Just 60 miles from Atlanta, Athens, GA is a college town with a fun and unique vibe. Unfortunately, it’s also a town where accidents happen and people become injured as a result. Among the most serious types of injuries that can be incurred in Athens are those that result in permanent disabilities that render the sufferer unable to earn an income.
If you have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of someone else’s negligent actions, you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of those injuries through the personal injury claims process, which can include a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced Athens catastrophic injury lawyer from John Foy & Associates can help you understand this process and may also be able to provide guidance and assistance as you pursue your legal claim.
What Makes Catastrophic Injury Claims Complex?
The term “catastrophic injury” refers to an injury that, by the nature of the part of the body involved, produces a high likelihood of permanent disabilities that will prevent the sufferer from earning an income. The term is most commonly used to refer to injuries to the brain and the spinal cord (as explained by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, these are the organs that primarily make up the body’s central nervous system), as both of these organs are required for survival but only have a limited ability to heal from injury.
Other types of injuries that can be considered in some circumstances as catastrophic include damage to the vertebrae or discs of the spine, which can result in instability of the back; loss of a primary sense, such as hearing or eyesight; or amputation of a limb
The key to determining if an injury is catastrophic is to look at its likely impact on the individual’s ability to perform any type of work. Catastrophic injuries also tend to impact the sufferer’s ability to live independently and to accomplish personal care tasks without assistance. It is often the multitude of expenses and impacts, and the permanence of the injury, that makes a catastrophic injury claim complex.
Valuing the Claim
As noted by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), a spinal cord injury can result in lifetime medical costs in excess of $4 million. Brain injuries also can result in high costs as a result of complications stemming from the initial injury.
Establishing a value to the claim is one of the important services that an Athens catastrophic injury lawyer can provide to their clients. The value is derived not only by the expenses and impacts the claimant has already incurred, but those they will likely face in the future. It is important that the Athens catastrophic injury attorney value the claim highly enough that the claimant has enough money to cover a lifetime of expenses.
Proving the Permanence of the Injury
Another complexity that is part of the catastrophic injury claims process is proving the permanence of the injury. A catastrophic injury attorney in Athens often seeks the testimony of medical and occupational professionals who work with individuals suffering from similar injuries in order to provide an accurate picture of the impacts and complications that the claimant will likely experience in the future.
The Insurance Factor
Unfortunately, in spite of all the important matters discussed above, the factor most likely to impact the value of a claim is the amount of liability insurance the at-fault party has. Insurance is the means by which most personal injury settlements and awards are paid, but policies often have limits that are below the amount of compensation needed in a catastrophic injury case.
A catastrophic injury lawyer carefully studies the facts of the case in order to determine all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can be accessed to provide the level of compensation needed.
Get the strong arm
The Athens Personal Injury Claims Process
The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved before they ever see the inside of a courtroom, with settlement being the most common way to resolve the claim. The process generally begins when the claimant’s attorney submits a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance provider. This package contains details of the claim, documentation of expenses, and overall demand for payment of the claim’s value.
Offering a settlement is one of the possible responses an insurance adjuster can have to a personal injury claim. Other options include paying the claim or denying it and providing the claimant with a reason for the denial. If a settlement is offered, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf with the adjuster in order to obtain a higher offer.
Because the court only allows a limited amount of time for the claimant to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, it is possible that a lawsuit will be filed in court while negotiations are taking place. If there is no resolution before the trial date arrives, the attorney will provide their client with litigation services.
The Statute of Limitations for Athens Catastrophic Injury Claims
The statute of limitations in Georgia for personal injury claims — including those that involve catastrophic injuries — is generally two years from the date on which the injury was incurred. In some cases, this deadline can be extended, such as in claims involving injuries to minors. Your attorney will advise you if there is an extended deadline for filing your claim.
How an Athens Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Can Help You
An experienced catastrophic injury lawyer in Athens can provide a number of crucial services aimed at ensuring your right to the maximum amount of compensation available in your case. Some of those services include:
- Determining liability and insurance resources
- Valuing the claim
- Settlement negotiations
- Gathering evidence and witness testimony
- Litigation services
- Assistance collecting your settlement or award
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
Personal injury attorneys generally use a contingent fee billing method. What this means is that they enter an agreement with their client whereby they provide their services without payment until a successful resolution to the claim is obtained. When a settlement or award is received, the attorney is paid a percentage of those funds.
John Foy & Associates Сan Help
To learn more about your options after you or your loved one suffered a catastrophic injury in Athens and how our experienced legal team can assist you with your claim, contact us for a free case evaluation.