Nearly everyone experiences some kind of injury during their lives. Falling from a bike as a child or even a fender bender as an adult can cause injuries ranging from minor to serious. These can take some time to heal but, for most people, they are able to return to their normal lives soon after.
A catastrophic injury is very different. These injuries do not heal, and they disrupt your life even with extensive treatment, surgeries, and medical regimens. When you or a loved one has experienced this kind of illness or trauma, rely on a Germantown personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC.
Our attorneys will investigate your case and develop a high-quality approach to seek compensation for your losses.
Catastrophic Injury Defined
A catastrophic injury is one that causes severe damage, such as spinal or brain damage, and causes disability for a long time (often the rest of your life). These can be caused by auto accidents, workplace accidents, or even accidents that take place at home.
Tennessee specifically defines catastrophic loss or injury to cover one or more of the following conditions:
- Spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Amputation of both hands, both feet, or one hand and one foot
- Third-degree burns over 40% or more of the entire body, or third-degree burns up to 40% or more of the face
- Wrongful death of a parent leaving a surviving minor child or children
When someone suffers a catastrophic injury, they often need full-time care, either at home or in an assisted living facility. This could require thousands of dollars in home renovations and medical equipment to provide care. Medical bills skyrocket and due to the long-term nature of the injury, these costs often increase every year and never go away. Catastrophic injuries can easily cost millions of dollars over the remainder of the victim’s lifetime.
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Proving Fault for Catastrophic Injury
A catastrophic injury can occur anywhere, such as at work, when shopping, or even on your own property. In the blink of an eye, you could be involved in an accident that leaves you paralyzed, blind, missing a limb, or cognitively impaired. Being able to win compensation from the party responsible for the injury relies on being able to prove their negligence.
You must also prove that their negligence led directly to the injuries you suffered. This requires gathering evidence from many sources to show exactly what happened and what factors contributed to the injury. Because accidents can happen in so many places, the type of evidence you seek can vary widely.
For example, you could be injured in an auto accident or in a store or suffer an injury while on the job. You and your catastrophic injury lawyer in Germantown can use sources of evidence such as:
- Security camera footage from a store
- Traffic camera footage
- Dash camera video
- Photos of the accident scene
- Cell phone records showing another driver was using their phone illegally
- Police reports for accidents or auto collisions
- EMT or other first responder reports
- Medical records
- Statements from witnesses to the incident
- Records of equipment maintenance at a store or employer worksite
- Prescriptions for medications or medical devices
- Testimony from expert witnesses
- Public records showing any previous accidents at a store or worksite
- Driving records of someone who hit you with their car
While these items can be used to prove neglect and responsibility, they are also often used by your attorney to calculate the amount of damages to pursue. Victims can seek economic damages, which include the actual costs of medical treatments and lost wages, among other things. They can also seek a limited amount of non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, or loss of companionship.
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Seeking Damages for Catastrophic Injury in Tennessee
Since catastrophic injuries leave most sufferers unable to work, their families often face financial ruin from astronomical medical bills. In addition, their spouses or other family members often leave their jobs to care for the victim. Even if you have excellent medical insurance, it can fail to cover all the expenses you will incur.
If your injury is the result of someone else’s neglect or actions, seeking compensation with a catastrophic injury attorney in Germantown can relieve some of the stress and worry while you recover. Tennessee allows you to seek all economic damages you suffered or will continue to suffer for the remainder of your life. Because catastrophic injuries are so much more life-altering than other injuries, these costs can run into millions of dollars.
When someone’s life is shortened by their injury, the family can pursue lost income and income potential when the victim is the breadwinner of the home. If someone dies as a result of a catastrophic injury, the family may also sue for funeral expenses.
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Most Common Types of Compensation After a Catastrophic Injury
Our Germantown catastrophic injury attorneys work diligently to recover both economic and non-economic losses for clients.
Common economic damages include:
- Emergency room bills
- Medical and hospital bills, including surgeries you may need in the future
- Increase in insurance premiums
- Prosthetic or mobility devices
- Service animals (initial cost and lifelong maintenance)
- Physical therapy
- Assisted living facility care or in-home care
- Psychological therapy
- Travel to specialists or dedicated facilities for treatment
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Household services (cleaning, cooking, maintenance) you can no longer perform
- Property damage, such as an automobile
- Renovations to your home to accommodate a disability
Keeping track of these tangible expenses is critical to developing a full accounting of what the injury has cost you and your family. Your lawyer’s legal team can help you bring together these items to create a complete picture of the economic impact.
Non-economic damages are less tangible but just as impactful in the victim’s life. Tennessee Code §29-39-102 (2014) sets out limits for the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff can pursue. For most incidents, the limit is set at $750,000. However, for catastrophic injuries, the limit is raised to $1 million. Non-economic damage types include:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society (ability to socialize) or companionship
- Loss of consortium (relations and intimacy with your partner)
- Injury to reputation
- Loss of enjoyment of normal activities
- Loss of mental or physical health
- Loss of well-being or bodily functions
Your attorney will be able to assist you with assigning a cost to these types of losses in order to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. Remember, catastrophic injuries change your life permanently, and the effects can be more devastating over time than you may fully realize in the early stages of dealing with your trauma. An experienced catastrophic injury lawyer will know how best to present your case for the best outcome.
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Contact a Germantown Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured and someone else is at fault, contact a Germantown catastrophic injury lawyer at the offices of Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC right away. We serve clients in the tri-state area of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Complete our contact form to receive a free consultation today.