Catastrophic Injury Lawyers in Dallas
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Certain injury cases have such deadly and terrible consequences that they are termed “catastrophic.” These are the various types of injuries that change the lives of the injured irreversibly. As these damages are so extreme, the claim made on behalf of the injured by a lawyer must reflect the tremendous degree of damage to the victim, and in many cases the families as well. Some catastrophic injuries result in the victim requiring a lifetime of intensive medical care. Other victims may need a long series of reconstructive surgeries or medical equipment in order to stay alive. Dealing with the fallout from a catastrophic injury without any assistance can be extremely difficult, and may leave you with a sizable financial burden to cover continuing medical treatment.
The injury lawyers at Zinda Law Group understand that injury victims deal not only with physical pain but also severe emotional and financial burdens. In addition, our firm believes that catastrophic injury victims should never have to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why we offer a no-win, no-fee guarantee. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, call (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with our Dallas attorneys.
WHAT MAKES AN INJURY “CATASTROPHIC”?
The word “catastrophe” comes from a Greek word meaning “overturn,” or, “when everything changes.” In other words, a catastrophic injury is an injury that has long-term, life-changing effects on the victim.
In a modern legal context, according to the laws of the United States, a catastrophic injury is “an injury, the direct or proximate consequences of which permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.” They often require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, or personal nurse care long after the accident that causes them. To make matters worse, catastrophic injuries often leave their victims to find any sort of work, which renders them dependent on others for the rest of their lives.
COMMON CAUSES OF CATASTROPHIC INJURIES
Though catastrophic injuries form their own category, they can have very different causes. A few of the more common include:
Accidents that end up causing catastrophic injuries typically occur at very high speeds, for example, on a freeway or an open street late night. In addition, accidents involving a truck can cause catastrophic injuries due to the sheer size and weight of an 18-wheeler.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other health care professional acts negligently in performing their duties. Because of the high-stakes situations that medical professionals operate in, any act of negligence can result in serious consequences.
Construction sites will typically have powerful machinery and heavy building equipment lying around. Any misuse of, or accident involving these items can potentially cause life-changing injuries.
COMMON EXAMPLES OF CATASTROPHIC INJURIES
These extreme and devastating injuries create emotional upheaval and despair for the families involved, who are focused on their loved one, and how to handle the situation. With the assistance of our firm, a claim will be filed that reflects the true damages faced by the injured and their families. Our legal team is composed of highly dedicated lawyers, with outstanding litigation skills who are prepared to fight relentlessly for fair treatment and compensation for the serious injuries suffered.
Any such case must be addressed legally as quickly as possible after the accident. An attorney from the firm will immediately initiate urgent legal demands to the company or insurer responsible for the claim; in many cases, this could be more than one insurance company, including workers’ compensation. Every possible form of compensation will be fought for aggressively, considering the degree of damage suffered by the victim.
The more permanent a serious injury is, the more emotionally damaging it may become. Suffering amputation or dismemberment is one of the most serious and life-altering injuries a person can sustain. Almost always, when a limb or appendage is traumatically detached from the body, it cannot be reattached.
Science is continually discovering new ways to treat brain injuries. Even with technological and medical advancement, brain injuries are still traumatic and can change the victim's life forever. Brain injuries can be sustained in car accidents, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, or a variety of other accidents.
Burn injuries can be the result of many types of accidents, such as electrical accidents, construction accidents, car accidents, or other job-related accidents. Burn injuries are very serious and may cause lasting damage or disfigurement. It is not uncommon for burn injuries to leave lasting scars, so that the victim loses movement, etc.
Electrocution accidents can happen in a variety of ways. Most often, they occur at work when construction employees come in contact with high-tension wires containing live electrical currents. Sometimes, electrocution results in death, other times, electrocution accidents leave the victim with permanent damage.
Many times, catastrophic injuries leave victims with scarring and disfigurement. Although the victim has technically healed, any kind of permanent scarring or disfigurement can easily leave the victim emotionally traumatized or disturbed. Such injures are often life-altering and take a great deal of time to adjust to.
Soft tissue injuries can range from minor sprains to more serious and catastrophic injuries like muscle tearing. Muscle tearing can be a severe injury, especially if the victim's job requires any kind of manual labor. Warehouse workers, athletes – even musicians – are prone to soft tissue injuries because their jobs require manual labor or repetitive movements.
Spinal cord injuries are commonly the result of motor vehicle accidents and can easily be categorized as catastrophic injuries. Technically, spinal cord injuries occur when the spine is suddenly twisted or experiences direct trauma. Depending on the severity of the injury, the victim may experience partial or complete paralysis.
How to File a Claim for a Catastrophic Injury
Even though catastrophic injuries cover a vast range of different types of injuries, the process of filing a claim remains relatively constant. The main steps of this process include:
1. Contacting an Attorney
Any personal injury claim is complicated, and catastrophic injuries make things much more so. Thus, it is advisable to contact an experienced Dallas catastrophic injury attorney before you make any decisions that may permanently impact the future of yourself and your family. An attorney may be able to advocate for you and help you seek maximum compensation for your catastrophic injury.
2. Gather Evidence
Once you have hired an attorney, they may be able to get to work gathering the evidence that your case will require. This step will be a bit more complicated in cases that involve a catastrophic injury. In claims for injuries that are relatively minor, the extent of the evidence gathering is typically finding bills for medical procedures that made the victim well again. However, because catastrophic injuries typically require ongoing care, this step can require contacting experts who are able to testify to what a lifetime of medical care might cost the victim and their family.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
After your attorney has a solid understanding of all of the facts in the case, they may be able to enter into settlement negotiations with the other party. Again, this step is more complicated when a catastrophic injury is involved. This is because damages for pain and suffering, which will be discussed later in this article, usually are a bigger part of these discussions. For minor injuries, most settlements only involve the money that the victim had to expend to cover their medical care and lost wages. However, catastrophic injuries involve a great deal of pain and suffering, so the negotiation process can become a bit more complicated.
4. Go to Trial
The vast majority of cases settle before they ever reach the courthouse. However, if the other side is unwilling to give a settlement offer that you deem acceptable, then going to trial might be the only option. If this is the case, then your attorney may be able to develop a trial strategy to emphasize the strong points and deflect attention away from the weaker points of your position.
Compensation for Serious Injuries
A catastrophic injury is a physical or emotional injury that threatens the life of the victim and leaves them with enduring or permanent physical or emotional damage. Catastrophic injuries can be caused by a variety of accidents, such as construction accidents or auto accidents, and may result in burn injuries, brain injuries, or other types of serious injuries. Sometimes, victims may be eligible to receive compensation for their catastrophic injuries.
Present & Future Costs of Catastrophic Injuries
When looking at the cost of a catastrophic injury, most people tend to look at the immediate cost – and for good reason as this can be substantial. The immediate cost, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. While medical costs to deal with immediate treatment can be a significant cost all at once, it is important to realize that a catastrophic injury will likely leave the victim with life-long consequences, including the need for long-term therapy and rehabilitation, as well as less obvious costs, such as a loss of income.
One of the most costly forms of injuries is damage to the spine. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the average cost of suffering a high tetraplegia injury is $985,774 for the first year after the injury and then $171,183 for every single year after that. For someone who was 25 years of age when the injury occurred, this can lead to over $4 million in lifetime costs. That is almost four times the cost of the initial year along – and speaks to the need for a comprehensive compensation amount.
Another thing that can cause a significant amount is losing wages. Say someone who was injured had just got out of medical school and was starting practice as a physician working in an emergency room. This person was looking at an average salary of $192,000 a year. If their injury keeps them from working, they are going to be losing out on a significant amount of money that they otherwise would have been capable of earning. When paired with the cost of the injury, this can be financially debilitating.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Every type of personal injury claim has an associated “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations is the amount of time that you have to file a claim based on a given injury. For example, if the statute of limitations for a given claim is two years, then the victim would have two years from the date of the accident that caused her injuries to file a claim. If a victim does not bring a claim in time, then her case will probably be thrown out. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury actions is two years.
However, there are certain exceptions to the typical Texas statute of limitations rule. One major example is if the victim is a child when the accident occurs. A child's statute of limitations will be "tolled" or stopped until the child reaches the age of eighteen or is otherwise emancipated. This means that a child who is in a severe accident may be able to bring a claim even after the general two-year statute has expired. It is advisable to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to make sure that you do not risk the possibility of losing out on a claim because it is brought outside of the statute of limitations.
Non-economic damages compensate victims for the physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering that they experience as a result of their injuries. Because catastrophic injuries are very serious and often result in a lot of physical pain and loss of enjoyment of life, this number can be fairly high in these cases. However, in certain types of cases, there will be a cap imposed by the state of Texas on how much these damages can be. Talk to an attorney to find out more about how much your specific case might be worth.
CALL ZINDA LAW GROUP FOR HELP
When you choose to hire Zinda Law Group, you may have an advocate on your team who is willing to invest the necessary time and effort into helping you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. In addition, we believe that accident victims shouldn’t have to worry about their ability to afford legal representation. Our no-win, no-fee guarantee means that you don’t pay us any money unless we win your case.
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