Over the last 25 years of working on personal injury cases, I’ve worked on many catastrophic injury cases. I’ve worked on cases ranging from severe brain injury, quadriplegic injury, to paraplegic injury cases. I’ve seen first-hand the impact that these types of catastrophic injuries have on clients, their families, and their lives generally. Almost every case means that people can’t return to work…which in turn affects every aspect of their lifestyle, and the lifestyle of their families and friends.
Catastrophic injuries are different, and it is essential to know that at the outset of the claim. These cases need special management, and will need a team effort to ensure they are handled properly. I believe that catastrophic injury cases require an extra level of experience and attention to detail to ensure that all aspects of the claim is attended to.
For this reason, from a strategic perspective we treat catastrophic injury cases with a higher level of focus and attention.
If I am not personally handling the catastrophic injury case, it will be handled by a senior member of my team with experience in handling such claims. I will always be heavily involved in management of the claim, and will review its progress at least fortnightly to ensure strategically the case is being positioned perfectly.
Catastrophic injury cases take much longer because the client will not reach a stable and stationary position in terms of injury recovery for up to 2 – 2 1/2 years post-accident. This is approximately double the time that most injured client’s takes to have his or her injuries reach a stable and stationary position such that they can undergo medico legal assessment by a doctor.
This is the point of the claim where we can start to crystallise an assessment of damages. Assessment of damages in these cases is complex, and involves consideration of a wide range of heads of damage that in most injury claims you just don’t have to consider. Additional holiday and travel for holiday costs, sexual function management costs, pressure sore management just to name a few.
Relationship building with your client and their family is absolutely key in these cases because the clients go through various stages and deal with constantly changing emotions as they ride the roller coaster of arduous physical and psychological rehabilitation. It is extremely important to be able to ride out these ups and downs with the client and their family and to be there with them to assist with the journey. Knowing the client, and their family dynamics inside and out is absolutely critical in positioning yourself in the best possible way to ensure all potential aspects of damages recovery is covered, because every case varies depending on the clients own individual circumstances.
We contact our clients at least once every month, so they are never left in the dark. They know that we are there with them every step of the way, and that any issue they are confronting whether it be case related or otherwise, we are there to assist in whatever way we possibly can.
In terms of claim management, we take whatever time is needed to get the very best result we can for the client. For this reason, we do tend to take a little longer than some other firms. We don’t accept any number is good enough for our clients, it must be the right number, and the best possible number we can achieve to resolve their case. We push harder to get the client in a position where they can achieve the very best possible outcome for their claim.
I’ve repeatedly seen first-hand the difference these extra efforts make in terms of clients results. The relationships we form with our clients are often long term. This is one of the real joys of what we do, touching base with clients several years later and seeing what a difference the compensation has made in their lives.
We recently caught up with Dan, a past paraplegic client of mine. His story is inspirational, and I’m proud to call Dan and his wife Deb friends of mine. Watch their story here.
Dan and Deb featured prominently in our recent Radio and Billboard advertising campaign, and I thank them enormously for letting us into their lives for this purpose.