What Classifies as a Catastrophic Injury?
Bill Allen | January 18, 2022 | Personal Injury Questions
Claims involving catastrophic injuries (which usually involve severe spine damage, neck and back damage, brain damage, or the loss of extremities) are all too common, even more so than a few decades ago.
The increase in catastrophic injuries is actually due to advances in modern medicine. Because first responders can better stabilize victims at the scene of an accident, those victims who once died due to their injuries now have a better chance of survival. On the one hand, that is a favorable outcome for injury victims. On the other hand, it means more people live with the pain and suffering associated with those catastrophic injuries.
Accident survivors who face catastrophic injuries may suffer from permanent functional disabilities that prevent them from working or affect their ability to maintain personal relationships. Catastrophic injuries may require a lifetime of treatment or care and close doors for a chance at a normal life and opportunities.
No financial compensation will give a victim back their life as before. However, when someone suffers a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence, they deserve compensation and justice by ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable.
How Florida Defines a Catastrophic Injury
While there is no set definition for catastrophic injuries in Florida, the state’s worker compensation code defines catastrophic work injuries as those that involve permanent, total disability.
From a personal injury law standpoint, our experience has shown that Florida generally considers a catastrophic injury to be an injury that causes one or more of the following:
- A permanent and severe functional disability.
- A brief period of severe pain or suffering before death.
- A serious impact upon one or more major systems of the victim’s body.
- Severe back, neck, or head injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Severe burns that result in significant visible scarring.
- Internal injuries.
- Multiple bone fractures.
- An inability to be gainfully employed.
The different types of Florida accidents that are most associated with these catastrophic injuries include the following:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Work accidents (including construction site accidents)
- Truck accidents
- Car accidents
- Boating accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycling accidents
Catastrophic injuries don’t just alter the lives of victims; they can transform the lives of a victim’s entire family as well. Proving liability and seeking damages and compensation is critically important to an individual’s well-being and their loved ones’ well-being in the long term.
Damages related to Florida catastrophic injury cases are typically quite substantial. Medical expenses are often extraordinarily high in these cases. However, lost wages, expenses, and non-economic damages also factor into the claims.
Verdicts and settlements that result in multi-million dollars in awards are not unheard of, especially for spinal cord and brain injuries. However, every case is different. The results of each Florida personal injury lawsuit involving catastrophic injury will vary.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Win Catastrophic Injury Cases
Many people assume that they need to suffer a catastrophic injury to receive compensation and damages in Florida injury cases. However, that’s not always the case. When a catastrophic injury occurs due to an accident, obtaining fair and total compensation can be even more of a challenge.
Anyone who sustains a life-changing or catastrophic injury resulting from an accident should refrain from signing any settlement agreements without first consulting a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can assess the value of your case and calculate your damages to ensure you are receiving a fair settlement. They can also gather evidence and identify liable parties to maximize the value of your claim.
Once you’ve had a free consultation with the attorney, you can determine the best way to move forward, whether you decide to go it alone or rely on the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.
Rest assured that no insurance company will pay the compensation you deserve without a fight.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
We have two convenient locations in North Central Florida: