When you or a loved one has sustained serious injuries as a result of an accident, it’s important that you know your rights and responsibilities, to help bring justice for your suffering and compensation for your pain. The team of personal injury professionals at Murphy & Pressentin can help you recover monetary compensation for the losses to you and your family. We also bring you the following information on serious injury claims.
ACTIONS FOR SERIOUS INJURIES
The carnage from accidents on our roads and highways is a major source of death and injury in the United States. In 2017, 2.35 million people were injured or disabled in crashes on U.S. roadways.
Serious injuries can have a catastrophic effect on the injured person and their family. The injuries can be life threatening and in many cases will result in a permanent change to someone’s quality of life. Many people who sustain serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident face a future where they require medical care and 24 hour support for ordinary activities of daily living, at least while their injuries mend. This places a great deal of burden upon them and their family and can cause a great deal of distress.
There are many different types of serious injuries, some of which are listed below, and the injury professionals at Murphy & Pressentin have represented people with every described injury, in addition to numerous other unnamed injuries. All of these injuries have serious consequences for the injured person and may result in a completely altered way of life.
Negligent driving is the cause of most serious injury claims. Most of these cases are brought against people who cause accidental injuries while driving carelessly. Examples of careless driving include running a red light, driving at unsafe speeds, or using a cell phone instead of watching the road. A negligent drivers automobile liability insurance will cover claims made up to the policy limits. Some driver’s have additional insurance (such as umbrella coverage provided by a homeowner’s policy) that can also be used to pay compensation for a loss caused by negligent driving. The experienced injury professionals at Murphy & Pressentin conduct investigations to locate any additional policies or sources of compensation.
Impacts of a Serious Injury. Victims and their families often have to learn to cope with life changes and the realization that their loved one has a new set of challenges to face. On a practical level, this may include having to change jobs or giving up work altogether, which places a huge financial strain on the family.
Modifications may need to be made to the family home such as: a hospital bed, a wheelchair, visual aids, daily medications, prosthetic, and specialized care and support. There may be help available for the costs of these services, either from insurance or the state, but obtaining benefits is often a complex and time-consuming process which many people find too stressful.
Taking Action. Compensation can help. We understand that no amount of compensation will restore your health to you, or enable you to function as you did before. However, compensation can cover the costs of rehabilitation or other essential services and replace any lost income or other economic damages. Compensation is also available for the stress, emotional anguish, and the physical pain and suffering associated with the injuries. Family members may also be entitled to compensation for their loss of society and companionship (consortium).
How long do I have to bring a Serious Injury Claim? State law limits the time within which all injury claims must either be resolved by settlement or filed in a civil court action. State laws vary, but most have limitations of two years from the day of the accident (California, Illinois) while others have three years (Wisconsin). Some states have only one year (Tennessee). It’s important that you understand exactly how long you have to bring your claim. If you miss the limitations period by even one day, your right to compensation will be lost forever.
What compensation can be awarded for serious injuries? An injured person may be able to recover:
- Past medical bills incurred for injuries related to the accident.
- Future medical bills if those injuries are permanent and require future care.
- Past wage loss due to the accident.
- Future income loss, if that person is unable to return to their former profession.
- Pain and suffering which resulted from their injuries.
- Loss of society and companionship (consortium) for the spouse (and in some cases children) of an injured person resulting from their loss of services.
- Property damages they may have suffered in the accident.
At Murphy & Pressentin, most claims are resolved with the insurance company before a lawsuit is filed or before the case goes to trial. However, some cases do go to trial and the decision about who is at fault and how much to award the injured person is left in the jury’s hands.
Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain injuries will always involve some degree of head trauma. However, head trauma will not always result in brain injury. It is possible to suffer a head injury without any damage to the brain.
Most head injuries heal without any long term effects, but a brain injury is different. This can result in mild or serious mental impairment which then impacts that person’s ability to function on a normal basis.
A head or brain injury is traumatic for the person affected but no less traumatic for his or her family. Often it is the family who has to care and support the injured person which is stressful on many different levels. If the person affected is unable to work then this means a drop in income which negatively impacts the family’s financial situation.
If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury as a result of an accident, then you (or they) may be entitled to compensation.
Paralysis and Spine Injuries. Spinal cord and vertebrae injuries are traumatic and often life changing events. The consequences of this may last a lifetime and place a great deal of stress upon the injured person and their family.
If you sustain a spinal cord injury you will likely face dramatic changes in your life. Spinal cord injuries require making adjustments to the way you do things and accepting that life will be different from now on.
These permanent changes in your lifestyle can cause a great deal of stress to you and your family. The consequences of a spinal cord injury include:
- Changing your job or giving up work altogether.
- Having to modify your home or move to a new property that fits your needs.
- Arranging special nursing care that may be required on a 24 hour basis.
- Additional costs for services such as rehabilitation, physiotherapy, etc.
Pain and discomfort of the initial spinal injury is often followed by emotional anguish due to the life altering changes and the worry of how you will manage from now on.
If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal injury or paralysis as a result of an accident, then you (or they) may be entitled to compensation.
Amputations. If an injury results in the loss of a limb then the consequences are both life changing and traumatic. In many cases, it leads to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). No one can underestimate the devastation experienced by someone who has lost an arm or leg which not only affects their own quality of life but also those close to them.
The aftermath of this injury means months of lengthy rehabilitation, learning to use a prosthetic and adjusting to altered circumstances.
If you or someone you know has suffered an amputation as a result of an accident, then you (or they) may be entitled to compensation.
Burns, Lacerations and Scarring. These are painful and potentially disfiguring types of injuries which can have a devastating effect. Burns and lacerations can result in scarring which can be physically and emotionally distressing.
Even a minor burn is damaging, not to mention painful and can persist for a long time. Burns and lacerations can cause nerve damage, tendon damage, ligament damage, muscle damage and skin contraction. It can also limit movement and, in some cases, result in death. For example, third degree burns will cause extensive skin damage and can be fatal. A severe burn or laceration can cause extensive scarring , sometimes requiring plastic surgery which is costly and can extend the recovery process.
If you or someone you know has suffered a burn, laceration or scarring as a result of an accident, then you (or they) may be entitled to compensation.
Vision Loss. Our eyesight is one of the most precious human senses that many take for granted. When something goes wrong, you quickly realize how important your vision is in your day-to-day life.
A loss of sight can be partial or full, temporary or permanent, but regardless of the extent of the damage, loss of vision can be devastating. Losing your eyesight means a permanent change to your lifestyle. It may bring financial stress due to you having to change jobs or quit work altogether, which then affects your income and standard of living.
Depending on the individual’s injuries, one may have to learn Braille, wear specially designed glasses, or make modifications to your home. Not only is the damage physical, but it also can affect people mentally and emotionally. A serious injury such as loss of vision can cause feelings of anger, frustration and shock.
This is where compensation can help. There is no amount money that can regain your sight but it can help in other ways, such as: paying for any special treatment or care, and equipment or aids.
If you or someone you know has suffered vision loss as a result of an accident, then you (or they) may be entitled to compensation.
Fractures and Surgery. Fractures are a common type of serious injury that result from motor vehicle crashes and can range from mild to serious.
We tend to assume that a fracture such as a broken arm is a minor inconvenience which we will recover from in a short period of time and without any negative effects. While that is true in some cases, there are situations where the fracture is serious enough to have a traumatic effect on both the injured victim and their family.
Fractures may be closed or open. A closed fracture is the simpler of the two and it means there is a clean break in the bone, e.g. the tibia, in which the bone does not protrude through the skin. Closed fractures may be serious, especially where the bone is comminuted or out of alignment, but not breaking the skin. This type of fracture will often appear as an obvious deformity to the involved appendage.
Repair may require a closed reduction where the surgeon manipulates the bone into proper alignment with the patient under sedation, or in more severe circumstances, open reduction surgery.
Open fractures are known as compound fractures and are a serious type of break which cause the bone to break through the skin which increases the risk of infection. They are almost always treated with open reduction surgery which frequently includes the insertion of metal plates and screws to stabilize the bone. This means a lengthy recovery period with time off of work, which affects your earnings and family income as a whole.
Fractures cause significant pain and discomfort which is distressing in itself. However, there are other factors involved which include a temporary loss of independence and financial difficulties caused by the injured’s incapacity. A serious fracture in an elderly person means an increased risk of health problems such as pneumonia or an infection. The older you are, the longer it takes for the fracture to heal.
Compensation can cover the costs of any needed treatment, rehabilitation or specialist care that may be needed for recovery, as well as replacement of any lost earnings or income.
If you or someone you know has suffered a fracture or surgery as a result of an accident, then you (or they) may be entitled to compensation.