Millions of Americans visit hospital emergency rooms every year according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the figures indicate that the majority of them are seeking treatment for accidental injuries. While some individuals will experience full recovery within a relatively short time period, others may suffer from injuries that are far more devastating. These forms of bodily harm are often referred to as “catastrophic,” but the term has a very specific meaning when it comes to your rights as the victim of an accident. Due to their long-term and wide-ranging consequences, catastrophic injuries are life-changing in nature.
At Powers & Santola, LLP, our attorneys understand that no amount of compensation can erase the overwhelming effect of severe, debilitating injuries. However, we can assist you in recovering monetary damages that may ease the physical, financial, and emotional implications. Please contact our firm to set up a consultation with a member of our team today. A Rochester catastrophic and serious injury lawyer can explain your legal rights and remedies, but an overview may also be useful.
Key Definitions and Legal Concepts: Health care and medical professionals categorize catastrophic injuries according to the three outcomes that are often associated with them:
- 1. Death, after a short period of suffering;
- 2. Permanent, severe functional disablement; and,
- 3. Severe head or neck trauma not accompanied by disability.
With respect to #2 and #3, you can see that catastrophic and serious injuries have significant, long-term consequences for the victim. Many types of trauma involve a severe, incurable disruption to the central nervous system, which means implications for the functioning of other critical systems in the human body. Some of the most common catastrophic injuries are:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other head trauma;
- Fractures of multiple bones, which can affect the function of entire extremities;
- Blindness due to losing an eye or disabling eye injury;
- Spinal cord, neck, and back trauma;
- Severe burns over a large percentage of the body;
- Trauma to internal organs;
- Neurological impairment, such as paralysis, paraplegia, triplegia, and quadriplegia.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries: In most cases, catastrophic injuries occur due to accidental circumstances. A victim can recover compensation by proving that the responsible party was negligent, and these careless acts were the direct cause of the incident. A Rochester catastrophic and serious injury attorney can explain how the essential elements of a negligence-based casework, and will assist you in gathering the necessary proof. You may have a claim for monetary damages if your catastrophic injuries were the result of:
- Car, truck, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle crashes;
- Uber, Lyft, or other collisions involving ridesharing services;
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents;
- E-scooter collisions;
- Using a defective, dangerous product;
- Medical malpractice or physician errors in providing medical treatment; or,
- Slips, trips, or falls that occur because a property owner fails to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe manner.
In addition, some catastrophic injuries can be caused by intentional conduct. You may still be able to recover compensation if you were hurt by an assault or other violent attacks.
Monetary Damages for Your Losses: The extensive, life-long consequences of catastrophic injuries go beyond the victim’s physical pain. There are emotional effects due to a diminished quality of life, loss of independence, and being forced to rely on others for care. Of course, there are also the costs of rehabilitation and medical treatment, which can lead to expenses reaching millions of dollars over the victim’s lifetime. Plus, catastrophic injuries can impose considerable stress on the victim’s family and loved ones, who may need to provide ongoing supervision and assistance with basic living necessities.
In a successful claim, it’s possible to recover compensation for these losses. Though the specifics may vary based upon your specific circumstances, you may be able to seek monetary damages for:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages and future earning capacity for the victim;
- Lost income and business opportunities for loved ones who must leave their regular occupation to provide care for the victim;
- Pain, suffering, scarring, and disfigurement;
- Emotional anguish; and,
- Losses that affect the victim’s relationships with a spouse, children, and other loved ones.
Consult With A Rochester Catastrophic & Serious Injury Attorney Regarding Your Rights
If you or a loved one sustained severe injuries in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you need solid representation to help you navigate the complicated legal process. Our lawyers at Powers & Santola, LLP are prepared to assist, whether we’re filing a claim with an insurance company or fighting for your rights in court. Please contact our offices in Albany, Rochester, or Syracuse, NY to schedule a consultation regarding your legal options.