Generally, catastrophic injuries are categorized and defined as major injuries. They result in permanent disabilities, prolonged medical attention, or death. If you sustain any catastrophic injury, you should find an experienced attorney to help you seek compensation for your injuries. If you are in Clay County, FL, Clay County Personal Injury Attorney can be your best companion throughout your journey to seek rightful compensation. This article covers different types of catastrophic injuries that you can seek compensation for after an accident.
Features of Catastrophic Injuries in Florida
The statutes of Florida describes a catastrophic injury as one whose outcomes are severe and intense. The injuries are characterized by symptoms that are persistent and in most cases, irreversible. If you sustain a catastrophic injury, you may need to have continuous medical care for the rest of your life. The cost of the damages caused by the injury depends on the severity of the injury. Though there is no specific legal list of catastrophic injuries, the injuries that require prolonged treatment or have an ability to incapacitate you qualify to be catastrophic.
Thus, the main difference between catastrophic injuries and other common injuries is that catastrophic injuries:
- Are permanent in nature
- Require longer treatment
- Lead to substantial medical bills
Based on the above unique characteristics, if you suffer from a catastrophic injury, the law demands that you receive more compensation than one who is involved in less severe personal injuries.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries in Florida
There are many injuries in Florida that are considered catastrophic; these are:
Paralysis refers to a condition in which part(s) of your body such as limbs, hands or any other part is restricted from movements by an injury. Many injuries are responsible for paralysis although in many cases, it is those injuries that are associated with the spinal cord. Paralysis can be classified into three categories:
Partial paralysis: occurs when a leg and an arm from the same side of the body are limited to movements. It is also called hemiplegia.
Quadriplegia: this is the most severe form of paralysis. The affected person loses the ability to move the body from the neck downwards. It mostly affects both legs and hands.
Paraplegia: this involves paralysis that occurs below the waist. It mostly affects the legs and the hip regions. If you suffer from such a paralysis, you may lose sexual functions and the ability to release metabolic wastes. Other functions that are associated with waist regions are also significantly impacted. The degree of severity for paraplegia differs from one individual to the other and from day to day. You may not be able to move your legs or sense anything below the waist if you have this condition while another person may not experience the same issues.
In relation to work and physical activities, paralysis has been known to be life-changing. It leads to the following long term effects:
- Loss of ability to communicate
- Difficulties supporting one's family
- A need to have permanent nursing care that is supportive and encouraging
- Memory loss
- Impaired cognition
If you are affected, you may not be able to work for the rest of your life. You may also face challenges executing physical as well as sexual activities. In addition, a change in lifestyle where you will be restricted to a bed or wheelchair may result in mental distress.
- Brain Damage Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by many factors including the slightest head pump that you may assume. An injury to the brain may bring significant effects to an individual including a change in character, blindness, paralysis and in severe cases, death. Unlike other injuries whose symptoms appear instantly, symptoms related to brain damage may take a significantly longer time before they manifest. In addition, they are not easy to spot; thus, diagnosing and treating them may prove difficult. Brain injuries suffered at work, or car accidents are often compensated, especially if the accident or the cause of the injuries was another person’s negligence or carelessness.
Before you receive the benefits associated with brain damage, you will be required to prove to the court that another person’s negligence was responsible for your injuries. As a driver or an employee, one is vested with a duty of care for the fellow employee or road users. If such a person caused the accident that led to your injuries, the person is viewed to have violated the duty of care. Other factors are also considered before you are compensated. Working with an experienced attorney will be of help to you throughout this process.
What Are The Possible Settlements For Brain Damages In Florida?
Treating brain damages are the most expensive compared to other injuries. You need a top-notch attorney to fight for proper compensation which can enable you to meet all the necessary medical expenses. In the state of Florida, brain damages are classified into general and special damages.
General damages include all the financial losses the injury caused you and the expenses that you incurred due to the accident. Among such damages are current and future hospital and medical bills, earnings lost while nursing the injuries, and the property damaged especially if the cause was an accident.
Special damages, on the other hand, refer to damages that are usually difficult to calculate in monetary terms. They comprise lowered standards of living, a lost friendship, inability to participate in hobbies and talent activities, pain and suffering, emotional stress and trauma, among other invisible damages.
- Acute Burns
Highly severe burns also qualify to be catastrophic. Such injuries may result in permanent deformation. The deformation may pose a significant challenge to you while trying to cope with your injuries. Some of the burns may be so severe that they may lead to death. In the event of death, the person responsible for the injuries can be sued for causing wrongful death. The person may also be blamed for negligence.
What Are The Elements For Acute Burns In Florida?
For the purpose of compensation, the court usually demands that you provide concise proof for the alleged burn injuries. This is so especially if you think that the cause of your burn injuries was the negligence of another person. You should prove that;
- The respondent had a duty to take care of you; for example, if you are a driver, your fellow drivers are expected to observe traffic rules and consequently avoid colliding with you;
- The alleged offender went against the duty of care; for instance, instead of your fellow driver observing the traffic rules, he or she violated;
- The action leads to an accident that resulted in your burn injuries; that is, after the driver violated the traffic safety rules, the vehicles collided bursting into flames and in the process, you were severely burnt.
There is no set amount the court can award you for acute burn injuries. While determining the amount of settlement that you will receive, the court will consider several factors. Primarily, the jury will reflect on the pain and suffering that the injury subjected you into. Such will form the basis of your reimbursement. Other factors considered include:
- The amount the alleged respondent is able to pay you;
- The severity of your burn injuries;
- The intentions of the respondent.
In most cases, the amount of settlement you are likely to receive for acute burns is more compared to the amount you receive for personal injuries. To succeed, you will require the services of a highly experienced attorney because the amount is not guaranteed.
What Are The Possible Settlements For Acute Burns In Florida?
Though you are eligible for compensation for Florida acute burns that were caused by another person, the success depends on your ability to prove that the alleged person was responsible. If you succeed, you are entitled to the following benefits;
- The pain and misery the injuries caused you;
- All the medical and hospital expenses that are linked to the burnt injuries you suffered;
- Wages or any earnings that you lost due to the burnt injuries;
- Any expenses that may have resulted from your acute burn injuries.
- Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is also considered a catastrophic injury in Florida. The majority of them are caused by negligence from other people. If your loved one is a victim of wrongful death, you may find it emotionally challenging to deal with the situation.
Medical practitioners have been blamed for the majority of the wrongful death cases. Whenever you are affected, you should file a compensation claim. The reimbursement will be of significant importance as it will help you recover losses that resulted from losing a loved one. The compensation is also meant to reduce the pain you experience for losing someone close to you prematurely.
Is There A Difference Between A Wrongful Death And Murder?
Murder and wrongful death have similar qualities to one another, but they have significant differences. While murder involves intentional or premeditated plan to end the life of another person, wrongful death occurs due to another person’s negligence. Murder is judged in a criminal court, and when convicted, you will be sentenced in prison while wrongful death is tried and heard at a public proceeding. This is because the jury will be trying to find out how you could be compensated for your grieve.
The Statute of Limitation for Wrongful Death in Florida
Florida allows you to file a lawsuit for wrongful death within two years from the date of the incidence. Beyond the two years, the court will not accept any lawsuit concerning the alleged wrongful death. However, the court can allow you to postpone the filing in cases of a special situation. Special situations may include events when the details about the case are hard to gather.
Florida statute on section 768.19 dictates that you have a right to lodge a claim for wrongful death if:
- You are a personal representative of the deceased person;
- You are one of the people whom the deceased individual listed in his or her will.
Possible Settlement for Wrongful Death in Florida
Wrongful death is a bit different from other forms of catastrophic injuries in that it can be settled financially only. Its judgment is done at a public hearing, and therefore, a criminal attorney can be involved.
The statute of Florida on section 768.21 explains that the deceased dependents should be compensated for;
- Hospital bills and the costs incurred during the burial of the deceased;
- The pain and suffering caused by death;
- The lost friendship and guidance that the deceased use to provide;
- Loss of sustenance and care.
I addition, if the victim had no living spouse, the statute dictates that the adult children (if any), should be compensated for the lost parental companionship and friendship. While undertaking the claims, the services of a skilled attorney are vital.
The People Allowed To Claim for Wrongful Death in Florida
Not anybody in Florida can claim settlements for pain and misery suffered by the victim of the wrongful death. The following types of people are allowed:
- Young children
- The spouse of the deceased person
- Both parents if the deceased was a young child
- Both parents if the deceased was grown up child but had no other survivor. E.g., spouse
- Grown-up children; where the deceased was a parent, and there was no other spouse
The amount of settlement given to the deceased survivors differs depending on whether the deceased was a child or a parent. The compensation amount is typically more substantial if the victim was a parent rather than a child. The law entitles less for the child because he or she had not started working and also, had no financial obligation to family members. Other factors that determine the amount payable for the deceased child include:
- Life expectancy
- Child’s health
- Prospective earning
If the affected victim was an adult who when the deceased was earning or actively contributing to the society, an actuary will be sought to determine the amount that the survivors would be reimbursed.
- Medical Malpractices
The people commonly responsible for such catastrophes are doctors, nurses or any practitioner in the field of health. The incident usually occurs when a practitioner during a patient’s treatment process commits a mistake and causes the patient’s death or injury.
Amputation involves the loss of a body part especially the limbs like the hands and the legs. Such accidents could be a stressful experience and mostly affects the entire life. Consequently, your lifestyle changes including your hobbies talents and many more interests. Adapting to such changes could be difficult and may take you a long time to adjust.
- Loss of hearing ability
The ability to perceive sounds from surroundings is vital for human survival. If the actions of a coworker, employer, or any product caused you to lose hearing, you should file a lawsuit against them. You could face a lot of challenges if you lose your hearing ability. For instance, you could find it difficult maintaining balance, and spatial distance from objects in motion. You may also find it difficult comprehending spoken language, enjoying music as well as perceiving sounds that warn you of the dangers in the environment such as sirens, alarms, and other sound notifications. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney law firm, we not only help our clients get fair a claim but also help them adjust and adapt to their injuries.
Blindness could be associated with neural or physical disorders. It is commonly known as the loss of vision. Once affected, you lose your ability to see. Some blindness could be temporary, and you may recover following series of treatments while others are permanent and you will be forced to live with the condition the entire life. One or both of your eyes could be affected depending on the degree and the type of accident that caused the blindness. Several injuries are responsible for blindness. They include; head injury, brain injuries, and traumatic conditions.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless gas. It is produced when fossil fuels, coal among other carbon compounds are burnt. The gas if inhaled, is highly poisonous and can easily kill. You can file a lawsuit if you or your loved one was exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning; especially if this was caused by the perpetrator's negligence.
General Causes of Catastrophic Injuries in Florida
Catastrophic injuries in Florida occur in many ways. The accidents also occur at any time of a person’s life. Common causes include:
Fall accidents: such accidents take place when a person gets injured by a fall. Typically these accidents happen from structures under construction. The accident may also occur when a person is injured or injures himself or herself while on any other location such as storefront sidewalks, parks or even at home. Falls are responsible for catastrophic injuries like head injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain damages, and even internal organ injuries.
Car accidents: are common in Florida. Whenever they occur, many people are injured while others are killed. Those who survive may find themselves sustaining severe injuries like amputations, brain damages, spinal injuries among other catastrophic injuries. Compared to other causes, car accidents contribute to a substantial percentage of catastrophic accidents in Florida.
Battery and assault: assault occurs in many different ways. People can be assaulted physically during an attack, while participating in sports, recreational activities, or during a domestic violence incident. Often, a victim of battery may sustain catastrophic injuries which will have a significant impact on their life.
Pedestrian accidents: these accidents involve a person and a vehicle. It occurs when a person is hit by a moving vehicle. Such accidents when they occur, resulting in death or severe injuries to the victim involved. In 2010 alone, Florida recorded 9722 victims of the pedestrian accident who ended up with catastrophic injuries.
Dog bites: Dogs bites are also among the leading causes of catastrophic injuries. Patients who sustained injuries from dog bites in most cases find themselves undergoing reconstructive surgery which will ultimately affect their lives.
Commercial truck accidents: commercial trucks are usually heavy and thus require highly experienced drivers. Nonetheless, they are often involved in many accidents such as head-on collision, pedestrian accidents among others. When such accidents occur, they mostly result in wrongful death, especially if the accident involved a truck and a passenger vehicle.
Other causes of catastrophic injuries include fires, chemical accidents, cycling accidents, boating and biking accidents.
What Can I Do To Succeed In My Catastrophic Injuries Compensation?
To enhance the chances of success, ensure that;
You have all the necessary documents: the documents include the receipts for the expenses you incurred, medical reports, police reports for the accidents, and any other document that can be used to prove the validity of your case. You can also come up with your own records for all the steps you took, medical processes and other expenses the catastrophic injury has caused you.
You consider the time limit for filing your case. The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is four years. However, if you are filing a case against the government, the time limit is three years. Ensure also not to file too early. If you do so, you may miss accounting for a variety of expenses incurred, and you may not be compensated as expected. If you file after the deadline, your case will not be accepted ,and consequently, you will lose the chances for compensation.
Find An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
While seeking justice for catastrophic injuries suffered, you may experience challenges trying to prove liability. The defendant’s attorney may try to have all the evidence you present dismissed. Only a highly skilled attorney competent in personal injury law in Florida will be able to increase the chances of success. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we understand the pain you are going through and will utilize all our resources that may help you receive compensation. We are available throughout Clay County, FL. If you are seeking perspective on your case and you can call us at 904-494-8242 for a free consultation.