In general, a catastrophic claim should not be settled until the final extent of the physical, mental and/or economic impairment is known and may be calculated. , That means that a catastrophic injury claim shouldn't be settled until the recovery is as complete as it's going to be. Once the injury has healed as much as possible, there will be a better understanding of what a person is left with in terms of range of motion, strength, level of pain, and activities of daily life and work that are affected. With this understanding, it will be easier to ascertain the level of assistance that will be needed in the future, the nature of the medical needs going forward, and the range of lost future earnings and an appropriate level of non-economic damages.
What Happens If The Victim In A Catastrophic Injury Claim Dies?
If the victim of a catastrophic injury dies for unrelated reasons during the case, the case may simply end. For example, if someone is seriously injured in a car accident and their earning capacity is clearly going to be impaired, but then they die as a result of lung cancer, then the case would no longer be considered a catastrophic injury case. This does not mean that there is no value in the underlying injury case but its character has changed and the damage equation altered due to a superseding event. More often than not, there will be serious questioning as to whether the death was brought about or contributed to by the injury, and if this is the case, then the claim will survive. It is important to understand that the remaining claim will now belong to a legal entity called an Estate, rather than to the individual. Just like a corporation an Estate is a separate legal entity from an individual and must bring a case for recovery of damages in its own right, ultimately benefiting the beneficiaries of the Estate, which are most often surviving family members.
An estate must be set up through the probate courts, which is an administrative process that can take some time. The rights that the estate will have will include many - if not all - of the rights that the injured party had, with the additional right to recover for damages related to the death of the individual. It would be the estate that pursues such a claim, and the estate would function just like a corporation, by the appointment of appropriate officers, directors, and managers. The estate has an administrator or an administratrix who is appointed by the court and is responsible for acting in the best interest of the estate, engaging with counsel, and making recommendations for settlement on a case.
For more information on Settlements In Catastrophic Injury Claims, a free & confidential consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (860) 322-5302 today.