Any accident that results in injuries can have a major impact on your life, especially when those accidents are caused by other people’s negligence. When your injuries significantly impact your ability to engage in your regular daily activities, they are referred to as “catastrophic injuries” in personal injury cases. Examples include spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and amputation. These severe and potentially life-altering injuries require extensive calculations to determine the true financial impact while determining fair compensation.
At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale catastrophic injury lawyers are committed to helping victims and families fight for real justice and real results. Catastrophic injury claims are complex. You need a legal advocate with the specialized skills and experience that your family can trust during difficult times. To set up a free, fully confidential consultation with a car accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, contact us today.
What is Considered a “Catastrophic” Injury?
The term “catastrophic injury” technically does not have an official legal definition. It is a broad term used to describe the most severe types of injuries. An injury is deemed “catastrophic” if it is likely to cause long-term or permanent disfigurement, disability, or impairment to the victim. All catastrophic injuries are medical emergencies. The victim needs immediate help. The financial burden on the victim and their family can be immense—meaning catastrophic injuries are all legal emergencies. Victims and families need a personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale on their side.
Different Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Every person experiences injuries differently. Each accident is unique, and the resulting injuries are, as well. The following are some common examples of catastrophic injuries, but even if you do not see your own injury mentioned below, you may still be suffering from a catastrophic injury. If you are not sure, reach out today to schedule your consultation.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, include a wide range of injuries like concussions, brain contusions, penetrating injuries, and loss of oxygen to the brain. TBIs can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 250,000 people are hospitalized nationwide for TBIs each year. Serious TBIs can result in permanent disability. If you suspect that you or a loved one has suffered from any type of traumatic brain injury, go see a doctor right away, and then call an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney.
- Spinal Cord Damage: The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves running from the brainstem to the lower back. It carries information from the brain throughout the rest of the body. A spinal cord injury is a disruption of the nervous system, and it can result in paralysis, loss of control over bodily functions, and more. Spinal cord injuries often lead to permanent impairment in the victim and a lifetime of rehabilitative treatment. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) estimates that approximately 200,000 Americans are living with the effects of a spinal cord injury today.
- Severe Burn Injuries: Burn injuries can range from first degree to fourth degree, or from minor irritations to the complete destruction of skin, muscle, tendon, and bone. According to the American Burn Association, nearly 500,000 people receive medical care for burn injuries each year. Burn victims will often endure horrible pain and suffering from the trauma of their injuries. They are also at a high risk of infection anywhere the skin has been destroyed. A burn injury victim may be eligible for compensation for pain and suffering, future lost wages, and more.
- Amputation Injuries: Losing a limb is a major traumatic event, and that loss will change a victim’s life forever. Aside from extensive medical bills, an amputation victim may not be able to earn a living in the same way they did before losing a limb. A personal injury attorney who specializes in amputations will work with the victim to calculate all possible damages accurately, so that they receive adequate compensation for their losses. If you suffered an amputation after an accident, a catastrophic injury lawyer can help you protect your rights.
Is “Severe” Harm in a Personal Injury Case Relative?
All personal injury claims are handled on a case-by-case basis. In that sense, “severe harm” can be considered relative to each personal injury claim. Victims need full and fair financial compensation for the actual damages that they sustained in the accident. Still, severe harm is something that can be demonstrated with valid medical records. It requires compensation.
How is Compensation Determined in a Catastrophic Injury Case?
Compensation in a catastrophic injury claim depends on many different factors. Your ability to recover financial compensation through a settlement or verdict in a catastrophic injury case will depend on:
- Liability: To hold another party responsible for a catastrophic injury, you must prove that the defendant is legally liable for the accident.
- Damages: In Florida, catastrophic injury compensation depends on the actual losses—both tangible and intangible—sustained by the victim.
- Insurance Coverage: The insurance coverage of the defendant’s—including the policy limits—could have an impact on the victim’s recovery.
- Ability to Navigate System: Finally, the ability of the injured victim (claimant/plaintiff) to navigate the legal claims process will also affect the value of their settlement or verdict.
The catastrophic injury attorneys at BK Law LLC are standing by, ready to help guide you through the legal process of pursuing the compensation you deserve.
What Compensation Can be Expected From Catastrophic Injuries?
In Florida, injured victims have a right to seek financial compensation for both economic and intangible damages. Your compensation will depend on the actual nature of your damages. Unfortunately, defendants and insurers try to limit the value of settlements and verdicts in catastrophic injury cases. Our Fort Lauderdale catastrophic injury lawyers fight aggressively to help victims maximize their recovery. Compensation can include:
- Emergency medical treatment;
- Hospital bills and other health care costs;
- Surgeries and operations;
- Ongoing and future medical care;
- Physical therapy;
- Mental health counseling;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of long-term earning power;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Scarring or disfigurement; and
- Permanent physical disability.
The most important thing to know about catastrophic injury compensation is that victims and families need to proactively fight for ongoing, future, and non-economic damages. Among other things, this means getting full and fair financial support for all ongoing and future medical needs, securing full compensation for loss of long-term earning potential, and seeking financial relief for pain and suffering and permanent harm.
Is There an Extra Payout in Cases Involving Catastrophic Injuries?
A victim who sustained a catastrophic injury in an accident typically sustains major economic and non-economic damages. Catastrophic injury compensation is almost always far higher than the compensation at stake in other, less serious types of personal injury claims. Though, it would be a mistake to view the additional compensation as an “extra payout.” Catastrophic injury victims have a right to pursue full and fair financial compensation for their actual damages, including:
- Their ongoing and future medical and rehabilitative care needs;
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress; and
- Permanent disability, disfigurement, or physical impairment.
How Do I Know if My Injuries Qualify for a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit?
Do you have questions about whether or not your claim—or your loved one’s claim—qualifies for catastrophic injury compensation? The best step that you can take to protect your rights and interests is to set up a free, comprehensive consultation with an experienced Fort Lauderdale catastrophic injury attorney.
The team at BK Law, LLC, offers no-cost, no-obligation consultations for victims of catastrophic injuries. We will answer your questions and help you create a plan of action. A catastrophic injury is likely an issue of permanent disability, meaning that you must be sure to come to a complete and comprehensive assessment of present and future damages.
What are the Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries?
Catastrophic injuries can happen in a wide range of different accidents. Some of the most common causes of catastrophic injuries in Florida include:
- Automobile accidents;
- Commercial truck crashes;
- Motorcycle wrecks;
- Pedestrian collisions;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Fall accidents;
- Construction site accidents;
- Medical malpractice; and
- Dangerous and defective products.
What you need to do to prove liability for a catastrophic injury depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 768.81), all fault-based catastrophic injury claims are subject to the state’s comparative negligence standard.
What to Do if You Suffer a Catastrophic Injury?
If you or your loved one suffered a catastrophic injury in South Florida, it is imperative that you take immediate action. Health and safety come first. Your legal rights and financial future also matter. Here are the three most important steps to take after a catastrophic accident:
- Seek emergency medical attention. Get ongoing care from a qualified doctor.
- Document the accident. Secure as much information as possible about the accident.
- Consult a Fort Lauderdale catastrophic injury lawyer before speaking to an insurer.
How to File a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit?
As far as filing a claim goes, the personal injury process is no different in catastrophic injury cases. There is no specialized filing procedure. Though, it is especially important that you build a strong and comprehensive case that establishes both liability and damages. An experienced catastrophic injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale can help you navigate the claims process.
How Can BK Law Firm Help in a Catastrophic Injury Case?
Catastrophic injury claims are complicated. With so much at stake, corporate defendants and big insurance companies put a tremendous amount of time and resources into protecting their bottom line—not what is right for victims and their families. That is why hiring a catastrophic injury attorney is the key to getting the money you truly deserve. At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, we have what it takes to handle these cases. When you contact our legal team, you will be able to consult with a Fort Lauderdale catastrophic injury attorney who can:
- Hear your family’s story and answer questions about the claims process;
- Investigate the accident—getting the evidence you need to prove fault;
- Gather all of the medical records and other information to establish your full damages;
- Take care of the legal paperwork, including any settlement negotiations; and
- Build a comprehensive legal strategy devoted to getting justice and the maximum payout.
Get a Free Catastrophic Injury Case Evaluation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale catastrophic injury attorney is a devoted advocate for justice. If you or your loved one sustained catastrophic harm in an accident, we are here to help you navigate all aspects of the claims process. You need top legal representation. Contact us today for an initial consultation. From our Fort Lauderdale law office, we handle catastrophic injury claims throughout the surrounding area in South Florida.