Catastrophic injuries usually include personal injuries that require expensive treatment, are permanent, or affect the central nervous system. Regardless of the definition you use, a catastrophic personal injury in Miami, Florida, will change your life forever.

Your actions after experiencing catastrophic trauma could affect your ability to obtain compensation. At the same time, the effects of your injury could impede your ability to do anything.

As a result, you may need to rely on others, such as co-workers, witnesses, and police officers. Whether you handle these tasks yourself or ask for help, here are six steps to take after experiencing a catastrophic accident.

1. Seek Medical Attention Promptly

There will often be no mistake that you have suffered a catastrophic personal injury. The following meet one or more of the definitions used for catastrophic injuries:

  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Third-degree burns
  • Traumatic amputations

After a catastrophic injury, EMTs will try to stabilize your condition and prevent it from worsening. They will probably transport you in an ambulance to the emergency room (ER) for immediate medical attention. The ER visit will produce medical records that document your injuries and the treatment you received.

You may be hospitalized, at least briefly. Upon your release, your doctors will develop a treatment plan and describe any limits on your activities. This information will help your Miami catastrophic injury attorney estimate your past and future economic losses.

2. Document the Scene of the Accident and Any Injuries

You should document the accident scene to the best of your abilities. Given the severity of your injuries, that might involve talking to someone else who can help out, such as witnesses who saw or recorded what happened.

If the accident happened at work, see if a co-worker or supervisor can take photos of the scene. For car accidents, a police report will include the investigative findings, including measurements and photos that an accident reconstruction expert can use to determine what happened.

3. Report the Incident if Possible

Certain types of accidents must be reported. Under Florida law, drivers must report car accidents involving:

  • Death
  • Injury
  • Damage to a vehicle that renders it inoperable
  • A commercial motor vehicle
  • Intoxicated driving
  • Hit-and-run collisions

The law does not require you to report workplace accidents to the police. However, you must report on-the-job injuries to your employer within 30 days to claim workers’ compensation benefits.

Even if you do not need to report an accident to the police, you should inform someone about what happened. This report will help you document the timeline and cause of your injuries.

4. Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney

You should consider speaking with a personal injury attorney early in the process. If your catastrophic injury incapacitated you, consider asking a friend or family member to arrange a consultation for you. Many lawyers also conduct phone or video consultations.

These consultations are usually free. During the consultation, you can learn about your legal options and begin gathering the information the lawyer will need to review your case. The lawyer can also assess the strength and value of your claims.

5. Keep Detailed Records

You will need to maintain records of your losses for your claim. Both insurance claims and lawsuits require evidence to prove your losses. The following documents will help you and your lawyer support your compensation claim:

  • Doctor’s records
  • Medical bills
  • Wage records
  • Receipts for out-of-pocket costs

You should also document how your injuries affect your life. This information will help your lawyer argue for pain and suffering damages.

6. Understand Your Legal Rights in Florida

As you work with your lawyer, ask questions. Understanding your legal rights and options will help you make informed decisions about your case.

For example, if you suffered a catastrophic injury in a car accident, your options might include claims under your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. These options are not mutually exclusive. You should discuss your options with your lawyer to get an optimal outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Catastrophic Personal Injury in Miami, Florida

Here are answers to questions people ask about catastrophic injuries in Miami:

What Is the Difference Between a Catastrophic and Non-Catastrophic Injury?

Often, victims of non-catastrophic injuries recover fully over time. Catastrophic injuries alter your life forever and impair your ability to live life as you once did. The effects could include the devastating financial costs of treatment, the permanent disabilities you experience, and the potential loss of the ability to earn an income.

What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

Examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Brain damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Large third-degree burns
  • Amputated body parts

If you use one of the more expansive definitions for catastrophic injuries, you might also include shattered bones, herniated discs, torn ligaments, and facial trauma. These injuries can cause life-altering, permanent disabilities or disfigurement.

What Is a Catastrophic Injury Settlement?

Most catastrophic personal injury cases start with an insurance claim against the insurer for the party responsible for harming you. Your personal injury attorney will negotiate with the insurer for a fair settlement to cover your medical bills and lost wages. If an insurer refuses to settle, you can pursue lawsuits against them.

Contact a Miami Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Today

Ratzan Weissman & Boldt has recovered more than half a billion dollars in cases involving personal injury in Miami, Florida. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss how we will fight for compensation for the catastrophic injury you or a loved one suffered.