Savannah Catastrophic Injury Lawyer

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When a person suffers a catastrophic injury, it can completely change their life and the lives of all those who depend on them. Catastrophic injuries are often permanent, leading to a loss of income, enormous medical costs, emotional stress, and a general change in quality of life. Although many people associate these injuries with workplace accidents, they can occur outside of work, such as in a major car accident or a slip and fall accident.

When someone sustains such a traumatic injury, it can leave them devastated and searching for answers. They might find themselves in financial straits as the rising costs of medical bills and the loss of income begin to take their toll. Victims should reach out to a catastrophic injury lawyer, who can help them sort through their legal options.

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

There can be multiple definitions and interpretations for what constitutes a catastrophic injury. Although many injuries can be considered catastrophic, there are specific conditions that must be met for an injury to qualify as catastrophic under Georgia law. To do so, a victim must have suffered from one of the following:

  • A spinal cord injury resulting in severe paralysis of an arm, leg, or trunk.
  • An amputation of a particular body part that causes the effective loss of use of that part.
  • Severe brain or head injuries that cause problems such as severe sensory or motor disturbances, communication problems, complex disturbances of cerebral function, disturbances in consciousness, or certain severe neurological disorders.
  • Second- or third-degree burns over 25 percent of the body.
  • Third-degree burns to five percent or more of the person’s face and hands.
  • Total or industrial blindness.

When someone suffers a catastrophic injury, the effects can last for a significant time or even a lifetime. Catastrophic injuries are generally severe enough to require extended time away from work. In many cases, the injury can make returning to work and working at all very difficult. A catastrophic injury may even make returning to work impossible. The necessary medical care can also be expensive, with recovery and rehabilitation costs.

What are the Long-Term Consequences of Catastrophic Injuries?

Victims of catastrophic injuries are more likely to experience serious long-term consequences because of those injuries. Going forward, they may be unable to work their job, support themselves, participate in regular day-to-day activities, or enjoy leisure time with their family. There are several challenges these individuals must cope with, including the following:

  • Renovating their home to satisfy their needs.
  • Obtaining home health care or other similar service to care for their at-home requirements.
  • Managing the emotional aspects of dealing with an injury, including depression and anxiety.
  • Dealing with the loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Living on a lower income than before.
  • Coping with significant changes in a person’s personality, which can put emotional stress on other family members.

Victims and their family should be prepared for these long-term impacts and understand that it will be a process to get through. Any pain and suffering that a family and victim experiences can be incorporated into a liable claim against the person or entity responsible for causing the accident.

What are Examples of Catastrophic Injuries?

There are several types of catastrophic injuries that a victim can suffer. They each can leave a victim with long-term damage or cause them to have to make a significant change in their lifestyle. These injuries include the following trauma:

  • Traumatic brain injury: These can be caused by blunt force trauma to the head leading to swelling, bleeding, bruising, and inflammation of the brain. There are numerous short-term symptoms such as pain, nausea, and dizziness; there are many more serious, long-term consequences. Those conditions can include personality changes, inability to understand certain things, impaired senses, and a failure to understand language.
  • Spinal cord injury: The spinal cord sends signals from the brain to the rest of the body. Any damage to it will cause a disruption to those signals, leading to significant problems for the victim. It could cause minor problems, such as a loss of sensation or major issues, including a loss of movement or complete paralysis.
  • Amputation: A severe enough accident can result in a person losing a limb either at the time of the accident or later. Damaged tissue can necessitate the need to remove a body part.
  • Burns: First- and second-degree burns are not considered catastrophic, but the more severe ones such as third- and fourth-degree burns are catastrophic. These injuries will impact the epidermis and dermis, which are the top layers of skin; or the adipose, the layer of fat beneath the skin. A severe enough burn can damage the bones, muscles, and organs.
  • Internal injuries: When injuries take place to organs such as the liver, spleen, kidney, stomach, or intestines, it can cause internal bleeding and might require multiple surgeries to repair the damage.

Other significant injuries can include damage to the eyes, ears, or brain that can have an impact on the senses with either a partial or a total loss.

What are Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries?

There are several common causes of catastrophic injuries. In many cases, a major accident is the primary cause. Those accidents include the following:

Since catastrophic injuries are so devastating, a victim’s first action should be to ensure that they or their loved one is receiving the necessary medical and rehabilitative care. The recovery period will be the time that an experienced catastrophic lawyer will be working on building a case against a liable party.

What Workers’ Compensation Benefits can I Receive?

Victims who have sustained a catastrophic injury at work are entitled to collect Workers’ Compensation benefits. All employers are required to carry this insurance and provide it to employees in the event of an accident regardless of the severity of that accident.

Georgia specifies the total amount a person can collect from Workers’ Compensation, which is to have all their medical expenses paid along with a payment that is equal to two-thirds of their gross average weekly income up to a maximum of $500 while they are recovering away from work.

The designation of a catastrophic injury is important as to the length of time a victim can collect Workers’ Compensation. If the person suffered a catastrophic injury, there is no limit to the length of time they can collect on lost wages. If it is a non-catastrophic injury, there is a limit of 400 weeks.

The insurance might be able to cover other additional expenses incurred because of the accident, such as the assistance of a registered rehabilitation supplier that will assist the person in coordinating their medical care and arranging any vocational services the worker may need. These services include the following:

  • Career counseling
  • Analysis of transferable skills
  • Vocational evaluations
  • Resume writing
  • Interview coaching
  • Working with potential employers regarding job accommodations and modifications
  • Receiving tuition assistance for retraining
  • Miscellaneous job placement services

A victim can receive these services at no additional cost to them. The law requires the person to use any rehabilitation services that are deemed appropriate.

What can a Lawyer Do to Help Me After a Catastrophic Injury?

From the very beginning, a catastrophic injury lawyer and their team will investigate all aspects of the case. They will work with experts to make sure that they understand every detail and piece of information available. This will help determine liability and figure out exactly what happened leading to the injury. The team will also maintain professional relationships with key law firms to ensure that the victim receives unmatched legal representation.

To assist the legal team, a person who has suffered a catastrophic injury should gather as much information as possible about the accident that caused the injury. If the victim is unable to gather the evidence, a close friend or family member should do so. The information they should gather includes the following:

  • Details: The victim should detail the circumstances that led to the accident, including the circumstances surrounding the environment where it took place, what happened to cause the injury, and the conditions present that led up to the accident.
  • Photographs: If possible, photographs should be taken of the scene of the accident, including any relevant details such as a machine that may have caused an accident or conditions that led to the car crash.
  • Witnesses: If there were any witnesses present during the accident, they will be invaluable to verify a story or fill in any missing details. It is best to obtain their statement and contact information as quickly as possible after an accident to guarantee the witness has a clear memory of the incident.
  • Evidence: If there are any physical pieces of evidence, such as a part of a machine or other item that participated in the accident, that should also be collected. This might prove to be more difficult, so taking a picture may still be the more realistic alternative.

Although it might be difficult to collect all this information in the initial moments after an accident, it can prove vital in building a case. Obtaining the contact information of witnesses will also allow a lawyer the chance to find those individuals later if they need to clarify their statements or ask them additional questions.

What Can I Collect for My Catastrophic Injury?

Victims who suffer catastrophic injuries while at work are eligible for the benefits of Workers’ Compensation. Those who sustain these injuries and are not at work are also entitled to just compensation.

A victim can file a liable claim against an individual or company that is responsible for the circumstances that led to the accident. In many instances, a claim can include multiple parties. Among the compensation that a victim can seek includes the following damages:

  • Medical expenses: After sustaining an injury, a person should seek immediate medical attention. The injury may require surgery or testing, which all cost money. Those costs can be included in a lawsuit. As a victim is going through the process, they should collect all notes and receipts to include in their claim.
  • Ongoing treatments: Depending on the injury, a person may have to undergo years of treatments or therapy. They might even have to undergo surgery later. They should consult with their doctor and lawyer to come up with a figure that will sufficiently covers these costs.
  • Lost wages: A catastrophic injury will force a person out of work for a certain period. The person may not have the sick time accumulated to cover all those absences, meaning they could lose the income they would have otherwise earned had it not been for the accident. A victim can include that amount in the lawsuit.
  • Future earnings: A victim may be unable to return to work in their original capacity. They may be forced to take a job with fewer responsibilities and less pay. They may be unable to return to that line of work again. The victim can include the wages that they would have earned as part of a lawsuit.
  • Pain and suffering: A less specific amount, this is a sum that a victim will work out with their lawyer as a certain amount that will help compensating someone for the misery they have endured as a result of the accident, including the trauma of having to endure a lifestyle change and the emotional impact of the injury.
  • Wrongful death: There are those injuries that are so severe that they cause the death of the victim. The family members left behind can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf, seeking compensation for the loss of life as well as any medical expenses and other related expenses the family incurred or inherited because of the accident.

While the long-term impacts of such an injury might not be fully realized for years, the law in Georgia does not allow for that much time to transpire. Victims or their families have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, which means that one of the most important initial steps is to hire a catastrophic injury lawyer who can help them with their case.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a consultation!

Savannah Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Get Results for Clients Suffering From Catastrophic Injuries

If you have a catastrophic injury, you need a compassionate, caring legal team on your side. The Springfield catastrophic injury lawyers at Kicklighter Law have years of experience representing people who have suffered catastrophic injuries, injuries at work, and other trauma. Our team has worked hard to earn an excellent reputation for catastrophic injury cases. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. We are located in Springfield, Georgia, and we proudly serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.