Catastrophic injuries occur suddenly, resulting in permanent inability to work
Having a catastrophic injury has life-altering consequences, whether it’s the loss of a limb, the ability to walk or the ability to concentrate. Catastrophic injuries are suffered suddenly and result in fatalities, disfigurement or permanent disability requiring long-term medical treatment. Unlike severe injuries or those that are traumatic at the time they occur, in legal terms, catastrophic injury is an injury with “direct and proximate consequences” that “permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.”
Catastrophic injury cases differ from other personal injury cases as it is often much more difficult to calculate the long-term financial and emotional toll associated with the injury and its impact on your life and your family.
In 2019, there were over 865,000 traumatic injuries and disorders of all types in the workplace in the United States. The majority of catastrophic occupational injuries are the result of falls, vehicle accidents and being struck by objects or equipment in the workplace.
Catastrophic injuries aren’t always visible. Traumatic brain injury and serious back injuries or nerve damage, for example, may be severely disabling but they aren’t always evident to anyone other than the person suffering from these conditions.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries fall into four categories:
- Traumatic orthopedic injuries are fractures or dislocations that require multiple surgeries to correct. Orthopedic injuries range from amputation to long-term symptoms including pain, stiffness, nerve damage, and limited range of motion.
- Severe burns such as third- and fourth-degree burns over large areas of the body, are considered catastrophic. They affect both layers of skin, the layer of fat beneath the skin, and may even cause damage to the bones, muscles, and organs. Skin grafts, surgery and physical therapy may be needed to treat severe burns. Permanent nerve damage, scarring, impaired range of motion and chronic pain are among the long-term symptoms of severe burn injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries can create permanent mobility issues for survivors. The spinal cord extends from the lower portion of the brain to the lower back and carries signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Spinal cord injuries can result in the loss of movement and sensation (paralysis). Paraplegia is paralysis of the lower limbs, and quadriplegia is paralysis of all limbs.
- Traumatic brain injuries are caused by blunt force trauma to the head, and they are among the most costly of catastrophic injuries. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) may cause memory, thought, emotional and functional damage and limit a person’s ability to work. Just 40% of TBI victims are able to return to work after one or two years. Long-term symptoms can include cognitive impairment, impaired senses, difficulty understanding language, inability to recognize common items, personality changes, depression, anxiety, and inability to concentrate.
Compensation for your catastrophic injury
If your injury put you out of work or does not allow you to return to work, you may be entitled to financial recovery beyond workers’ comp from a liable third-party. The more serious your injury the more costly the medical expenses. You may undergo surgeries, need ongoing physical/occupational therapies or require lifelong medications, home health aides or caregiver assistance, medications and assistive devices.
You may be entitled to compensation for emotional damages and other losses, including:
- Lost wages and future earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Loss of partner or caregiver’s income due to need to reduce hours or quit their job to care for their loved one
Trammell Piazza – Experienced trial lawyers who are in your corner
Trammell Piazza Law Firm handles difficult catastrophic injury cases suffered in accidents, through negligence and those suffered in workplace accidents. We are your advocates in the courtroom and work tirelessly to win fair judgments that drive employers to provide safer work conditions and better protection for employees.
Trammell Piazza Law Firm’s experienced trial lawyers fight for victims of catastrophic worker injuries, construction accidents and injuries due to defective or faulty equipment to achieve maximum compensation for your injuries. An experienced attorney will review the details of your case and help you determine the best course of action.