Catastrophic injuries may have life-altering consequences and severely impact both the accident victims and their families in Mississippi.

Such injuries are often caused by car, motorcycle or truck accidents but can also result from slips and falls, faulty products, medical malpractice or workplace accidents.

Injuries include spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries and amputations, which cause long-term disability and greatly impact the quality of life and ability to work.

If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury, the claims process can be extremely challenging for you and your family. Insurance companies often fight hard to limit payouts.

Legal assistance can help you not only claim the maximum compensation available for your injuries but also seek a quicker resolution of your claim.

A Catastrophic injury and the consequences

For an injury to be classified as “catastrophic”, it generally needs to lead to long-term or life-changing consequences and often results in severe physical, emotional and financial hardship.

These are the most common types of catastrophic injuries we see in the Biloxi area of Mississippi:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): may lead to cognitive impairment, memory loss and behavioral change as well as physical disabilities.
  • Spinal cord injuries: may lead to paralysis or loss of sensation, which affects mobility and independence (greatly impacting the quality of life).
  • Amputations: highly visible injuries that can lead to physical and emotional trauma, often requiring rehabilitation and adaptation to new ways of going about everyday life.
  • Severe burn injuries: may result in chronic pain, disfigurement and physical injuries that limit the ability to perform everyday activities.

Can you file a long-term disability claim?

If you suffer a catastrophic injury at work, you may be entitled to long-term disability payment via employer-related insurance that compensates injured workers for their inability to work at all.

These payments will amount to roughly two-thirds of your average weekly wage and can be paid for up to 450 weeks in the most serious cases. However, once a doctor decides that you have reached the maximum medical improvement (the stage at which no further recovery is possible), the payments may end at any time.

Some individuals in Mississippi take out separate long-term disability insurance. The key to making a successful claim is two-fold:

Understand the terms of the insurance policy that you are covered by: review the policy for the scope of coverage, definitions of disability, waiting periods and benefit amounts (these vary from policy to policy).

Seek legal advice to ensure that you take the right steps to maximize your claim: most policies contain complex language that requires legal expertise to unravel so there is no substitute for seeking assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer early on in the claim. As well as protecting your rights, your lawyer will provide support and guidance at a difficult time for you and your family.

If you are entitled to long-term disability, your lawyer can file the claim and handle all communications with the parties involved to ensure that any hardships are minimized.

Your lawyer will gather as much evidence as possible about your injury and how it prevents you from working, with medical records, professional evaluations, statements from healthcare providers and expert opinions if necessary.

If your claim is denied, your lawyer can help you navigate the appeals process.

Steps to filing a personal injury claim in Mississippi

A personal injury claim seeks compensation from a liable party for the injuries caused due to negligence or wrongdoing.

For catastrophic injuries that change lives, these claims can be for hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. It’s important to understand the personal injury claims process, which usually follows these main steps:

Gather evidence

For a successful personal injury claim, you’ll need to prove that your injuries are related to the accident that initiated the claim and that the defendant in the claim was negligent and, therefore, liable.

You’ll need evidence in the form of medical reports, police reports, photographs/video, witness statements, statements from medical experts and so on.

Contact a lawyer

Seeking legal assistance from a personal injury lawyer qualified to handle catastrophic injury claims is essential.

You’ll need to go over the details and circumstances of your case. Your lawyer will review your injuries, the available evidence and the relevant insurance policies and handle all necessary communications with the third-party insurance company.

File a claim

Your lawyer can bring your claim to the civil court in Biloxi once the investigation into your catastrophic injuries is complete and all the evidence has been reviewed.

The process starts with a complaint that outlines what happened and how you were harmed by the other party. A response is required from the defendant and then your lawyer will explain what happens next, depending on that response.

Settlement negotiations

Most personal injury claims in Biloxi are settled out of court through negotiation — well before they get to the trial stage.

However, the threat of going to trial can be important in convincing the insurance company that a fair settlement is required. Your personal injury lawyer will work in your interests to ensure that you don’t settle for anything less than you deserve.

Time limit for filing a catastrophic injury claim in Mississippi

Time may be a factor in your personal injury claim for catastrophic injury compensation. A three-year statute of limitations applies to personal injury claims in Mississippi. This means that you have three years from the date that the incident causing your injury occurred to file your claim.

With catastrophic injuries, it usually takes time to understand the full extent of the injuries and the full impact they have on an individual’s life so there is no time to waste. Investigations can take a long time too.

If you file your claim after the expiry of the statute of limitations, it is likely to be denied by the courts.

Note too that if your claim is brought against a city, county or state entity, you must inform the state’s Attorney General, Board of Supervisors or City representative within one year.

If you’re in the Biloxi area of Mississippi, contact a personal injury attorney at Rushing & Guice, PLLC for legal advice and assistance with pursuing a claim.

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