If you are involved in an accident, the physical toll on your body can be significant. Any injury sustained in an accident has the potential to disrupt your life. You may accumulate significant medical bills, miss work, or even be unable to work again.
When someone fails to act responsibly, they can end up causing a serious accident that results in catastrophic injuries. In some cases, victims will experience lifelong effects and may never be the same again. In this article, we will explore catastrophic injuries and their long-term consequences, as well as what compensation is recoverable if you are involved in a catastrophic accident.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
Under Florida law, a catastrophic injury is an injury that results in long-term or permanent disability or disfigurement. Put simply, a catastrophic injury changes your life. You may need long-term medical care and rehabilitation, miss time at work, or even not be able to work at all. If you sustained catastrophic, long-term injuries due to another person’s actions, you can file a personal injury claim to recover for your losses.
What Causes Catastrophic Injuries?
Any accident can result in a catastrophic injury. However, there are some situations where sustaining one is more likely. These include:
- Motor vehicle accidents,
- Trucking accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Construction accidents,
- Workplace accidents,
- Defective product accidents,
- Medical malpractice, and
- Sports accidents.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and there are many other ways a victim can suffer a catastrophic accident. When one happens, there are many side effects of serious injuries that the victim then must deal with.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries
There are several common types of catastrophic injuries.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves and a key part of the body’s central nervous system, essential for mobility, cognition, and many bodily functions. Damage to the spinal cord can cause partial or full paralysis, circulatory and respiratory problems, exaggerated spasms and reflexes, and chronic pain, just to name a few.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injuries can result from all types of accidents, such as traffic accidents, slip and fall accidents, workplace accidents, and more. Even mild or moderate injuries can be very serious for a victim and can result in long-term or life-long cognitive issues, speech problems, limited mobility, and more.
Loss of Limbs or Other Appendage
This occurs when any appendage is separated from the rest of the body, whether an arm, leg, finger, toe, or foot. This might happen during the accident, but in other cases, an appendage must be removed surgically due to damage. Depending on the limb or appendage lost, a victim can be severely limited in everyday life and may need long-term care, prosthetics, and rehabilitation.
Severe burns are incredibly painful and can be debilitating for victims. They are more prone to complications such as infections and can limit mobility. Treatments are often invasive and expensive, and they may take several procedures to treat properly. Long-term effects include scarring, loss of mobility, and chronic pain.
Damage to internal organs or internal bleeding is often life-threatening, particularly when it is not discovered and treated immediately. These injuries often require surgery and involve expensive medical bills and a long recovery time.
Bone fractures can vary in terms of type and severity, with the most serious leaving accident victims with permanent disabilities and chronic pain. Some broken bones require one or multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, and significant time off work.
Ears and eyes are sensitive to damage. Whether it occurs through brain injury or damage to the organs themselves, damage to sight or hearing can change lives. If someone has been rendered partially or totally blind or deaf in an accident, they will have to readjust everything about their day-to-day life due to their disability,
Damages Available After Catastrophic Injuries
Injuries due to a catastrophic accident can leave you with physical, emotional, and financial burdens that affect your day-to-day life and even create lifelong issues. Those injured in such accidents are entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault party. Some recoverable damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Loss of past and future income,
- Continuing rehabilitation costs,
- Physical pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish,
- Scarring and disfigurement,
- Diminished earning capacity, and
- Loss of companionship, consortium, services, and support.
Punitive damages may also be available to victims if there is specific valid evidence of reckless disregard for others when the injury occurred. These damages are used to punish the defendant if their egregious negligence or criminal wrongdoing caused the plaintiff’s life-changing injuries.
Why Are Catastrophic Injury Cases So Complicated?
Any personal injury claim has the potential to become complicated, but this is especially true when the claim involves catastrophic injuries. These cases usually have higher damage amounts than other types of personal injury claims due to medical expenses, long-term treatment, and disability. You might also need expert testimony from a specialist to establish the true scope of your injuries and losses. For these reasons, it is vital to speak with a Florida catastrophic personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney understands catastrophic injuries and their long-term consequences and can help ensure your rights are protected.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident, you don’t have to deal with the aftermath alone. These cases are complex, and you need someone with experience handling the complications they present. At James Horne Law, we treat each client as a person, not a file number, and give each case the personal attention it deserves. James Horne has received acknowledgment from peers and clients alike with recognition from SuperLawyers and Martindale Hubbell, and boasts a 10.0 rating on AVVO. No matter the size of the case, James Horne dedicates his full attention to making sure his clients get the representation and compensation they deserve. If you have questions about catastrophic injuries or possible claims, contact our office or fill out our online contact form to get started.