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       For informational purposes only. Always consult an attorney to obtain competent legal advice.

Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic Injuries

Spinal Cord, Paralysis & Back Injuries

  • Spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis. A person paralyzed by the negligence of another may be entitled to an award of millions of dollars, which includes not only the loss of bodily functions and lifetime pain and suffering, but also extraordinary lifetime medical expenses and home care.

  • Even in the absence of paralysis, a spinal cord or back injury can be permanent and debilitating. If so, the injured party is typically entitled to recover damages to compensate him or her for the permanent impairment, including past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, loss wages, homemaker services, and other damages.

  • Often it is unclear if a back injury will be permanent until a full course of treatment is completed, which may include surgery followed by physical therapy and/or other care. For permanent injuries, an "impairment" report is typically prepared by a physician in order to provide proof of the extent of impairment. Obviously, the greater the impairment, the greater the damages.

  • Often, when a back injury fails to resolve, the injured party may be confronted with the unattractive choice of "living with the pain" or consenting to having back surgery, which is both risky and has no guarantee of success. The option of living with the pain may become less and less attractive over time if the injured person must cope with the pain by taking powerful pain medication that can have serious side effects. The injured person may also be forced to curtail many activities that he or she formerly enjoyed. In such a case, back surgery may become a more attractive option.

  • Many times repeat surgeries may be required in the future.

  • Even a successful surgery is unlikely to completely "cure" the injury; a reduction in pain and other symptoms is usually the best result of back surgery.

  • A personal injury attorney must be patient with a client who has sustained a spinal cord or back injury in order to allow time for the full extent of the injury to become clear. 

Spinal Cord & Back Injuries
Brain Injury

Brain Injury

  • A brain injury can seriously impair a person's ability to function and is often permanent. Injuries that impair the functioning of the brain can result in very high awards of damages, not only due to the serious impairment to a person's ability to function, but also because of the tremendous cost of medical care. 

  • Brain injuries are not always the result of a spectacular accident, such as a rollover car crash or construction site accident, but may result from a simple fall on ice or a trip down a few stairs.

  • Brain injuries can also result from the side effects of medication prescribed by a doctor. If so, the claim may involve a "class action" of similarly injured persons.

  • Often a brain injury may not be clear at first and may require a long series of medical tests before other possible causes are ruled out.

Amputation and Loss of Limb

Amputation and Loss of Limb

  • Injuries that result in the amputation of a body part or loss of a limb are obviously very serious personal injuries. The degree of impairment can vary from relatively minor for the loss of a tip of a finger, to a life-altering impairment from the loss of an entire limb. Damages for disfigurement of a person's appearance can also be substantial in amputation and loss of limb injuries. 

  • In a workers' compensation claim involving the loss of a limb, how the loss will affect the employee's ability to perform his or her work duties will be taken into account in determining the value of the claim. (Please see more under Workers' Compensation category.)

  • The cost of a prosthesis, medical device, specialized furniture, or a customized vehicle are all elements of damages, as well as pain and suffering and loss wages.

  • Severed limbs often result in "phantom pain" -- the experience of pain from a limb that no longer exists. In such a case, the injured person is nevertheless entitled to an award for pain and suffering.

Scarring & Disfigurement

Scarring & Disfigurement

  • In addition to loss of use of body functions, pain and suffering, loss of wages, and other damages, an injured person in entitled to compensation for any scarring or disfigurement.

  • Obviously, facial scars or more noticeable disfigurement, such as loss of a finger or other body part, or burn scars, can cause the injured party to suffer from grevous emotional distress and mental anguish which may, in turn, lead to depression and the need for counseling and/or medication, all of which adds to the damages that the injured person is entitled to receive.

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