For What Benefits am I Entitled for a Catastrophic Injury?October 23, 2020
As the name suggests, a catastrophic injury is characterized as a serious injury that often happens suddenly and without warning. Owing to the devastating nature of the injury, the victim will require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and even long-term care if the injury results in permanent impairments. The costs associated with this treatment can quickly become unmanageable, particularly if the victim requires ongoing treatment in a long-term care facility. In addition to the physical injuries, victims of catastrophic injuries often suffer extreme mental and emotional trauma. If the injury was caused by another person’s negligence, the injured victim may seek financial compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. A skilled car accident lawyer will assist the injured victim with the claims process and seek the maximum financial compensation he or she deserves.
What are the Most Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries?
- Severe burns: These include burns that cover large areas of the body and affect both layers of the skin, as well as the adipose tissue, which is the later of fat beneath the skin. In severe cases, burns can also reach the bones, muscle, and organs. In addition to devastating scarring and disfigurement, victims may suffer permanent nerve damage, impaired range of motion, and chronic pain. Medications will be necessary to prevent infections, as well as painful skin grafts, physical therapy, and surgeries to treat the burns.
- Spinal cord injuries: These injuries prevent the spinal cord from being able to send signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, the victims may suffer from paraplegia, which is paralysis from the waist down; or quadriplegia, which is the paralysis of all limbs.
- Traumatic brain injuries: When a victim suffers a blunt force trauma to the head, it can cause the brain to swell, bleed, or become bruised or inflamed. Short-term symptoms can include pain, nausea, dizziness, coma, and bleeding from the wound site. Long-term symptoms include cognitive impairments, difficulty understanding language, memory loss, personality changes, depression, anxiety, and an inability to concentrate.
- Traumatic orthopedic injuries: These include injuries that require multiple surgeries to correct, including serious fractures or dislocations. Common symptoms of traumatic orthopedic injuries include pain, stiffness, nerve damage, and limited range of motion. In severe cases, the injured limb may need to be amputated.
The following are examples of injuries that can cause an immediate disability or result in permanent impairments if the injury is never expected to heal fully:
- Birth injuries
- Broken bones
- Chronic illnesses
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Ruptured kidneys, spleen, liver, or bowels
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
What are Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries?
There are a wide range of circumstances that can cause a catastrophic injury. However, the following are some of the most common causes:
- Bicycle accidents
- Car accidents
- Construction accidents
- Defective medical devices or drugs
- Falls from heights
- Medical errors
- Motorcycle accidents
- Sport and recreation activities
- Truck accidents
What are the Costs Associated with a Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries often require long periods of hospitalization, surgical procedures, rehabilitation, and long-term care. Medical expenses, physical therapy, and at-home nursing care combined with the loss of a job if the victim is unable to return to work can be financially devastating. The following are examples of costs associated with catastrophic injuries:
- Continuing medical care
- Costs to make a home wheelchair accessible
- Emergency medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages or diminished earning capacity
- Medical equipment, including hospital bed, wheelchairs, and lifts
- Pain and suffering
- Physical and occupational counseling
- Visiting nurse care
In some cases, a person who suffered catastrophic injury may develop other conditions after the initial injury has healed. For example, an individual who suffered a spinal injury can develop respiratory issues; or the victim of a traumatic brain injury may develop severe headaches, memory loss, or cognitive impairments that can make it very difficult to hold down a job or maintain relationships with family, friends, or coworkers.
A skilled car accident lawyer understands the costs associated with these types of injuries, as well as unanticipated expenses that can arise down the road. It is highly recommended that the injured party works closely with a car accident lawyer so that he or she can calculate all those costs and obtain the maximum financial compensation that the injured victim deserves. The following are examples of out-of-court settlements for victims of catastrophic injuries:
- A car accident victim who suffered a broken neck after another motorist ran a red light was awarded $50 million.
- A construction worker who suffered a severe brain injury after falling from a scaffold was awarded $27 million.
- A patient suffered a severe brain injury from lack of oxygen after the physician failed to intubate him after his airway closed. The patient was awarded $17 million.
- The estate of a married couple who was killed in a car accident was awarded $7 million.
- After being injured by soda crates that fell because they were improperly stacked around a blind turn on a loading dock, the injured party was awarded $1.425 million by a hotel chain.
What Compensation am I Entitled to Collect in a Catastrophic Injury Claim?
Losing a loved one suddenly or watching them suffer from a catastrophic injury is devastating. No amount of money will bring a loved one back or undo the irreversible damage caused by the injury. However, a personal injury lawsuit can provide some financial security for the family, particularly if the injured victim is the primary breadwinner and he or she is unable to return to work. The settlement amount will depend on the nature and severity of the injury. Because the losses associated with this type of injury are so considerable, so are the costs. A successful personal injury claim will secure compensation for the following:
- Medical treatment, including surgeries, physical therapy, doctor’s appointments, and ongoing care
- Counseling expenses for victims of catastrophic injuries who are having trouble coping with the injury and the impact it is having on their life
- Costs of medical equipment that the injured victim may need, including wheelchairs, ramps, scooters, a hospital bed, and a lift
- Lost wages if the injured victim is unable to return to work
- Costs associated with renovating the home to accommodate lifts, wheelchairs, and other medical equipment that the injured victim may now need
- Compensation for non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of consortium, and diminished quality of life
In Maryland, the cap for non-economic damages is currently $875,000. This increases to $1,312,500 for wrongful death cases. There is no cap on non-economic damages. The victim may also be eligible for punitive damages if the person responsible for causing the injury acted with gross negligence or egregious behavior. For example, if the motorist who caused the accident intentionally slammed into the injured victim’s vehicle with the intention of causing physical harm, this would be considered egregious behavior, and the victim may pursue punitive damages.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Catastrophic Injury Claim?
There are a number of reasons why it is in a victim’s best interest to hire a car accident lawyer if they have suffered a catastrophic injury. First and foremost, a skilled legal professional will negotiate the best possible settlement, taking into consideration all current and future expenses associated with the injury, including loss of future income, long-term care, and medical equipment that the client may need in their home. Only an experienced and dedicated professional will be able to anticipate the economic impact that a catastrophic injury can have on the victim and their family and reach the most favorable settlement outcome.
A car accident lawyer also understands that insurance companies are in the business of making money. They will resort to any tactic necessary to avoid paying a large settlement amount. A car accident lawyer will be able to anticipate these tactics and develop a strategic plan to reach the best possible settlement amount.
Unfortunately, owing to the severe nature of catastrophic injuries, there are instances in which the victim may not survive. Whether the injury itself caused the victim to die, or complications developed, including fatal infections, organ failure, or brain bleeds, this is a devastating loss for the surviving family members. A compassionate car accident lawyer will work closely with the family to ensure that they receive the full benefits to which they are entitled.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Catastrophic Injuries
If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury in a serious accident, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We understand how devastating these injuries can be and the emotional, physical, and financial impact they can have. We will work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. Our dedicated legal team will walk you through every step of the claims process and ensure that your rights are always protected. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.