Auto Accidents: What is The Difference Between Catastrophic Injury and Personal Injury Claims?

by Julien G. Lamothe

car and truck accident in new orleansIt is estimated that 3 million people are injured in auto accidents in the U.S. every year. While some of these injuries may be minor, others result in life-long conditions that can seriously impact the victims’ quality of life and place a significant financial strain on the family.

Victims injured in auto accidents are eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. The amount you receive may depend on the severity of your injuries and how they impact your life.

Personal Injury vs. Catastrophic Injury: What is the Difference?

Personal injury includes all types of accidents and injuries, whereas a catastrophic injury is a more severe injury and may include:

• Brain Injury
• Severe Nerve or Ligament Damage
• Paralysis (Spinal Cord Injury)
• Loss of Limbs
• Severe Burns
• Paraplegia / Quadriplegia
• Orthopedic Injuries (Multiple Broken Bones)

A catastrophic injury requires long-term care after the accident. This long-term care may include a family member having to leave their job to take care of the affected person or hire a long-term caregiver, which can be very costly.

Catastrophic injuries are life-changing and often involve the central nervous system, limiting the victim’s ability to perform simple daily tasks. As part of your compensation, you may be entitled to payments to cover immediate medical costs, rehabilitation, and therapy, long-term care, hiring carers, home, vehicle modifications, and job-loss.

Besides these costs, a claimant can obtain damages for decreased quality of life and pain and suffering.

What is Fair Compensation?

To determine fair compensation, a qualified attorney considers the cost of full-time assistance for the life expectancy of the claimant. In some instances, they need to factor in the required physical therapy and rehabilitation to allow the claimant to regain a similar lifestyle to what they had before the accident.

Compensation should also include the cost of nurses, therapists, consultants, and any other expenses that the claimant may require to regain their quality of life.

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

Compensation for personal injury and catastrophic injury from an auto accident can be broadly categorized into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include payment for repairs to your vehicle, the cost of a replacement vehicle, interim rental cars, medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs directly related to your injury.

In the case of a catastrophic injury, you may also be eligible to claim compensation for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of consortium, permanent disability, or disfigurement. These payments are known as non-economic damages.

There is no cap on the amount of damages you can receive. However, in Louisiana, if a government agency caused your auto accident injury, there is a cap of $500,000.

What Are Your Options?

There is a 1-year statute of limitations on auto accident personal injury cases. So it is vital that you file your suit within this timeframe for the best chance of claiming compensation. An experienced attorney can help you wade through the complexities of Louisiana auto law to get your case started, ensuring you meet all deadlines.

Filing legal documents can be costly, complicated, and time-consuming. Let Lamothe Law Firm take care of these needs for you, and rest assured that you will be in the hands of a conscientious attorney who will be committed to your case and fight for the compensation and justice you deserve.

Insure you provide your attorney with proof of medical expenses, police reports, photos of your injuries, and any other information pertinent to your case.

Comparative Negligence in Auto Accident Personal Injury Cases

Louisiana is a “pure comparative fault” state, meaning that if you were partially at-fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you could still claim some compensation. The amount of remuneration you receive is proportionate to the percentage you were at fault. If it is determined that you were 10% at-fault for the accident, you’ll receive 90% of your compensation payment.

What Are The Next Steps?

If you have suffered a personal injury or a catastrophic injury due to an auto accident, contact Lamothe Law Firm for a no-obligation complimentary consultation to discuss your legal options.

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