If you were seriously injured in an accident or because of someone else’s negligence, you may have suffered a catastrophic injury. This quick guide will help you better understand what constitutes a catastrophic injury, some common types and causes and what you may qualify for in terms of compensation. A Boca Raton personal injury attorney from our firm can also answer any other questions you may have.
What Is a Boca Raton Catastrophic Injury?
According to Title 42 of the United States Code, a catastrophic injury is one that results in a person being permanently injured and unable to perform gainful work. Catastrophic injuries may limit physical abilities, cognitive abilities or both.
Types of Boca Raton Catastrophic Injuries
In most cases, catastrophic injuries affect the spinal column, spinal cord or brain. However, not all spine or brain injuries are permanent or catastrophic. For example, a mild traumatic brain injury may not produce permanent effects, and some people are able to regain abilities through therapy. The key difference to remember about catastrophic injuries is that they produce significant and permanent damage.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries may be mild, moderate or severe. According to the Mayo Clinic, some common cognitive problems associated with a more severe brain injury include slurred speech, mood changes, confusion and agitation. Common physical problems associated with a severe brain injury include the following:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of consciousness for minutes or hours
- Frequent and persistent headaches
- Clear drainage from ears or nose
- Poor coordination
- Seizures or convulsions
- Numbness or weakness in digits or limbs
- Unable to wake from sleeping
- Dilated pupil or pupils
In some injury cases, children are also affected. For instance, if a family is in a car accident, a child may sustain a brain injury. Seizures, changes in feeding or eating habits, mood changes, attention span changes, crying, tiredness and less interest in playing are some common effects of brain injuries in smaller children.
Spinal Cord Injuries
While some back injuries may heal over time, serious spine injuries can be catastrophic. There are many muscles, tissues and bones in the back surrounding the spine. Injuries to the spine can be especially devastating. Fractures and herniated discs are common injuries to the spine. When a person has multiple vertebral fractures, it can lead to complications. Some people require surgery and ongoing therapy, and many people experience more limited movement. Many spinal injuries result in debilitating, permanent pain that is difficult to manage.
While spinal column injuries typically involve bones and tissues on the outer part of the spine, spinal cord injuries involve the inner part that is made of nerve tissue. The spinal cord carries important nerve signals from the brain to the rest of the body, and it is a vital part of functionality and movement. Some people who sustain spinal injuries may have vertebral injuries and spinal cord injuries. These are some of the common potential effects of spinal cord injuries:
- Altered sensation to heat or cold
- Loss of sensations
- Loss of movement
- Spasms or exaggerated reflexes
- Changes in sexual function or fertility
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Pain from nerve damage
When health professionals diagnose spinal cord injury severity, they often refer to the completeness of an injury. If there is partial damage to the spinal cord, the lowest part that does not sustain damage is called the neurological level. For severity, the injury is considered complete if all ability to control movement and all feeling are both lost below the point of injury. If a person has some remaining ability below the injury point, the spinal cord injury is considered incomplete. Additionally, health professionals rate partial injuries with different degrees.
There may also be paralysis from a spinal cord injury. When this happens, it may be considered paraplegia or tetraplegia. Paraplegia is paralysis that affects pelvic organs, the legs and all or some of the trunk. With tetraplegia, the legs, trunk, pelvic organs, arms and hands are all affected. Tetraplegia is also called quadriplegia. Health professionals conduct several tests to assess the completeness and neurological factors of a spinal cord injury.
Other Catastrophic Injuries
Some other types of injuries can be catastrophic. These are a few examples of some other common catastrophic injuries in Florida:
- Crush injuries
- Eye or ear injuries
- Birth injuries
- Nerve damage
- Injuries that require amputation of limbs or digits
This is not a complete list of all potential catastrophic injuries. If eye or ear injuries lead to the loss of eyesight or hearing, they are often considered catastrophic. Crush injuries may happen in dangerous workplaces or in car accidents. Birth injuries happen from improper procedures or carelessness during delivery, and permanent ones can be considered catastrophic. If an injury leads to permanent nerve damage, the effects can be catastrophic. Some people have persistent pain or limited movement. Any injury that leads to complications that include amputation can be catastrophic. For example, a person with wounds or severe burns may develop an infection that spreads and requires amputation. Without limbs or fingers, people are often unable to work. Some of these other types of catastrophic injuries can occur along with spinal column, spinal cord or brain injuries.
Common Causes of Boca Raton Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries can happen almost anywhere. However, the types of injuries that are caused by the negligence of someone else are ones that may entitle people to compensation. These are some common causes of personal injuries in Florida that may also be catastrophic injuries:
- Car accidents
- Truck or semi accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dangerous workplace or equipment accidents
- Dangerous premises accidents
- Birth injuries
Suppose you sustain any permanent injury as a result of the negligence of another person or entity. In that case, it is important to contact a Boca Raton catastrophic injury attorney to discuss your case.
Laws About Boca Raton Catastrophic Injuries
Florida has laws to help people who sustain serious or catastrophic injuries from negligent entities or people. Injured victims can seek compensation for unusual or extraordinary expenses that resulted from the injury. The severity and full impact of the injury are considered in catastrophic injury cases. All Florida drivers are required to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance, which is also called PIP. That no-fault coverage can help pay for some lost wages or medical expenses. However, it will only cover temporary injuries and loss of income. If a person has catastrophic injuries, $10,000 will not even begin to pay for the long-term and permanent effects.
In many cases, people who are in accidents in Florida cannot file a lawsuit against an individual unless they experience serious injuries that qualify for the state’s serious injury threshold. When someone sustains a permanent and significant injury, this threshold grants the right to file a lawsuit in court against the at-fault person or entity. Florida’s serious injury threshold exists for injuries that include the following:
- Cause a permanent injury that meets a reasonable degree of medical probability.
- Create a profound and permanent loss of body functions that are critical.
- Result in the death of the victim.
- Lead to significant disfigurement and scarring.
Catastrophic injuries typically meet these requirements, and that provides some hope for victims who are left struggling with the devastating financial impact. Victims can typically seek larger amounts of money to compensate for all aspects of their injuries. Catastrophic injury attorneys in Boca Raton encourage people who were injured because of others’ negligence to learn more about their rights as victims. Unfortunately, many people do not realize that they have the right to seek more compensation and that they do not have to settle for only accepting government disability income that is never enough to cover living expenses and medical costs.
What Expenses Are Included in Catastrophic Injury Claims in Boca Raton?
One of the reasons why it is beneficial to work with attorneys is because they know how to help people understand what to expect with long-term financial effects. These are some of the common types of expenses included in catastrophic injury claims in Florida:
- Initial emergency treatment and ambulance transport.
- Hospital stays, surgery and diagnostic testing.
- Prescription drugs used to treat injuries or side effects.
- Doctor appointments, physical therapy, speech therapy or other supportive therapies.
- Medical equipment or assistive devices.
- Rehabilitation or skilled care expenses.
- Counseling or behavioral therapy for mood disorders and psychological trauma.
- Lost wages from inability to work.
- Property damage from the injury or accident.
- Emotional distress and physical suffering.
- Loss of physical intimacy, companionship or relationship due to the injury.
- Reduced quality of life or inability to enjoy previous activities.
Some people may also have other expenses. For example, a person who is a single parent may need help with child care and may require financial assistance to hire help. An attorney looks at each unique facet of a person’s catastrophic injury case to identify every expense when calculating a settlement.
How Does the Catastrophic Injury Claim Process Work?
In personal injury and catastrophic injury claim cases, these are the main steps:
- Identify the responsible party
- Send the notice of claim
- Collect evidence
- Issue a compensation demand
- Negotiate a settlement
- Sign the settlement agreement
Some personal injury cases go to trial if a fair settlement is not reached. However, many liable parties tend to prefer a settlement to avoid the stress and expenses of a trial.
How A Boca Raton Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Near Me Can Help
If you or a loved one sustained a catastrophic injury, we are here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. We can also help if your loved one died due to a catastrophic injury. Having an attorney who is familiar with Florida’s catastrophic injury laws is important. We handle all the correspondence, paperwork and research for your claim. Our attorneys have helped others fight for and receive fair settlements for their catastrophic injuries in Florida. For a confidential and free catastrophic injury consultation with a Boca Raton catastrophic injury attorney, please contact us.
Boca Raton Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Review
Boca Raton Catastrophic Injury Law Office
Shiner Law Group
301 Yamato Rd. STE 4100
Boca Raton, FL 33431