Suffering an injury can affect your life in a range of ways. However, when the injury is considered catastrophic, that impact can be significantly worse, potentially resulting in life-altering consequences.

But what is a catastrophic injury, and what can you do about it in Florida? Here is everything you need to know about these injuries and the legal options Florida law provides for addressing them.

Understanding the Nature of Catastrophic Injuries

A catastrophic injury is unlike other types of injuries. While many injuries can leave you facing pain, discomfort, and lifestyle changes, catastrophic injuries go beyond that, as they can take a substantial toll on your life.

Under Florida law, a catastrophic injury is one involving a permanent impairment from several different types of injuries, including spinal cord injuries, amputations, and brain injuries.

After suffering a catastrophic injury, life is usually never the same.

Examples of Common Catastrophic Injuries

So what is a catastrophic injury exactly? Some of the more common types of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Severe burns
  • Amputations
  • Internal injuries

Catastrophic injuries can affect just about any part of the body. If your injuries have caused a lasting impairment and your life has changed as a result, it’s likely you’ve sustained a catastrophic injury worth discussing with a qualified lawyer.

Types of Catastrophic Injury Cases

Catastrophic injuries arise for various reasons, regularly involving negligence and intentional actions. The types of catastrophic injury cases attorneys often see include:

  • Vehicular collisions, including car and truck accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability
  • Defective drugs and medical devices
  • Workplace accidents
  • Premises liability accidents
  • Assault

If a third party caused your catastrophic injury, you may have a valid claim for compensation. A catastrophic injury lawyer can review the details of your injuries and handle your case on your behalf.

Establishing Liability

What is a catastrophic injury lawsuit without establishing liability? To understand who is at fault, it’s critical to first determine the cause of your catastrophic injury. Once you know what caused your injuries, you can then establish who is liable for your harm.

Parties commonly found to be at fault for catastrophic injuries include:

  • Car and truck drivers
  • Healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists
  • Product designers, manufacturers, and distributors
  • Property owners and occupiers

Depending on the specifics of your case, one party may be solely responsible for your injury, or several parties can share liability. Establishing liability is crucial for a catastrophic injury claim, as it helps ensure you pursue justice and compensation from the appropriate party.

Long-Term Impact on Victims

One of the key distinctions between catastrophic injuries and other kinds of injuries is the long-term impact a catastrophic injury can have on a victim. Long-term consequences of catastrophic injuries can include:

  • Permanent brain damage
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of vision or hearing
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Organ damage
  • Loss of mobility

Accommodating your new reality post-injury can include numerous lifestyle changes, including in your relationships and your career.

Elements of a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit

To successfully establish liability, you must prove the elements of negligence. This involves showing:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant’s actions resulted in a breach of their duty of care
  • The defendant’s actions were the actual and proximate cause of your injury
  • You suffered monetary and non-monetary damages

Your catastrophic injury lawyer can gather evidence and documentation to prove the elements of your case. Establishing the other party’s liability can help get you one step closer to fair financial recovery.

Settlement vs. Trial

The way your case is resolved depends on several details, but a settlement or a verdict at trial can give you the compensation you deserve.

A settlement involves parties engaging in negotiations to reach an agreement. If the parties can agree, your case can settle, and you don’t need to go to court.

While a majority of personal injury cases settle, some go to trial. During trial, parties argue their cases in front of a judge and sometimes a jury. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge hands down the verdict, and the case is over.

Regardless of whether your case settles or goes to trial, you can feel confident knowing your catastrophic injury lawyer will be at your side every step of the way.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit

Statutes of limitations limit the time a plaintiff has to file their lawsuit in court. In Florida, the statute of limitations for catastrophic injury cases is two years. To avoid missing your chance to file your claim, meet with a catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible.

FAQ

What Type of Compensation Is Available for Catastrophic Injuries?

Damages for catastrophic injuries can help provide compensation for your injury-related expenses and losses. Catastrophic injury damages can cover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished or lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

Your catastrophic injury attorney can review the specifics of your case to determine how much your case is worth and pursue monetary recovery on your behalf.

How Do I Know Whether I Have a Valid Catastrophic Injury Claim?

If you’ve suffered severe, life-changing injuries caused by another party, you may have a viable catastrophic injury claim. It’s best to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney, who can investigate your case and advise you of the right path forward.

What Do I Do if a Loved One Dies After Suffering a Catastrophic Injury?

In the most severe cases, victims succumb to their catastrophic injuries. If you’ve lost a loved one after they suffered serious physical harm, you may have a valid wrongful death claim. Consult with a skilled attorney right away for guidance.

Fierce Representation Is Crucial for Your Catastrophic Injury Case

Ratzan Weissman & Boldt is dedicated to seeking justice for catastrophic injury victims throughout Florida and across the nation. If your life has changed as a result of a catastrophic injury, contact us to schedule a consultation today.