Houston, home to our headquarters, is one of the largest cities in the country. Residents and visitors have a variety of activities to choose from when they’re out enjoying this lively city. With this multitude of activities, however, also comes the potential for accidents—some of which may result in serious and even catastrophic injuries.
When the word “catastrophic” is used in a claim, it’s not just the victim being dramatic about the harm they have experienced. Rather, the label “catastrophic” indicates the severity of a victim’s injuries, the extent of their damages, and the outcome they should expect going forward after the accident.
Catastrophic injuries are a substantial setback in a victim’s life: they can impact careers, families, and futures. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in a Houston accident, you should seek compensation. To learn more about catastrophic injury claims and your eligibility to file a lawsuit, reach out to a law firm you can trust, one that can fight on your behalf and work to maximize your compensation. Reach out to Stewart J. Guss’s team of Houston catastrophic injury lawyers today.
Learn more about our firm, the types of accidents we handle, and what to expect from your case by reading below.
We are a national law firm based in Houston with multiple offices around the country. We also work with affiliate law firms in most states that share our focus and dedication to excellence. No matter where you are located, we may be able to help you, so call or contact us now. We are open, for free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-898-4877, or you may contact us now to submit your case for review.
About the Team of Attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers
Whether you were injured in a trucking accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident, or another Houston catastrophic injury accident, our firm is ready to fight for you. We focus on personal injury cases, so you can rest assured that when you contact Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, our legal team has the resources, knowledge, skill, and experience to handle your case, even if it involves catastrophic injuries and complex legal issues.
At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, we’re known for protecting the rights of the injured, pursuing justice for those harmed in accidents, and working tirelessly to obtain the highest possible recoveries for our clients.
Founded by Stewart J. Guss, who has practiced personal injury law for more than 20 years, our firm currently employs over 120 legal professionals, including experienced personal injury attorneys, paralegals, management, and support staff. As a team, we have handled thousands of cases and secured millions of dollars in settlement awards and jury verdicts for our clients, and we have experience handling cases that involve catastrophic injuries.
What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?
Many different types of injuries can result from an accident. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, some injuries may prove minor, while others may prove more extensive and even qualify as catastrophic.
What makes these injuries go from bad to disastrous? Typically, it depends on the severity of the injury. A catastrophic injury is a severe, long-term, life-altering injury that often results from major motor vehicle crashes, truck crashes, and motorcycle accidents. Heavier vehicles traveling at higher speeds have more forceful impacts and thus leave more serious injuries. Often these injuries are difficult, if not impossible, to recover from.
Catastrophic injuries may involve:
- A loss of function or a permanent disability
- The need for ongoing care, accommodations, or assistance
- The inability to work full-time
- Severe disfigurement
- Significant scarring
- Long-term dependence on medications
- A need for assistive devices or prosthetics, such as walkers, wheelchairs, or canes
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Loss of sight or hearing
- Severe burn injuries
- Organ damage
Typically, accidents that result in spinal cord injuries are considered the most severe type of catastrophic injury, as they can result in paralysis. These victims need long-term medical care and ongoing rehabilitation services. Additionally, a traumatic brain injury can also impact a victim’s daily life, leading to debilitating cognitive and emotional issues and significant memory loss.
Catastrophic Injury Statistics
To learn more about catastrophic injuries and their prevalence, we first need to examine how often these injuries occur.
Traumatic Brain Injuries:
- In Texas, about 144,000 individuals sustain traumatic brain injuries each year, which amounts to around one person every four minutes.
- More than 381,000 individuals in Texas live with disabilities as a result of traumatic brain injuries.
- Every year, more than 5,700 Texas residents are permanently disabled because of traumatic brain injuries.
Spinal Cord Injuries:
- According to the Spinal Cord Injury Data Sheet from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 17,730 new spinal cord injuries every year in the United States.
- On average, there are between 249,000 to 363,000 individuals in the United States living with spinal cord injuries.
- The average length of an injured individual’s stay in the hospital following a spinal cord injury is 11 days.
- The average length of an injured individual’s rehabilitation stay following a spinal cord injury is 31 days.
- Studies show that nearly two million people are living with limb loss in the United States.
- On average, 185,000 amputations occur in the country each year.
- The average lifetime healthcare costs for people with limb loss is $509,275, compared to $361,200 for people without limb loss.
Although this data only covers a few of the catastrophic injuries that can result from an accident, you can still see their life-changing effects.
The Major Differences Between a Catastrophic Injury Claim and a Personal Injury Claim
There are many differences between a catastrophic injury claim and a personal injury claim in terms of legal distinctions. Most notably, catastrophic injuries result in debilitating pain and permanent impairment.
Because catastrophic injuries are so serious, the required medical treatments often lead to extensive medical expenses and therapy costs. As a result, most catastrophic injury claims require injured individuals to pursue significant damages to cover all of their expenses. The value of catastrophic injury claim will be higher than a typical personal injury claim. Consequently, these lawsuits are more complicated, require detailed evidence to prove fault, and take more effort to win, because the other side is less willing to pay out such a high amount of compensation.
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of your accident, then you need to contact an experienced Houston catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will not only let you know what steps you need to take following your accident, but they can also promptly start an investigation into your accident, gathering critical evidence and documents to help prove your claim.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Unfortunately, catastrophic injuries can result from numerous types of accidents. Some of the most common accidents that lead to such injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Semi-truck collisions
- Motorcycle accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Product defects
- Defective pharmaceuticals
- Sports injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents, especially from great heights
- Worksite accidents
- Construction accidents
- Fires and explosions
- Boating accidents
Working with a skilled Houston catastrophic injury attorney following one of these accidents can help you determine what happened and who was at fault. With us by your side, you can pursue compensation from all of the parties that contributed to your accident.
What Damages Should You Expect Following a Catastrophic Injury in Houston
If you suffered catastrophic injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent actions, then you have a right to seek compensation for your damages. Potential compensation includes economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are actual verifiable losses resulting from the accident. Potential economic damages include:
- Medical bills, including past, current, and future costs (such as ambulance services, hospital stays, prescription medications, and surgeries)
- Lost income, including past, present, and future earnings
- Household services, such as lawn care, child care, grocery shopping services, and cleaning services
- At-home nursing care
- Medical devices, including wheelchairs and crutches
- Home modification costs
- Personal property damages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages are subjective losses that may prove difficult to quantify. Potential non-economic damages include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Punitive damages: Unlike the other damages, which exist to compensate victims, punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for particularly egregious behavior. Courts only award punitive damages if they find defendants’ actions particularly appalling and want to deter similar behavior in the future.
Catastrophic Injury Damages Caps in Houston
Many states often place caps on damages. These caps limit how much compensation a victim can receive.
In Houston, even though there are no damage caps in terms of compensatory damages (which include economic and non-economic damages), caps do exists for:
- Medical malpractice cases
- Government liability cases
- Lawsuits involving punitive damages (Punitive damages cannot exceed two times the amount of economic compensatory damages awarded, and no more than $750,000 for non-economic compensatory damages)
Discussing your case with an experienced Houston catastrophic injury attorney will help you determine how much compensation to seek in your case, avoid running into any of these damage caps, and pursue maximum compensation.
Actions You Should Take Following a Houston Catastrophic Injury Accident
After sustaining a catastrophic injury in an accident, your sole priority should be to get the medical help you need. A catastrophic injury lawyer can help you receive medical care at no upfront cost.
While recovering, however, you can still take these actions to protect your legal claim:
- Maintain records: If you cannot maintain records yourself, you should ask a friend or a loved one to help. Keep all documentation related to your recovery and your accident, including journals. In a journal, you can take note of your symptoms, the side effects you are experiencing due to your treatments, any communications you have with the insurance company or medical staff, how your injuries have affected your daily routine, and other useful information that demonstrates how your life has changed following your accident.
- Keep track of expenses: Hold on to every receipt or bill that you receive due to your injury, including medical bills, hospitalization expenses, doctor visits, surgical costs, and prescription medication costs. Additionally, if possible, start a spreadsheet listing each provider, your service date, the amount billed, the amount paid, and the amount of the insurance reimbursement. These records can provide your lawyer with useful evidence when trying to calculate damages.
- Gather evidence: Following a catastrophic injury, you probably can’t investigate your own accident, as your injuries will likely require immediate medical intervention. However, there are steps you can take to help your attorney during the investigation process. Keep track of any documents that you receive from your doctors, the police, the insurance company, or eyewitnesses. This is all valuable evidence. Additionally, if you obtain any pictures from the accident, make sure you keep those as well.
- Follow up with doctors: Your ordeal isn’t over when your doctors release you from the hospital. Your recovery is just beginning. It is important to take a doctor’s treatment advice seriously. Attend all recommended therapy and follow-up appointments. Failing to do so or having large lapses in your treatment plan may cause the insurance company to deny your claim.
Proving a Catastrophic Injury
To succeed in a catastrophic injury accident lawsuit, you must show that another individual’s negligence resulted in your catastrophic injury.
To prove this negligence, you need to show:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached this duty of care
- As a result of this breach, you suffered a catastrophic injury
- This catastrophic injury led you to suffer damages
Sounds simple enough, but your lawyer still needs to support your claim with evidence. This can be done with photos, surveillance footage, witness interviews, accident reports, and opinions from doctors and other experts.
Contact the Houston Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, Today
Following a catastrophic injury accident, you’ve got a lot on your plate. It can be too much to keep track of as you cope with the changes your life and your body have undergone.
For the help you need and the respect you deserve, reach out to the Houston catastrophic injury attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers. The sooner you reach out, the quicker our team can get to work gathering the evidence you need to prove fault and receive your settlement award.
Often, having an attorney on your side results in an immediate increase in the insurance company’s settlement amount. There are other benefits as well, like allowing you and your family to focus on your mental and physical recovery rather than worrying about your claim’s legal complexities. Reach out to the legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, today to discuss the details of your accident and determine your eligibility. Get compensation for your injuries, and start the road to recovery now.
Questions and Answers About Catastrophic Injuries in Houston
If you or a family member has suffered a catastrophic injury, you’re probably facing numerous medical treatments and skyrocketing medical expenses. Unfortunately, many people do not understand what they have to do in these situations to get the legal and financial help that they need. For many, it’s their very first accident.
By providing answers to the following questions we frequently receive from our clients, we hope to show you how the law firm of Stewart J. Guss, AttorneyStewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers at Law can help you seek justice and compensation after sustaining a catastrophic injury.
1. I suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of a Houston motor vehicle accident. How much compensation should I pursue?
Catastrophic injury cases involve substantial damages. When you work with the team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, our catastrophic injury attorneys know what factors will influence your damages. This is how they can estimate a fair settlement amount and prepare a strong case on your behalf.
Factors that may influence your claim’s value include:
- The extent and severity of your injuries
- The number of medical treatments you need now and will need in the future
- Whether you can return to work now or in the future
- The expected length of your recovery
- Whether you now suffer from permanent disability, such as disfigurement, scarring, or loss of mobility
- Whether you need additional services that you did not require before your accident, such as at-home nursing care
- Whether you’ve missed out on crucial aspects of your life or will in the future
- The credibility of the witnesses
- Your age and your overall health
- The degree of the defendant’s liability
2. I suffered catastrophic injuries in a Houston car crash, and the insurance company keeps calling. What should I do?
After a motor vehicle accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will likely reach out to you. Even though you may think that these insurance adjusters want to help you, they’re more focused on their company’s bottom line. Insurance companies want to pay you as little money as possible because. They are only concerned with profit, not people.
If an adjuster is calling you, be careful about what you say. Avoid making any statements that involve you apologizing for the accident or taking any fault for it. Adjusters will take these statements and use them to deny your claim or pay you less money than your claim is really worth. For these reasons, it is in your best interest to only give the insurance company basic facts about the accident and let them know that your lawyer will take over all future communications.
Once your attorney takes over these discussions, they can ensure that your case is treated fairly and that you do not say anything that may end up hurting your claim.
3. The insurance company offered me a settlement after my Houston catastrophic injury. Should I accept it?
Not until you talk to us.
We know that after a catastrophic injury accident, your medical bills will pile up. We understand getting these expenses under control is extremely important, but before you accept any settlement offer, you need to consider:
- Catastrophic injury accidents result in extensive medical bills and expenses
- Catastrophic injury accidents may require an immense amount of ongoing treatment
- Catastrophic injury accidents may require numerous medical devices and home modifications
These are just some of the reasons why you need to confirm that your settlement amount will cover all current and future costs.
Unfortunately, the first settlement offers rarely include enough compensation to cover all of this. The insurance company may not take into account the medical treatments you need or will need, and the company also may not take into account your ability to work or your lost earning capacity. For their sake, the insurance company hopes you’ll settle as fast as possible, for as little as possible.
Don’t get played. Talk to our experienced Houston catastrophic injury attorneys before accepting any offer. Our lawyers can confirm if a settlement offer is fair to you. If it isn’t, they can take over the negotiations and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
4. What happens if a loved one passes away after filing a catastrophic injury lawsuit in Houston?
According to Texas law, if an individual dies from a catastrophic injury, then that individual’s estate representative or heirs can continue pursuing any lawsuit that the decedent has already filed. Additionally, even if a suit has not yet been filed, certain family members of the decedent can pursue a claim for damages resulting from their loved one’s death.
5. Who is liable for my Houston catastrophic injury accident?
Determining who is responsible for your catastrophic injury may prove difficult, as liability determinations are often complex. For example, even if only one party is directly involved in the accident, additional parties may have played a role in your accident and will also face liability. Determining all potentially at-fault parties in your accident is essential. In order to go after maximum damages, you first need to discover who caused your injuries and damages.
Generally, your attorney will investigate all parties who may have some responsibility for your injuries. However, as each case is unique, the identity of those at fault will depend on certain factors. Some potential at-fault parties in a catastrophic injury case include:
- Careless drivers may face responsibility for catastrophic injuries resulting from impaired or distracted driving, as well as speeding
- Property owners are often responsible for a catastrophic injury that occurs on their properties
- Product manufacturers are responsible for catastrophic injuries caused by defective products
- Employers of an at-fault party may be liable for the harm you endured if the employee acted within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident
- Medical personnel who improperly diagnose you, provide inappropriate treatments, or make your injuries worse through substandard care are legally responsible for any resulting catastrophic injuries
As you can see, numerous accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, which is why you cannot wait. You need to talk to a skilled Houston catastrophic injury lawyer as quickly as possible. These attorneys can get to work figuring out who was at fault for your injuries and go after all responsible parties.
6. How much time do I have to file a catastrophic injury claim in Houston?
A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time you have to initiate certain types of legal proceedings. Typically, this deadline starts running from the date of the accident. If you fail to bring your claim within this allotted time, you may lose your right to collect any compensation for your injuries.
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury due to an accident in Houston, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to bring a claim. However, in situations where you do not immediately know about the injury, which often happens when you suffer a brain injury, you have two years from the date that you first learned of the injury to bring a claim. Additionally, individual cases may have shorter time-frames and require you to file a claim much earlier than the two-year limit. An experienced Houston catastrophic injury lawyer can help determine how much time you have to file a claim.
In general, it is in your best interest to file a claim as soon as you can following an accident. Why? Because the longer you wait, the more likely it is that memories of the accident will fade, evidence will disappear, and witnesses can’t testify anymore. Simply put, you are generally more likely to succeed in your case if you file sooner rather than later.
Catastrophic injury accidents require extensive evidence to help prove liability and damages. As a result, it may take some time for your attorney to gather all this vital information. For these reasons, you need to consult a skilled Houston catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible following your catastrophic injury accident. A lawyer can go over your legal rights with you and also help determine the proper filing deadlines for your case.
7. Do certain types of catastrophic injuries result in paralysis?
Paralysis is a debilitating condition that can change the lives of the victim and their family members forever. Those who’ve suffered from a paralyzing injury often require extensive long-term care, numerous medical treatments, and ongoing rehabilitative therapy. Not only will these individuals likely need medical devices, such as a wheelchair, but in many cases, catastrophic injuries render an individual unable to work, which can result in severe emotional, financial, and physical hardships.
The two main types of catastrophic injuries that can result in paralysis are:
- Spinal cord injuries: A spinal cord injury involves damage to any part of the spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. These spinal cord injuries often lead to permanent changes in sensation, strength, and other body functions below the site of injury, typically causing the victim to suffer complete paralysis, lack of motor functions from the neck down, lack of feeling, loss of motor skills, impaired breathing, and debilitating cognitive skills.
- Traumatic brain injuries: A traumatic brain injury results from a jolt or violent blow to the head or the body. Additionally, it can result from an object penetrating the brain tissue, such as shattered metal pieces or glass from a motor vehicle accident. These traumatic brain injuries can have wide-ranging effects, including headaches, loss of consciousness, seizures, weakness, numbness, and paralysis. Worse still, many of these signs or symptoms can take days or weeks to appear.
If you have experienced a catastrophic injury and have been left paralyzed, you need to contact a Houston catastrophic injury attorney who can fight for your rights and go after the damages you need to tackle this devastating condition.
8. How soon after my Houston catastrophic injury should I contact an attorney?
Always make your health your first priority. Getting medical treatment following a catastrophic accident is critical. However, it’s also a good idea to consult with an experienced Houston catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident. The faster you contact an attorney, the quicker they can help preserve your claim. They will ensure filings are within the statute of limitations and that there’s enough time to investigate your accident.
9. How can the law firm of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers at Law help me with my Houston catastrophic injury claim?
Following a catastrophic injury accident, you’re dealing with a lot of trauma and emotional stress. Handling the complex legal proceedings involved with a catastrophic injury accident lawsuit is probably the last thing on your mind. However, with the help of a skilled Houston catastrophic injury attorney, you don’t have to go through this process on your own.
When you retain the law firm of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers at Law, we can get right to work handling your claim, so you can focus on what matters most: your healing and recovery.
Our personal injury lawyers can:
- Take over the investigation process and gather all critical documents, interview relevant witnesses, and obtain vital reports
- Handle discussions and negotiations with the insurance company, making sure that we fight for maximum compensation on your behalf
- Take your case to trial if the insurance company fails to offer a fair settlement
Contact Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers Houston Catastrophic Injury Lawyers Now
At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, we’ve fought on behalf of thousands of former clients, working to secure compensation and deliver justice. We have experience handling Houston catastrophic injury cases, and we know how to provide compassionate support alongside our legal services. Don’t wait any longer; reach out to us today. Contact Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, today.
The legal team of Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is nationally recognized for protecting the rights of injured victims for more than 20 years. If you sustained catastrophic injuries in a Houston accident, call our office right now for a free consultation! Because we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you will not owe us a dime unless we win your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so call us today at 800-898-4877 or contact us now by clicking here.
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Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers
12777 Jones Rd #297
Houston, TX 77070
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.