Accidents happen every day. While the majority of victims are able to recover from their injuries, a significant portion is forced to deal with immense changes. When an injury upends a person’s life, it’s considered catastrophic. Most catastrophic injury victims need financial and emotional support to recover as fully as possible and learn how to cope with their new way of life. If you believe you sustained this type of injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, a Philadelphia catastrophic injury lawyer from Shrager & Sachs is prepared to represent you and get you the compensation you deserve.
For an injury to be defined as catastrophic it has to occur without warning, seriously impact a person’s ability to work gainfully, and leave a person with a debilitating, life-long disability. The attorneys at our firm are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to help victims of these accidents. Claims and lawsuits involving serious injuries can be complicated. Let us handle the paperwork, so you can focus on getting your life back in order.
What Accidents Lead to Catastrophic Injuries?
While anyone could potentially sustain an injury in any accident, there are certain situations where catastrophic injuries are more common. Oftentimes, these accidents are entirely preventable. Let’s take a look at the most common accidents that can have debilitating results.
- Animal Attacks. While we like to think most family pets are kind, gentle animals, there are unfortunate events where individuals are harmed. When a dog attacks a person, the consequences can be severe. Infections can quickly set in if the wound isn’t cared for properly. Serious dog bites may require surgery and could result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, or amputations.
- Construction Accidents. There are certain jobs that are more dangerous than others. The construction industry happens to fit into that category. Construction accidents are fairly common and can lead to devastating injuries or death. These accidents often happen when safety protocols are disregarded, hazards are unaddressed, or policies are unclear.
- Defective Products. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have a responsibility to their consumers to provide safe and effective products. In the event of a defective product, the user could be seriously injured. Some of the most severe injuries occur when vehicle parts are defective or improperly installed.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. Car wrecks, motorcycle collisions, and truck accidents can be devastating for all parties involved. Most vehicle accidents can be traced back to speeding, distracted driving, or excessive alcohol consumption.
- Slip and Fall Accidents. Property owners have a responsibility to those who step foot on their property legally. If you’ve been injured by a preventable hazard on someone’s property, you may have the grounds for a premises liability.
What Are the Most Common Catastrophic Injuries?
As you may imagine, the injuries associated with catastrophic accidents are often life-altering. In general, there are three classifications of injuries. They include physical, cognitive, and spinal cord injuries. Physical injuries include those that impact or damage orthopedic function or tissue. Cognitive injuries involve brain damage. The afflicted person may be unable to work, speak, or form new memories. These types of injuries often cost the most financially and emotionally. Lastly, spinal cord injuries create permanent mobility issues for the victim.
Depending on the injury, the recovery process can take weeks, months, or even years. Some victims never fully recover and are forced to change their way of life to adapt to their disability. The injuries below are the most common devastating injuries a person is likely to sustain based on the accidents we discussed above.
- Amputation. Amputations are considered a physical injury. Limb loss is common in serious car and workplace accidents. This most often happens when a part of a person’s body is crushed or severed in an accident.
- Burn Injuries. Depending on the accident, a person may be in direct contact with fire, electricity, or toxic chemicals. Burns, especially third and fourth-degree burns, can be incredibly difficult to recover from as permanent nerve damage is a concern. Oftentimes, multiple surgeries and skin grafts are necessary. Burns are also some of the most painful physical injuries a person can experience.
- Loss of Hearing or Sight. In the event of an explosion or contact with toxic chemicals, a person may sustain an injury that leads to the loss of their hearing or vision abilities. This is likely to completely change their way of life that will require a long adjustment period.
- Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement. Depending on the accident, permanent scarring or disfigurement can occur. This can lead to emotional and psychological trauma that can severely impact a person’s wellbeing.
- Organ Damage. High-impact accidents may cause injuries to your internal organs. These injuries may require surgery or other forms of intense medical care. Injuries that happen under the skin can include bleeding, swelling, and fractures.
- Head and Brain Injuries. Traumatic brain injuries range in severity; however, the more severe, the less likely a person is to recover. A TBI victim may suffer from cognition issues with attention, concentration, processing and understanding information, language and communication, remembering information, and problem-solving. In the worst cases, a brain injury can lead to total brain death. Recovery from a less severe brain injury can take a significant amount of time.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a dangerous chemical that people can’t detect on their own. Exposure can occur from gas fumes, stoves, and furnaces. Poisoning can make people sick or even lead to death. Early symptoms include feeling confused, weak, dizzy, short of breath, having a headache, and being sick to your stomach. Unfortunately, people often mistake these symptoms as just being sick, and not getting out of the affected area.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. While some spinal cord injuries can be fixed with surgery or physical therapy, others can lead to life-long paralysis or chronic pain. The severity of the injury depends on the location and how much of the spinal cord was damaged.
If your catastrophic injury wasn’t listed, you can still speak with one of our attorneys about the nature of your injury and how it happened. A Philadelphia catastrophic injury attorney from Shrager & Sachs is always ready to answer your questions and discuss the validity of your claim.
The Emotional Effects of a Permanent Injury
A traumatic accident can have long-lasting effects on anyone, and they aren’t always physical. When you think of recovery you may envision going to the doctor’s office, getting medication, or going to physical therapy. You may not consider that your mental health may have been affected as well. When our attorneys build your case, we’ll make sure to include your emotional suffering as a compensation factor.
People can develop mental illnesses after an accident, especially if it has life-long consequences. It could be from the experience itself, a side effect of an injury, or how the person is reacting to the prospect of living with this injury. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are all common issues that a person may have to grapple with.
These issues often need professional help such as therapy or counseling. When someone requires these services, they don’t know how long they will need them because there isn’t a time limit on recovery. Treatment can also be expensive, so the person may not know how long they’ll need to afford this care.
A catastrophic injury attorney will do everything possible to get you a settlement that will cover the costs of mental health care. Recovering physically but not mentally isn’t a recovery at all. You deserve better and you should be able to fully heal without sacrificing care for money.
Financial Consequences of Sustaining a Catastrophic Injury
After the shock of the injury has passed, you may now be dealing with some difficult changes. You may realize that you can’t return to work for a long time, or you’re no longer able to do your job. Your hobbies or activities may have to change. Your life at home may require some drastic transformations, such as requiring medical equipment for you to live safely and maintain a high quality of life.
When a person is unable to return to their previous position, financial problems can quickly arise. Your family may have trouble paying bills and affording necessities like food. Even if you can return to work, you may have to switch to a position with lower pay.
In addition to managing without your previous income, the necessary medical equipment you need can add up quickly. Devices like electric wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs are expensive. When those devices are required in order to complete everyday tasks or be as mobile as possible, there’s rarely room to skimp. As a result, the medical bills can pile up even when you’re out of the hospital.
Affording these changes isn’t easy and they all happened because of someone else’s negligence. You shouldn’t have to find a way to pay all of it on your own. The negligent party should have to take responsibility for their actions. You deserve compensation for being wrongfully injured, and you shouldn’t have to worry about how you’re going to live your new life.
Our Philadelphia catastrophic injury lawyer will fight so you have the space to adjust to these changes in peace. It may not be easy to find your new normal, but we’ll do everything we can to remove outside stressors that will slow it down even more.
Pennsylvania Laws That May Apply to Your Claim
Depending on how your injury occurred, Pennsylvania has a few state laws that could come into play at some point during your case. This is especially true in the event of a car accident, dog bite, or premises liability case. Our lawyers can determine which laws may affect you and how.
One of the most relevant laws to most personal injury cases is the lack of caps on injury damages. In Pennsylvania, the only limitation on how much compensation a person can receive is the state’s cap on punitive damages—which serve to punish the guilty party. As the victim, this law may benefit you.
It’s also important to keep in mind you only have a specific amount of time to file a lawsuit after suffering harm resulting from someone else’s negligence. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. This can differ on a case by case basis, which is why it’s important to hire the right catastrophic injury attorney, so you can ensure you will walk away with the compensation you deserve.
How to Calculate Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury
Catastrophic injuries are more expensive than a typical personal injury. Because of this, it’s crucial to work with an experienced lawyer who knows what needs to be taken into consideration when determining how much money to seek from the negligent party. Attorneys use the following elements to figure out how much a victim is owed:
- Past Medical Care. From when you’re taken to the hospital to treat your injuries to the time you’re discharged, medical bills can pile up. If you need to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time, it’s likely your bill will be in the tens of thousands of dollars range, if not higher.
- Future Medical Care. After you leave the hospital, you may need to attend physical therapy or regular follow-up appointments. Depending on your injury, you could need surgeries down the line. Your lawyer will fight for you to get compensation for your future medical expenses so you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to continue to receive the care you need.
- Medical Equipment. Many catastrophic injuries require medical equipment like wheelchairs, special beds, shower additions, and more. These devices help injury victims be as independent as possible.
- Household Services. When someone’s been permanently injured, it’s probable that modifications will need to be made to their home. They may need automated lifts or ramps. They may also require a home health nurse.
- Lost Wages. Your recovery time may be much longer than your sick time and paid time off. Lost wages include the money you would have made in the time you had to take off because of your permanent injury.
- Future Earnings. If, based on your maximum medical improvement, you won’t be able to return to work, your lawyer can work with experts to calculate what your future earnings would have included. This accounts for wages, raises, benefits, and bonuses.
- Pain and Suffering. Painful injuries and dealing with the day to day setbacks and changes of a catastrophic injury can take a major toll on someone. This may not come out to a monetary loss, but they are still losses that happened because of the accident. Our lawyers will look into recovering compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Mental Anguish. After a catastrophic injury, the permanent consequences may cause mental anguish. If you’re now learning to live without a limb, have suffered disfigurement, or are still coming to terms with the effects of the catastrophic injury, then you can be going through a significant mental struggle. While these struggles may not be apparent through physical injury, your lawyer will fight for you to recover for the anguish you’re feeling because it was a result of the other person’s negligent actions.
The devastating losses of a catastrophic injury are a lot to deal with at once. When you’re thinking about the medical expenses of your injury, how long it will take to recover, and how the injury will impact your life, filing a claim may sound like too much. However, with a Philadelphia catastrophic injury lawyer at your side, you’ll know that we’re representing your best interests. We’ll look into all the various aspects of your case to fairly calculate the compensation you’re owed.
What Are the Components of a Catastrophic Injury Claim?
When you’re seeking compensation for a catastrophic injury claim, you’re likely facing a difficult road ahead of you. While you’re recovering from your injuries, it’s important to know about the aspects of your claim you’ll need to show so you have a valid case.
As your representation, our catastrophic injury lawyers know how complex these cases can become. We’ll do everything we can to show the following happened for your case:
- The other party owed you a duty of care.
- They failed to meet the duty of care and acted negligently.
- Their negligence caused your accident.
- The accident resulted in your catastrophic injury.
For example, if you suffered a catastrophic injury in a car accident, then you would need to show how the other driver owed you a duty of care. Because they were driving, they owed others around them a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely. They may have failed to meet this duty of care if they were texting and driving. They exhibited negligence by checking their phone and failing to keep their focus on the road. Because of this distraction, they caused the accident that involved you, and you suffered injuries and damages.
In order to build a case like the one above, your lawyer will carefully investigate your case to find evidence that shows how you were hurt and the extent of your injuries. We’ll review reports and accounts of what happened. This could include yours, review police reports, and also speak with eyewitnesses. There may also be surveillance footage that captured the accident—this can also give information on how the other party acted negligently and the severity of the accident.
We’ll also look at medical records to look at the injuries you sustained. This can also provide information on the medical treatment you need to receive in order to heal. Whether you were hospitalized, needed or will need surgical procedures, medication, therapy, medical equipment, and anything else needed for continued care—we’ll be able to assess the costs of past and future medical treatment.
Additional evidence that we can gather that will help strengthen your case is photographs and recorded accounts. Photographs of the accident scene can show how severe the accident was and may also give evidence about the kind of negligence that occurred. If you’re able to document your injuries, photographs of the injuries can also provide insight into their severity.
You can also show how your everyday life is affected with a journal. Keeping track of painful symptoms, what you need to do to care for your injuries, and also documenting how the injuries are impeding you from accomplishing everyday tasks can demonstrate how much the other person’s negligence has caused pain and suffering.
Your case may need further elements, depending on the situation how you were injured. If you were a victim of medical malpractice, you may need a professional to provide expert testimony. Your catastrophic injury lawyer will work with medical professionals who can provide testimony to support your case. At Shrager & Sachs, we’re ready to work with experts who can help your case, like an accident reconstructionist for motor vehicle accidents.
Tips for When You’re Dealing with an Insurance Company
If you’re seeking compensation for an accident, you’ll likely deal with an insurance company at some point. When an insurance adjuster contacts you, it’s important to remember that while they are supposed to evaluate your accident and injuries, their main concern isn’t to give you the compensation you deserve.
An insurance adjuster works for the insurance company—and their main priority is to make money. They’re going to protect their self-interests before yours. This is why it’s important to have a lawyer represent you. We’ll advocate for you to receive full and fair compensation. We can also help with communication between you and the insurance company. This way, they’ll get the information they need and you won’t have to worry about giving any information that could be used against you.
Questions from an insurance adjuster can begin in a friendly manner, but soon become more pressing and detailed. If you agree to make an official statement and answer these questions, the information you give may be used against you later. You don’t want to give any opportunity to jeopardize your claim. You may not even realize you’ve given certain information that can be used against you. Here are some tips for dealing with an insurance company.
If you haven’t had time to contact a personal injury lawyer yet, it’s vital to not make any official statements. Get in touch with one and give the insurance company the information they need as quickly as possible.
Know that while an adjuster may seem friendly, they’re going to employ tactics to try and get you to reveal information. A conversation that starts with asking how you’re feeling seems like a normal beginning but look into the implications of how you answer. If you say you’re fine, they may later question why you were able to say that if your injuries are so severe. However, your response is a typical one in a regular conversation.
The other option is for you to give details about how you’re really feeling. If you’re dealing with severe injuries and painful symptoms, you may talk about what’s hurting you at that moment or you may talk about pain in certain areas. While this will give them some insight into your injuries, it may not capture the full scope. After an accident, it can take time for symptoms to occur. You may not know the extent of your injuries at this point. So, when they make notes of what you say, they won’t have all the information because you don’t have all the information.
In addition to this, an adjuster likely will not look into the full losses of your injury like a lawyer would. Your adjuster isn’t thinking about the years of additional medical expenses you could have or the severe noneconomic losses you’ve suffered and will continue to suffer. Your Philadelphia catastrophic injury lawyer will keep all these in mind and will fight for you to recover them.
Your lawyer will be able to guide you on how to deal with the insurance company involved in your case. The lawyers at Shrager & Sachs are aware of the ways they can try to reduce your compensation and are will not be intimidated with harassing phone calls or other forms of communication. We’re here for you.
How Can Shrager & Sachs in Philadelphia Help?
You may feel hopeless after sustaining a serious, life-changing injury like a catastrophic injury. Seeking justice is a start that can put you on the road to a more certain future. Shrager & Sachs is here to help. If you’ve been injured at the fault of someone else and are ready to hold them accountable for their actions, our Philadelphia catastrophic injury lawyers can guide you through the legal process to the compensation that you’re owed.
When you get the compensation you deserve, you have room to breathe. This compensation can provide much needed financial security that will help you heal physically, emotionally, and help you cover the medical expenses of your case. When you have those finances covered, you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay those bills and keep up with other financial responsibilities like a mortgage, rent, groceries, and more.
Getting started can seem overwhelming, especially when you’re readjusting to life with your injury. Our lawyers will work to ensure you understand your rights and legal options every step of the way. We’re ready to answer questions and go over the options you have so you can feel confident in how you want to move forward.
We’ll investigate your claim and build the strongest case possible on your behalf, so you get the compensation you need to afford the changes you need to make because of the accident. Contact our office today for more information.