What is Defined as a Catastrophic Injury in Florida?

by Mar 11, 2021Auto Accident, Personal Injury, Slip and Fall Injury, Truck Accident

What is Defined as a Catastrophic Injury in Florida?

by Mar 11, 2021Auto Accident, Personal Injury, Slip and Fall Injury, Truck Accident

What is Defined as a Catastrophic Injury in Florida
What is Defined as a Catastrophic Injury in Florida

Accidents on the road, in the workplace, or elsewhere can leave you inconvenienced or seriously hurt. If you fall in the latter category, the negligence of another or a workplace incident can significantly alter your life and that of your family. The skill and efforts of a Florida catastrophic law firm become important to help you adjust to the physical, mental and financial challenges presented by a catastrophic injury.

What is a Catastrophic Injury in Florida?

Generally speaking, catastrophic injuries in personal injury law refer to those that cause disfigurement or severely limit your physical abilities. Florida Statutes Section 766.118 (medical malpractice) and Section 440.16 (workers compensation) identify catastrophic injuries for those types of cases. In workers’ compensation cases, catastrophic injuries go by the term “permanent total disability.” For these and other injury cases, a catastrophic injury law firm represents clients who suffer one or more of the following serious injuries:

  • Paralysis (either full or partial) or other significant spinal cord injuries
  • Amputations or loss of limbs, such as legs, arms, feet, hands
  • Severe burns
  • Severe or traumatic brain injuries
  • Blindness
  • Loss of or injuries to reproductive organs that prevent childbirth or ability to become a natural parent
  • Loss of other organs

What Causes Catastrophic Injuries in Florida?

Motor Vehicle Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control, car crashes injure nearly three million Americans per year. For nearly two million victims of accidents, the injuries prove permanent. A Florida catastrophic injury lawyer can help you or a loved one get compensation for serious injuries resulting from another driver’s carelessness. These acts of negligence include:

  • Texting, using a smartphone, or other distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Not slowing down to avoid an accident
  • Running red lights
  • Unsafe movements

In establishing a driver’s negligence, a Florida catastrophic injury lawyer pulls the law enforcement officer’s report, driver, and witness statements. Photographs, video cameras in the intersection or vicinity of the wreck show the position of vehicles and whether the wreck was a t-bone, head-on, or rear-end. The images also depict the force of the collision that caused the catastrophic injuries. You can get evidence of the cause and extent of the injuries from the paramedics on the car accident scene.

When you or your loved one meets with a catastrophic injury lawyer, make sure you have the identity of the at-fault driver and that driver’s liability insurance.

Workplace Accidents

Construction and industrial accidents cause significant injuries. If you work in one of these settings, you risk falls from ladders, high or slippery surfaces, and objects left on floors in warehouses or other places. Objects, even small ones, can become projectiles that can strike your eyes or head. Fires and exposure to chemicals burn and disfigure faces.

If you’re injured on the job, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits without having to prove that your employer acted carelessly. In the workers’ compensation context, a catastrophic injury renders you permanently and totally disabled from being able to perform work.

Even with the maximum workers’ compensation benefits if you become permanently and totally disabled, you do not get from your employer’s insurance company pain and suffering. To compensate you for these and other non-economic injuries, a catastrophic injury law firm pursues third-parties whose carelessness may have caused the workplace accident. For instance, equipment manufacturers may have placed into service a defective or negligently maintained piece of equipment.

Workplace accidents may occur if you suffer an injury while driving for your employer. Operators of commercial vehicles, delivery trucks, or vehicles transporting people or items can suffer a catastrophic injury in Florida from the carelessness of a third-party motorist.

Premises Liability

A Florida catastrophic injury lawyer also sees victims of property hazards. Slips and falls occur at the hands of liquids on floors, defective steps or rails, hidden rot in floors or ceilings that may give way. While a slip or fall may not have the headlines of a multi-car wreck on a major highway, victims of slips and falls may suffer traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, or multiple fractures.

Property owners face liability for failing to take reasonable measures to prevent reasonably foreseeable criminal activity on their premises. Negligent security claims involve the failure to provide adequate lighting, properly-operating video cameras or monitors, locks, or personnel to patrol the premises. Victims of criminals can suffer traumatic brain injuries or other catastrophic injuries from assaults.

What Are the Damages From Catastrophic Injuries in Florida?

If you experience a catastrophic injury in Florida, your medical expenses likely will mount in a significant way. With severe injuries come emergency room visits, multiple days or weeks in the hospital, multiple surgeries, numerous prescriptions for pain, and continuous rehabilitation. You may need therapy to handle the physical and mental damage from the negligence of others.

Your economic losses also consist of lost wages and lost earning capacity. A catastrophic injury can leave you significantly, if not totally, unable to work. Without adequate compensation for your lost past, present, and future income, you or your family may lose a home, car, and good credit standing.

Additionally, significant pain and suffering accompany catastrophic injuries. Other non-economic damages include denial of your ability to recreate and conduct other activities of daily living. Your spouse may have a loss of consortium claim, which compensates the loss of companionship and affection your spouse would have received from you had the injury not occurred.

How Can You Get Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries?

Whether you suffer catastrophic or other serious injuries from a car accident affects whether you can pursue the tortfeasor at all or recover for economic damages. Florida operates as a “no-fault” insurance state. That is, you must carry vehicle insurance that pays for your car damages and medical expenses. You get these benefits from your insurance regardless of who is at fault.

However, no-fault insurance has a dollar limit and does not compensate you for non-economic damages. To pursue claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance, the loss of consortium, and other non-economic damages, a catastrophic injury law firm must show you suffered severe or catastrophic injuries. With such proof, you can collect for these damages and be able to pay for medical expenses and other economic damages out of the tortfeasor’s insurer.

Catastrophic injuries also come to play if you have a claim for medical malpractice. Florida law caps the non-economic damages you can recover against a negligent physician or another healthcare provider. Those caps increase if you suffer catastrophic injuries.

Whether you’re injured in an automobile wreck, while on the job, on another’s property, or by another’s carelessness, you need to act promptly. The basis of your claim for catastrophic injuries determines how long the law gives you to file a lawsuit. If you have suffered an injury, do not delay in contacting a lawyer experienced in catastrophic injuries to evaluate your claim and assist you in getting compensation.

If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in Florida, contact the Bodden & Bennett Law Group today. We will fight for you! (561) 806-5229

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