Bensalem, PA, a township rich in history and nestled along the banks of the Delaware River, is known for its landmarks like the striking Penn Community Bank Amphitheater and the picturesque Neshaminy State Park.
However, like any other community, it’s not immune to the unpredictable nature of accidents that can result in catastrophic injuries. Such severe injuries, often marked by their long-term or permanent impacts, can transform the lives of victims and their families overnight. From emotional trauma to overwhelming medical expenses, the road to recovery is steep and difficult.
The journey towards securing justice and fair compensation after a catastrophic injury is both distinctive and challenging, which is why it is in your best interest to partner with the Bensalem personal injury lawyers at Munley Law. We offer a free case evaluation to new clients where you will speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who will guide you through the legal process and work to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve.
Understanding the Nature of a Catastrophic Injury
When it comes to personal injuries, not all are created equal. Some are so severe that they drastically change the course of a person’s life, which brings us to the realm of catastrophic injuries.
Definition and explanation of a catastrophic injury
A catastrophic injury typically refers to injuries that have life-altering consequences and prevent individuals from performing any gainful work. Such injuries can range from severe spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and multiple bone fractures, to amputations, and severe burns. Their severity isn’t just physical but often has deep psychological and emotional ramifications.
What is the difference between a catastrophic injury and a personal injury?
A catastrophic injury and a personal injury, while both fall under the umbrella of harm inflicted on an individual, differ considerably in their severity and long-term implications. A personal injury refers to the harm suffered due to another’s negligence or intentional act, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries.
However, a catastrophic injury stands apart due to its profound and life-altering impact. Such injuries often lead to permanent disability, extensive medical needs (with mounting medical bills), and the inability to work or live as one did before. Essentially, while all catastrophic injuries are personal injuries, not all personal injuries reach the profound severity of being classified as catastrophic.
Common causes of a catastrophic injury
While various incidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, some of the most common causes include car accidents, workplace injuries, falls from great heights, industrial or construction site accidents, violent acts like shootings or stabbings, dog bites, sports and recreation accidents, and even medical malpractice.
Long-term consequences and needs of victims
Beyond the immediate medical care, victims of catastrophic injuries often require extensive rehabilitation, assistive devices, and lifelong medical interventions. The long-term physical consequences might include chronic pain, mobility issues, and an array of secondary health complications. These long-term implications also add to future medical costs for the victim and their family members.
Furthermore, these injuries can lead to emotional and psychological challenges such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. The financial burden coupled with the need for ongoing support and therapy makes the aftermath of such injuries a lifelong journey.
How does a catastrophic injury happen?
Catastrophic injuries, by their very nature, are unexpected and life-changing. While no one ever anticipates or prepares for such severe injuries, the underlying causes can be quite varied.
Often, catastrophic injuries are the result of high-impact and intense events. Car accidents, for instance, especially those involving high speeds or large vehicles like trucks, frequently lead to devastating injuries due to the sheer force of the collision.
Construction sites, with their heavy machinery and elevated work areas, present another common backdrop for such injuries, where a fall or equipment malfunction can have dire consequences. Sports, especially high-contact ones like football or boxing, can sometimes lead to traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord damage.
Similarly, industrial accidents, from explosions to equipment entrapment, account for a significant number of catastrophic injuries every year. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or severe floods, can also be culprits, wreaking havoc and causing life-altering harm. In many cases, victims of a dog bite have horrific injuries that require extensive and long-term care.
In some unfortunate cases, even medical procedures go awry, leading to injuries rather than healing. Regardless of the cause, the suddenness and intensity of the events leading to catastrophic injuries underscore the importance of safety measures and awareness in all aspects of life.
What to do when catastrophic injuries occur at work
If a catastrophic injury occurs at work, it’s vital to take immediate steps to ensure your rights and potential compensation are protected. Here are the following steps you should take:
- Seek medical attention immediately, regardless of the perceived severity. Document everything related to the injury, including any unsafe conditions or equipment malfunctions.
- Notify your employer as soon as possible and ensure an official workplace incident report is filed. In Pennsylvania, workers are typically covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act, which provides benefits for medical expenses and lost wages regardless of fault. However, Workers’ Compensation might limit the amount you can recover. If the injury was due to a third party’s negligence or intentional act, a personal injury lawsuit might be pursued in addition to or instead of a Workers’ Comp claim, potentially leading to greater compensation.
The personal injury attorneys at Munley Law will be able to help you decide what legal route is best for full compensation. Once we decide how we will tackle your personal injury case, we will work tirelessly to fight for your rights efficiently and successfully.
How do I file a catastrophic injury claim?
Experiencing a catastrophic injury is both a physically and emotionally challenging event. Adding the legal comment can be extremely overwhelming to the victim and their family members. Navigating the legal maze to file a catastrophic injury claim and pursue compensation demands a clear strategy and a knowledgeable guide. Here is our advice to you:
Finding the right lawyer:
One of the most crucial steps in this journey is securing a competent personal injury attorney who specializes in catastrophic injuries. Act swiftly; securing legal counsel promptly ensures your rights are preserved from the outset. Remember, insurance adjusters might approach you for statements or to settle; it’s imperative to avoid speaking with them until you’ve consulted with a Bensalem personal injury lawyer, as they typically operate in the interest of minimizing payouts.
Filing the claim:
Pennsylvania, like other states, has a specific statute of limitations for filing a catastrophic injury claim. Typically, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Partnering with a personal injury lawyer ensures that your claim is not only filed correctly but also sticks to this critical timeline, preventing potential legal setbacks.
Building the case:
A seasoned personal injury attorney will not work alone. They collaborate with medical professionals, accident reconstruction experts, and other specialists to bolster the strength of your case, ensuring all evidence is meticulously gathered and presented.
Negotiations with the insurance company and going to trial:
Initially, the aim will be to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. However, if a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, your injury attorney should be prepared to take the case to trial, advocating aggressively on your behalf to pursue compensation.
In a catastrophic injury claim, several damages can be pursued, such as:
- Medical bills (both past and future)
- Rehabilitation and therapy costs
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
During your free consultation with one of our compassionate attorneys at Munley Law, we will discuss how we plan to tackle your case. We believe all personal injury cases are unique and important. Therefore, you will have access to your attorney constantly. We will provide updates on your case and make sure you understand every step of the process.