Catastrophic injuries are injuries that can have serious and life-altering consequences for the victim. In many cases, this means an injury to the brain, spine, spinal cord, loss of limbs, severe damage to internal organs, and other serious harm.
Victims may require ongoing medical attention and long periods of hospitalization. Many will find their lives forever changed by the injuries they’ve suffered.
The experienced and compassionate catastrophic injury lawyers at Sansone & Lauber understand the challenges you’re facing. We’ll fight aggressively for the compensation you need, whether it’s at the negotiating table or in the courtroom. We are passionate about helping people who have been wronged and injured by negligent parties – particularly those who are facing lifelong costs due to the harm that’s been inflicted on them.
Our dedication to our clients has earned us recognition from prestigious organizations, such as the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and The National Trial Lawyers, who named us as Top 100 Trial Lawyers. We’ll work hard to help you get the proper treatment, care, and compensation that you deserve.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries in St. Louis?
A catastrophic injury is a severe personal injury that causes devastating and permanent consequences. Catastrophic injuries lead to permanent disabilities of various degrees and types. These disabilities can include cognitive impairment, impaired mobility, permanent loss of function of one or more limbs or organs, loss of sight, loss of the ability to perform fine movements of the hands, and so on.
The most common causes of catastrophic injuries are:
- Vehicle crashes
- Construction site accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Acts of violence
There are many other ways in which individuals can suffer a catastrophic injury through no fault of their own.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries in St. Louis
The human body is quite resilient and can recover from a wide range of injuries. The following injuries are generally considered to be catastrophic because the human body cannot fully recover from them:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Amputations of limbs or parts of limbs
- Complete loss or severe damage to a vital organ
- Complete or almost complete loss of vision
- Severe burns
- Severe disfigurement
Brain injuries are perhaps the most catastrophic of all injuries. Even a simple slip and fall on a slippery store floor can lead to irreversible brain damage. Head injuries can result in cognitive impairment, memory problems, difficulty making decisions, emotional instability, and even personality changes.
After a head injury, most individuals cannot return to their former line of work and may be unable to obtain gainful employment in any field. The victim may also require expensive daily care and assistance in making the simplest decisions.
Spinal cord injuries often lead to some degree of paralysis. After suffering a spinal cord injury, victims frequently become wheelchair-bound and have limited mobility. A spinal cord injury to the neck can lead to complete paralysis of the entire body.
Victims of spinal cord injuries may be able to return to work at office jobs, but individuals who formerly held more active forms of employment may have to seek employment at low paying jobs or be unable to obtain gainful employment. In addition, most victims of spinal cord injuries will need some degree of assistance with daily living.
The impact of amputation or a lost or damaged organ will depend on the extent and location of the injury. In all cases, there will be expensive medical bills, the need for ongoing expensive medical care, reduced quality of life, a loss of wages and possibly a permanent reduction in future earnings, and severe emotional anguish.
For example, severe kidney damage incurred in a workplace accident or car crash can require the injured person to go for dialysis three times a week. A typical dialysis session takes four hours to complete. As you can imagine, it may be difficult to hold down a full-time job while undergoing dialysis. In addition, dialysis does not completely compensate for the lost kidney function, and most people on dialysis suffer from low quality of life and reduced ability to work and perform activities of daily living.
Catastrophic Injury Statistics in St. Louis
Catastrophic injuries are surprisingly common. Approximately 6 million people in the U.S. are currently living with some degree of paralysis, and around 185,000 people have to undergo an amputation every single year.
An estimated 230 people suffer from serious injuries in car accidents in St. Louis every year. There are several well-known “crash hot spots” in and around the city. Most of these severe car crashes are caused by negligent or reckless drivers who are driving too fast, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, driving under the influence, or engaging in other reckless behaviors.
Missouri, particularly the St. Louis area, also has a shockingly high rate of vehicle-pedestrian collisions. The rate of such accidents has been increasing fairly rapidly over the past few years. When a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the pedestrian is either killed outright or generally suffers from assorted catastrophic injuries.
In one recent year, Missouri had a pedestrian fatality rate of 1.65 per 100,000 people. The number of catastrophic injuries inflicted on pedestrians is significantly higher. Most vehicle-pedestrian accidents are caused by negligent or reckless drivers who aren’t paying enough attention while driving.
Workplace injuries are also quite common in Missouri. Although the state doesn’t separate out catastrophic injuries in particular, in one recent year, there were 103 deaths at workplaces and 102,824 injuries caused by workplace accidents. Even if only 10% of these injuries were catastrophic, that is a lot of people severely injured in the workplace.
Can I Be Compensated for My St. Louis Catastrophic Injury Claim?
In order to establish that you are entitled to compensation for a catastrophic personal injury, your attorney will need to prove that the negligent or reckless actions of someone else directly caused your injuries. Fault is not necessary, however, to recover workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job catastrophic injury.
This concept of “someone else is at fault” is a vital part of being entitled to compensation for your injury. If your injury is due to an unforeseeable or unpreventable accident or a natural disaster, you are not entitled to compensation. Your injury has to be someone else’s fault.
Everyone has a duty to behave in a reasonable way that keeps other people around them safe. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you have a duty to drive carefully and follow the law in order to keep others safe. If someone runs a red light and causes an accident, that person was behaving with reckless disregard for other people’s safety.
Likewise, employers and property owners are required to act in certain ways to keep others safe. An employer who deliberately exposes workers to unsafe working conditions is behaving with reckless disregard for their safety. A property owner who knows about unsafe conditions on the property and fails to rectify them is being negligent in regard to other people’s safety.
Even if your accident was only partly someone else’s fault, you might still be entitled to compensation. For example, if you were injured in a car accident that was partly caused by your negligent driving and partly caused by someone else’s reckless driving, you can still seek compensation.
In addition to establishing someone else was at fault for your injuries, your catastrophic injury lawyer will also need to present your medical records. You need to establish the severity of your injuries and the fact that you are permanently disabled due to your injuries. Experts, including doctors, vocational therapists, physical therapists, and others, may be called to testify about the severe impact your injuries will have on your life.
In order to establish your injury was catastrophic in Missouri, it must have led to one or more of the following consequences:
- Loss of two or more limbs
- Failure or loss of a major organ
- Loss of the ability to walk
- Impaired cognitive ability
- Impaired ability to communicate
- Severe reduction in or complete loss of vision
- Reduced quality of life
These consequences must be permanent or are not expected to improve much, if at all, in the future.
Contact a Catastrophic Injury Attorney in St. Louis for Help Getting Compensation
You should call the catastrophic injury law attorneys at Sansone & Lauber as soon as possible after your accident. It is easier to obtain eyewitness testimony, video recordings, and physical evidence about your accident immediately after it occurs. This type of evidence is often necessary to establish that your injury was due to someone’s negligence or reckless disregard for your safety.
Next, your lawyer at Sansone & Lauber will need to obtain your full medical records to establish that the accident directly caused your severe injuries. Experts may be required to provide evidence that your injuries are permanently disabling, and to what extent.
Once we have established the facts of your case, our catastrophic injury lawyers can proceed with a lawsuit asking for compensation for:
- Your medical bills during your recovery from the accident
- Your future medical bills related to the ongoing care and treatment you will need for the consequences of your injury
- Your lost wages during your recovery
- Your lost future wages due to inability to obtain gainful employment or the need to seek a less well-compensated job due to your injuries
- Your pain, suffering, and emotional anguish
Our firm is ready to fight for you and will do everything in our power to seek the compensation that you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us right away for help.