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Zephyrhills Catastrophic Injury Attorney

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Suffering a catastrophic injury will change your life forever. You have the legal right to compensation for injuries and losses you have sustained due to the negligence of another party. These injuries often result in long-term or permanent disability, making it difficult to maintain employment and creating significant emotional and financial strain for victims and their loved ones. Further, if you have lost a loved one due to catastrophic injuries, you may also be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.

In the face of such adversity, securing the right legal representation is essential. At Kogan & DiSalvo, we have stood by Florida families, fiercely advocating for their rights to recover compensation for their damages and losses. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, contact us to consult with an experienced Zephyrhills personal injury attorney.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

Doctor in a hospital reviewing screens showing a brain injury

In Florida, a catastrophic injury is legally defined as an injury that leads to long-lasting or permanent impairment, disability, disfigurement, or scarring. A full recovery is not generally possible. People grappling with this have many challenges as they adjust to a new normal.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Severe head injuries can lead to long-term cognitive, emotional, and physical impairments, affecting memory, speech, and motor skills.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries frequently lead to paralysis, impacting both sensation and motor function. Depending on the severity, these injuries can result in tetraplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) or paraplegia (paralysis of the lower body).
  • Amputations: The loss of a limb can have far-reaching consequences, including the need for prosthetic devices, extensive rehabilitation, and adjustments to daily life and activities.
  • Severe Burns: Severe burns can cause extensive damage to skin and tissues, resulting in scarring, disfigurement, and functional limitations, often requiring long-term medical treatment and psychological support.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2019, “The estimated U.S. economic cost of injuries in 2019 was $4.2 trillion. More than one-half of this cost ($2.4 trillion) was among working-aged adults (aged 25–64 years).”

Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries often occur suddenly and unexpectedly, stemming from a variety of circumstances, such as:

As noted, you may be eligible for compensation if your injury was due to another party’s negligence. For example, suppose you sustained a severe and debilitating injury in a collision caused by a truck driver who was speeding. In that case, a catastrophic injury lawyer in Zephyrhills can assist you in pursuing a damages award that reflects all your losses.

Important Legal Considerations for Catastrophic Injury Cases

A doctor and nurse putting a bandage on a patient's burn injury in the hospital

As of March 2023, the doctrine of modified comparative negligence now governs Florida personal injury cases, including catastrophic injuries. Under this, plaintiffs who bear more than 50 percent of the blame for their injuries cannot collect any compensation.

However, if a plaintiff is deemed to be less than 50 percent at fault, they may recover compensation. The amount would be reduced proportionally by the percentage of their fault. For example, if you were struck by a car and sustained spinal cord damage and were deemed 20 percent at fault, a $100,000 award would be reduced to $80,000.

A skilled attorney can effectively navigate the nuances of modified comparative negligence by minimizing your fault and constructing a robust case on your behalf.

Statute of Limitations

The recent legislation has had several effects on the judicial system, notably shortening the Statute of Limitations for Florida personal injury lawsuits, including catastrophic injury claims, from four to two years. Therefore, acting fast and seeking legal advice as soon as possible is essential to ensure you meet the deadline and protect your rights.

Types of Compensation You May Be Eligible to Receive

A printed medical billing statement with a stethoscope on top of it

The aftermath of a catastrophic injury impacts every aspect of a person’s life. Victims often struggle with physical limitations such as a loss of mobility, making everyday tasks an impossibility. Emotionally, they may battle depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Further, invasive surgeries, prolonged rehabilitation, and the uncertain prospect of full recovery can take a significant toll on individuals and their families. Due to the immense physical, emotional, and financial toll of catastrophic injuries, individuals diagnosed with such conditions may be entitled to significant financial compensation:

  • Medical Expenses: All past, present, and future medical costs related to the injury.
  • Lost Wages: Reimburses lost income during recovery and accounts for future lost earning potential.
  • Expenses for medications, mobility assistance devices, and modifications to living space that are needed to facilitate the victim’s limitations due to injuries.
  • Transportation costs to appointments for medical services and therapy. 
  • Pain and Suffering: Addresses physical discomfort, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life

Other compensable damages could include loss of consortium, reduced life expectancy, and the psychological effects of permanent scarring.

Determining Liability

Side view of an empty hospital bed

Potential at fault-parties may include but are not limited to negligent drivers, property owners, employers, and manufacturers. While seemingly straightforward, catastrophic injury cases can quickly become complicated.

To establish liability, it is necessary to prove the four key elements of negligence: duty of care, breach of that duty, causation, and damages incurred. In other words, the burden is on the plaintiff to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to them, that the defendant breached that duty through negligent or reckless actions, and that this breach directly caused the catastrophic injuries suffered by the plaintiff–who sustained significant damages.

Building a Strong Case for a Catastrophic Injury

A doctor reviewing an xray of a patient's chest and spinal cord

There are many different types of legal claims you might have after suffering a catastrophic injury. It is crucial to work with a law firm that knows how to identify and prove all potential claims against all possible defendants.

For example, in a car accident, the victim’s injury must meet a “serious injury threshold” to pursue compensation beyond what is covered by personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. To meet this threshold, the injury must be sufficiently severe or debilitating, such as a spinal cord injury or an amputation.

To establish that an injury meets this threshold, specific evidence is necessary and may include:  

  • Medical Records
  • Accident Reports
  • Photographs and Videos
  • Witness testimony
  • Proof of Lost Wages

By compiling this documentation, your attorney can build a strong foundation for your case and prove the extent of your injury and its impact on your life.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

A person signing a piece of paper with a gavel and stethoscope in the foreground

Enlisting the support of our team can make all the difference in your case. Here is how:

  • Experience: Our seasoned lawyers bring decades of experience and specialized knowledge to your case, navigating the complexities of a catastrophic injury with skill and ease.
  • Guidance: We provide personalized legal guidance, ensuring you understand your options and empowering you to make informed decisions.
  • Advocacy: From negotiating with insurance companies to representing you in court, we fiercely advocate for your rights and best interests at every turn.
  • Resources: With access to a network of medical experts, investigators, and other professionals, we can leverage the resources at our disposal to help present the strongest, most compelling case.
  • Compassion: We understand your challenges and offer compassionate support every step of the way.

Insurance companies often try to minimize or deny claims because that is their business model. However, our team is experienced with these tactics and can refute them to protect your right to full compensation.  

Schedule a Free Consultation

The attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo in front of their office building

At Kogan & DiSalvo, we recognize how catastrophic injuries affect individuals and their loved ones. With years of experience serving clients in Zephyrhills, Pasco County, and throughout Florida, we are dedicated to pursuing justice and securing fair and reasonable compensation for our clients.

If you or someone you love suffered catastrophic injuries, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Because we work on a contingency basis, there are no upfront legal fees.

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