Catastrophic Injury

Personally suffering from a traumatic injury or losing a loved one under any circumstance is devastating. However, suffering from a life changing injury or losing a loved one due to the negligence of another is particularly distressing.  Fortunately, you may be eligible to file a law suit against those responsible for the tragedy.  A Fort Lauderdale catastrophic injury lawyer from our firm can help you navigate the Florida court system and assist you with your case.

While nothing can erase the physical suffering and emotional turmoil you have experienced, financial support can make a world of difference to you and your family. You can and should hold the person responsible for your injury or your loved one’s injury held liable for the pain he or she has caused you. The attorneys at Edwards Pottinger have years of experience representing catastrophic injury victims in a variety of cases and would be honored to do the same for you.

Call the professionals at Edwards Pottinger in Fort Lauderdale to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today: (954) 524-2820. We want to help you recover the compensation you and your family deserve.

What is the difference between Quadriplegia and Paraplegia?

Quadriplegia or tetraplegia results in some degree of paralysis in all four limbs, while paraplegia results in some degree of paralysis from the waist down. Quadriplegia results from a spinal cord injury above the first thoracic vertebra or within the C1-C8 cervical sections, and paraplegia occurs in spinal cord injuries below the first thoracic spinal levels. In addition to paralysis, spinal cord injuries can also cause a plethora of additional health impediments such as bowel and bladder dysfunction, loss or impairment of sexual function, and chronic pain.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 138 people die each day from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBI survivors and their families could be facing extremely high medical costs, much pain and suffering, and in some cases, the inability to work ever again.

What causes a TBI?

TBIs result from various types of trauma to the head or neck. Head injuries typically fall under one of two categories: open and closed.

Open head injuries occur when an object penetrates the skull or the skull breaks or fractures after coming into contact with a hard surface.

Closed head injuries occur due to a forceful impact or jolt to the head. The head does not outwardly appear damaged, but there may be blood clots or brain swelling inside the skull.

Open and closed head injuries result from various types of accidents including:

  • Slip and falls
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Assaults
  • Unintentional blunt trauma or being hit by an object
  • Sports-related accidents

What are the consequences of a TBI?

TBIs can range from mild to severe. Mild TBIs might lead to troublesome symptoms such as short-term confusion, severe headaches, and nausea, but severe TBIs are much worse.

Severe brain injuries can result in long-term consequences that significantly affect the lives of victims and their families. Some of these include cognitive deficits, paralysis, communicative difficulties (e.g., slurred speech, difficulty speaking, problems writing), loss of vision and hearing, seizures, chronic pain, and depression.

How can I recover compensation for my TBI?

Florida law allows accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries if they can prove that another party caused the accident and their injuries. Whom you file with depends on how the accident occurred.

For example, if your injury resulted from a car accident, you can file an injury claim with the other driver’s insurer. If you were injured in a slip and fall at a grocery store, you would file a claim with the store’s liability insurance company.

What can I recover for my catastrophic injury?

If you are successful in proving your negligence case, you may recover damages from the parties liable for your injury. Damages can cover the following:

  • Medical expenses: This can include costs for medication, treatment, rehabilitation, physical therapy, hospital stays, in-home care, etc.
  • Lost wages: You can recover compensation for all wages you have already lost due to the accident.
  • Loss of future earning capacity: Some TBI victims are unable to return to work full-time; some are unable to return at all. You can recover compensation for your loss of earning capacity, whether that is a partial or full loss.
  • Emotional damages: A TBI has huge emotional costs. Victims and their families can recover compensation for all the emotional damages sustained.

What is a wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death claim allows surviving family members and the decedent’s estate to recover damages related to the death.

Wrongful death claims stem from a death caused by negligent behavior or misconduct by another person, e.g., car accident, medical malpractice, slip and fall, etc.

Who can bring a wrongful death claim?

The personal representative of the decedent’s estate is the only person who is legally able to bring a wrongful death action. To be a personal representative, one must be a Florida resident with interest in the estate who is not under legal disability. Unless the decedent designates a personal representative in his will, the surviving spouse will have preference for appointment.

What is a survival action?

A personal representative can also file a survival action on the decedent’s behalf; however, the survival action benefits the estate, not the survivors directly.

A survival action is a continuance of a case the decedent had prior to death. It is important to note that, in Florida, a claim filed by the decedent will not survive if it is for personal injuries that ultimately caused the decedent’s death.

For example, if the decedent was in a car accident in 2016 and files a personal injury claim, but dies from those injuries, that action will not survive.

However, if the decedent also suffered whiplash injuries in a 2015 car accident and had an ongoing claim for those injuries, that claim would survive.

The court will base the damages awarded in a survival action on numerous factors relating to the decedent’s condition. These factors include:

  • Severity of pain
  • Degree of consciousness
  • Apprehension of impending death
  • Conscious pain and suffering
  • Duration of pain and suffering

If successful, the decedent’s estate may recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and funeral costs.

A personal representative can file wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions together.

While no amount of money will bring back your loved one, it can allow you to focus on your emotional recovery instead of worrying about unpaid bills. Call us today for a free consultation: (954) 524-2820.