If you are the victim of a catastrophic injury, you are likely struggling to understand your new reality. A catastrophic injury permanently prevents the injured individual from performing gainful work.
As a victim of such an injury, you are likely dealing with doctor’s appointments, medical bills, and determining what your future looks out without the prospect of work, and with continued medical rehabilitation. Your loved ones are also likely suffering from the devastating injuries you have suffered.
If the negligent or intentional act of another party was the cause of your injuries, you deserve to secure a recovery for your suffering. The experienced personal injury attorneys at The Robert Pahlke Law Group in Nebraska have a long history of helping victims secure recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.
The Robert Pahlke Law Group Secures Results
Throughout its impressive history, The Robert Pahlke Law Group has a proven track record of success, as demonstrated by the following results:
- A verdict of over $21 million in a product liability case. Our client was working from the second story of a fire escape when heavy decking hit our client’s fall protection equipment. Rather than protecting him from a fall, our client suffered a fall and resulting paraplegia from his injuries.
- A jury verdict for $5 million after defective gasoline equipment, exploding into flames and engulfing our client, causing serious and life-altering burn injuries.
- A jury verdict of $3.25 million after our client was rear ended by a truck and trailer speeding down the road. The collision sent our defendant flying 100 feet and into a guardrail. His injuries left him in pain every day, limiting his ability to enjoy life and his family.
These results are a representation of the types of verdicts our law firm has secured for its clients. While each case is unique and there is no way to guarantee a specific recovery, our lawyers are committed to pursuing the best possible outcome for our clients.
Dealing With Devastating Injuries
The medical trauma associated with catastrophic injuries is extreme. Not only do they limit your ability to pursue meaningful work, but they often require time consuming medical rehabilitation and long term care.
The types of injuries most commonly associated with this type of disability include:
- Brain damage: Not many injuries sound more terrifying than brain damage. Brain damage can result in the injured individual to be in a coma or vegetative state or to suffer from brain death.
- Spinal injury: The spinal cord houses nerves essential to carrying on a normal life. An injury to the spine can cause permanent damage including paralysis.
- Neck or back injury: The neck and back provide critical support functions for the rest of the body. Any injury can result in altered mobility.
- Internal trauma: If an individual suffers from organ damage, it may affect their blood flow or ability to breathe.
While the above are most associated with catastrophic injuries, something as commonplace as a broken bone can still involve invasive surgery and long term complications, including infections and amputation.
If you are unsure whether you or your loved one’s injuries would be considered catastrophic, an attorney can help you evaluate your case and possible recovery.
If you are hoping to recover your damages from another party, you must be able to demonstrate that the other party acted negligently or willfully in a way that caused your injuries. The evidence of fault will depend on the circumstances of the accident.
If you are injured because a product malfunctioned, the manufacturer of the product may be at fault. If the manufacturer failed to do appropriate testing or didn’t build the product to the appropriate standards, they may be responsible for your injuries.
If your injuries resulted from a car accident, your lawyer can evaluate whether the other driver acted negligently. Common evidence of negligence includes failure to adhere to traffic regulations, such as speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.
Medical Provider or Facility
You may have gone into the doctor to handle a simple injury, but a mistake by the doctor may have caused the injuries to become much more serious. If this is the case, the medical provider may be at fault.
If you were injured at a business or one someone else’s property, the property owner may be responsible. The duty of care they owed you may also depend on whether you were invited on the property or not.
If your employer forced you to work in unsafe work conditions or failed to provide access to reasonable safety accommodations, they may be at fault for your injuries. If you suffered your injuries at work, you will also need to become familiar with your Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Our Nebraska catastrophic injury attorneys can assist you in determining whether you have sufficient evidence of the other party’s negligence or intentional behavior.
After you have analyzed which parties may be at fault for your injuries, it is important to thoroughly evaluate what damages you are entitled to recover. Your lawyer can help you determine which of the following damages may apply to your case.
- Medical expenses: Medical bills associated with catastrophic injuries are likely to be large and may include long term rehabilitation and care.
- Loss of income: By definition, a catastrophic injury will limit your ability to hold gainful employment. You should recover for your lost past and future earnings.
- Emotional distress: Catastrophic injuries will change your entire way of life. This may cause you emotional distress, such as anxiety or depression.
- Loss of enjoyment: Your injuries may limit your ability to perform activities you previously enjoyed, and you should recover for these damages.
We can work with you to establish an appropriate damages claim to compensate you for your injuries and how they have affected your life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a catastrophic injury?
A catastrophic injury is an injury that permanently alters the victim’s life. They may not be able to walk without assistance, move, or work ever again. People who suffer a catastrophic injury often need medical care throughout their lives and may require care around the clock.
What injuries qualify as catastrophic?
Almost any kind of accident or harm that is severe enough can cause catastrophic injury. Some types of injuries, however, are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries than others. These include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Severe (second- and third-degree) burns
- Loss of limb or injuries necessitating amputation of a limb
- Severe and complicated bone fractures
- Loss of sight
- Loss of hearing
- Organ damage
- Neurological damage
Catastrophic injury refers to a degree of damage, not simply to a type of injury. Spinal cord injuries, for instance, can result in paralysis if the spinal cord is damaged or severed. But some spinal cord injuries bruise the spinal cord; patients can recover, and the injury is thus not catastrophic.
What events cause these injuries?
Vehicle accidents cause 38 percent of spinal cord injuries. Falls cause 30 percent of spinal cord injuries. The remainder are caused by violence, such as gunshots (13 percent), sports-related injuries (9 percent), and medical/surgical incidents (nearly 5 percent).
Nearly half of TBIs stem from falls, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Motor vehicle accidents cause 20 percent of TBI-related hospitalizations.
People can suffer burns, loss of limbs, or use of an organ from defective products, such as an e-cigarette in their pocket or an exploding toy. Even a dog bite can cause catastrophic injury.
In short, catastrophic injuries can result from:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Sports-related accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Premises liability (falling or being harmed on a premises)
- Product liability (accidents or harm caused by defective products)
- Medical malpractice
Who is at fault for a catastrophic injury?
To receive compensation for a catastrophic injury, another party must be at fault. If you suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of a car accident, for instance, another party may be liable if they caused or contributed to the accident. It could be another vehicle’s driver, a passerby, the car manufacturer, or a component manufacturer.
Let’s say a car tried to pass another car when visibility was poor, and as a result collided with your car head-on. That car’s driver would be negligent, because trying to pass when you can’t see sufficiently fails to exercise an ordinary standard of prudence—the definition of negligence. As a result, that driver is liable for your injuries.
The negligence standard holds for all types of events that cause catastrophic injuries. If your leg is caught and injured in an escalator at the local shopping mall, for example, the at-fault party may be the shopping mall owner who failed to inspect, maintain, and repair the escalator or the repair company itself. If an exploding toy causes damage, the at-fault party could be the toy’s manufacturer.
How can I recover compensation for a catastrophic injury?
Victims of catastrophic injury caused by another party can receive compensation for related medical bills, both current and expected in the future. This compensation includes the cost of:
- Doctor’s visits
- Emergency room visits
- Ambulance transit
- Medical devices
- Prescription medications
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Nursing care
- Home health aide care
- Retrofitting a home (such as remodeling for wheelchair access)
You can also receive compensation for:
- Wages lost from work, both present and expected in the future
- Lost of future earnings potential
If the catastrophic accident caused property damage, victims can seek compensation for property damage, like a wrecked vehicle.
Finally, victims can seek compensation for noneconomic losses, such as
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
If another person caused your catastrophic injury, you can bring a claim against the at-fault party or his or her insurance carrier. If you cannot agree on a settlement, you can bring a personal injury suit in civil court.
How much could my case be worth?
Settlements in catastrophic injury cases are often high for two reasons. First, economic losses such as medical bills, lost income and lost earnings capacity, and property damage are computed by adding up costs already incurred and expected future costs and losses. Because catastrophic injuries are life-long, these can be high.
Second, noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering are determined via applying a multiplier to the economic losses. Generally, the multiplier assigned for a catastrophic injury is high, because of the significant effect on the victim’s life.
How is fault for a catastrophic injury established?
It’s often necessary to investigate what happened in an event that caused a catastrophic injury. Whether it was a car accident, a truck accident, a fall down a flight of stairs, a defective product, or a birth injury, an investigation can discover who or what was to blame for the accident.
It’s a good idea to consult us, because our attorneys often work with investigative teams. They can interview eyewitnesses and perform forensic analysis at an accident scene, for example. They can pull surveillance camera footage, if any is available.
If you are in a vehicle accident, call law enforcement. They will issue a police report that serves as evidence of how the accident occurred. Law enforcement personnel interview all drivers, note the condition of the vehicles, the conditions (weather and time of day), and other data that can be used to figure out how the accident occurred—and therefore who likely caused it.
Your injuries themselves can sometimes serve as forms of evidence. If you were propelled forward and through a windshield in a car accident, for instance, it’s likely your vehicle was rear-ended, which is almost always the fault of the driver in back.
In the case of medical malpractice, medical records can be pulled. Expert testimony establishes what the usual treatment is, and if the treatment you received deviated from that—and how.
Contact The Robert Pahlke Law Group’s Nebraska Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Today
The experienced Nebraska catastrophic injury attorneys at The Robert Pahlke Law Group are committed to helping personal injury victims secure a financial recovery for their injuries. You shouldn’t have to deal with the stress of securing a financial recovery, in addition to dealing with your life-altering injuries, alone.
We work with our clients to develop a trial strategy focused on their goals and the facts of their cases. Contact us today or dial (308) 633-4444 for a free case evaluation.
Pahlke Law Group
2425 Circle Drive #200
Scottsbluff, NE 69361