When we talk about “catastrophic injuries” as a practice area of Mercado Kramer LLP, there is no fixed rule about whether an injury is serious enough to qualify. In general, when we speak of catastrophic injuries, we mean injuries that require extensive medical care and dramatically change how someone lives their life. Examples are spinal cord injuries, which can cause paralysis; some traumatic brain injuries; loss of limbs; and multi-trauma, where multiple areas of the body get hurt at once.
Catastrophic injury cases require an attorney to be especially dedicated, from initial investigation through making sure our client has options and expert advice for how to structure their settlement money to best support their future. Our attorneys are deeply experienced in handling all types of catastrophic injury cases and have achieved excellent results and top settlements. Our clients with catastrophic injuries need a fierce champion by their side as they overcome tragic loss. We have the grit and experience to get it done.
Catastrophic injury cases raise multiple issues. One of the most important ones is doing a thorough investigation at the start of the case. Because catastrophic injuries bring medical bills that can run to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, we work to identify every person or company who contributed to the accident where our client was injured. We then investigate insurance and assets. Identifying every possible source of compensation matters, because catastrophic injuries are a staggering financial burden.
Investigating how the accident occurred is also urgently important. In catastrophic injury cases where millions of dollars are on the table, insurance defense attorneys will try to pin the blame on the injured plaintiff in any way they can. If our client is found partly at fault, their own liability reduces the value of their potential settlement or verdict. We must be ready to act quickly, for example, by having a trucking expert download the EDR data from a semi truck’s “black box.” And our clients need support and resources as they seek the best medical care.
Some catastrophic injury cases settle fairly quickly and without going to court. Some cases involve large commercial insurance policies that are $10,000,000.00 or more. There is money available to fight for. But we often face a long road of litigation. Many insurance companies would rather spend money dragging an injured person through court rather than make a fair settlement offer. In those cases, we put our foot on the gas to keep the case moving swiftly, filing motions and seeking sanctions against insurance defense lawyers if they delay or abuse the legal system.
We build a strong case and prepare for our clients to have their day in court, at trial, if necessary. But many times, the cliché “the best defense is a strong offense” is true. When we show the other side that we are ready to convince a jury, it’s a powerful motivator for the insurance company to make the offer our client needs.
Once the case settles, we work just as hard as we did in court to get every penny of the settlement we can into our client’s pocket. There will often be outstanding medical bills or "liens" from health insurance companies claiming part of the settlement. We negotiate aggressively with hospitals, government agencies, and health insurance companies.
If you or a loved one have a catastrophic injury, please reach out and schedule a consult with us. You can ask us questions and get advice with no obligation to hire us. But do understand that acting quickly at the start of the case can be crucial to success. Don’t delay getting the help you deserve. Our personal injury attorneys are ready to get to work in Salinas, San Jose, or wherever you need us