The Physical, Psychological, and Economic Consequences of Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury permanently prevents victims from ever returning to life as they knew it. When these unexpected tragedies strike, lives change forever. In addition to the victims, spouses, children, parents, and extended family members all suffer devastating long-term consequences. The disruptive, diverse caregiving responsibilities that fall to family and friends can cause devastating consequences. It is not uncommon to see marital relationships deteriorate, health fail in the caregiver in response to the physical and emotional strain of caring for a sick loved one, and sometimes the loss of the caregiver’s income in addition to the victim’s income.
Whether a catastrophic injury took place because of a motor vehicle accident, workplace injury, a defective product, medical negligence or malpractice, criminal violence, or a fall on someone else’s property, seek legal counsel. Our firm has proudly served Nebraska for three decades: our legal team has a proven track record of success, and we know how to get results for our clients. Call us at (308) 633-4444 or email us for a free consultation.
Spinal cord injuries. A damaged spinal cord can sever signals between the brain and the body. This has the potential to leave the victim with:
- Loss of movement and sensation
- Paraplegia (paralysis of the lower limbs)
- Quadriplegia (paralysis of all limbs)
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
The Robert Pahlke Law Group was asked to retry a product liability case involving fall protection that failed, resulting in paraplegia. The jury returned a record-breaking verdict of $21,131,633.00 (the amount to the penny suggested by Robert Pahlke in his closing argument.)
- Severe burns. Recovering from third- and fourth-degree burns poses a challenging and lengthy recovery period. In addition to painful hospital treatments, victims are left to deal with scarring, permanent nerve damage, disfigurement, impaired range of motion, an inability to sweat, and chronic pain. Medications, skin grafts, physical therapy, and surgery may need to treat severe burns.
A case study in point Our client was severely burned in a defective product accident. He suffered extensive and permanent injuries. As a result of expert litigation, at the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned a verdict of $5,000,000, the largest personal injury verdict in the history of Nebraska at that time.
Traumatic brain injuries. The Centers for Disease Control report that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, and contributes to about 30 percent of all injury-related deaths. The impact of a TBI can leave lasting effects on families. Blunt force trauma to the head can produce the following long-term symptoms:
- Cognitive impairment
- Difficulty understanding language
- Sensory abnormalities (vision loss, tinnitus)
Traumatic orthopedic injuries. In serious cases, fractures can require intensive treatments and expensive invasive surgical options to attain proper healing. Complications may include:
- Bone infection
- Nerve damage
- Organ damage
- Amputation of the damaged limb
The psychological impact of a catastrophic injury can trigger symptoms and conditions such as:
- Mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Exacerbation of existing medical conditions
According to the World Health Organization, “Psychiatric disorders after traumatic brain injury (TBI) are frequent.”
Health economists from Johns Hopkins University, writing in The Journal of Pain, reported that the annual cost of chronic pain is as much as $635 billion a year—more than the yearly costs for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. A catastrophic injury has a broad economic impact. Immediate needs notwithstanding, long-term expenses include:
- Long-term medication costs
- Physical therapy
- Adaptive and mobility equipment
- Modifications to the home
Some of the more common damages in court awards and settlements include:
- The cost of present and ongoing treatment or therapy, including compensation for estimated future care
- Loss of present and future income
- Victims may recover the fair market value of any damaged personal property, such as vehicles, electronic devices, and clothing
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression
- Lost enjoyment of daily activities
In addition to the immediate financial costs associated with catastrophic injuries, victims may recover long-term (and in some cases, lifelong) compensation for pain and suffering as a result of the injuries they sustained in their accidents. Factors that contribute to monetary damages include:
- The assessment and credibility of expert medical witnesses
- The likelihood of maximum medical improvement
- Medical reports from your personal physician
- Your age, sex, and educational background
- Projected potential work limitations
- Potential limitations on your daily activities
While it is extremely difficult to accurately place a value on projected losses, some ways of requesting a specific dollar amount for damages are:
- Testimony from the victim detailing the severity and limitations of the symptoms and the impact they have on his or her professional career and personal life
- Testimony from supervisors, coworkers, family, and friends who can attest to the accident victim’s pre-accident and post-accident ability levels
- Expert testimony about the value of future income losses
The Importance of Legal Counsel
Ideally, a civil lawsuit will cover all of the losses suffered as a result of the accident. An experienced catastrophic injury attorney can help substantiate the monetary value of economic and non-economic losses.
No person expects to find themselves in this situation. Severe injuries overwhelm whole families, and weaken even the strongest support system. When you are dealing with the magnitude of a spinal cord or brain injury, an amputation, burns, or any other serious injury, you need the attorneys at The Robert Pahlke Law Group.
Call us at (308) 633-4444 or email us for a no-cost evaluation of your situation. Our fees are contingency based, meaning you only owe us attorney fees if we help to settle your case or obtain a judgment. We stand ready to pursue fair and equitable justice for you and your family.