When an individual sustains a catastrophic injury, the life they had before the accident is over, and the new one involves permanent, severe disability. They may expect to live with chronic pain and be unable to perform everyday functions without assistance. A Palm Bay catastrophic injury lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo can help you through this difficult time. We protect your rights and fight for you to receive maximum compensation. To achieve this, we leverage decades of experience representing personal injury victims throughout Southeast Florida.
What is a Catastrophic Injury?
Serious injuries occur in many accidents. The difference between a serious and catastrophic injury is that the victim may recover from the former and eventually lead a normal life. When an injury is catastrophic, it is permanent and devastating.
Catastrophic injury generally means serious, life-altering injuries that result in disability, disfigurement, or death. For the purposes of a lawsuit, the injury is the result of another party’s negligent, reckless, or intentional act.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Common causes of catastrophic injuries include:
- Car accident
- Pedestrian accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Truck accident
- Bicycling accident
- Boating accident
- Construction accident
- Defective products
- Slip and falls
What are the Most Common Catastrophic Injuries?
Common catastrophic injuries include:
- Brain injury/TBI
- Spinal cord Injury
- Hearing loss
- Multiple fractures
- Neurological damage
In addition, wrongful death can also be the result of a catastrophic injury. If a victim succumbs after the accident, the personal representative of their estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit for the benefit of family members.
What to Do After a Catastrophic Injury
You should get immediate medical attention because some serious injuries, including TBIs, may not be immediately obvious. Do not delay seeking treatment for your own health and your claim. Such a delay can mean the insurance company will argue that your injuries are not as serious as alleged or that they were not caused by the accident in question.
If you can collect any evidence at the accident scene, try to do so. That may involve taking photos or videos of the site, as well as of your injuries. If there were eyewitnesses, get their names, addresses, and contact information. Hire legal counsel as soon as possible. Before obtaining legal advice, do not accept any insurance settlement, even if it sounds generous.
Catastrophic injuries place you in a financially difficult situation. However, if you accept a settlement from an insurance company, the matter is closed. Further, you may not yet know the full extent of your injuries and how they will affect you in the future. After suffering such a trauma, many victims do not consider the need for home modifications, special equipment, and other critical items. Therefore, what seems like a reasonable amount may fall short for future expenses. An experienced catastrophic injury lawyer knows what is fair based on your medical prognosis.
Who Might Be Liable?
Who might prove liable for a catastrophic injury depends on the type of accident and its unique circumstances. In all cases, liability rests on an individual or entity acting negligently or recklessly.
For example, the at-fault parties might include entities beyond the driver in a car accident. If the accident occurred because of a broken traffic signal, the municipality maintaining the road and traffic lights might prove at fault. A manufacturer might also be liable if the crash happened because of a vehicle malfunction. With truck accidents, liability may extend beyond the truck driver or trucking company. For instance, if the truck jackknifed due to an improperly secured load, the cargo company may bear responsibility.
Further, property owners and managers generally have a duty of care to keep the property free of hazards that could cause serious injury. They might be liable for a slip and fall causing catastrophic head trauma or a spinal cord injury if they knew the hazardous condition existed. Your attorney will investigate every aspect of your case to determine which parties are at fault.
Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries in Palm Bay, Florida
Compensation, or damages, for catastrophic injuries may include:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Lost wages
- Loss of future wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium for spouse
Compensation will depend on several factors. These include the severity of the injury, long-term prognosis, and the need for future medical care and rehabilitation. Your attorney will hire a doctor to determine the extent of your injuries and the corrective treatment and care necessary.
In rare cases, plaintiffs may be awarded punitive damages. Such damages, which are meant to punish and make an example of the defendant, are awarded when the defendant is found “guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.” Florida is one of the few states capping punitive damages. The award is limited to up to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is higher.
How a Palm Bay Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Can Help
After a severe injury, you are dealing with its aftermath and the changes in your life. You have a long, hard road ahead of you. Focus on healing during this time and have your lawyer deal with the investigation of your claim and insurance company negotiations.
While the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida is two years, do not wait too long before contacting an attorney. Substantial evidence may vanish if an investigation does not begin promptly–waiting too long makes proving your claim more challenging.
A Palm Bay catastrophic injury lawyer will gather evidence, which can include the following:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Surveillance video
Because catastrophic injury damages are the highest of all personal injury claims, expect the insurance company to attempt to place at least some blame on the victim. Finally, while most claims are settled, your legal team will take the case to trial if the insurance carrier fails to agree to a reasonable settlement.
Contact a Palm Bay Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you know is the victim of a catastrophic injury due to another party’s negligence or recklessness, contact a Palm Bay personal injury lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo today. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Because we work on a contingency basis, you pay no legal fees unless you receive compensation.