossible for them to do the things they once loved.
Birth injuries can cause life-threatening conditions, permanent injuries, deformities, and disabilities in a child. These catastrophic injuries can be life long and are often caused by medical negligence.
Steps to take after being severely injured
If you can take the following steps, you can produce the evidence it will take to make your case as strong as possible.
1. Seek immediate medical attention
Getting medical help as soon as possible could possibly save your life. It will also provide proof of your injury and help prove that the accident caused your injury.
2. Document and gather evidence of the incident
Photos and videos taken at the scene of the accident can be helpful evidence in supporting your claims. If it’s safe for you to do so and you’re able to, take photos and videos of the scene itself, the surrounding areas, and of your injuries.
3. Speak with an experienced attorney
You should speak with a skilled Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer as soon as possible following your injury so they can investigate the accident and gather critical evidence on your behalf. An experienced attorney may be able to help you secure medical care without paying out of pocket with a medical lien.
4. Follow up with your doctor
Speak with your primary physician after you’ve received emergency treatment. Your doctor can help you put together a plan for dealing with your injury on a long-term basis.
Don’t miss the deadline to file your claim
In Illinois, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim. If you let this deadline pass, you’ll be responsible for all of your accident-related expenses and won’t be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault party or parties.
What are possible damages I can claim?
When someone’s reckless behavior leads to a life-changing injury, the injured person has every right to full compensation. While the injury may never fully heal, damages can help improve their quality of life.
Economic damages are tangible losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and more. These include the costs of care you’ve already received and treatment you’ll need in the future. Similarly, these damages include the wages and benefits you’ve already lost and those you won’t be able to earn in the future due to the impact of your injury.
These are subjective losses, including emotional and mental distress and pain and suffering. It takes a skilled Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer to accurately calculate the value of your non-economic damages.
How to find the right lawyer for your needs
Your case is unique, and you might have specific needs or things you’re looking for in representation. This means that not every lawyer will be a good match for you.
Finding a lawyer
- Speak with any friends or family members who recently hired a personal injury attorney and see if they were satisfied with the representation they received. You can also go online to see what others say about the lawyers you’re considering.
- If you don’t have anyone to ask, contact the Chicago Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service. You should read online reviews from several platforms to get a feel for what they might be like to work with.
Things to consider when choosing a lawyer
Experience matters in any profession, but especially in personal injury cases where there are several important deadlines that must be met in order for your case to stay on track and not get dismissed.
During your consultation, ask the lawyer:
- How many years of experience do they have in personal injury law?
- How many cases have they handled similar to yours?
- The extent of their trial experience–how many cases settle and how many go to trial?
- If they have any commendations or awards within the legal community.
Being “experienced” doesn’t always mean the attorney has a successful track record. You should specifically ask about the following areas:
- What’s the average dollar amount they’ve obtained for their clients suffering from catastrophic injuries?
- Do they consistently recover multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for their clients?
- Have they won any awards or been recognized for their settlements and verdicts?
A significant aspect of building trust between a client and their attorney is good communication. This includes being open and honest with one another and being responsive to calls and emails.
We’ll fight the insurance company to get you the maximum compensation
Every Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer on our staff has extensive experience defeating large insurance companies. They don’t intimidate us, nor do we tolerate their games of deflecting blame and presenting lowball offers.
We’ve helped clients receive millions in settlement and verdict awards by holding liable parties accountable for the harm they caused — we’re ready to put that same experience and effort to work for you.
Parties who may be liable for your injury
These are just some of the potentially negligent parties that may have played a role in causing your catastrophic injury. A Chicago personal injury attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will pursue each of them in an effort to obtain fair compensation:
- Employers – Failing to maintain a safe work environment
- Vehicle owners – Driving recklessly or allowing a drunk driver to drive their car
- Product manufacturers – Producing a faulty or defective tool or product
How do our attorneys prove liability?
We’ll use the information and evidence gathered during the initial investigation, together with the evidence we obtain during discovery to prove that you were injured by the defendant’s actions and must be compensated for your losses.
What is the catastrophic injury lawsuit process?
Here’s a quick look at how a typical personal injury lawsuit proceeds. This is for general informational purposes only.
1. Initial consultation
This is where you speak with your attorney and tell them what happened. Once you agree to hire that lawyer, they’ll begin their investigation.
2. File court documents
Your leading Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer will then file the complaint that outlines what happened and the damages you’re seeking. After serving the complaint on all known defendants, your attorney might file motions or requests with the court.
It’s critical that these documents are filed on time and that they comply with all the rules of the court because otherwise your requests could be denied, and your case could even be dismissed for being untimely or improper.
Discovery helps both parties prepare for trial and helps them assess the strengths and weaknesses of their case.
4. Pretrial motions and hearings
These are requests both sides often make to the court. They can include requests to exclude evidence or dismiss the case.
5. Settlement negotiations
Both sides will typically engage in settlement discussions in an effort to avoid trial. The vast majority of personal injury cases settle before going to court.
Trial is necessary if the parties can’t reach an agreement. Both sides will present their argument, evidence, and testimony in a courtroom where a jury will decide the case. The judge will then enter a judgment on the jury’s verdict, making it an order of the court that all parties must follow.
7. Collect judgment or settlement
If your case is successful in court or if you and the defendant reached an agreement, the defendant’s insurance company will issue a check to your attorney for the amount you’re owed. Your attorney will take out their fees and then issue the remaining funds to you.
What is the cost of hiring a Chicago catastrophic injury lawyer?
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates works on a contingency basis. This means that you won’t pay us anything out of pocket unless we win your case.
Why hire us as your Chicago catastrophic injury lawyers
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is dedicated to helping injured people and their families recover from serious injuries. Our family has served the Chicago community since 1924 and is committed to the same principles upon which the firm was established.
If you or a loved one were seriously injured, please reach out for a free consultation.