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Columbia Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > General > What to Expect in a Catastrophic Injury Claim

What to Expect in a Catastrophic Injury Claim


In a nutshell, these victims can expect high medical bills and a final settlement. Catastrophic (life-threatening) injuries are expensive. The average economic losses in such situations, mostly medical bills, exceed $150,000. This figure does not include lost enjoyment in life and other noneconomic losses. When these cases go to court, they eventually settle out of court, at least in almost all cases. However, “eventually” can be a very long time.

A Columbia catastrophic injury lawyer addresses needs in both areas. Lawyers connect victims with doctors who charge nothing upfront for their help. Furthermore, attorneys usually negotiate with medical providers and convince them to reduce their bills. Once the medical bill issue is settled, attorneys turn their attention to negotiating with insurance companies. Well-prepared and tenacious lawyers almost always obtain maximum compensation in these cases.

Catastrophic Injuries and Medical Bills

Car crashes, which kill or seriously injure millions of Americans every year, cause most of the catastrophic injuries in South Carolina. The medical bills in these cases, and insurance company opposition to these bills, usually come in several categories:

  • Transportation: If a car crash occurs close to a large regional trauma center, emergency responders might dispatch a surface ambulance. But many times, car crashes happen in remote areas, and emergency responders dispatch much more expensive medevac helicopters. Insurance adjusters rarely approve transportation upgrades.
  • Emergency Treatment: When doctors evaluate victims, they usually aggressively intervene to address their catastrophic injuries. This intervention usually means multiple corrective surgeries. Insurance adjusters often claim that a more conservative, and less expensive, treatment approach would have been just as effective.
  • Follow Up Care: As victims recover, they usually rely heavily on prescription drugs and medical devices. Most people don’t realize how expensive these items are, since a group health insurance company usually pays most or all of the cost. Insurance adjusters often say that the doctor was overly cautious and the recovery period was unreasonably long.
  • Physical Therapy: Adjusters make the same basic argument in this final area of medical bills. Adjusters often use actuarial tables to approve PT (e.g. X injury in Y location means Z number of sessions). But not everyone responds to PT at the same pace.

Other catastrophic injury categories include falls and swimming pool drownings. A fall from as little as four stories above ground is usually fatal. Furthermore, a few minutes under the water’s surface usually causes a permanent and catastrophic brain injury.

Injury Settlements

We mentioned medical bill reduction above. A Columbia personal injury lawyer often makes such reductions part of an injury settlement. South Carolina has a very complex collateral source rule. In some cases, if Joe’s lawyer reduces his medical bills from $100,000 to $80,000, he might get to keep the extra $20,000.

Because of these complexities, meaningful settlement negotiations cannot begin until medical treatment is at least substantially complete and the final bills are mostly in.

Usually, catastrophic injury claims settle toward the end of the litigation process, during mediation. Since a third-party mediator ensures that both sides negotiate in good faith, civil mediation in South Carolina is about 90 percent successful.

Mediation follows discovery, which is an evidence exchange process. Therefore, if a case settles too early, the best evidence, and therefore maximum compensation, might be unavailable.

Connect with a Dedicated Richland County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.


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Marc Brown

Marc Brown Law Firm

Meet Attorney Marc Brown

Marc Brown is an experienced personal injury and civil rights attorney serving clients throughout South Carolina and Georgia. Marc is motivated by the challenge of helping his clients solve their complex legal issues, and most importantly, he obtains favorable results. He is a caring and conscientious attorney who brings the experience and resources of a larger firm to his smaller, more personalized practices in Sumter and Columbia, SC.

A Personable & Dedicated South Carolina Attorney

As someone who has always had a keen sense of right and wrong and a desire to achieve excellence and fairness in all things, pursuing law was a natural career choice. After graduating with honors from the prestigious Emory University School of Law, Marc went on to become a dedicated litigator who focuses on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense cases.

Why Choose Us?

Choosing an attorney is a very important decision, but it can be difficult. When you choose the Marc Brown Law Firm, we do everything we can to keep you informed, put your needs first, and to make sure justice is served. Here are just a few reasons to choose us:

The Right Experience

Attorney Marc Brown has experience that matters. Prior to opening this law firm, Marc spent nearly a half a decade defending big insurance companies and large corporations in personal injury and commercial litigation matters across the United States. Marc knows exactly how insurance companies and corporations evaluate claims and what they look at when deciding to increase the amount they are willing to pay. He thinks outside the box to find additional or hidden opportunities for favorable results.

We’ll Come To You

After being injured in a serious accident, you need to focus on getting better. Serious accidents can be hard on an individual, physically and emotionally. The Marc Brown Law Firm is dedicated to fight for you while you recover. If you are unable to travel to our office for any reason, we will personally visit you! Just give us a call to talk whenever you may be in need of assistance. We’re here to help.

Clients First

At the Marc Brown Law Firm, we choose to put our clients first. Our clients are more than just a case number. We think of each of our clients as extended members of the family. We make sure to inform our clients of all their legal options and provide timely updates throughout the life their case.

24/7 Availability

We are available around the clock for our clients. If at any point we are unavailable, we promise to promptly respond to all messages within hours.


We work hard so that our clients receive the justice they deserve! When necessary, Attorney Marc Brown retains investigators, engineers, and other experts to help prove your case. Insurance companies are big, but Marc is experienced and resourceful. We fight for each of our clients so that you can receive the maximum compensation available to you.

No Fees Unless We Win

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront cost to clients. You only pay lawyer fees when we win your case. This also means that your attorney is only paid a percentage of what is recovered for you. The Marc Brown Law Firm has a vested interest in ensuring that each of our clients receive the maximum recovery available to them. We are determined to fight tirelessly to recover for you.

Marc Brown and The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 award