CATASTROPHIC PERSONAL INJURY AND EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS
CATASTROPHIC PERSONAL INJURY AND EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS
Persons suffering catastrophic personal injury, as well as their families and representatives, need immediate, substantial, and expert assistance in handling the consequences of such injury to preserve claims and minimize trauma and disruption to the lives of both the injured person and his or her loved ones. The group of persons requiring assistance includes but is not limited to persons suffering death, dismemberment, and traumatic brain injury. The Law Offices of Matthew J. Witteman has substantial experience in such situations and can make a difference.
People who have been injured in a serious accident will have immediate and pressing needs: finding medical care, figuring out how to pay for it, handling the disposition of a damaged vehicle, obtaining leave from a job, protecting their income, taking care of children and other family matters, and preserving evidence. A good attorney can and should provide or suggest solutions to many or all of such problems,
A recurring issue in catastrophic personal injury cases is how to pay for medical care. This becomes a particularly pressing question when an injured person is without medical insurance, or inadequate medical insurance. Surprisingly enough, sometimes even persons with medical insurance are denied coverage when an insurer or medical care provider finds out the claim arises out of a “third-party” accident situations. There are a number of ways of handling these problems. Not infrequently, an injured person’s own vehicle insurance, for example, may provide “med-pay coverage,” which provides for medical benefits up to a certain amount without questions of fault or liability. Alternately, doctors or health care providers sometimes work on a lien-basis when an injured person is without adequate medical insurance or substantial other assets. In other words, such providers will wait for payment until the injured person obtains a recovery from a third party who has caused his or her injury. A related service of some health care providers is reduced fees for services. Government assistance is also sometimes available to cover the cost of medical care. Experienced attorneys such as the Law Offices of Matthew Witteman, can assist you in addressing and solving these problems.
Another immediate concern is what to do with a damaged vehicle, how to pay for its tow, where to have it stored, how much to pay for storage, whether to salvage the vehicle, and what is fair compensation for its damage. In catastrophic and serious personal injury cases, sometimes problems like this recede into the background in light of the gravity of other issues. Nevertheless they are there, complicating the lives of persons whose lives are already complicated, and a competent, engaged attorney should help injured persons and their loved ones solve these problems.
Similarly, steps should be taken to preserve evidence relating to the injured person’s accidents and claims. Early retention of an experienced attorney will help to preserve evidence, sometimes with the assistance of a private investigator, sometimes without. Pictures or the damaged vehicle, the scene of the accident, or the injury, the actual product that has caused injury, names and addresses of persons who witnessed the accident or have information relating to it, collection of statements, and similar matters.
Securing replacement income is another serious problem for persons disabled in catastrophic accidents. If such persons are fortunate enough to have private disability insurance through their employer or otherwise, or state disability insurance, this will provide some cushion for the income loss associated with serious personal injury. If a person does not have disability insurance, finding replacement income is more difficult. If someone is self-employed, the disabled person may hire someone to fill in for him or her, paying the replacement less than the disabled persons normally charges, and recovering the difference. If disability persists, making a claim for disability benefits under the Social Security system may make sense. An experienced attorney in serious personal injury cases can advise on these important subjects.
Development of a catastrophic personal injury case should occur from a very early stage, including in the hours, days, and weeks following the accident causing injury. Collecting medical records and following of the course of an injured persons’ medical condition are crucial. Interviews of treating doctors and other health care professionals often become necessary. Timely retention of experts is critically important – including accident reconstructionists, biomechanical experts, medical experts, vocational experts, life care planners, and economists. Accident reconstruction videos and models, photographs, and other expensive exhibits must also be secured. An experienced attorney in serious personal injury is necessary both to select the appropriate experts, exhibits, and evidence, and advance the funds to secure this evidence.
Accident reconstructionists are experts that help explain how and why an accident has happened, what caused the accident and, by extension, who caused an accident. This becomes particularly important in accidents causing catastrophic injury, where there are not infrequently high speeds or complex machinery involved. This is true even if someone at the scene of an accident admits fault, or places fault squarely on another person.
Once an insurance company is involved in the claims process, its adjusters and agents will work diligently to undermine admissions of liability and obscure what should otherwise be a clear case.
Biomechanical experts are persons specially trained to determine whether a particular force or accident can cause a particular injury. These experts are often first retained by a defending insurance company, again to obscure what treating doctors often determine to be clear-cut causation. When insurance companies employ such experts, it falls to plaintiff’s counsel to rebut their nonsense by securing biomechanical experts that will actually tell the truth. Again, the selection and payment of such an expert is why the employment of a seasoned attorney in serious personal injury is necessary for catastrophic personal injury claims.
Vocational experts help to establish an injured person’s post-injury wage earning capacity, and life-time care planning experts help to establish nursing and other special costs that an injured person or his family may incur. Economists similarly assist in calculating the overall damages and costs to deceased or seriously injured persons because of the negligence of others.
In summary, substantial experience is required of any attorney who handles catastrophic personal injury cases. The Law Offices of Matthew J. Witteman is a firm with such experience. Call for a free consultation.