Personal injury law (also known as personal injury litigation) is the body of civil law that enables an injured person to seek fair compensation for their losses. Although the seriousness of injuries can vary widely in personal injury claims, cases involving catastrophic injury tend to be the most prominent, the most complex, and involve the highest amount of money.
If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of the negligence of another party (such as an individual, a corporation, etc.), it is important to work with an experienced attorney. Your choice of lawyer is hugely important, as it could mean the difference between maximum compensation and settling for less than you deserve.
Patrick Daniel Law has extensive experience with catastrophic injury claims arising from a wide range of accidents. For a free review of your case, please call (713) 999-6666 today to speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer at Patrick Daniel Law.
Multiple sources offer basic definitions for the term “catastrophic injury.” Personal injury attorney Patrick Daniel has found that catastrophic injury claims involve:
With this in mind, common examples of catastrophic injuries we see in personal injury claims include:
Catastrophic injuries are relatively uncommon. However, when they do occur, the effects on victims and their families can be devastating.
Recovery from a catastrophic injury is a long and difficult journey. Unfortunately, many victims find that full recovery is not possible.
The potential extent of your recovery from a catastrophic injury may not be readily apparent in the immediate aftermath of the accident. For example, the effects of a spinal cord injury may be exacerbated by issues such as spinal shock. With proper care, shock to the spinal cord can resolve over time. As the patient’s condition improves, the injury is classified as “stabilized.” Catastrophic injuries must be stabilized for clinicians to make an accurate determination of the patient’s prognosis.
Proper and timely intervention after a traumatic accident is crucial for patients with catastrophic injuries to have a chance at recovery. Injuries to the brain and spinal cord, burns, and other types of catastrophic injury often required specialized medical treatment, surgery, and rehabilitation (potentially involving physical therapy, vocational therapy, psychological counseling, and more).
Catastrophic injuries are unpredictable. The extent of recovery depends on the severity of your injuries, the type and quality of medical care you receive, and your own individual healing capabilities. Some victims of catastrophic injury are able to reclaim a life similar to the one they had before the accident, while others may face a number of limitations.
The most obvious impact of catastrophic injuries relates to physical function. The pain and impairment from a catastrophic injury can make it impossible for victims to resume their prior employment, hobbies, relationships with family and friends – in effect, all parts of the victim’s life can be forever changed.
In addition to physical pain and disability, victims of catastrophic injury often experience depression, anxiety, and other adverse mental health effects. Together, these issues can deprive victims of their quality and enjoyment of life.
Finally, the financial impact of a catastrophic injury is immense. Medical bills make up a significant portion of the costs, but other expenditures – such as travel related to medical care and therapy, modifying your home and vehicle, etc. – can add up quickly as well. The victims of catastrophic injury are often unable to work, leaving them with little to no means to pay these and other bills.
In the short-term, the costs of a catastrophic injury are overwhelming. In the long-term, they can negatively impact your credit, force you to sell your home and/or possessions, and even require you to file for bankruptcy.
Exacerbating all of these issues is the suddenness with which all of these changes occur. Most catastrophic injuries occur in an instant, and they are often the result of someone else’s carelessness and wrongdoing.
At Patrick Daniel Law, we have seen firsthand how the negligence of others adversely affects the lives of our clients. Many of our clients come to us when they or someone they love is severely injured and unsure where to turn.
Our firm is dedicated to representing victims who suffer catastrophic injuries in claims involving:
Both adults and children may be impacted by catastrophic injuries. In addition to representing adults and their loved ones in catastrophic injury claims, Patrick Daniel Law also has extensive experience with cases involving serious injury to children.
These cases arise because someone was reckless. Whether it is a driver who takes a chance on the road, an employer who puts workers in jeopardy, or a corporation that prioritizes profits ahead of people, it is crucial for victims of catastrophic injuries to know that they have legal rights and options.
A personal injury lawsuit is a civil court action which seeks to hold another accountable for the injuries they caused. When filing a lawsuit, the injured party, known as the plaintiff, must identify the grounds for holding the wrongdoer, known as the defendant, liable for their actions.
The jurisdiction for a personal injury lawsuit depends on where the accident that led to your injuries occurred. For example, if your injuries occurred in Houston, your lawsuit will likely be filed in Harris County District Court.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is not necessary in all cases. The matter can sometimes be resolved by filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your personal injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf, with the goal of obtaining a settlement that fairly compensates you for your losses.
If a settlement is reached in your case and you agree to the offer, you will not need to file a lawsuit. However, if the defendant(s) and/or the insurer(s) refuses to negotiate or offer a settlement that is less than your case is worth, you may need to sue for damages.
Many personal injury lawsuits settle before they go to trial. However, if your case does not settle, your attorney will need to present your case in court with the goal of achieving a judgment that awards you fair compensation.
Claims involving catastrophic injury have a much greater likelihood of proceeding to trial than other types of injury cases. There are many reasons for this, including:
For all of these reasons, you need a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer with extensive experience handling catastrophic injury claims. Attorney Patrick Daniel is a Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless litigator who knows how to try these complicated cases in court.
Liability in a catastrophic injury claim depends on the circumstances of the accident that led to your injuries. The defendant in the most common type of personal injury claim – motor vehicle accidents – is typically the driver who caused the crash.
However, fault for an accident is not always so clear-cut. For example, in claims involving semi-trucks and other commercial vehicle accidents, the employer of the commercial driver may also be liable (in addition to other parties).
Liability is also complicated in defective product claims. Multiple companies involved in the creation, distribution, and sale of a faulty product can be sued if the product fails and results in serious injury.
One emerging area of product liability claims concerns defects involving aerial lifts, including the Genie boom lift. Patrick Daniel Law is investigating aerial lift accident claims where workers suffered catastrophic injury or death as a result of manufacturer defects combined with owner negligence. In these cases, both the manufacturer (Genie and other makers of aerial lifts) and the owner of the lift (potentially an employer, such as a construction company, a commercial farm, etc.) may be held liable.
Monetary compensation in a personal injury claim is designed to make the injured person “whole” (i.e., in the same financial position that they would have been in if it was not for the wrongful conduct of another). Although nothing can make up for the often extreme losses suffered by the victims of catastrophic injuries, the money they recover can help offset some of the burdens they face.
The damages you may be able to recover in a personal injury claim depend on your particular losses. Patrick Daniel Law will collect evidence and consult expert witnesses to calculate the full extent of compensation you are due.
Broadly speaking, the categories of personal injury compensation are:
Economic damages refer to the quantifiable expenses you incur as a result of your injury. These losses may include:
Although the expenses you currently face may be overwhelming, it is important not to lose sight of the long-term financial impact a catastrophic injury has. Our personal injury lawyer will account for all of your economic losses – at present and in the future – in building your claim.
Accurately calculating non-economic damages is more complicated. Unlike economic damages, non-economic losses are not specified on bills, receipts, and invoices. Rather, they are a financial representation of the toll a catastrophic injury takes on your life.
Potential non-economic damages in your personal injury claim include:
Non-economic damages are often a point of contention in personal injury claims between plaintiffs and their attorneys on one side and defendants and their insurers on the other. Insurance companies often undervalue non-economic losses (or fail to include them in the calculation at all) when developing a settlement offer for a catastrophic injury.
The team at Patrick Daniel Law fully evaluates the ways a catastrophic injury has impacted your life. By thoroughly gathering evidence, attorney Patrick Daniel can effectively advocate for the full compensation you deserve.
The courts may award punitive damages (known in Texas as “exemplary damages”) if the evidence demonstrates that the defendant caused injury as a result of “fraud; malice; or gross negligence.” Punitive damages awards are relatively uncommon, but they can enhance the financial recovery of a plaintiff who is injured by a defendant’s extreme carelessness or wrongdoing.
In the majority of cases, punitive damages are capped at whichever of the following is greater:
Punitive damages are separate from economic and non-economic damages. They can only be recovered as part of a trial award. Attorney Patrick Daniel can assess the evidence to determine if you qualify for punitive damages and fight to maximize your financial recovery at trial.
The statute of limitations in Texas for all personal injury claims (including those where the victim suffers catastrophic injury) is two years from the date of the accident. Failure to take legal action within this two-year period will almost certainly result in your case being dismissed by the courts.
When you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, talking to a lawyer is likely one of the last things on your mind. Your priority is getting better and trying to adjust to the drastic changes in your life.
Although seeking legal guidance may seem like just another entry on an overloaded to-do list, hiring an attorney can actually relieve some of the burdens you are facing. If someone else is responsible for your injury, a personal injury lawyer can handle the heavy lifting – such as investigating the accident, collecting evidence, building your claim, and more – while you and your loved ones focus on recovering from the catastrophic injury.
Must you hire a personal injury lawyer if you have been injured? No. Should you hire a personal injury lawyer if you have been injured? Absolutely, yes.
In most circumstances, Texas law allows an injured person to represent themselves in court pro se (i.e., without an attorney). Doing so, however, is not advisable.
When representing yourself in court, the judge will treat and hold you to the same standard as a lawyer. That is, the judge will make you fully comply with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the Texas Rules of Evidence, and any other statutory or regulatory guidelines which all lawyers must follow.
Furthermore, defendants in the lawsuit will be represented by attorneys to fully protect their interests. Simply stated, if you represent yourself, you place your case and your ability to recover for your injuries in grave danger.
By hiring a personal injury attorney, you are ensuring that a trained and knowledgeable advocate is in your corner. A licensed Texas attorney will not only understand the applicable law, but their access to qualified expert witnesses and relationships within the legal community allow for more effective representation.
You may be aware that some types of attorneys charge an upfront fee for the initial consultation. If you retain the lawyer, you will likely be charged an hourly rate. As a result, legal fees can quickly add up for clients.
The majority of personal injury attorneys handle claims differently. Patrick Daniel Law is no exception.
First, your initial case evaluation with Patrick Daniel Law is free. There is no upfront charge to consult our team about your case.
Second, you pay no attorney’s fees or case expenses until we achieve a favorable result. This is known as a contingency fee agreement, and it gives our clients peace of mind that they will incur no additional costs until our job is done. If we settle your case or win in court, you pay a percentage of the amount recovered by Patrick Daniel Law on your behalf.
Our team is happy to review the contingency agreement and the portion of compensation you pay to our firm in the event of a successful outcome at your initial consultation. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
The Houston area is home to many personal injury lawyers, many of whom handle similar types of cases. However, not all of these lawyers focus their practice on catastrophic injury.
For 15 years, attorney Patrick Daniel has dedicated himself to representing those who have been seriously and permanently injured through the negligence of others. The mission of Patrick Daniel Law is to obtain results that other law firms can’t. This involves taking on some of the most challenging cases against large, powerful, and moneyed defendants.
Patrick Daniel has been honored by a wide variety of preeminent legal organizations, including America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators in a number of complex areas of personal injury law. He is also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum (membership in both organizations is restricted to lawyers who achieve awards of $1 million or greater on behalf of their clients).
Our dedication to advancing our clients’ interests is unparalleled. We take the time to understand how the injury affects you and your family now, as well as what the future holds. This understanding enables us to seek results that fully compensate you for all of the losses connected to your catastrophic injury.
Catastrophic injuries are life-altering events. If someone else is at fault for your injuries, it is essential to seek legal guidance as soon as possible.
Patrick Daniel Law has the knowledge, experience, resources, and tenacity to take on the challenges of catastrophic injury claims and win. Our personal injury lawyer and his team are Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless – a mindset that empowers us to speak up for seriously injured people and pursue the full compensation each client deserves.
Please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a free case review. Our catastrophic injury lawyer handles claims throughout Houston, all of Texas, nationwide, and even globally in select circumstances.