If you have sustained a catastrophic injury as a result of the negligence of another person or entity, you may be unsure of what you need to do for your health, your family, your finances, and your emotional health. Following a catastrophic injury, you may require significant medical care and interventions—now and in the future. You could be facing a long hospital stay and may need to see many different medical professionals and specialists as you face a long, grueling recovery.
You may require help with everyday activities, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive equipment, or other assistive technologies. You may also face chronic pain that can be expected to last for months, years, or for the rest of your life. In addition to the physical trauma of a catastrophic injury, you may also face PTSD, emotional trauma, and mental anguish. You could be unable to work, resulting in lost wages, and an inability to pay your regular monthly expenses. Activities you once enjoyed may be gone forever, and you may even be unable to provide the care you once provided to your loved ones.
In short, your entire quality of life may have been significantly decreased following your catastrophic injury. The effects of your catastrophic injury may also be experienced by your loved ones who may be forced into a caregiver role, changing their lives as well as your own. Any injury can have a major impact on accident victims and their families. But catastrophic injuries can be especially devastating. They can last a lifetime, lead to exorbitant medical bills, and prevent people from working and caring for themselves.
Fortunately, accident victims can file a personal injury claim to recoup their losses and expenses from the party who caused their accident. An experienced Richmond catastrophic injury lawyer at Tronfeld West & Durrett can help you file your claim to recover economic and noneconomic damages related to your accident and injuries.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
When an injury is so severe that the effects will be felt for years to come, it is known as a catastrophic injury. Catastrophic injuries generally require a significant level of medical interventions like surgical procedures. These procedures may be ongoing for months or years. Ongoing rehabilitative therapies, assistive devices, and daily help with normal tasks may be necessary following a catastrophic injury.
While a catastrophic injury may be permanent, in some cases it is not permanent but can nonetheless take months or years to heal. Often, the full extent of the injury is not known for months. Catastrophic injuries not only result in physical trauma, but they can also result in emotional trauma and financial devastation. Examples of catastrophic injuries are limb loss, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries that cause paralysis, loss of vision, extensive burns, and any injury that causes permanent disfigurement.
A catastrophic injury can affect many different body systems, including the circulatory system, urinary system, gastrointestinal system, central nervous system, excretory system, reproductive system, and other systems. Automobile accidents are a primary cause of catastrophic injuries, particularly large commercial truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Following a catastrophic injury resulting from another’s negligence, the most important step you can take is to contact a Richmond catastrophic injury lawyer from Tronfeld West & Durrett.
Standard Injuries vs. Catastrophic Injuries
Both standard and catastrophic injuries may require victims to miss work for treatment and recovery. The difference is the degree to which the injury affects earning capacity, medical costs, and psychological and emotional health.
Typically, accident victims with minor injuries return to work after a few days, weeks, or months of recovery. While they may continue to experience some difficulties, they are usually able to work and care for themselves.
Those who suffer catastrophic injuries may experience more drastic damages:
- They may be unable to work again, or must change careers to accommodate a disability.
- They may require expensive, ongoing medical care. This might include in-home nursing care, assistive devices like wheelchairs, and medication.
- They may be unable to care for themselves or engage in activities they once enjoyed. This can have profound effects on mental health.
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Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Here are some common catastrophic injuries people suffer in accidents:
- Traumatic Brain Injury – Victims who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may experience headaches, memory loss, cognitive difficulties, and other symptoms. The long-term consequences depend on the severity of the injury. Those with severe TBIs may be unable to walk, talk, or perform everyday tasks. Those with TBIs may require long-term care, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Loss of limb – Amputation is a difficult reality for some accident victims. Some suffer traumatic amputation, while others require surgical amputation after an accident. Adjusting to life without an arm or leg can be challenging. Some people find themselves needing to change careers and require assistive devices.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – The effects of a spinal cord injury depend on the location and severity of the injury. Accident victims may become partially or completely paralyzed. Paraplegia causes paralysis from the waist down; quadriplegia from the shoulders down. In either case, those with spinal cord injuries may require extensive therapy and at-home care, and may also lose some of their earning potential.
- Burns – People may suffer severe burns in electrical accidents, fires, vehicle accidents, and other traumatic accidents. Burns may require a long, painful recovery. Many burn victims require extensive treatment, suffer permanent disfigurement, and experience negative mental health effects.
What Are the Different Causes of Catastrophic Injuries?
Large commercial truck accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, and other commercial vehicle accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Commercial vehicles like 18-wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Considering that the average passenger vehicle only weighs about 3,000 pounds, you can see how a commercial vehicle could cause catastrophic injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and amputations are the most common catastrophic injuries associated with a commercial vehicle accident.
Motorcycle accidents are another common cause of catastrophic injuries. Motorcyclists have no protection such as seatbelts or airbags, so when they are struck by a vehicle, there are likely to be traumatic brain injuries, especially when no helmet is worn, as well as spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, and the loss of a limb.
Slip-and-fall accidents sound rather benign but can result in catastrophic injuries in some instances. Traumatic brain injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, and complex fractures can occur from a slip-and-fall accident. When a fall is from a height, whether on another’s property or at work, many catastrophic injuries are possible.
A serious instance of medical malpractice, as well as a defective or dangerous product can also be responsible for a catastrophic injury. Whatever the cause, if another party is at fault, then victims and their families can pursue a personal injury claim. All claims require proving that the defendant was negligent and caused the accident and injuries, and that the claimant suffered damages.
What Are the Most Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries?
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common types of catastrophic injuries and can result from many different types of accidents. Traumatic brain injuries can be both serious and unpredictable, leaving victims with lasting cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments that can severely impact their personal and professional lives. Spinal cord injuries, particularly those that cause paralysis—partial or total—are another type of catastrophic injury that can lead to a permanent loss of mobility along with chronic, debilitating pain. Paralysis can bring a lifetime of serious secondary health concerns, along with physical limitations, perhaps even resulting in the necessity of full-time care.
Blunt abdominal trauma can cause many different internal injuries, some of which may not be readily apparent when there are no external wounds. Severe burns not only result in the necessity for months or years of medical interventions, but they can also cause disfigurement that can result in emotional trauma. Amputations are another type of catastrophic injury that can cause physical and emotional pain and trauma. An amputation, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, or disfigurement can all present physical, emotional, and financial hurdles, altering your life and future, and potentially preventing you from working and making a living.
Recovering Compensation for Catastrophic Injury
The physical, emotional, and financial difficulties that come with a catastrophic injury can be a lot to handle. A successful claim allows victims to recover compensation for these damages. Your claim may cover the following costs and losses:
- Medical expenses – This includes medical treatments, medications, hospital fees, and physical therapy costs.
- Lost wages – Many people who suffer a catastrophic injury will not be able to return to work for a long time after the accident. Compensation can cover lost wages during recovery.
- Loss of future earning capacity – Those who suffer catastrophic injuries may not be able to return to the same job they once had. Some may not ever be able to work again. Calculating lost earning capacity includes considering the age, skill level, experience, and education of the victim.
- Psychological and emotional trauma – Victims of catastrophic injuries may suffer a great deal both physically and emotionally. They may recover damages for any emotional trauma and mental anguish related to their injuries. Many people call these pain and suffering damages.
What Should You Do Following a Richmond Catastrophic Injury?
As with any injury, the first thing you should do following a catastrophic injury is to seek medical attention. This is the most important step you will take since catastrophic injuries may not always be immediately apparent, making it even more difficult to tailor your actions to the severity of your injuries. Make an assessment of your injuries if you are able, with the goal of determining the root cause of your injuries. As an example, if it feels as though you have received a spinal cord injury from the accident, be sure and tell first responders your thoughts regarding your injuries.
If your location following the accident is not safe, try to stay calm and get to a safe place if you can move. There may still be danger present in high-traffic areas. Call 911, or have another person do so if you are unable. The police report generated as a result of the accident can be an invaluable resource in proving liability. If you are able, take photos of the scene of the accident, and secure any witness contact information. If you are not able, you might be able to ask another person to gather this evidence. Finally, contact a Richmond catastrophic injury lawyer as quickly as possible following your accident. Your attorney can step in immediately, explaining the process to you, and helping you determine the best course of action.
Why Hire a Richmond Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Near You?
There are many good reasons to hire a Richmond catastrophic injury lawyer from Tronfeld West & Durrett. Some of those reasons include:
- We can clarify the claim procedure for you, answering any questions you may have.
- After comprehensively evaluating the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident, we will begin collecting evidence and building your case. If it is necessary to coax reluctant witnesses into producing evidence or information or you need medical or vocational experts for court, we will ensure your case is thorough and complete.
- Once we put the evidence together, we will calculate your damages after speaking to your doctors, along with vocational experts who can help value your future lost wages. Your claim may include medical expenses, ongoing nursing care, rehabilitative therapies, pain and suffering, replacement household services, travel costs for medical care or other therapies, lost wages, and future lost wages.
- Our attorneys will thoroughly explain any legal paperwork that comes in, as well as how the paperwork will be responded to by our firm.
- We will use our stellar negotiation skills to secure a fair settlement that fully covers all your damages. If the settlement offer is rejected, we are always prepared to take your claim to court to force the insurance company to pay you what your claim is worth.
- Trials can be stressful, yet we ensure we are always prepared, no matter what is thrown at us on a moment’s notice. Our wealth of procedural knowledge as well as the wisdom garnered from years of negotiation and litigation benefits you and your family.
- Perhaps most importantly, when you turn over your catastrophic injury claim to Tronfeld West & Durrett, you can rest easy knowing that everything is being taken care of on your behalf. We are strong advocates who really care about your future, and we will always go the extra mile for you. Our goal is to handle the legal aspects of your catastrophic injury claim, giving you the time you need to begin healing and putting your life back together.
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What Is The Virginia Statute Of Limitations For Catastrophic Injury Lawsuits?
In Virginia, the Statute of Limitations for filing a lawsuit related to a catastrophic injury is two years. This means that an individual generally has two years from the date of the accident or injury to file a lawsuit seeking damages. However, there are some limited exceptions to this deadline. For example, if the victim is a minor, they have two years from their 18th birthday to file suit. If the victim suffered from a mental or physical disability prior to the accident, they might have longer to pursue a claim.
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Richmond Catastrophic Injury FAQ
How Much Is My Case Worth?
The value of a catastrophic injury case can vary widely based on the specific circumstances and the impact of the injury on the victim’s life. While there is a $350,000 maximum on punitive damages in Virginia, there is a cap of $2 million on total damages for medical malpractice claims, depending on factors like the injury’s severity, long-term medical requirements, lost wages, and other pertinent considerations. As our case results show, we have secured millions for people who suffered catastrophic injuries.
What Counts As Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries exceed the scope of ordinary harm, bringing about significant and long-lasting repercussions. These injuries may include a spectrum of afflictions, such as:
- Nerve damage
- Neurological damage
- Spinal cord damage resulting in paralysis
- Brain injuries
- Loss of limb
- Severe burns
- Organ damage
- Vision or hearing loss
- Chronic pain conditions
However, we have seen other types of injuries that have produced lasting consequences and are not mentioned in this list. Each case is unique and deserves special consideration to determine the full extent of your injuries and damages.
How Long Will It Take To Settle My Case?
The time it takes to settle a catastrophic injury case can vary. On average, the settlement timeline for an injury claim may range from an estimated six months to as much as three years, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Simple cases where liability is admitted can be settled in around 12 months or so, while large, more complex, high-value cases can take longer to settle. The duration can be influenced by factors such as the extent of the injury, the need to establish an accurate value of the claim, the complexity of the case, and the negotiation process with insurance companies or other parties involved
How Much Will A Lawyer Cost?
We understand that the cost of legal representation can be a concern for individuals seeking assistance with catastrophic injury cases. At our firm, we operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t be charged unless we win your case.
The final fee will be a percentage of the compensation we are able to secure for you, and will vary according to the specific circumstances of your case. We believe in providing transparent and fair pricing, and we will discuss the details of our fee structure with you during our initial consultation.
How an Experienced Richmond Catastrophic Injury Lawyer from Tronfeld West & Durrett Can Help
Recovering from a catastrophic injury can be overwhelming for both the victim and their family. The attorneys at Tronfeld West & Durrett help families in Virginia recover compensation for their damages. With years of experience handling personal injury cases, our staff will investigate the facts of your case and help you recover the compensation you deserve. We have offices conveniently located in your neighborhood, whether you are in Richmond, Petersburg, Chesterfield or Mechanicsville. For more information on filing your claim, contact our firm today at 804-358-6741. Find extensive information on unsafe property conditions.