East Meadow Catastrophic Injury Attorney
“Catastrophic injury” describes an injury that permanently prevents a victim from performing any work. Sometimes the term is used if the victim can no longer perform the activities of daily life (ADLs), such as bathing and dressing. Catastrophic injuries often occur suddenly, so that the victim’s life is changed overnight.
Catastrophic injuries often result in the need for long-term or permanent care. Catastrophic injuries may result in paralysis or the victim’s inability to communicate.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in East Meadow or surrounding areas, contact the experienced lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers LLP for a free consultation. Insurance companies can show reluctance to settle fairly because frankly, catastrophic injuries represent a large payout they feel affects their bottom line. Our attorneys can fight for you.
Our past settlements show in our results, from $3.5 million for a vehicle accident victim whose work-fueled exhaustion resulted in catastrophic head injuries rendering him unable to work, to $4.2 million for a baby catastrophically burned due to a building owner’s negligence.
As noted above, a catastrophic injury causes long-term or permanent impairment that renders the sufferer unable to work and/or perform ADLs.
But the effects are limited to these defining characteristics. People who have suffered catastrophic injuries will likely experience long-term or permanent symptoms that are debilitating, such as chronic pain or chronic impairment of limbs or other bodily organs, such as the eyes. They may never recover or recover only after a long-term period of recovery marked by numerous medical interventions such as surgery and physical therapy.
They may need long-term care, live-in care, and around-the-clock care just to maintain life. They may suffer permanent disability, permanent decrements in loss of the quality of life, and permanent stresses on their family and emotional life.
Any injury that results in permanent loss of ability to work or perform ADLS can receive the term catastrophic injury.
A brief overview of the most common catastrophic injuries follows.
- Spinal cord injuries (SCIs). Injuries to the spinal cord affect roughly 291,000 Americans, with 17,730 new cases occurring annually.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Over 2.50 million people are taken to emergency rooms every year with TBIs. Roughly 288,000 people are hospitalized every year, and nearly 57,000 TBI victims die annually.
- Severe burns. Approximately 486,000 individuals are treated for severe burns in hospitals and emergency departments annually.
- Amputations. Roughly 185,000 amputations of limbs occur every year for various reasons, including accidents and disease. Approximately 2 million people live with amputated limbs.
- Internal organ damage. Damage to internal organs can stem from vehicle accidents, construction accidents, surgical errors, reactions to medication, and other medical malpractice incidences.
While these are the most common, other types of injuries can be deemed catastrophic as well, including skull fractures, multiple fractures, blindness, disfigurement, and more.
Catastrophic injuries can stem from multiple sources. Vehicle accidents, such as car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, bus, and pedestrian accidents are, unfortunately, a major cause of catastrophic accidents.
Workplace accidents, including falls, electrocutions, and explosions, are another possible cause of catastrophic accidents.
Sports-related injuries are a leading cause of some catastrophic injuries, such as TBIs and skull fractures.
Other catastrophic injuries can stem from medical malpractice, such as prescription of the wrong medication or errors in surgery or the delivery of a baby.
Allergic reactions can cause catastrophic injuries.
Accidents in the home can result in catastrophic injuries, such as burns or scalding or dangerous products, such as unsafe clothing or toys.
Accidents in public places, such as slipping and falling, can cause catastrophic injuries.
If someone other than the victim causes a catastrophic accident, financial responsibility comes with it. Negligent parties become liable for injuries and other damages caused by their negligence.
As a result, victims of catastrophic injuries and their loved ones must understand negligence and liability.
Legally, negligence is a violation of the duty of care owed to an individual. This may seem slightly puzzling at first, because most people don’t think of themselves as recipients of duty of care.
But in fact, we all are owed duties of care, every day. The simplest example may stem from the world of car accidents. All drivers, by becoming licensed to operate a vehicle, owe a duty of care. It is to drive safely and prudently!
Safe and prudent driving includes obeying all traffic laws, operating a vehicle according to existing weather, traffic, and other conditions (for example, not trying to speed in a traffic jam), and maintaining a vehicle in safe working order.
Violation of any of these responsibilities can cause an accident. If a driver floors the gas pedal and breaks the speed limit, or runs through a red light, or drives without headlights, it can precipitate an accident that harms people, causing catastrophic and other injuries.
If a driver is negligent in discharging the duty of care, the driver is financially liable for injuries and harm the accident caused.
These principles of negligence and financial responsibility apply to every person or organization who owes a duty of care to you.
- Employers, for example, owe a duty of care to make their workplaces safe and to provide proper required safety equipment.
- Schools, athletic organizations, and the people they employ owe a duty of care to make sports, other activities, and the premises themselves safe.
- Medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients to follow accepted practices and do no harm. The institutions that provide medical care, such as hospitals and clinics, owe a duty of care to hire qualified professionals and oversee them.
- Manufacturers of products owe a duty of care to provide safe products for use in workplaces, schools, and homes. If they are unsafe, as some makes and models of vehicles are, the manufacturers need to alert the public and the registered owners about how to return, replace, or repair them.
- Property owners owe a duty of care to make their premises safe for the public if the property is open to the public. Private property owners must warn people invited in of any known dangers on the property.
- Business owners owe a duty of care to make their premises safe to the public.
- Landlords owe a duty of care to make their rental properties safe for tenants and visitors, including exteriors and interiors.
Negligent parties are financially liable for economic and emotional injuries and other harm suffered by victims of the negligence. Legally, restitution for the harm is known as “damage compensation.”
People catastrophically injured can seek damage compensation via the negligent party’s insurance company or via an East Meadow catastrophic injury lawsuit in civil court.
They can seek damages in the following areas.
- Medical expenses for emergency room treatment, ambulance transportation, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, surgery, doctor’s appointments, prescription medication, and more.
- Long-term medical and related care for physical therapy, retrofitting a home for needed care and ongoing disability (such as wheelchair ramps), assistive devices, home care, and more
- Wages lost from work for time needed from work due to the precipitating event, medical care, and recuperation
- The lifetime value of earnings for earnings the injured person could have earned if not for the injury, if the catastrophic injuries render them unable to work again
- Personal property damage for the injured party’s personal property lost or damaged as a result of the negligence, such as a car in a vehicle accident
- Pain and suffering for physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering, including loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and more
Estimating Future Damages
The amount of damage compensation sought in catastrophic injury cases is often quite high. In part, the high level of damage compensation is due to the nature and extent of the injuries. But it is also in part to the need for ongoing medical care, the potential permanent need for earnings replacement, and the corresponding level of pain and suffering, all of which will last long term or throughout the victim’s life.
Thus all damages sought must include compensation not only for harm already incurred, but for the ongoing nature of the harm. The insurance claim or lawsuit must include an estimate for future damages.
Medical expenses. Expert testimony often helps estimate the medical expenses the victim’s condition is likely to incur in the future. Doctors and other medical professionals first evaluate the medical interventions standard for care. Healthcare professionals then forecast the likely costs for these interventions.
For medical-related expenses, such as retrofitting a home with special equipment or disability-related renovations, your lawyer may seek a contractor’s estimate.
Wages lost from work/value of lifetime earnings. Your lawyer may seek medical opinions to determine whether the victim can return to work at some point. If they are disabled from returning, information regarding the degree of disability may also come into play.
Then, your catastrophic injury lawyer will multiply your income by your time off work to arrive at earnings lost from work.
Your lawyer will determine the lifetime value of earnings by multiplying your income at the time of injury by the estimated worklife you had left before retirement.
Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages are more subjective. One can’t estimate pain and suffering the same way they calculate a medical bill or remaining years of work. That won’t stop an insurance company from trying to downplay your pain and suffering with a low settlement offer. Make sure you call Jacoby & Meyers LLP. Our East Meadow catastrophic injury lawyers can evaluate your case and protect you from an insurance company that wants to protect itself, rather than do the right thing and pay you what you deserve.
In short, catastrophic injury compensation should reflect the long-term and severe nature of the injury.
Tragically, many catastrophic injuries prove fatal, either immediately or shortly after the injury.
New York state allows the personal representatives of the deceased to bring a wrongful death suit against the negligent parties if the injured person could have brought a personal injury suit had they lived.
Such a suit may seek damage compensation for losses suffered by family members, beneficiaries, or the estate (although, unlike many states, there is no provision for family members to bring a suit themselves).
The suit can seek damage compensation for economic losses such as funeral and burial expenses and medical expenses incurred before the death. It can also seek damage compensation for non-economic losses, such as the value of parental guidance and nurture.
If You Need a Catastrophic Injury Lawyer in East Meadow
If you or a loved one suffers a catastrophic injury in East Meadow or the surrounding area, the most prudent thing to do is consult a lawyer. The experienced attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers LLP offer a free consultation to discuss your case.
Catastrophic injury cases are often complex and lengthy. We can investigate the causes, compile evidence, negotiate, and fight to do justice on your behalf. Contact Jacoby & Meyers LLP through our confidential contact page, open a chat session with one of our live representatives, or give us a call at (877) 565-2993.
East Meadow Office
90 Merrick Avenue, Suite 601
East Meadow, NY 11554
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