Manhattan Catastrophic Injury Attorney

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What would you do if you suffered an injury resulting in permanent disabilities and the likelihood of continued medical care to treat complications? What if you were unable to ever work again as a result of that injury, and needed assistance with every aspect of your day-to-day? Could you afford the costs of that kind of drastic, permanent change to your life?

Many Manhattan residents, workers, and visitors find themselves facing just that kind of frightening situation every year after sustaining catastrophic injuries in an accident or incident caused by someone else’s unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions. Under New York law, those victims often have the right to seek compensation from the parties who did them harm. The Manhattan catastrophic injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have the skill and experience to help them get it. Contact us today.

About Our Manhattan Catastrophic Injury Law Practice

For nearly five decades, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has been the go-to law firm for New Yorkers who suffer catastrophic injuries through no fault of their own. Our attorneys dedicate their careers to fighting on behalf of people injured in preventable accidents and incidents, to make sure the parties responsible for their injuries pay the fair and reasonable compensation due under New York law.

Over our years of law practice, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for Manhattan victims of catastrophic injuries. Of course, our team can never guarantee that a client will receive payment for injuries and losses, because every case we handle is different. However, we can promise that our clients will receive top-notch legal representation and personalized service from attorneys who fight hard to see justice done in-and-out of court.

Overview of Catastrophic Injuries

What makes an injury catastrophic?

Traffic accidents, workplace accidents, and various other events can lead to serious, severe, and sometimes deadly injuries. Yet, not all of them fall under the legal umbrella of a catastrophic injury. Federal law defines a catastrophic injury as any injury that prevents a person from working. However, some types of catastrophic injuries occur more often than others.

Lawyers use the term catastrophic injuries to refer to any harm that causes permanent disabilities and only a limited chance of meaningful recovery.

Our firm represents clients who have suffered common catastrophic injuries such as:

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) sometimes lead to permanent brain damage. Depending on the severity of the brain injury and the part of the brain affected, TBI victims might never return to work.

A traumatic brain injury is a type of acquired injury that is caused by a violent blow to the head or body. This type of injury can either involve penetration of an object through the skull and into the brain tissue—known as a penetrating head injury—or can involve damage within the skull, which is called a closed head injury. Approximately 288,000 people are hospitalized each year for traumatic brain injuries, and close to 57,000 people die as a result of this type of injury.

The brain is a complex organ that controls all of the functions of the body, including both voluntary responses such as coordinated movement, impulse and emotional control, and speaking; as well as involuntary responses such as breathing, heart rate, consciousness, and the body’s sleep and wake cycles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), potential long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury affect four major areas:

  • Cognition. TBI victims sometimes struggle with memory loss or remembering new information. Brain damage also can impact a person’s ability to focus and pay attention in a wide range of scenarios, potentially putting them at risk for more injuries.
  • Motor function. Some brain damage impacts the way someone’s body moves, referred to as motor function. TBI victims might have weakness in their arms and legs and struggle with coordination. In some situations, TBI victims also struggle with balance and suffer from chronic vertigo.
  • Sensation. Brain damage can permanently impair one or more of the senses. Suffering from permanent hearing or vision loss prevents TBI victims from working. However, brain injuries can also impact touch and feel and someone’s perception of space, making it difficult to perform job-related duties.
  • Behavior. TBI victims commonly experience changes in behavior, which could be catastrophic depending on the situation. Behavioral difficulties include struggles regulating emotions, anxiety, depression, and aggression. Some struggle to control their behavior, especially in social or professional situations.

Brain injuries can also leave a victim in a coma or permanent vegetative state (PVS). Recovery is possible after a coma, but sometimes it isn’t. Ultimately, someone’s long-term prognosis will dictate whether they qualify for compensation based on whether they have a catastrophic injury.

These are expensive injuries—and if you didn’t cause them, you shouldn’t have to pay for treating them. You can always call us for help.

While brain injuries are often categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, any brain injury is capable of creating permanent deficits and chronic complications such as headaches, seizures, and memory loss. Some individuals with brain injuries suffer a consciousness disorder that prevents them from being conscious or aware of their surroundings. These consciousness disorders can last a matter of days or, as in the case of a persistent vegetative state, the individual may never be fully awake or alert again and will require mechanical assistance in a long term care facility to survive.

The most common causes of traumatic brain injuries include:

  • Falls from elevation, such as falling down the stairs, falling from heights on a worksite, or same-level falls that often result from a victim slipping or tripping and bumping his or her head.
  • Motor vehicle accidents, such as those involving a car, motorcycle, commercial truck, taxi or rideshare, bus, train, boat, or even those that involve a pedestrian or bicyclist being struck by a vehicle.
  • Intentional actions, such as assaults, domestic violence, child abuse, or gunshot wounds to the head.
  • Workplace injuries such as those that involve the individual being struck by an object.
  • Sports or recreation accidents, including those involving high impact sports such as football or soccer, as well as high-risk recreational activities such as diving, surfing, or skydiving.
  • Military combat and training.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Back and neck injuries are painful and sometimes debilitating, but spinal cord injuries in the back and neck are the most severe and most likely catastrophic.

Along with the brain, the spinal cord makes up the body’s central nervous system. Like the brain, the spinal cord has only limited ability to recover from injury, meaning that the damage sustained by the injury is usually permanent. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that act as messengers, sending signals from the brain to control the body’s functions. Located within the protective covering of the spinal column, the spinal cord extends from the base of the skull to the lower back. An injury to the spinal cord generally causes the loss of function and sensation below the site of the injury. This is known as paralysis.

According to the famed Mayo Clinic, doctors refer to spinal cord injuries as complete, meaning all functions and sensation beneath the site of the injury are lost, or incomplete, which means the individual retains some function and sensation below the injury site.

Injuries higher up on the spinal cord—in the cervical (neck) area—commonly result in tetraplegia, which is also known as quadriplegia. that results in paralysis to the shoulders, arms, hands, chest, torso, hips, pelvic region, legs, and feet. Injuries located lower on the spinal cord—in the thoracic (upper back) or lumbar (mid to lower back) areas—often results in paraplegia, which is paralysis of the torso, hips, pelvis, legs, and feet.

In addition to impairing the person’s ability to feel and move parts of his or her body, spinal cord injuries result in serious complications that require medical treatment throughout life.

Those complications may include:

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control that can lead to urinary tract, kidney, and other infections.
  • The inability to cough productively, which can cause a buildup of secretions in the lungs and lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury.
  • The inability to sense a temperature change, which can result in skin injuries as a result of contact with dangerously hot or cold surfaces; as well as increasing the likelihood of pressure ulcers caused by the inability to sense the pain involved in staying in one position for too long.
  • Circulatory complications that can lead to life-threatening conditions such as blood clots and can also result in swelling of the extremities.
  • Spasticity, which is an involuntary tightening of the muscles.
  • Changes to sexual function which can impair the individual’s ability to experience or enjoy sex as well as impairing fertility in both males and females.

The most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, which are overall the most common cause of spinal cord injuries.
  • Falls, which are the most common source of spinal cord injuries in adults over 65.
  • Acts of violence. The most common violent cause of spinal cord injuries is gunshot wounds.
  • Sports and recreational activities.

Alcohol is a factor in around one-quarter of all accidents resulting in a spinal cord injury.

Other Catastrophic Injuries

While brain and spinal cord injuries are the injuries most commonly assigned the label catastrophic, other serious injuries can also receive this designation if they result in permanent disability.

These injuries can include:


Amputation refers to the loss of a limb, either during a particularly severe accident or through surgery following an accident in which the damage sustained by the limb was so severe that removing the limb is required to save the individual’s life.

If you or a loved one loses a toe or a finger, it’s doubtful the loss will qualify as a catastrophic injury. However, losing an arm or a leg typically falls under the classification of catastrophic. Construction and industrial accidents and other accidents involving heavy machinery can sever a limb.

However, most amputations are a last-minute surgical choice because of a crushed limb. Crushed limbs lose blood flow. Doctors try to save a limb and restore blood flow, but sometimes it’s not possible. Instead, they must amputate to prevent infection in the dead limb from spreading throughout the body, which ultimately leads to death.

Severe burns

Burns that cover a large portion of the body can be catastrophic. The most severe burns require cosmetic surgery, skin grafts, and months in a burn unit to recover. In fact, some burn victims must stay in a medically induced coma while they heal because of excruciating pain.  Burns can result in permanent scarring and disfigurement, as well as putting the victim at risk of infection and often requiring many follow-up treatments. Severely-burned individuals often report being unable to return to jobs that involve working in the public due to the extraordinary scarring. Burns can also cause debilitating impacts such as nerve and muscle damage, as well as a loss of range of motion in jointed areas that experienced heavy scarring as a result of the burn. In some burn cases, victims recover completely but are left with scars and still might work. Unfortunately, severe burns also cause organ and other internal damage, making it impossible to work.

No matter what type of catastrophic injury a person suffers in Manhattan, the experienced, compassionate lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have the depth of knowledge to understand their injury and to fight to obtain compensation for it.

Catastrophic Injuries Cause Major Damages

Catastrophic injuries inflict substantial damages on victims. Lawyers categorize these damages as economic and non-economic.

  • Economic damages consist of actual expenses relating to an injury. Lawyers typically prove them by using bills, invoices, and statements of wages and time missed from work. Because many victims of catastrophic injuries can never return to work, the economic damages associated with these injuries generally include the loss of future earning capacity, which is the amount of money the injured person would be reasonably expected to earn if he or she had continued working the job he or she held before the accident for the remainder of his or her working years. To prove these future damages, lawyers often work with financial planning experts who can calculate a victim’s expected future earnings.
  • Non-economic damages reflect the harm done by a catastrophic injury that does not have a specific expense associated with it. A victim’s physical pain, emotional suffering, diminished quality of life, and altered personal relationships, all constitute non-economic damages that deserve compensation from the party who caused them. Non-economic damages sometimes make up for a substantial portion of the compensation awarded by a jury, for instance.

At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we have decades of experience evaluating the damages our clients have suffered because of a catastrophic injury. Our clients can rest assured that we have the know-how to seek the maximum available compensation in any legal action we take on our clients’ behalf.

Obtaining Compensation for Manhattan Catastrophic Injuries

Manhattan residents, workers, and visitors who sustain catastrophic injuries often have one or more options to obtain compensation for them. As a general matter, those options typically break down into two broad categories: the victims’ own insurance coverage, and a Manhattan catastrophic injury lawsuit (which may involve someone else’s insurance coverage).

These categories are not mutually exclusive; victims can often recover compensation from both of them. Jacoby & Meyers, LLP lawyers can help them.

The Victim’s Own Insurance Coverage

Victims of catastrophic injuries in Manhattan may benefit from a variety of insurance coverages that compensate them for their injuries and losses.

These coverages may include:

  • Workers’ compensation insurance, which covers virtually all Manhattan workers who sustain catastrophic injuries on the job, regardless of who caused the injury. Workers’ comp pays benefits for medical expenses and a portion of an injured workers’ lost wages. Most Manhattan employers must carry and pay for workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Talk to a lawyer from Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today if you sustained a catastrophic injury on the job about your potential rights to workers’ comp benefits.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covers New York drivers and their passengers for injuries and losses sustained in auto accidents. PIP often serves as the primary insurance to pay for medical expenses and some lost wages resulting from auto accident injuries. Our team can help clients figure out if a PIP policy covers them for catastrophic injuries related to a traffic accident.
  • Health insurance typically covers some short-term medical expenses relating to a catastrophic injury, subject to co-pays and deductibles. However, health insurance typically does not pay for long-term care that many catastrophic injury victims need. Talk to a Jacoby & Meyers, LLP lawyer if your health insurer refuses to pay for medical care for your catastrophic injury that you believe it should cover.
  • Disability insurance—which some people purchase on their own, some receive as a work benefit, and for which some qualify through a government program—can pay expenses and replace income when New Yorkers suffer a catastrophic injury that keeps them out of work temporarily or permanently. The attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have years of experience fighting to ensure that clients receive the disability insurance benefits they deserve.

How much money could I receive for my Manhattan catastrophic injury?

We cannot predict or guarantee a specific financial outcome for your catastrophic injury claim. A wide range of factors influences the value of a claim, with liability at the forefront. If the person, business, or other entity that caused your injuries is clearly and fully responsible for your injury, you can expect your case to be worth more than if you are partially at fault for your injuries.

In general, catastrophic injury claims are high stakes and typically result in a higher settlement or jury award than other claims.

Some additional factors that might impact the value of your Manhattan catastrophic injury claim include:

  • Intentional harm. If someone intentionally caused your injuries, you could receive more compensation in the form of punitive damages, referred to as exemplary damages in New York.
  • Economic loss. Catastrophic injury victims with the highest medical bills, the most current and future lost wages, and other expenses will have higher value claims to compensate them for their economic loss.
  • Non-economic damages. Catastrophic injuries always impact one’s ability to work, but they can impact lives in other ways. Those who have more non-economic damages typically have a higher value claim. For example, someone who will be in a permanent vegetative state for the rest of their life will typically receive more compensation than someone who lost a leg in an accident.
  • Insurance. Policy limits often factor into the amount of money an injured person receives. Sometimes injured victims do not get the full value of their claim because those responsible for their injuries do not have the means to pay anything beyond their insurance policy limits.

Manhattan Catastrophic Injury Legal Action

Manhattan catastrophic injury victims also often have the legal right to recover compensation from any individual, company, or government agency at fault for their injuries. Under New York law, parties have legal liability when their unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions result in someone else’s catastrophic injury.

To recover compensation from those parties, victims of catastrophic injuries may have the option of taking legal action in New York courts. With the help of the experienced trial lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, many Manhattan residents, workers, and visitors have recovered substantial compensation for their personal injuries. Legal action can result in an out-of-court settlement of an injured New Yorker’s legal claims, or in a trial at which a Jacoby & Meyers, LLP lawyer argues a client’s claims to a judge and jury.

How much time will it take to settle my Manhattan catastrophic injury claim?

The nature of catastrophic injuries and how the law defines them means that it will take years to settle your claim. Even in the most clear-cut cases, your attorney and the other side needs to be certain that you will not make a full recovery or that you will not heal enough to return to work. In some cases, this might include attempting to work and failing. Ultimately, everyone involved needs the time to evaluate the long-term impact of your injury fairly.

Whether you reach a settlement or go to trial also impacts how long it takes to resolve your catastrophic injury claim. If settlement negotiations go well, it means you do not have to go to court, drastically shortening the timeline. In situations where negotiations go awry, and litigation is a must, you can expect to wait at least two years from your date of injury before resolution.

How much time do I have to sue after suffering a catastrophic injury in Manhattan?

Each state sets time limits, called statutes of limitations, for people to take legal action after a particular event. In Manhattan, a three-year statute of limitations applies to the vast majority of catastrophic injury cases. The same is true if you must bring a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one. Sometimes the court will grant an extension depending on the status of the victim and whether they can testify. However, you cannot count on one of these rare exceptions.

Regardless of how long it’s been since you or your loved one’s injury, consult with an attorney. This ensures you meet all required deadlines. If you are in jeopardy of the statute of limitations running out, your lawyer can evaluate your case and advise whether you should petition the court for an extension.

Can I afford a Manhattan catastrophic injury attorney to represent me or my loved one?

The medical treatment costs and lost income associated with a catastrophic injury financially devastate some households, making victims shy away from calling a lawyer because of the cost. Thankfully, you can always afford to hire a catastrophic injury attorney, because you do not have to pay out-of-pocket attorney fees like you would with most representation. Jacoby & Meyers LLP associates offer free consultations to potential clients, and we take new cases on a contingent fee basis. A contingency agreement means your attorney takes their fees only from any compensation we secure for your injuries.

How can a Manhattan catastrophic injury attorney help me?

Top 100 National Trial LawyersThe physical, emotional, and financial consequences of suffering a catastrophic injury often pale compared to a catastrophic injury. A catastrophic injury is a life-changing event with lifelong consequences. Taking legal action to seek compensation for damages is about more than getting some money for someone’s negligence. Compensation for catastrophic injury offers victims and their families a source of money to pay for future treatment and expenses related to the injury.

Dealing with insurance companies in the aftermath of a catastrophic injury can make matters worse because they use every tool at their disposal to deny and devalue claims, especially high-value catastrophic injury claims. These high-stakes cases require additional resources and experienced lawyers, who not only file paperwork but fight for you or your loved one throughout the entire claims process.

Some examples of the ways lawyers help clients who have suffered a catastrophic injury include:

  • Investigation. Lawyers will investigate the event that led to your catastrophic injury to uncover all relevant facts and details about a case. This allows for building a strong case to show negligence on the part of the person or business responsible for you or your loved one’s catastrophic injuries.
  • Consultation. Attorneys provide advice to their clients on the best strategies to pursue compensation. They also call upon other professionals to help them value a claim and provide witness testimony to support a case, such as life care planners and accident reconstruction specialists.
  • Negotiation. Settlement negotiations are a large part of every catastrophic injury claim. Both sides must agree on a number, which isn’t always easy. The insurance company involved will argue that the claim’s value is much lower than your lawyer’s calculations. Lawyers have intimate knowledge of how insurance companies work and how to negotiate to get the best financial outcome possible for a client.
  • Litigation. Sometimes insurance companies refuse to offer fair compensation during settlement negotiations, especially common with high-value catastrophic injury claims. When negotiations fail, your lawyer needs to fight your case out in the courtroom and advocate for you in front of a jury.

Your Manhattan Catastrophic Injury Attorneys

Brooklyn medical malpractice lawyer

Catastrophic Injury Lawyer, Andrew Finkelstein

If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident or incident in Manhattan, then the skilled, compassionate, dedicated lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP may be able to help you obtain substantial financial compensation. Contact us online, by calling (212) 445-7000, or entering a live chat for a free case evaluation.

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New York, NY 10006

Client Testimonial

Review: 5/5

“David was always there for me to guide me through this difficult car accident. He helped me get better, was always there to listen to me and fought to get me an amazing settlement. I am very pleased with this beyond expectations result and his professional handling. If you need a lawyer, David and his team is the one to go to!”
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