Most injuries heal. Many injuries, however, leave individuals and families in New Orleans and elsewhere in the U.S. forever changed. When severe damage is inflicted on the brain, spinal cord, or other internal organs, or an accident leads to extensive burns or the loss of a limb, the impact of such an injury never fully goes away. The person who once was may be no more. The life a family once enjoyed may now be one of constant and overwhelming challenges. Years or decades of painful and expensive medical care and rehabilitation coupled with the emotional, financial, and practical fallout of a catastrophic injury can be a burden that even the strongest families may find too much to bear.
The New Orleans catastrophic injury lawyers at Bloom Legal understand how difficult things can be if you or a loved one has suffered from life-changing injury. When such an injury is the result of another person or company’s negligent or reckless conduct, they need to be held accountable for the pain and havoc they have left in their wake. With experience, tenacity, and an unwavering commitment to the well-being of our clients and their families, we fight for those who are fighting for their lives, working tirelessly to get them the compensation, resources, and justice they deserve.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
While there is no one settled definition on what a “catastrophic” injury is, it is generally considered to be one in which the victim will suffer from permanent long-term disability that will prevent them from working and supporting their families. Of course, the impact of a catastrophic injury goes far beyond the inability to earn a living, changing almost every aspect of a family’s day-to-day life.
The kinds of injuries which are generally considered to be catastrophic include:
- Brain injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 1.4 million Americans sustain a brain injury each year. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a catastrophic type of brain damage caused by an external force striking the head, whether from the skull making impact with the ground or an object piercing the cranial plate to penetrate the brain. Such injuries may dramatically change a person’s personality, make it difficult or impossible for them to remember things or communicate, or even prevent them from recognizing and interacting with family or friends.
- Spinal cord injuries. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 17,700 new spinal cord injury cases in the U.S. every year and approximately 288,000 Americans are currently living with a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is how the brain communicates with our body for function and movement. When it is injured or broken, the part of the body controlled by the affected area may lose its ability to function, resulting in permanent disability or paralysis. This can leave the lower extremities non-functioning (quadriplegia) or impact all four limbs (paraplegia).
- Amputations/Loss of limbs. If you lose an arm, leg, foot or hand, whether in a car accident, work incident or other traumatic event, day-to-day activities you took for granted before your injury can become huge challenges. In addition to the psychological and physical difficulties of coping with the loss of a body part, you may also experience a strange sensation known as phantom pain whereby you experience sensations in the body part that has been severed from the body.
Other types of injuries which can be classified as catastrophic include severe or extensive burns, multiple bone fractures, and organ damage.
What Causes Catastrophic Injuries?
A catastrophic injury can happen almost anywhere in or out of New Orleans, and it can occur at almost any time. Catastrophic injuries are usually the result of sudden, unexpected and powerful trauma to the head or body. This can happen at work or at home, in a car or on a playing field.
It is likely no surprise that car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are a leading cause of catastrophic injuries, but plenty of other activities regularly lead to thousands of such devastating injuries every year. For example, you may not know that cheerleading is the second leading cause of catastrophic injuries in all high school sports. It was responsible for 65 percent of direct catastrophic injuries to female high school athletes during a 27-year period, according to a 2012 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In addition to vehicle accidents and sports injuries, catastrophic injuries often occur because of:
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Trips and falls
- Medical errors
- Dangerous or defective consumer products
- Defective medical devices or drugs
The Costs of Catastrophic Injuries Go Far Beyond Dollars and Cents
No matter how a catastrophic injury happens or what kind of injury is suffered, victims in New Orleans and beyond share common struggles and can incur expenses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Since these injuries also leave victims unable to work, and especially for those lacking adequate insurance, the financial burdens of a catastrophic injury are almost incomprehensible.
Take spinal cord injuries as an example:
- According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the average yearly cost of treatment for those with paraplegia is $537,271 in the first year, and $71,172 every year thereafter.
- According to the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation, average expenses for individuals with quadriplegia are approximately $1 million in the first year and $184,000 every following year.
- Just 11.7% of people with a spinal cord injury are employed within one year after the injury. At 20 years post-injury, that figure is 35.2%.
The immediate financial impact is enough to bankrupt most families and includes such short-term needs as:
- Emergency medical care
- Lengthy hospitalization
- Multiple surgeries and other medical treatments
- Initial rehabilitation and physical or occupational therapy
- Multiple and expensive medications
- Special equipment and medical supplies needed for returning home.
That is just the beginning. Costs of treatment and care for catastrophic injuries never really end. They include:
- Additional surgeries, procedures and treatments
- Ongoing costs of medical equipment and supplies
- Ongoing rehabilitation and therapy
- Modifications or additions to the home to accommodate the person’s limitations and disabilities
- Transportation costs, including the purchase and maintenance of a wheelchair-accessible vehicle and lift
- Medical care for secondary conditions and complications
- Home health care and nursing services
- Household help
- Long-term care
- Custodial care
- Psychological counseling
Not all of the costs of a catastrophic injury are reflected on medical bills or pay stubs. How do you put a price on playing catch with your child? What is the value of being able to ride a bike or go on a hike? How much does it cost emotionally and psychologically to not be able to take care of yourself or your family?
Our New Orleans catastrophic injury lawyers are well aware that, for the loved ones of catastrophic injury victims, the costs are equally incalculable. All of the love, care, and commitment in the world do not make up for shattered dreams and visions of the future that were taken away in an instant. The psychological, physical, and emotional toll of caring for a family member with a catastrophic injury can push families to the breaking point.
These “non-economic” damages are just as real and just as consequential as those that can be calculated in dollars and cents. And while no amount of money can ever fully make up for a life that has been forever changed or diminished because of someone else’s negligence, compensation obtained in a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible for such pain and loss can go a long way towards making life better and helping victims and their families move forward.
Damages available in Louisiana catastrophic injury lawsuits can include compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Costs of ongoing rehabilitation, therapy, treatment, and medication
- Costs of equipment or alterations to the home
- Loss of past and future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disability or disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium
Why Work With Experienced New Orleans Catastrophic Injury Lawyers?
Not all catastrophic injuries are the fault of other people, and not every catastrophic injury will give rise to a personal injury lawsuit. However, many if not most catastrophic injuries are due to the negligent, careless or intentional acts of others.
This could be a reckless or intoxicated driver. It might be an employer who fails to provide a safe working environment for employees. A property owner who leaves his property in an unreasonably dangerous condition or a person who commits a violent act. When the irresponsible actions of such individuals destroy lives by causing a catastrophic injury, they can and should be held accountable.
Obtaining compensation for a catastrophic injury requires an attorney who has the legal acumen and advocacy skills to prove that the defendant was at fault for causing the injury. Medical knowledge, a full understanding of the law, and a commitment to leaving no stone unturned are all non-negotiable qualities of the best catastrophic injury lawyers. But obtaining the maximum amount of compensation available requires much more.
New Orleans catastrophic injury lawyers must have the ability to effectively convey to insurance companies, judges, and juries the full extent of your losses. Medical and occupational experts need to be obtained who can testify as to the scope and impact of your injuries and its impact on your ability to work. Evidence as to physical and psychological pain and suffering needs to be presented to convey the true toll on the life of the injury victim. Friends, neighbors, and family members who see and experience the victim’s struggles every single day may be called upon to paint a full picture of how a single moment forever changed many lives.
Additionally, catastrophic injuries often lead to other complications later on. For example, total or partial paralysis from a spinal cord injury can cause or contribute to a range of other health problems, including:
- Bowel and bladder dysfunction
- Loss or impairment of sexual function
- Chronic pain
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
All of these possibilities need to be taken into account as well when considering the appropriate amount of compensation in a catastrophic injury lawsuit.
Families Living With a Catastrophic Injury Can Trust Bloom Legal to Fight for Them
At Bloom Legal, we are relentless in our pursuit of compensation for victims of catastrophic injuries. Our team has the resources, determination, and experience that families can depend on during a dark and difficult time.
Our fierce dedication to our clients isn’t limited to forceful advocacy in the courtroom or at the negotiating table. Our attorneys and staff pride themselves on the way we treat each and every client with respect, compassion, patience, and concern.
We understand the confusion and uncertainty that can follow a catastrophic injury. Questions and worries abound. They can keep you up at night and fill your days with stress and anxiety. We see it as an essential part of our mission to provide answers, comfort, and peace of mind to catastrophic injury victims and their families.
When you call Bloom Legal, you will speak with one of our New Orleans catastrophic injury lawyers right away—not a member of our support staff. When you meet with us for your free initial consultation, we will take the time to truly listen to your story. We will evaluate the circumstances of your case and give you an honest and clear evaluation of your claims. We will discuss and explore your options so you can make a fully informed decision as to how best to proceed.
Remember, not only is your initial consultation free, but you pay nothing in attorney’s fees if we do not recover compensation for you. Even if you are unsure whether you have a claim, there is no reason not to call. Louisiana law establishes strict time limits for filing catastrophic injury lawsuits, and if you don’t act in time, you could lose any right to recover compensation for your losses.
Call Bloom Legal Today to Discuss Your Catastrophic Injury Matter
Please call the New Orleans catastrophic injury lawyers at Bloom Legal today at 504-599-9997 or through our contact form to arrange for your free consultation to discuss the details of your case. We welcome the opportunity and privilege of being your lawyers and helping you obtain the compensation and justice you deserve.
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I contacted Bloom Legal out of the blue with a strange question for a fiction series I’m writing that takes place in New Orleans. Being from Maryland I was in the dark and needed assistance and they jumped at the chance to help me (they were the only law firm that responded to my e-mail). His team worked quickly and carefully to find the information I needed. Because of the help they provided it changed a large aspect of my novel and for that I am very grateful.
Posted by: Sarah Perrie