Hallandale Beach Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
Hallandale Beach provides ample opportunity for tourists and residents alike to enjoy the sun and water that make Florida famous. Unfortunately, boating accidents occur frequently in Hallandale Beach, as do car accidents. Accidents involving motor vehicles constitute some of the most common sources of catastrophic injuries in the region.
If you suffered a catastrophic injury because of a careless or reckless driver, or the careless actions of someone else in Hallandale Beach, we don’t need to tell you how devastating this type of injury can prove, both from a financial and emotional standpoint.
We can, however, tell you how to obtain compensation for the expenses and impacts your injury has already caused along with those you will likely encounter. An experienced Hallandale Beach catastrophic injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn can help you understand this process and provide assistance as you seek the maximum amount of compensation available in your case. Don’t hesitate call us at 1-866-HIRE-JARED today or Contact us online to set up an free consultation with our Hallandale Beach personal injury lawyers today.
About Our Catastrophic Injury Firm
About Catastrophic Injuries
Injuries that have a high likelihood of resulting in permanent disabilities constitute catastrophic injuries.
Catastrophic injuries often involve:
- A permanent loss of bodily function.
- The inability to work full-time.
- The need for lifelong assistance with personal or self-care tasks.
- The need to take medications to assist with function for the rest of one’s life.
- An injury that results in permanent scarring or disfigurement, or that will ultimately result in death.
- The need for prosthetics or other assistive devices, such as crutches or a wheelchair.
Below, we take a look at some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The most important organ in the body, the brain controls the voluntary and automatic responses of the rest of the body. Despite its importance, however, the brain only has a limited ability to heal. Researchers estimate that about 1.5 million new traumatic brain injuries occur each year. The most common causes of this type of injury include motor vehicle accidents and falls. 80,000 to 90,000 of the individuals suffering this type of injury on an annual basis will develop permanent disabilities.
The brain consists of several functional sections, or lobes, that each controls certain body functions. The deficits that an injured individual acquires will depend not only on the severity of the injury but also on the area of the brain that sustained the damage.
Let’s take a look at the different lobes of the brain and the deficits that may arise from damage to those specific lobes.
- Frontal lobe: As its name indicates, the frontal lobe sits in the front of the brain and performs many tasks, including attention, concentration, expressive language, self-monitoring, awareness of abilities and limitations, personality, emotions, and judgment. Individuals who suffer injuries to the frontal lobe can’t always control emotions, behaviors, or impulses. The individual can also suffer difficulty in remembering events or communicating with others.
- Temporal lobe: In the area beneath the temples reside the temporal lobes, which control memory, receptive language, sequencing, hearing, and organization. An injury to the temporal lobe can result in difficulty recalling events or understanding spoken language.
- Cerebellum: Tucked between the occipital lobe and the brain stem, the cerebellum controls the body’s balance and coordination, as well as the ability to complete skilled motor activities. Injuries involving the cerebellum can cause difficulty with balanced, coordinated movement.
- Occipital lobe: Located in the back of the brain just above the cerebellum, the occipital lobe controls an individual’s vision. Injuries to this part of the brain can result in blindness or other issues with vision, such as the inability to perceive the size or shape of objects.
- Parietal lobe: Located near the top of the head, the brain’s parietal lobe controls sensory functions, such as sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch. An injury to this part of the brain will often result in difficulties with these senses.
- Brain stem: The brain stem sits at the base of the skull, in proximity to the start of the spinal cord. This lobe controls the body’s involuntary responses, such as breathing, heart rate, and pulse. Injuries to the brain stem generally result in death, as our bodies cannot survive without mechanical assistance if they can’t properly perform involuntary responses.
In addition to the deficits that injured individuals may acquire from this type of injury, traumatic brain injuries also produce a high likelihood of complications that can cause a lifelong need for medical assistance. These complications include seizures, fluid build-up on the brain that can cause further damage, an increased risk of stroke or blood clots related to vascular damage in the brain, and chronic pain.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerves that extends down the back from the base of the skull. Along with the brain, the spinal cord makes up the body’s central nervous system and serves as a message system between the brain and the rest of the body. This injury most commonly results in a loss of sensation and function below the injury, a condition known as paralysis.
Injuries to the cervical (neck) region of the spinal cord will generally produce paralysis from the neck down, resulting in the inability of the sufferer to use arms or legs, the muscles of the abdominal or pelvic region, or the muscles necessary to cough or swallow. Doctors refer to this condition as quadriplegia or tetraplegia. Injuries occurring lower in the back will result in paralysis that often involves only the lower extremities. Doctors refer to this as paraplegia.
As with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries most often result from motor vehicle accidents or falls. This injury also carries a high risk of life-altering complications in addition to the effects of the injury itself.
Those complications can include:
- Loss of bladder and bowel control.
- The inability to feel extreme hot or cold against the skin.
- The inability to feel pressure that the body would normally associate with the need to move or change positions to prevent the development of pressure ulcers.
- The inability to productively cough to expel secretions from the lungs or throat. This can cause pneumonia, the leading cause of premature death for those with a spinal cord injury.
Other Types of Catastrophic Injuries
While the brain and the spinal cord constitute the areas that produce the highest likelihood of permanent, debilitating consequences after injury, other injuries can also cause permanent deficits and the inability to accomplish tasks independently, including:
- Loss of vision or hearing.
- Amputated limbs.
- Severe damage to the spinal vertebrae or discs that causes mobility loss and chronic pain.
If you have experienced ANY complications due to someone else’s negligence, CONTACT our Hallandale catastrophic injury accident lawyers today at 1-866-HIRE-JARED or online to discuss your recovery options.
Seeking Compensation for Your Catastrophic Injury
Individuals in Hallandale Beach who have suffered a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness can seek compensation for their injuries from the at-fault parties’ associated insurance policies for the expenses and impacts that the injured individual has incurred and will likely incur. Remember, catastrophic injuries often produce lifetime impacts, so having the ability to prove the high likelihood of additional complications that could result in the future constitutes an important part of your claim. You don’t want to settle for an amount that doesn’t cover your future costs, in which case you would have to pay those expenses out of your own pocket.
Generally, injured individuals must file their Hallandale catastrophic injury claims in court within four years of the accident. This statutory deadline may extend in some cases, such as those involving children whose parents do not choose to pursue compensation on their children’s behalf before they reach the age of majority. You should contact an experienced Hallandale Beach catastrophic injury lawyer to determine how long you have to file your claim.
For a successful outcome to your Hallandale Beach catastrophic injury claim, you must prove who caused your accident.
Proof of liability lies in establishing the following elements of negligence in your case:
- The at-fault party owed you a general duty of care to behave in a manner consistent with the reasonable actions a person would take to avoid causing injury to someone else. For example, if your catastrophic injury resulted from a motor vehicle accident, the at-fault driver owed a duty of care to operate the vehicle safely and legally. If the injury resulted from a fall due to a property hazard, the property owner may have owed a duty of care to keep the property free of hazards that could cause injury or to properly warn you of any known hazards.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care, which refers to the actions the at-fault party took that contradicted the level of care that a reasonable person would exhibit in similar circumstances. In a car accident, the breach may include risky or illegal driving behaviors, such as distracted driving, alcohol impairment, or speeding. In a premises liability case involving a catastrophic injury caused by a slip and fall accident, the breach would refer to the property owner’s failure to promptly repair known hazardous property features.
In Hallandale Beach catastrophic injury cases, recovering damages refers to a payment made (usually by the at-fault party’s insurance provider) in compensation for harm.
Economic damages include payments made in compensation for the expenses you have incurred or will likely incur due to your injury, such as:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of emergency treatment, ambulance transport, physician or surgical services, hospitalization, prescription medication, and assistive devices, such as a wheelchair, crutches, or prosthetic limbs. You can also obtain compensation to cover the cost of long-term care, as well as medical expenses arising from complications of your initial injury.
- Lost wages if you had to miss work due to your injuries.
- Loss of future earning capacity due to permanent deficits incurred by your injury that will prevent you from earning what you did before the accident.
- Property damage, such as repairing or replacing your vehicle if it sustained damage when your catastrophic injury occurred.
Non-economic damages include payments made in compensation for the impacts your injury has had or likely will have on your quality of life. The impacts of a catastrophic injury case often prove far more severe than other injury cases due to the permanence of the injury.
Common impacts appearing on damage claims after accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
- Loss of consortium, a payment sought on behalf of the injured person’s spouse for the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that generally accompanies catastrophic injuries.
Hallandale Beach Catastrophic Injury FAQ
No one ever expects to suffer a catastrophic injury, but such injuries can happen to anyone, without warning, at any time, in virtually every corner of Hallandale Beach.
Approximately 24.5 million people visit the emergency room to be treated for unintentional injury every year. In a recent year, more people under the age of 45 in Broward County died from unintentional injuries than from any illness. Of the unintentional deaths, 24 percent were the result of motor vehicle accidents.
That year, there were 1,004 unintentional injury deaths, including 244 motor vehicle deaths. Many of these injuries were catastrophic, and many were preventable.
Especially at first, the physical, emotional, and financial toll on the victim and their family is overwhelming. Gradually, the injured person realizes that they now have a severe, possibly permanent disability and an uncertain future.
What does catastrophic injury mean?
The term catastrophic injury refers to the most severe types of personal injuries, the types of injuries that leave a person disabled or disfigured for life. Such injuries impact the injured person’s quality of life and, in some cases, their ability to work.
Typically, medical professionals define a catastrophic injury as a severe injury to the spinal cord, spine, or brain. But it is about more than damage to a body part. The injured person’s life may be forever altered. The future they had planned is gone; they must change the way they live and work. Depending on the treatment, prognosis, and care needed, the consequences of a catastrophic injury may be personally or financially devastating.
According to Florida law, Section 440.16, which deals with workers’ compensation, defines catastrophic injury as permanent total disability. Additionally, Florida Statutes Section 766.118 states that:
Catastrophic injury means a permanent impairment constituted by:
- Spinal cord injury involving severe paralysis of an arm, a leg, or the trunk;
- Amputation of an arm, a hand, a foot, or a leg involving the effective loss of use of that appendage;
- Severe brain or closed-head injury.
What are some common types of catastrophic injuries in Hallandale Beach?
Whether you were in a car crash or slipped and fell in a Hallandale Beach parking lot, the result may be a catastrophic injury.
Generally speaking, catastrophic injuries are those which severely limit the victim’s ability to function or cause disfigurement:
- Severe or traumatic brain injuries. Motor vehicle accidents, even minor ones, are a leading cause of brain injuries.
- Spinal cord trauma. This trauma often leads to full or partial paralysis. Spinal cord injuries prevent the brain from transmitting messages from the body’s injured part through your nervous system. The location of a spinal cord injury determines how extensive the paralysis is. For example, if the spinal cord injury is high on the neck, you may have no movement from the neck down. However, an injury in the lower back will affect anything below the damaged area so that the person may have mobility in your arms.
- Amputations or loss of limbs, such as legs, arms, feet, hands. Amputation is not uncommon in many types of personal injury accidents. Those with underlying health risks, such as diabetes, might be at higher risk for amputation in some instances.
- Severe burns. These injuries can cause scarring and disfigurement. Doctors rate the severity of a burn on how deeply the burn penetrates past the surface layer of skin. Treatment usually requires physically and emotionally arduous hospitalizations, painful skin grafts, and possibly psychological counseling.
- Fractured bones. In a compound fracture, there is an open wound or break in the skin near the site of the break. Some broken bones may require surgical repair. In some cases, doctors insert metal plates or screws. Victims may need physical therapy or other rehabilitative care to regain the use of the injured limb.
- Loss of organs, including reproductive organs
- Cognitive impairment
- Wrongful death. If the injured person dies as a result of their catastrophic injuries, certain family members can bring a lawsuit against the negligent party. The purpose of wrongful death claims is to compensate surviving family members for their losses.
What causes catastrophic injuries in Hallandale Beach?
The tiniest act of negligence can result in catastrophic injuries. When people think about catastrophic injuries, they often think of car accidents, but there are many other causes, including:
Motor vehicle accidents. The Centers for Disease Control, reports that car crashes injure approximately two million Americans per year. For nearly two million victims of accidents, the injuries prove permanent. Car accidents also cause many pedestrian injuries in the Hallandale Beach area.
There are personal and financial implications attached to any motor vehicle accident, and the costs will be higher when a crash leads to fatalities. The KABCO injury scale corresponds to the severity of the injuries as assessed by law enforcement responding to investigate the scene. It evaluates the costs of a motor vehicle accident, including expenses for medical treatment, lost income, impacts upon productivity, and many others.
The scale is:
- K = A victim was killed.
- A = The victim suffered incapacitating injuries that require hospitalization and/or transport for medical care, such as broken bones, amputation.
- B = Injuries to victims were evident to officers at the scene, but they were non-disabling lacerations, scrapes, or minor bruises.
- C = A victim suffered possible injuries.
- O = There were no apparent injuries involved in the crash.
How do catastrophic injuries happen?
As with all accidents, catastrophic accidents happen in all kinds of ways and under all kinds of circumstances. Here are a few common causes:
Slip-and-fall accidents. Slips, trips, and falls can happen anywhere from the sidewalk to a restaurant. It can happen to anyone, although as people age, the risk of falls increases. Also, for older people, recovering from injuries, such as a broken hip, is slower and more difficult.
If the slip and fall happens on someone else’s property, you could file a premises liability claim. Property owners and businesses must keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors. If a defective condition or hazard exists on the property, they need to take proper steps to fix it or warn visitors.
Defective products. When we purchase a new product, we have a right to expect that it will work as intended. But sometimes the design, manufacturing, or instructions are defective and the product causes actual harm. A car’s brakes fail, or an appliance explodes, causing serious injuries.
Electrocution. This causes a variety of injuries, such as cardiac arrest, severe burns, nerve damage, or internal organ damage.
Nursing home abuse and neglect. As the population ages, nursing home abuse is on the rise across the country. Vulnerable residents may suffer broken bones, serious infections, or bedsores. Many residents are already in a fragile state of health, so incidents of abuse and neglect can develop into catastrophic injuries.
Recreational activity accidents. Many people love extreme sports and other high-risk activities. Competitive team sports carry a high risk of injury. Individual recreational activities such as paragliding or mountain climbing may be thrilling, but participants may suffer a catastrophic injury. Diving accidents are a common cause of spinal cord injuries.
Workplace injuries. It’s no surprise that many jobs and work sites, such as construction and industrial work, are dangerous. Workers operate heavy equipment, large machinery, dangerous tools, or work suspended at great heights. If you’re injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Under workers’ compensation law, a catastrophic injury renders you permanently and totally disabled from being able to perform work. Faulty equipment or inadequate safety measures add to the hazard.
Medical Malpractice. You trust that your healthcare professional will provide the best care possible. Yet sometimes, mistakes such as hospital negligence, doctor, nurse, anesthesia, or surgical error, and birth injuries lead to catastrophic injuries.
What medical treatments might be needed for catastrophic injuries?
The appropriate treatment for a catastrophic injury depends on the nature and severity of the injury.
Possible treatments for severe injuries include:
- Emergency medical care to stabilize the patient’s condition
- Surgical and hospital care
- Medication to treat the injury or manage pain
- Skin grafts for burns
- Someone suffering from lost mobility may need rehabilitation, as well as physical and occupational therapy
- Skin grafts, if the injury involved serious burns
Other treatment options frequently include:
- Adaptive equipment
- Modifications to a home or car
- In-home assistance with everyday tasks
How do you pursue a catastrophic injury claim?
In any catastrophic injury case, one important question is, who is responsible for the injury and the resulting losses? This question may not be as simple as it sounds. The answer depends on the facts of the case.
In some circumstances, there may be only one party responsible, but in other cases, there may be multiple responsible parties. For example, in a car accident, the obvious person at fault is probably the driver. However, the manufacturer of a defective car may also have some liability, as well as a medical provider if there was negligent medical care.
The plaintiff (the person who files a legal case against another) must show the elements of negligence, which are:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The defendant’s breach of that duty.
- As a result, the plaintiff suffered quantifiable damages.
When proving liability, it is essential to preserve all documentation related to the injury, such as reports from law enforcement agencies, medical records, and expenses. Often, accident or industry experts can reconstruct what happened and help establish liability.
What compensation may be available for a catastrophic injury?
No amount of money can truly compensate someone for a catastrophic injury. However, the fact is that someone who suffers a catastrophic injury will face enormous medical expenses, as well as lost income and lost earning capacity. When the injury is serious or permanent, you may need medical treatment or personal care for the rest of your life.
Examples of damages include:
- Medical expenses. These may include emergency treatment, surgery, hospital stays, office visits, home care, and rehabilitation. The compensation should include the cost of any future medical care, including modifications to the home and adaptive equipment.
- Lost wages. In almost all cases, the injured person will need time off of work to recover. They may also lose wages due to medical appointments. If the injured person is unable to return to their present job, or they are unable to earn sufficient income in the future, the court will award compensation for that loss. In some situations, the victim is unable to learn new employment skills or maintain any future employment. Therefore, damages would include the earnings they would have made during their working life. When someone is suddenly unable to work, in addition to the loss of income, they often lose the sense of self-worth that comes with gainful employment.
- Pain and suffering. The term pain and suffering refers to the physical pain suffered by the victim, but also emotional and mental injuries.
- Emotional distress. The court may award damages for emotional distress, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Loss of companionship/loss of consortium. When a victim’s life is so altered, their relationships with family, friends, and associates may suffer. They may also lose the ability to maintain a physical relationship with a partner.
- Diminished quality of life. There’s more to life than work. Someone with a catastrophic injury may be unable to engage in activities they previously enjoyed, such as hobbies or travel. They may suffer a reduced quality of life, become socially isolated, or suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
- Wrongful death. When a victim dies as a result of their injury, some family members may bring a lawsuit for wrongful death.
In some circumstances, the court may award punitive damages. In rare cases, the court awards these in addition to compensatory damages to punish the responsible party for especially egregious conduct. However, Florida caps punitive damages.
In all states, the statute of limitations says that you must file a lawsuit within a certain time following an accident. If you fail to meet the deadline, you cannot file a claim. Hallandale Beach has a four-year statute of limitations for personal injuries (two years for wrongful death and medical malpractice).
Our Hallandale Beach Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Can Help
Catastrophic injuries can result in permanent damage that changes a victim’s life forever. These injuries affect not only a person’s ability to earn an income and live independently, but also the relationships the injured person has with others, because family members often must provide care and friends may discover that they no longer share common interests.
If you or your loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, contact a Hallandale Beach catastrophic injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn to understand your legal options for obtaining compensation to cover the full cost of your injuries. We offer free case evaluations, during which you can discuss the details of your accident, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
2500 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd., #808
Hallandale Beach, FL 3309