Experiencing any form of injury can be a traumatic and difficult process. We all hope to avoid injuries that warrant legal action. Navigating the legal process while trying to focus on your recovery can be overwhelming. When injuries, particularly severe injuries, are caused by another’s reckless or negligent behavior, you may find yourself in search of a legal remedy. The severity of your injury and how it occurred can affect your options for compensation both in and out of the courtroom.
The most severe injuries are often referred to as “catastrophic injuries.” Victims of catastrophic injuries are often unable to return to work or even care for themselves after an accident. No accident victim deserves to have their suffering overlooked; catastrophic injury victims, however, must deal with a unique set of circumstances.
Catastrophic injury victims should take several steps to ensure that their legal rights are protected. After suffering a debilitating injury, you should consider speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney. Trustworthy personal injury attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to. Their practice and knowledge of the legal system ensure victims understand their options as they progress through the claims process.
If You Are Catastrophically Injured, The Law Offices of George Salinas Can Help
At The Law Offices of George Salinas, we understand how devastating a catastrophic injury can be. The impacts of permanent disability affect not only the victims but also their families and loved ones. Our experience allows us to work diligently alongside clients to ensure that their voices are heard and rights are preserved. When another’s negligence causes a victim harm, we believe in their right to compensation. If you’d like to learn more about your legal rights, contact our team today to schedule a free consultation.
Our team works meticulously to evaluate each aspect of our client’s cases. When appropriate, we can assist our clients in collecting evidence, speaking with witnesses, and negotiating with insurance companies. We strive to give our clients peace of mind, so they can focus on their recovery in the aftermath of a traumatic accident.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Many injury victims are overwhelmed with uncertainty after sustaining injuries in unexpected accidents. Victims may wonder whether their injuries warrant pursuing legal action. At The Law Offices of George Salinas, we serve victims who have sustained catastrophic injuries in a wide variety of circumstances.
Three commons types of catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – Twenty times more people are hospitalized for TBIs each year than for spinal cord injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are prevalent and highly unpredictable due to their individualized nature. However, they may be the most common type of injury that can be classified as catastrophic.
- Electrocution and burns – Electrocution is particularly common in children who are unaware of the associated dangers. In addition, they are common for those who regularly come into contact with electrical equipment for work or recreation. Burns may occur from fires, liquids, and even gases.
- Severe fractures – Severe fractures can result from a range of circumstances. Simply falling at the wrong angle, in the wrong place, or from the wrong height can cause a severe bone fracture.
If you’re uncertain of whether your injury qualifies as catastrophic, consider consulting a trustworthy personal injury attorney. Texas law defines catastrophic injuries as:
- Injuries that have direct and proximate consequences…
- …that permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.
Catastrophic injuries cause victims permanent damage and diminished functional capabilities or earning capacity. In other words, if your injury causes long-term, debilitating symptoms and requires extensive medical care, it will likely be considered catastrophic.
Seeking Damages: What Is Recoverable?
If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury, you may have a legal right to compensation for any accident-related damages. Injured victims may be entitled to seek compensation for:
- Medical bills – Recoverable medical expenses include past, present, and even future medical bills associated with the injury. Since catastrophic injuries have a lasting impact on victims’ lives, future medical expenses can typically be clearly projected. Oftentimes, catastrophic injuries require lifelong medical care, making future expenses easier to predict than injuries that will likely result in full recovery at some indeterminate time.
- Pain and suffering – One unique aspect of catastrophic personal injury cases involves compensation for pain and suffering. In many—but not all—cases, the legal system places a higher value on pain and suffering for more severe injuries. While there is no guarantee that you will be entitled to every category of damages available, losses associated with pain and suffering should be discussed with your attorney.
- Lost wages – Catastrophic injuries frequently diminish a victim’s ability to perform their job duties or return to work at all. If you are unable to return to work in the same capacity, you may be entitled to seek compensation for lost wages. If your earning potential has been reduced as a result of your injury, you may also be entitled to recover future lost wages.
When another’s reckless or negligent behavior cause injuries by, victims have a legal right to pursue compensation from responsible parties. Catastrophic injuries caused by negligent or intentional acts are injuries that would not exist otherwise. A personal injury claim can play a key role in ensuring injured victims enjoy a quality of life they deserve.
Keep in mind that many of the compensable damages in catastrophic injury cases can be significant. The very nature of the consequences of catastrophic injuries increases the compensation required to restore injured victims. For instance, when severe injuries permanently limit victims’ mobility, they may need to make modifications to their homes to accommodate disabilities.
San Antonio Catastrophic Injury FAQ
According to 34 USC §10284(1), a catastrophic injury is an injury that permanently prevents you from performing any gainful work. While any accident could cause catastrophic injuries, those involving pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and big trucks have a higher likelihood of resulting in a catastrophic injury.
What are examples of catastrophic injuries?
The types of injuries that often result in long-term or permanent damage include:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Severe burns;
- Internal injuries;
- Spinal cord damage;
- Neck injuries; and
Additionally, you might suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety following a catastrophic accident.
What damages might I recover if I suffer catastrophic injuries from a San Antonio car wreck?
You might receive economic, non-economic, or punitive damages if you suffer catastrophic injuries in an accident. While economic and non-economic damages attempt to make victims whole again, the court only orders the defendant to pay punitive damages as a punishment for his or her grossly negligent behavior. Statutes may cap punitive damages, and the circumstances may prevent you from seeking them.
Economic Damages come with a fixed price. They can include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, at-home nursing care, replacement or repair of personal property, and funeral and burial expenses. Past medical expenses and lost wages serve as compensation for costs you incurred as a direct result of the accident, before settlement or litigation. Future medical expenses and lost wages are a direct result of the accident, but you expect to incur them after settlement or litigation.
If lost wages are appropriate for your case, you might collect partial future wages. Even if you can go back to work, it may be possible to recover lost wages if you cannot perform your duties and earn the same income you had before the accident. You might be entitled to collect partial future wages.
For example, if you made $100,000 per year, but your injuries limit your physical ability to the extent that you cannot work in your field, but you can work a part-time office job for $15,000 per year, you may recover the difference in the wages.
Non-Economic Damages are those that do not have a price affixed before the proceedings. They may include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Disfigurement (often from burns or excessive scarring);
- Loss of use of a body part;
- Loss of a bodily function, such as your eyesight;
- Shortened lifespan;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of consortium; and
Why are catastrophic injury claims more complicated?
Catastrophic injuries, by definition, are long-term or permanent. Therefore, these may result in larger settlements or verdicts than other injuries can. This can also mean that the legal battle will become more complicated. You may need expert witnesses to testify about the extent of your injuries, and how those injuries affect you and your family in the long term—both economically and socially. Not only could you have substantial medical expenses for the rest of your life, but the accident could take your ability to provide for your family away from you.
Could my settlement or verdict cover therapy?
If you have catastrophic injuries, you might need cognitive, physical, or psychological therapy. These therapies could last forever or for months or years, depending on your injuries and how they affect you. While most people understand the need for cognitive and physical therapies, many do not understand the need for psychological therapy.
People may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after seeing or being involved in a catastrophic accident. Some may suffer from depression as a result of significant life changes, such as not being able to work and care for their family. Some may suffer from anxiety of traveling in a vehicle after a catastrophic accident.
Should I accept an insurance company’s offer?
Insurance companies are in business to make a profit. As a result, some insurance companies may only be concerned about their bottom lines. If an insurance company does not try to deny your claim, it might offer you less than they know your case may be worth. The initial offer may not be enough to even cover your medical expenses.
Catastrophic injuries are severe injuries that are long-term or permanent. You might face decades of pain and suffering and emotional distress, in addition to decades of specialized medical care. A San Antonio catastrophic injury lawyer could help you determine a fair and reasonable amount of compensation for these life-changing injuries, and could help increase your chances of securing finances that can help cover medical care, lost wages, and other damages.
Who is responsible for catastrophic injuries suffered in an accident?
The at-fault driver is typically held responsible. However, if the driver was driving a commercial vehicle such as a tractor-trailer truck, others might share in the liability. In some cases, even if the at-fault driver is an individual, others may share in the liability.
Third-party liability scenarios include:
- A government entity that leaves roadways in such bad repair that they cause an accident;
- A company that encourages a driver to ignore the hours-of-service regulations;
- A truck or trailer manufacturer;
- A vehicle parts manufacturer;
- Commercial vehicle inspectors, owners, lessees, lessors, and fleet managers; and
- Another driver.
If another driver’s actions have caused someone else to hit you, the other driver may be held responsible for the bulk of the liability for your injuries, instead of the person that directly hit you.
If you or a loved one suffer from catastrophic injuries, contact a catastrophic injury attorney at The Law Offices of George Salinas for a free consultation to discuss your matter.
The Law Offices of George Salinas: Our Commitment to Catastrophic Injury Victims
Our team at The Law Offices of George Salinas consistently seeks to empower our clients. Each of our personal injury attorneys works with each client to ensure they understand their options throughout the legal process. While we cannot guarantee that your unique case will result in an award of compensation, we can promise we will always empathetically act in your best interests.
If you are suffering from a catastrophic injury, contact us today or call (210) 225-0909 for a free consultation and case evaluation.