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Catastrophic Injury vs. Personal Injury Claims

By Butler Prather LLP on April 20, 2022

Anytime an individual sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person or entity, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. This compensation usually comes through a settlement with insurance carriers or as a result of a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. However, is there a difference between a personal injury claim and a catastrophic injury claim?

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim can arise anytime one individual sustains an injury caused by the negligent, intentional, or careless actions of another person, entity, or business. When an injury occurs, the victim will likely be able to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Often, a claim is made by the injury victim against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. However, insurance carriers are not always willing to pay the correct amount of compensation, and they sometimes even deny these claims altogether.

In the event the insurance carrier refuses a fair settlement or continues to deny the claim, the injury victim may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court. Individuals have a limited amount of time to file these claims in court. In Georgia, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury occurs. This means an injury victim has a two-year window to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged at-fault party. Failing to do so will likely result in the case being dismissed.

Personal injury claims can arise as a result of a wide variety of injuries. This includes just about any traumatic injury you can think of as well as a result of occupational illnesses and repetitive motion injuries sustained on the job.

Is a Catastrophic Injury Claim The Same Thing?

In a sense, catastrophic injury claims are the same thing as a personal injury claim, but the nature of the injuries is different. A catastrophic injury is going to be much more severe than just a simple laceration or a dislocated bone. A catastrophic injury is typically defined as an injury that occurs to the spine, spinal cord, or brain. This can also include skull or spinal fractures. Catastrophic injuries are the types of injuries that completely affect how a person lives their day-to-day lives. This can be due to paralysis or brain damage that affects mobility as well as cognitive ability.

When an injury claim is made for a catastrophic injury, it is likely that the plaintiff (the injury victim) and their attorney will seek more compensation than a person would typically look to recover in a regular personal injury claim. Catastrophic injury claims have to take into account the extended expenses typically associated with these types of injuries. This can include the need for long-term and in-home medical care as well as extensive pain and suffering losses.

Working With a Lawyer

If you or somebody you care about has been injured as a result of the negligent actions of another individual or entity in Georgia, we encourage you to reach out to an Atlanta personal injury attorney immediately. Regardless of whether or not your injury is catastrophic or not quite as severe, you need an attorney to help recover compensation for your losses.

Posted in: Personal Injury

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