Suffering from a severe injury? If you’re injured because someone else has committed an act of negligence, then the Law Offices of Tony Merchant can help.
You will need money to recover. You will need it to pay your medical bills and replace your lost wages. If the accident wasn’t your fault, then the money shouldn’t come out of your own pocket.
Let us help you. We take every step we can to ensure your case is thoroughly investigated and pursue your highest possible settlement to the very limit of our capabilities.
Catastrophic injury isn’t just a description. It’s a legal term that describes any injury that prevents someone from working for more than 30 days and which has a severe, negative impact on that person’s ability to enjoy their life. You may also hear these injuries referred to as permanent injuries.
For many of our clients, these catastrophic injuries are caused by car accidents, truck accidents, or motorcycle accidents.
Many of these injuries prevent clients from working for life. They count on their personal injury cases to help them get settlements which compensate them for their loss of earning capacity.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include:
These injuries are life-changing for the people who suffer from them. Life and the quality of your life may never be the same. The purpose of your personal injury settlement is to help you recover financially as well as you possibly can so that you can move forward into your new normal.
Accepting a settlement does not stop you from receiving social security benefits, which you paid into while working. Unless your attorney takes special steps to protect you your settlement may keep you from receiving Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.
To prevent this, you can funnel your personal injury settlement into a special needs trust, or SNT. This allows you to use your settlement proceeds to pay for certain predetermined needs while ensuring your benefits are protected. Your personal injury attorney can help you make these arrangements.
Catastrophic injury cases require a great deal of legal experience to navigate successfully.
This is because the insurance companies who are usually on the hook for paying for these expenses rarely want to. They aren’t really in the business of paying claims. They’re in the business of collecting premiums. The more expensive the case, the more they’re going to fight you.
This can come as a shock to people who think they can rely on insurance policies to come through when they get hurt. It would feel like paying the claim is the right thing to do. In reality insurance companies do not care about doing the right thing.
You can expect the insurance company to try to demonstrate why the negligent party was not responsible for the accident. You can expect them to try to pin the blame on you. You can expect them to try to make the case that you are exaggerating your injuries for your own benefit. You must be prepared.
You need an attorney who will prep for litigation from day one. You also need a shrewd negotiator who can help you get the best deal in a settlement conference. 92% of catastrophic injury cases settle, but unless your attorney knows exactly what he’s doing you might not get enough money to cover your expenses.
Finally, some of these cases have multiple responsible parties. Thanks to the extreme expenses that can be attached to such a case it’s absolutely vital to work with attorneys who will work to help you identify every responsible party. We will then pursue justice for you against all of these individuals.
A good settlement consists of two, possibly three, parts.
The first part would be your economic damages. These include:
Many of these damages are straightforward. They’ll be based on the actual bills you accrue, so be sure to save all of them. Some of these damages will require some negotiation, however.
For example, future care bills will be based on a projection of possible expenses. They’ll be based on doctor’s recommendations and their estimations of how long you’ll need additional care. Since nobody can predict the future this can require some back and forth on the part of the lawyers.
Reimbursement for a loss of earning capacity is another area which requires a good negotiation. It’s based on an estimate of how many working years you had left and how much you might have earned. Again, nobody can see what might have been, so these are based mostly on guesswork. Yet this money can be vital to giving you a nest egg to live on if you can’t work ever again.
The second type of damages your settlement will include are non-economic damages. These are your pain and suffering damages.
Proving your pain and suffering case means helping either the negotiating defense lawyers or a jury understand exactly how much damage has been done to your body and how that damage is impacting your life. Here in Arizona, your attorney’s ability to tell this story effectively will impact the multiplier that you receive.
Here in Arizona, the multiplier ranges from 1 to 5. It is then applied to your economic damages and used to calculate your pain and suffering award. Thus, if your multiplier is 4 and your economic damages are $100,000, you can expect an additional $400,000 in pain and suffering damages for a total settlement of $500,000.
Some catastrophic injury cases will include punitive damages. These would be a factor in your settlement in the event that someone has broken the law. For example, your case might include punitive damages if you were injured by a drunk driver.
All personal injury cases exist because someone has acted negligently. So ask yourself what you were doing at the time of your accident.
If you were in a car accident, were you following the traffic laws? Were you paying attention? If you were driving safely and someone else hit you then that person was negligent and you likely have a case.
If your catastrophic injury came from a different kind of accident, did you ignore warning signs? Did you assume the risk for what you did? Don’t assume that you did. Even if you signed a waiver you may be able to make a case for negligence.
Arizona is a comparative negligence state. This means that you can sue so long as you were less than 51% responsible for the accident. There are, at times, diminishing returns for these lawsuits as any award you receive will be reduced by your own negligence percentage. Yet this percentage can be talked down if you have a solid negotiator on your side, and if you involve an attorney early enough for the accident evidence to do any good.
Ultimately, you should avoid trying to guess whether your case is strong enough or not. Most personal injury attorneys are happy to look over the facts of the case and tell you whether it’s worth pursuing. If you’re not sure, just ask. You have nothing to lose, and potentially everything to gain.
Involving a personal injury attorney early can make a huge difference in your case.
For example, your attorney can file a claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf. This can prevent you from making major mistakes while speaking to the company, mistakes which can weaken your case. For example, insurance companies may try to get you to sign statements which you should not sign, or may ask leading questions in an attempt to increase your own liability.
We deal with these companies day in and day out, so we don’t respond to these tricks. We just make our case. We’ll be your ally as evidence gets gathered, as witnesses get interviewed, and as settlement negotiations begin.
If we need to litigate your catastrophic injury case, we will be prepared. We will work tirelessly to create a case that jurors will be unable to ignore, so that you get your best chance at winning the compensation you’ll need to meet your post-accident expenses.
We can even help you keep creditors at bay while you are waiting to receive your settlement. When you have an attorney, you have the power to tell everyone who might touch your case to communicate with your lawyer, instead of with you. This frees you up to recover from your catastrophic injury.
When you reach out to the Law Office of Tony Merchant you are reaching out to a veteran attorney with over 30 years of experience in his field. Mr. Merchant has won numerous awards for his work in personal injury law and class action law. He’s been published in numerous legal journals.
Most importantly, he’s helped his clients win billions of dollars so they could get on with their lives unburdened by medical debt while getting the resources they needed to meet some of their day-to-day expenses.
To get started, just call us and request a case review: (480) 581-8801. Our offices are located in Tuscon, but we serve clients throughout the state of Arizona, and we’re here to help you.