WHAT IS A SERIOUS INJURY?
After being injured, you may wonder if you suffered a serious injury. What is the difference between a moderate and serious injury? What is the difference between a serious and catastrophic injury?
In Texas, a serious bodily injury is one that creates:
- A substantial risk of death,
- A serious permanent disfigurement,
- A protracted loss or impairment of the function of an organ or other body parts, or
WHAT DOES CATASTROPHIC MEAN?
There is no specific legal definition for catastrophic injuries. However, these are typically significant enough to alter your life and future permanently. They leave you with disabilities, shorter life expectancy, decreased quality of life, and/or the need for ongoing medical treatment. If you suffered a catastrophic injury in an accident, you might need life-long care, and you are unlikely to be able to work.
A significant injury to your spine, spinal cord, or brain is considered catastrophic. Amputations of one or more limbs can also be catastrophic, depending on your ability to care for yourself and work.
After suffering a disabling injury, call a serious injury attorney, Ashton Taylor, at A. Taylor Law Firm. I will carefully review your situation and advise you of your rights. If there is evidence that someone else is responsible for your injuries, then I can guide you in pursuing compensation.
HOW DO CATASTROPHIC INJURIES HAPPEN?
Almost any type of accident can lead to serious bodily injury, and negligence is usually a root cause. Intentional conduct can also be a factor, especially if you were exposed to criminal activity like a DUI. Catastrophic injuries may also be the result of an attack, with or without a dangerous weapon. Our lawyers cover the full range of serious physical injury cases, including:
- Car Accidents: With major highways going throughout Texas, auto crashes are among the top causes of serious injuries.
- Truck Collisions: These same highways are frequented by semis, box trucks, delivery trucks, and related vehicles. Their presence and size compared to passenger vehicles mean the risk of catastrophic injuries is very real for all motorists.
- Motorcycle Crashes: Texas does have a law requiring helmets, but some cyclists are exempt from the requirement to wear appropriate headgear. Riders who love the open-air experience often suffer serious head injuries in motorcycle collisions.
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents: Not all traffic-related incidents involve people in motor vehicles, as pedestrians and bicycles share the road with drivers. Even when they follow the rules for crosswalks, and bike lanes, and are careful at intersections, those on foot or bikes can be seriously hurt in accidents.
- Slip and Fall Incidents: When property owners don’t properly maintain or inspect the premises, dangerous conditions can cause catastrophic bodily harm to guests and visitors. Unsecured railings, shaky balconies, broken stairs, and other hazards may lead to liability for property owners who don’t exercise care in fixing them.
COMMON SERIOUS INJURY CLAIMS I HANDLE
After reviewing the definitions of serious and catastrophic injuries in Texas, you may still not be sure what level of injury you are suffering from. Whatever the type or degree of your injury, we recommend calling a serious injury lawyer for help. I will carefully analyze your situation, including reviewing your medical records and talking with you about how your life has changed. I will listen carefully to you regarding the injuries you are suffering from, and then advise you on whether you are suffering from a serious or catastrophic injury.
The A. Taylor Law Firm is highly experienced in handling claims that involve:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you strike your head during an accident, or you are hit by an object with significant force, then you may suffer a concussion or more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI can force you to deal with numerous physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. You may have headaches and suffer from nausea and vomiting. You may have troubling communicating. You could suffer from a sleep disorder, anxiety, or depression. Additionally, if you are diagnosed with multiple concussions or a serious TBI, your risk for a degenerative brain disease increases. After suffering a TBI in an accident, call a serious injury lawyer right away.
Neck and Whiplash Injuries
You never realize how vulnerable your neck is until you are in an accident. Then, when your neck is injured, you realize how painful and immobilizing this type of injury can be.
Your spine in your neck may be injured, such as a vertebrae fracture or a herniated disk. You could also suffer from whiplash, which could include stretched and torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A serious accident could cause damage to your spinal cord, which can lead to a wide range of physical limitations. A partially severed spinal cord can result in damage to your sensory and motor nerves. You may suffer decreased sensation, movement, or both below the injury site. How you are impacted by a partially severed spinal cord will be unique. No two injuries are the same. If your spinal cord is fully severed, you will suffer paralysis from the injury site or below. In either situation, you may suffer from loss of bowel and bladder control and sexual dysfunction.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TREAT SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURIES?
Every victim’s circumstances are different, so there’s really no formula for determining what it will cost to treat catastrophic injuries. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you can expect to incur costs for:
- Emergency transportation.
- Surgery and medical procedures.
- Pain medications.
- Your hospital stay.
- Medical equipment, such as a wheelchair, lift, or customized bed; and,
- Many others.
In addition, among the biggest challenges with serious bodily injuries is that the complications may continue long after the accident. You may also accumulate costs related to:
- Ongoing medical treatment and physical therapy.
- In-home nursing care.
- Counseling for emotional distress.
- Renovating your home to accommodate medical equipment.
HOW A SERIOUS INJURY LAWYER CAN HELP
At The A. Taylor Law Firm, we can help you during every step of the process, including:
- Investigating the accident;
- Gathering and analyzing evidence;
- Contacting witnesses and gathering their statements;
- Hiring expert witnesses;
- Addressing your medical bills while you wait on a settlement;
- Handling all communications with the insurance company;
- Demanding appropriate compensation for your injuries;
- Participating in settlement negotiations;
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit in court;
- Adhering to all court rules and the statute of limitations;
- If settlement negotiations break down, represent you at trial.
We will strive to settle your claim for the maximum amount possible as quickly as we can. However, if an insurer refuses to negotiate in good faith, then your case may need to progress to trial. Most personal injury claims are resolved through settlements and do not need to go to trial. However, we are not afraid to fight for you in court and will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve at trial.
Injuries to Children
Unfortunately, children are also victims of significant accidents. At A Taylor Law Firm we handle cases in which children have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries. In these situations, it is even more important to have an experienced serious injury lawyer handle the claim. When a child is hurt, it impacts the rest of their life. It dramatically alters their potential and future. We will address this change in a settlement demand.
SEEKING COMPENSATION FOR SERIOUS INJURIES
After suffering a serious or catastrophic injury in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you should speak with an attorney about pursuing compensation. When another person’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional misconduct causes you harm, you have the right to seek compensation for your economic and non-economic injuries.
During your pursuit of compensation, it is important to work with an experienced serious injury lawyer. Typically, serious injuries result in greater amounts of compensation. However, you need to be able to prove that the other party is at fault and liable for your injuries. You also have to establish the extent of your injuries. You have to prove you suffered a serious or catastrophic injury, and show how it has negatively affected your life.
During a personal injury claim, our attorneys at Taylor Law Firm will help you obtain compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical limitation
- Reduced earning capacity
- Reduced quality of life
Following a serious injury, it is important that you work with an attorney who looks to the future. Your expenses related to the accident will not end in a few months or a year. Your expenses will accumulate long after you receive a settlement or jury verdict in your favor. Your serious injury lawyer must work with the proper experts to calculate your future expenses, including medical expenses and lost earnings, and include these in your demand for appropriate compensation.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON INJURY CLAIMS
In Texas, you have two years to bring a personal injury claim. In many situations, the two-year period begins on the date you are injured in an accident.
However, there are various reasons why you may have longer than two years from the date you sustained your injuries to file. One common reason for an extended period is the discovery doctrine. The clock does not begin to run until you know or reasonably should know that you may have a cause of action. You must have information that points to another person’s negligence before the two-year period starts.
If you are unsure of when the clock started running and how long you have to file a serious physical injury claim, call us right away. We will carefully review your circumstances and advise you on how long you have to file. Depending on how long it has been since the accident, or you discovered the other person’s negligence, we may recommend filing as soon as possible.
ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS ON COMPENSATION
On top of the statute of limitations, there are a couple of other compensation restrictions, including:
- Comparative Negligence: If you were partially to blame in the incident that caused serious injuries, your compensation might be reduced by the amount of fault attributable to you. The reduction is based upon the percentage of comparative negligence.
- Statutory Cap: When the cause of your catastrophic injuries is a medical error, there is a statutory cap on damages under Texas law. You are limited to recovering $250,000 for your non-economic damages. Your economic damages are not affected by this law.
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