Corpus Christi Catastrophic Injury Attorneys
Table of Contents
- 6 Instances of Catastrophic Injury?
- Accidents That Cause Corpus Christi Catastrophic Injuries
- Corpus Christi Catastrophic Injury FAQ
- How Long You Have to File a Corpus Christi Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit?
- Types of Monetary Compensation you can Recover
- Contact a Corpus Christi Catastrophic Injury Attorney
Corpus Christi Catastrophic Injury Attorney
Accidents happen every day in Corpus Christi. Most of these accidents result from human error brought about by negligence. Unfortunately, if you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence, you likely face a lifetime of recovery.
Fortunately, Texas law provides an avenue whereby you receive compensation for your injury and the impacts it has on your life now, and how it will affect you far in the future. An experienced Corpus Christi catastrophic injury lawyers at The Patel Firm can help you understand your legal options.
A catastrophic injury is one of a very serious nature that presents life-altering effects on the victim’s life that may impact his or her ability to work, enjoy things he or she enjoyed doing before the injury, and accomplish daily tasks without assistance. These injuries are set apart due to their seriousness, and full recovery from such an injury is often impossible.
To give you an idea of what the law would view as a catastrophic injury, you can find a definition in a federal statute that says that it “means an injury, the direct and proximate consequences of which permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.”
The American Medical Association has its own definition of catastrophic injury. According to the AMA, it is a severe injury to the spinal cord, spine, or brain.
To be clear, there is no defined legal class for catastrophic injuries. You will not automatically receive more compensation just because your injury might qualify as a catastrophic injury. It is more of a way of referring to severe injuries that could result in higher monetary damage awards because the victim has suffered disruptive impacts in every area of their life. This will make the claim much more complex because it is subject to different estimates and calculations of damages.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include:
1. Traumatic Brain Injury
According to information provided by the Brain Injury Association of America, an acquired traumatic brain injury is an alteration of the brain function caused by an external force such as a blow to the head, an object penetrating the skull and entering the brain tissue, or even the “whiplash” effect of the brain colliding against the inside of the skull due to a traumatic event such as a car accident.
A brain injury is severe if it produces:
- Loss of consciousness for more than 24 hours (known as a coma)
- No sleep/wake cycle during the loss of consciousness
- Signs of the injury appear on neuroimaging tests
While a person is experiencing a full coma, they are not eligible for any brain injury rehabilitation program. However, while some individuals remain in a coma for a long time, many will emerge from it or will experience an increased level of consciousness that will enable rehabilitation to begin.
Other consciousness disorders may appear, including:
- Vegetative state: While remaining unaware of what is going on around them, the victim begins to experience sleep/ wake cycles, normal digestion, breathing, and heart rate, may respond to pain, and may open his or her eyes.
- Persistent vegetative state: This is the term given to an individual who experiences a vegetative state for more than one year.
- Minimally conscious state: While slight, the individual shows definite self-awareness or awareness of his or her environment.
- Locked-in syndrome: Locked-in syndrome is a disorder in which the individual is alert and aware but can only move their eyes.
- Brain death: A condition in which all brain functions, including that of the brain stem, no longer work.
Even without a consciousness disorder such as those described above, individuals experiencing a severe brain injury often sustain deficits in their ability to speak, reason, control their bodily functions, or their impulses. While the brain does feature a limited ability to heal itself, many brain injury symptoms will remain throughout the sufferer’s lifetime.
2. Spinal Cord Injury
An estimated 1.2 million individuals live with some level of paralysis from a spinal cord injury. As explained by the Christopher Reeve Foundation, spinal cord trauma is more than the single event that caused the injury.
The trauma takes place over the following hours and days following the initial killing of nerves and cells due to the injury. There is a cascade of bodily responses, including loss of oxygen and the release of chemicals that exacerbate the injury. Spinal cord injuries produce a loss of function—known as paralysis—below the injury site.
There are two types of spinal cord injuries:
- Complete: This occurs from a complete loss of sensation and function below the injury site.
- Incomplete: The individual retains some function and sensation below the site of the injury.
As spinal cord injuries create paralysis below the injury site, it stands to reason that injuries occurring higher up on the spine produce a more profound impact.
There are four regions of the spine:
- Cervical: The highest part of the spine, occurring in the neck. This area of the spine controls the neck, arms, hands, and diaphragm. Injuries to this area of the spine often result in tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, which is the loss of function and sensation to all four limbs, the torso, and pelvis. The higher up the injury occurs, the more likely the sufferer will require a ventilator to breathe.
- Thoracic: This part of the spine is in the upper back region and controls function to the torso and some parts of the arms. The higher up the injury is, the less likely the individual can retain control of the torso and trunk.
- Lumbar: This is the mid-to-lower part of the spine, and those suffering injuries to this region may retain the function of the hips and legs. The lower the injury occurs, the more likely the individual can extend the knees.
- Sacral: This is the bottom-most part of the spine and is responsible for relaying signals to the toes, groin, and parts of the legs.
In addition to the loss of function and sensation to parts of the body, spinal cord injuries also produce such conditions as loss of bladder and bowel control, loss of sexual function, low blood pressure, deep vein thrombosis, spasticity, and chronic pain. Some secondary issues often experienced by spinal cord injury sufferers include pressure ulcers (bed sores), respiratory complications, urinary tract infections, obesity, and depression.
Traumatic limb amputation is the loss of a body part—such as a finger, toe, arm, or leg—from an accident or injury, according to information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The limb might have been lost in the accident itself or later removed by doctors due to extensive damage that makes it impossible to repair.
Surgeons may reattach some limbs if special care of the residual limb is maintained. However, many times, severely damaged limbs offer no opportunity for reattachment.
Some of the complications from limb amputation include:
- Severe bleeding
- Phantom pain, which is a psychological condition in which the brain perceives pain, such as aching or throbbing, in a limb that is no longer present
- Grief over the lost limb
WebMD reports that about 1.8 million Americans like with an amputation. The most common amputation surgery is the leg, either above or below the knee. Long-term care for amputated limbs includes physical therapy to improve muscle strength and control, activities that help a person to develop the skills needed to carry out daily activities independently, artificial limbs and/or assistive devices, and emotional support in coping with a new body image.
4. Organ Damage
High impact accidents, such as the conditions often present in serious car accidents, can result in damage to internal organs. Not only does this place the victim at risk for internal bleeding, but it can also cause the loss of the organ, or the inability of the damaged organ to perform its usual functions within the body. The accident may break ribs, which can, in turn, damage other organs in the body.
Some of the organs that may sustain accidental damage include:
- Lung, such as when broken ribs collapse the lung, which is known as pneumothorax
- Abdominal aorta
Often, those who suffer internal damage are unaware initially that they were injured. It is only after the symptoms of internal damage begin to appear that the individual realizes the severity of his or her situation.
Some of these symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain
- Pale complexion
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed
5. Severe Burns
Third and fourth-degree burns can cause permanent scarring, disfigurement, and many potential complications that can alter a person’s life. Third-degree burns present widespread thickening of the skin, as well as a leathery, white appearance. Fourth-degree burns feature the same symptoms, but the damage extends through the skin layers and into the muscles and tendons.
Some of the common complications caused by severe burns include:
- Infections, including sepsis or tetanus
- Blood loss
- Dangerously low body temperature
- Emotional damage due to the new body image
Those suffering from a severe burn injury often require long-term care that includes surgeries, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and assisted care with completing daily tasks.
The eyes are particularly susceptible to damage in many types of accidents, which may result in partial or complete loss of vision. Some of the causes of accidental blindness include penetrating trauma to the eyes, particles becoming embedded in the eye, chemicals, or electric shock. Though immediate treatment can sometimes reverse damage to vision, accidents leave many people with ongoing blindness.
Head injuries may cause blindness either by damage to the parts of the brain that control vision, as well as damage to the optic nerves. Surgery may, in some cases, repair optic nerve damage, resulting in the individual regaining some or all of his or her vision.
Most types of accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries. However, the risk of severe injury is higher with some accidents than others.
Some of the most common causes of catastrophic injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including those involving passenger cars, company vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, aircraft, or boats. Truck and motorcycle accidents usually result in the most severe injuries. In a truck accident, the sheer size of the truck and the momentum that it carries can cause serious injuries when it collides with a car. Motorcycle accidents often result in a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury because the biker’s head can hit the pavement after falling off their bike.
- Workplace injuries, including construction sites, where there is a risk of falling, becoming caught in an object or between two objects, or coming into contact with dangerous chemicals
- Premises liability accidents (including slip and fall accidents), such as accidents at amusement parks, swimming pools, inside collapsing structures, or hazards that can cause a person to fall from a height.
- Oil rig or refinery accidents where machinery that was poorly maintained or utilized inadequate safety features causes serious injury to workers.
Serious Injury Accidents in Corpus Christi, TX
Corpus Christi catastrophic injuries can leave accident victims incapacitated for an extended time. In addition to expensive medical treatment and procedures, victims of catastrophic injuries have to live with pain and suffering for the rest of their lives. In some cases, victims of these injuries have to spend the remainder of their lives in a nursing home or some other assisted living facility.
The experienced Corpus Christi catastrophic injury lawyers at The Patel Firm PLLC can investigate the accident that left you with a catastrophic injury or injuries and help you pursue and recover the compensation that you deserve.
What are some common catastrophic injuries that accident victims sustain in Corpus Christi?
The types of catastrophic injuries that an accident victim suffers in a serious accident are many.
However, some of the most common types of Corpus Christi catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries – Traumatic head and brain injuries range in severity from mild concussions to a permanent inability to function. A traumatic head or brain injury usually takes place when a person suffers a heavy blow to the head. A blunt object may strike the person’s skull with a significant amount of force, or the person may strike their head on something, such as the ground, with considerable force. Depending upon the severity of the impact, a traumatic head injury may cause bruising to the brain. In some instances, the head blow can also disrupt or sever the brain’s neurons or axons (the brain’s internal wiring). When this happens, the accident victim may have trouble remembering things or even functionally normally.
- Bone fractures – A bone fracture is a break in one or more bones that typically comes about as a result of a traumatic accident. For example, the accident victim may suffer a bone break when they fall to the floor and land with a significant amount of force. In a motor vehicle collision, the accident victim’s body may strike something in the vehicle. In many cases of bone fractures require surgical intervention. If the break is severe enough, the surgeon may need to install bolts, screws, and metal wiring to the accident bone structure. This internal hardware may need to be removed from the accident victim’s body later, requiring a second surgical procedure.
- Spinal cord injuries – A spinal cord injury often occurs when an accident victim injures their neck or back in a slip-and-fall accident or motor vehicle accident. A forceful impact can do serious damage to the spinal cord and may sever nerves, limiting the accident victim’s ability to function physically. A severe spinal cord injury can lead to paralysis, limiting the accident victim’s use of their body.
- Internal injuries – In some cases, accident victims not only suffer injuries to the outsides of their bodies but also internally. Severe impacts can lead to internal bleeding, organ damage, and other serious problems and complications. Internal damage brought about by an injury often requires a surgical procedure to correct it.
If you or a person you love has suffered one or more of these catastrophic injuries in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, the experienced team of Corpus Christi catastrophic injury lawyers at The Patel Firm PLLC can assist you. We can review your accident case with you, investigate the circumstances, and help you pursue the monetary compensation that you need.
What types of accidents typically lead to catastrophic injuries in Corpus Christi?
Severe accidents in and around Corpus Christi have the potential to lead to serious injuries and damages. High-speed accidents and accidents that involve a significant amount of force to one or more of the accident victim’s body parts are most likely to result in a catastrophic injury.
Some of the most common types of accidents that can lead to catastrophic injuries include:
- Car and truck collisions – In a motor vehicle collision, an accident victim’s body is often jerked or thrown forward and backward (and sometimes from side to side) while inside the vehicle. At the point of impact, the accident victim may strike their head or some other body part on the window, steering wheel, headrest, or console, suffering a serious injury in the process. Head-on motor vehicle accidents and T-bone accidents, especially those that occur at high rates of speed, are most likely to cause catastrophic injuries for accident victims.
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents – Motorcycle and bicycle riders can suffer severe injuries in a collision with another vehicle because cyclists have no protection against their surroundings. A serious accident may throw them from their vehicles and directly onto the ground, suffering one or more catastrophic injuries in the process. For example, if the cyclist falls to the ground and lands on their head, the cyclist may suffer a concussion or some other traumatic brain or head injury. However, if the cyclist’s back strikes the ground, they may suffer a spinal cord injury that could result in full or partial paralysis.
- Slip and fall accidents – Slip and fall accidents can occur both indoors and outdoors, and typically take place when a business owner fails to clean up a slippery substance on the ground in time to avoid an accident. These types of accidents are especially common in supermarkets and restaurants, where foods and liquids may spill onto the floor and create a hazard for customers. In many slip and fall accidents, the accident victim lands on their lower back, or may instead strike their head, knees, or ankles on the ground, suffering one or more severe injuries in the process.
- Boating accidents – Boats and other watercraft have the potential to create serious hazards. The likelihood of hazard increases when boat decks and other common areas are not kept clean and free from debris and water. Although boating accidents sometimes involve slip and falls, they can also involve the ejection of a passenger from the boat and forcefully striking an object in the water, leading to a potentially catastrophic injury.
- Workplace accidents – Employees can get hurt on the job, including falls from heights and other severe injuries at job sites. They can trip over loose tools or falling debris can strike them. While a workers’ comp claim, not a personal injury lawsuit, would cover many of these injuries, you can file a claim if a third party or defective equipment injured you. For example, if you work for a subcontractor and another contractor at the site hurt you, you could file a personal injury lawsuit. In addition, if you were hurt on an oil rig, you can file a negligence lawsuit against the employer under the Jones Act.
If you or a person you love has suffered a catastrophic injury in one of these accidents, then you could file a monetary claim or lawsuit for damages against the person or entity at fault. At The Patel Firm PLLC, our experienced team of Corpus Christi catastrophic injury attorneys can help you file your claim or lawsuit to pursue the money damages that you need.
What do I need to prove in a Corpus Christi catastrophic injury case?
When you or a loved one suffers a catastrophic injury in an accident caused by another person or entity’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit. Once the filing of the claim or lawsuit takes place, then you, as the injured party, have the burden of proving liability and damages.
To prove liability or fault on the part of another person or entity, you must demonstrate that the other person or entity acted unreasonably under the circumstances. Unreasonable action occurs when the at-fault individual does something that a reasonable person would not have done in those circumstances or failed to do something that a reasonable person would have done. For example, in the context of a motor vehicle accident, the at-fault individual may have violated a rule of the road by speeding or driving distracted.
In addition to proving fault, you must show that as a direct result of the accident, you suffered a catastrophic injury (and possibly other damages). For example, as a result of your catastrophic injury, you may lose work for a significant time, losing considerable wages.
In addition, you may have had to undergo one or more medical procedures, receive medical treatment, and undergo physical therapy, as a result of your catastrophic injuries.
In cases where the at-fault individual acted in a particularly egregious manner under the circumstances, resulting in the accident that led to the victim’s catastrophic injury, the accident victim can also bring a claim for punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the at-fault party directly and discourage others from committing similar harmful acts in the future.
If the accident victim sustained their catastrophic injury in a drunk driving motor vehicle collision, for example, they might seek punitive damages as part of their catastrophic injury claim or lawsuit.
The knowledgeable Corpus Christi catastrophic injury lawyers at The Patel Firm PLLC can assist you with proving all of the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit and can promptly file your claim or lawsuit.
Generally speaking, victims of catastrophic personal injuries in the state of Texas have two years from the date of their accident in which to file a claim or lawsuit arising from their injuries. Although there are some very limited exceptions to this two-year rule, in the majority of cases, the law is hard and fast. If you fail to file a lawsuit arising from your catastrophic injuries within this two-year period, then the law will bar you from ever pursuing or recovering monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered.
Therefore, it is essential that you have a knowledgeable team of attorneys on board as soon as possible to assist you with investigating your accident, obtaining the necessary documentation, and pursuing the monetary compensation that you deserve.
The Corpus Christi catastrophic injury lawyers at The Patel Firm PLLC understand the importance of promptly filing a catastrophic injury lawsuit. Our legal team will file your claim or lawsuit on time and as early as possible, to increase the likelihood that you will recover fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries early on.
What types of monetary compensation and damages can I recover as part of a Corpus Christi catastrophic injury claim?
Corpus Christi catastrophic injuries frequently result in lengthy and painful medical treatment, lost earnings, and mounting bills. If you can prove that someone else caused the accident that led to your catastrophic injury, then you could file a claim for monetary compensation and damages.
The damages you can pursue and recover in a catastrophic injury case depend upon a variety of factors, including the nature of your accident, the severity of your accident, the extent of your injuries, and the extent of your medical treatment. If you are filing a claim for lost wages, your potential compensation will depend upon how much time you missed from work and the amount of money that you lost as a result.
Generally speaking, catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic head and brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and bone fractures, are more compensable than other types of injuries, such as soft tissue injuries. Catastrophic injuries typically require more extensive medical treatment and care than their soft tissue counterparts, making the need for compensation more urgent and justified.
As part of a catastrophic injury claim or lawsuit, you can pursue and recover monetary compensation for all of your medical bills, lost earnings, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, inability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of family support.
Moreover, if a catastrophic injury requires that an accident victim receive lifetime care, such as in a nursing home or assisted living facility, then those costs may be compensable as well.
Claims stemming from catastrophic injuries are rarely simple, and many complications can arise when it comes to obtaining the financial recovery you need to cover your losses. The Corpus Christi catastrophic injury attorneys at The Patel Firm PLLC will do everything they possibly can to maximize the value of your case and help you pursue the monetary compensation you deserve for your catastrophic injury or injuries.
What is negligence in a Corpus Christi catastrophic injury case?
Negligence is a person’s carelessness or recklessness that results in an accident. In personal injury law, when a person seeks compensation for their injuries from another party, they must be able to establish that the other party’s negligence was the proximate cause of their injuries. This is established by showing:
- The other party owed them a duty of care. The duty of care depends entirely on the actions that were taking place at the time of the accident. For example, in a car accident case, the duty of care one driver would owe to another would be to operate their motor vehicle in a safe and lawful manner.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. Just like with duty, the breach depends on the actions involved. Using the same car accident scenario, the breach in the duty of care may be operating the vehicle while impaired by alcohol, or driving while drowsy.
- This breach resulted in the accident, which caused the injuries.
While any accidental injury can justify a lawsuit, often catastrophic injuries result in the highest-value cases. In this instance, the highest value doesn’t mean more important. What it does mean is that you will need more money to treat the long-term complications of the injury and to account for the more dramatic impacts on your life and the lives of your loved ones.
A Corpus Christi catastrophic injury lawyer will help determine a value to your case that reflects the expenses you have already faced, those you face in the future, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or the ability to provide for yourself or your family due to your injuries.
Why do I need a Corpus Christi catastrophic injury attorney?
If you suffered a devastating injury, it goes without saying that you can’t handle your own legal claim. Even when a family member sustained serious injuries, their medical situation is the biggest priority as they get the care that they need. Legal claims and lawsuits take both time and expertise that an attorney has to devote to the job.
Catastrophic injuries usually result in large settlements or jury verdicts for the victim and their family. Given the high dollar value of the claims, you may undergo rounds of settlement offers and counteroffers before you receive an agreement. If there is no agreement between the sides, you will need to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. This requires extensive time and effort in discovery and work with expert witnesses. Your attorney will handle every step of the process, explaining to you the legal options along the way.
If you or your loved one suffered a catastrophic injury in Corpus Christi due to an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you deserve a lawyer who can help you obtain the most compensation possible to meet your current and future needs. Contact us at The Patel Firm PLLC online or call (361) 400-2036 for your free consultation.
The Patel Firm Injury Accident Lawyers
1129 Airline Road
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412
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