ClickCease How to Value a Catastrophic Injury Case

How to Value a Catastrophic Injury Case

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury is an injury that is regarded as extreme, perhaps forcing the victim to lose a part of his person. Most often, catastrophic injuries affect the brain or the spinal cord. These injuries are life-changing for the victim and can be financially devastating for his or her family. In these cases, you should consider consulting a personal injury lawyer to start a claim.

The aftermath of a serious injury is extremely scary and can be quite overwhelming. The last thing on your mind is a legal battle. Our DC catastrophic injury lawyers at Regan Zambri Long can help you calculate all incoming and future costs to start your personal injury claim.

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Catastrophic Injury Cases vs Personal Injury Cases

Catastrophic injury cases and personal injury cases are similar in certain ways. They both involve injuries caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person. However, there are some key differences between the two types of cases:

Severity of injury

The main difference between catastrophic injury and personal injury cases is the severity of the injury. Catastrophic injuries are severe injuries that result in long-term or permanent disability. Injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or amputations.


Catastrophic injury cases often result in higher damages because of the seriousness of the injuries and the far greater impact on the victim’s life. The type of damages you can collect in both cases may be similar, but the settlement value in catastrophic cases is typically higher.


man looking down in grief with hand over mouthThe complexity of a catastrophic injury case outweighs a regular personal injury case simply because of the consequences to the accident victims. The injuries often require more extensive medical treatment and ongoing care for the injured. The cases may involve multiple defendants – doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to name a few. They even may require expert witnesses to testify about the extent of the injury and the impact on the victim’s life.

Contact the Reagan Zambri Long catastrophic injury lawyers for a free consultation. You will speak with a qualified lawyer who specializes in both catastrophic and personal injury to understand the specific differences between the two types of cases and to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

What Are the Most Common Catastrophic Injuries?

Any injury, if not properly treated, can be catastrophic to the victim. This is why it is so important to seek medical attention immediately following an accident. However, when we talk about catastrophic injury in the context of a personal injury lawsuit, there are two main injuries we are referring to.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

A TBI is an injury that results from a traumatic jolt or blows to the head or body. While a mild TBI can affect the victim’s way of life temporarily, a severe TBI can be permanently debilitating.

Brain injuries can cause the victim to have learning difficulties, speech problems, movement issues, and behavior changes. Most severe TBIs require ongoing treatment, perhaps for the victim’s lifetime.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in addition to the high medical costs from the initial traumatic experience, a TBI survivor is at a much higher risk for stroke, infections, pneumonia, and drug poisoning.

Spinal Cord Injury

doctor pointing something out in an xraySpinal cord injuries happen from trauma to the spinal cord. The trauma damages any part of the cord or the nerves at the end of it. This type of injury will affect every single part of the victim’s life. It can reduce the victim’s ability to walk and talk. In the worst cases, this injury will completely paralyze a person below the neck (called a quadriplegic) or completely paralyze a person below the waist (called a paraplegic).

Besides the loss of movement, many patients will experience the loss of bowel or bladder control, spasms, decreased sexual function, pain, or even difficulty breathing. For victims who lose all motor control, their lives will be forever changed. They will no longer be able to perform the simplest of duties like bathing, basic household chores, driving, or working.

Some other very common devastating injuries victims may face are:

  • Burns
  • Amputation
  • Organ damage and internal bleeding
  • Severe fractures or breaks
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease

No matter what caused your catastrophic injury or illness, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side. A Regan Zambri Long personal injury lawyer will seek the maximum compensation for your injuries.

Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Unfortunately, accidents happen all the time, no matter how careful we are. There are various causes for catastrophic accidents, but the most common include:

Motor vehicle accidents:

Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of catastrophic injuries and fatalities. High-speed collisions, rollover accidents, and accidents involving commercial vehicles can all result in severe injuries such as TBIs, spinal cord injuries, and amputations.

Workplace accidents:

Fallen worker at worksite with safety helmet on floorWorkplace accidents such as falls from heights, machinery accidents, and explosions can cause catastrophic injuries. Construction sites, manufacturing plants, and industrial facilities are among the most common locations for workplace accidents.

Medical malpractice:

Medical errors such as misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes, and medication errors can have disastrous effects on a patient. Victims of medical malpractice may suffer from permanent disabilities or may require extensive medical treatment and ongoing care.

Defective products:

Defective products such as defective auto parts, faulty medical devices, and poorly designed consumer products can cause catastrophic injuries. These injuries may occur due to a design flaw, manufacturing defect, or failure to warn consumers about potential dangers.

Slips and Falls:

Slip and fall accidents are the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. While slips and falls may seem like minor accidents, they can lead to serious injuries, particularly in cases where the victim falls from multiple stories or High School football player being tackledstrikes their head on a hard surface. The most common type of slip and fall accidents that result in serious injury are:

  • Sporting accidents: High-impact sports such as football, hockey, and skiing.
  • Water accidents: Boating accidents, swimming pool accidents, and drowning can cause catastrophic injuries, particularly if the victim suffers from oxygen deprivation or a traumatic brain injury.
  • Firearm accidents: Even when a firearm is used responsibly and safely, accidents still do happen. Injuries include gunshot wounds, burns, spinal cord damage, TBI, and wrongful death.

Other ways catastrophic injuries can occur from bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and assault and battery cases among others.

Call Regan Zambri Long to speak with a compassionate personal injury lawyer who will hear your story and give you a fair assessment of your case.

How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?

The value of any personal injury claim depends on a variety of factors such as the severity of your injury, the long-term impact on your life, and the extent of your financial losses.

At Regan Zambri Long, we believe in equipping our clients with as much knowledge about their cases as possible. The more you know, the more power you have. So, let’s break down how we will estimate the value of your personal injury case.

Injury-specific cost estimates

xray of a head injuryFirst, we are going to break down the real costs of the injuries listed above. This is how much you and your insurance company will expect to pay for the treatment of your injuries.

The cost of a traumatic brain injury can range from $85 thousand to $3 million over the patient’s lifetime. These costs will include hospital stays, surgery, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medications, occupational therapy, and long-term care.

The cost of a severe spinal cord injury will average out to just over $1 million in the first year after the accident. After that, the patient is likely to pay an average of $200 thousand per year in medical costs.

A burn victim may pay out almost $1 million in the first 60 days after the accident, while a severely broken bone that requires surgery and rehabilitation can cost the patient over $10 thousand.

Lost income

As we count these costs, we need to remember that if the patient is severely injured, it is likely they are not returning to work right away. If the injury is permanent, the victim may never be able to return to work. That means medical bills are piling up as the paychecks stop.

No one prepares for a devastating accident. No one ever thinks something like this will happen to them. That’s why even the wealthiest individual will run into financial distress after a devastating accident. That is why it is essential to have an expert lawyer advocating for fair compensation.

Calculating Damages for a Catastrophic Injury

Now that we have an insight into the costs associated with a personal injury, we’re going to look at the types of damages you may recover from a catastrophic personal injury claim. Damages is a legal term for the money paid to the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit.

There are three main types of damages you can recover from a personal injury case:

Economic Damages

Man holding his head looking at computer and paperworkEconomic damages are the financial losses and expenses from a negligent accident that the victim may collect in a favorable settlement. Economic damages include:

  • Lost wages and loss of future income
  • Medical expenses (current and future expenses)
  • Out-of-pocket expenses (hotel stays, parking, gas, travel, etc.)

Non-Economic Damages

Noneconomic damages are compensatory damages for intangible and non-monetary losses. These damages will include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Punitive Damages

While economic and non-economic damages are meant to award the victim for the losses incurred, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant. In most personal injury cases, punitive damages are only sought if the responsible party’s actions were particularly egregious or intentional.

Willful or wanton conduct means conscious and intentional disregard for the rights and safety of others. If you believe the liable party acted with such disregard, speak with a Regan Zambri Long lawyer immediately. Punitive damages are the most difficult to prove in any catastrophic injury claim. However, our lawyers specialize in this legal field and our success is unrivaled in the DC Metro Area.

Call us today for a free consultation so we can discuss the extent of the potential compensation you may be entitled to.

How to Prove Negligence in a Catastrophic Personal Injury Claim

woman with spinal cord injury in hospital bed from highway car accidentOnce we determine the value of your catastrophic injury claim, your lawyer will begin to build a rock-solid case that will end in a settlement or verdict that is favorable to you.

Determining Liability

To prove negligence to the responsible party, we need to first determine who the responsible party is. As we mentioned before, in catastrophic personal injury claims, there may be multiple liable parties. These cases can get big and complex very quickly, which is why it is in your best interest to have a Regan Zambri Long lawyer by your side.

Your lawyer will investigate the cause of the accident, the accident scene, eyewitnesses, security footage, medical records, and other documentation to make sure every negligent party is held accountable. These parties may be:

  • Individuals: Individuals who are responsible for causing the injury, either through their own negligence or intentional actions, can be held liable. This might include drivers who cause car accidents, doctors who provide substandard medical care, or property owners who fail to maintain safe premises.
  • Businesses: Companies that provide products or services that cause catastrophic injuries can be held liable. For example, a manufacturer might be liable for injuries caused by a defective product, or a construction company might be liable for injuries caused by unsafe working conditions.
  • Government entities: In some cases, government entities can be held liable for catastrophic injuries. For example, a city might be liable for injuries caused by unsafe road conditions, or a government agency might be liable for injuries caused by defective medication.
  • Insurance companies: In some cases, insurance companies that provide coverage for the responsible party might be liable for catastrophic injuries if they act in bad faith or fail to provide adequate coverage.

Determining who is liable for a catastrophic injury can be a complex process and it often requires the help of a practiced personal injury lawyer. At Regan Zambri Long, we spare no expense while building your case. We will work with medical consultants, accident reconstruction, expert witnesses, police officers, and other legal experts to make sure you collect the compensation that is owed to you.

Four Elements of Negligence

patrick reganTo prove negligence in a catastrophic injury case, you must establish that the defendant had a duty of care to act reasonably to prevent harm to you. Next, you must prove that the defendant breached that duty of care and that their breach caused your injury. Here are the key steps we will use to prove negligence in your catastrophic personal injury case:

Duty of care:

We will establish that the defendant had a duty of care to act in a reasonable manner to prevent harm to you. This duty of care may arise from

  • A professional relationship (such as a doctor or a nurse caring for a patient)
  • A legal duty (such as a property owner’s duty to keep their property safe)
  • A duty of care owed to the general public (such as a driver’s duty to obey traffic laws and avoid accidents).

Breach of duty:

Next, we will show that the defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act in a reasonable manner. This may involve demonstrating that they acted carelessly or negligently, or that they failed to follow established safety protocols or industry standards.


We will then establish a link between the defendant’s breach of duty and your catastrophic injury. This may involve showing that the defendant’s actions directly caused your injury, or that their failure to act allowed an injury to occur.


Finally, we will demonstrate that you suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty. In a catastrophic injury case, this may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your long-term disability.

An experienced lawyer at Regan Zambri Long is ready and waiting to hear from you. We deeply understand what a troubling time this is for you and your family. You are coping with physical pain, emotional trauma, loss, and grief.

Let us carry the burden of the claims process so you can focus on a full and complete recovery. Our lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t get paid a dime unless we win a settlement or verdict in your favor. Call us today for your free consultation so we can start the claims process and put this chapter behind you.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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