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Catastrophic Injuries - An Overview
A catastrophic injury or illness usually occurs suddenly and without warning. Injuries that are considered catastrophic (due to the enormous impact they have on the lives of the individuals who experience them) include brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, severe burns, multiple fractures and neurological disorders. If you or your loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries as the result of an accident, consult an attorney to learn your rights to compensation. Contact Culpepper Kurland in Tampa, FL, today to schedule a consultation with a lawyer experienced in catastrophic injury litigation.
The Scope of Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury or illness very often causes severe disruption to the central nervous system, which in turn affects many other systems of the body. In addition to possible loss of movement, sensation and communicative/cognitive abilities, the injury or illness may impact respiration, circulation, the skin, the urinary system, the gastrointestinal system and/or other body systems. Management of such an injury is complex and requires the expertise of a team of health professionals including physicians, consultants, nurses, therapists and counselors. Clearly, the long-term needs of someone who has experienced this type of injury far surpass those of individuals with less severe injuries. Individuals may recover from some catastrophic injuries if they receive proper, early medical treatment; however, others may experience permanent disability, significant suffering and reduced life spans.
The long-term implications of many catastrophic injuries do not surface or become apparent until years after the original injury. For example, individuals who are injured as children may experience changes in their abilities or suffer from disabilities as they grow, requiring surgeries or other medical intervention to accommodate their growth. Similarly, a burn victim might continue to undergo reconstructive surgeries for many years after the original injury.
Often only a small amount of insurance is available to compensate a catastrophically injured person, making it necessary to seek alternative compensation or government assistance. For instance, some of the worst, most dangerous drivers often carry the least amount of insurance allowed by law, or carry no insurance at all. In such cases, an injured person might be limited to recovering only up to the limits of his or her uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage benefits, which typically will fall far below the amount needed to cover the losses sustained.
Also, contrary to popular belief, huge jury verdicts are rare, and most injury victims are under-compensated for their injuries. For these reasons, it is important to seek the assistance of an attorney who has experience with catastrophic injury cases; he or she will consider and know how to reach every possible source of recovery in a personal injury claim. Additionally, even if your attorney determines you do not have a legal cause of action against a responsible party, he or she might assist you in obtaining government benefits, which can be a daunting task for those not trained in the law.
Determining Future Costs of Care
Whether a person falls from a construction platform and injures his or her spine, catches his or her hand in a piece of machinery or is born with a birth defect caused by physician error that impairs his or her mobility, he or she will likely need financial assistance in treating the injury and continuing on with life. In today's society, within the systems established to provide for injured individuals, the medical evaluation of the degree of an individual's impairment can have a huge impact on the level of compensation the individual will receive, from all sources. Other issues such a medical evaluation will evaluate include:
- The injured person's ability to work
- The right to receive different kinds of economic compensation
- Eligibility for protection against discrimination
- Whether independent living is possible
- What type of physical therapy might improve his/her health
Significantly, such an evaluation should include the significant changes an individual will undergo as he or she progresses through acute hospitalization, then returns to the home and community. An individual will likely experience the best possible outcome with rehabilitation that offers an interdisciplinary approach and coordinated care.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer
Contact Culpepper Kurland in Tampa, FL, today to schedule a consultation with an attorney experienced in handling catastrophic injury cases who will work to identify all of the parties who may be responsible for your injuries.
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