Serious and Catastrophic Injury Attorneys in Kansas City
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that resulted in serious or catastrophic injuries, it’s important that you take a calculated approach to handling the situation. If negligence or fault can be proven, you may be eligible to a large compensation package and financial reward. While each situation is different and circumstances vary greatly between individual cases, it is almost always how you respond in the aftermath of the accident that determines if and how much you are able to recoup.
What Is Considered a Serious or Catastrophic Injury?
Any accident that results in injury and damage can pose significant consequences to your health, body, and financial and emotional well-being. If someone else’s actions led to your injuries, you may be able to collect compensation under a personal injury lawsuit. However, not all instances of personal injury qualify for serious or catastrophic injury damages.
You may be experiencing a serious injury if you suffered an instance of personal injury that leads to significant, permanent consequences. Any accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness that results in any of the following consequences may qualify under these circumstances.
- Dismemberment or significant disfigurement
- The permanent limitation of use for a body part, organ, function, or system
- The loss of an unborn child
- A temporary injury to a person that limits his or her ability to participate in his or her daily routine for a certain period of time
- The permanent loss of use for a body part, organ, function, or system
- The death of a person
If you or loved one were in an accident that was the fault of another person or entity and any of the above consequences occurred, you may qualify for serious or catastrophic injury damages. Contact the Kansas City personal injury lawyers at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet today to schedule your free case evaluation and to discuss your legal options.
Do You Need a Kansas City Catastrophic Injury Lawyer?
If you are grappling with the aftermath of a serious or catastrophic injury, you may feel confused, in pain, or unsure what to do next. You may believe that you can handle the insurance claim or lawsuit on your own, and investing in an attorney may not be important. However, it is critical that you consult with a catastrophic injury attorney after an accident – and that you hire one to assist you with your case.
Catastrophic and serious injury lawsuits often involve very high amounts of compensation and serious investigation. Filing a lawsuit and holding the at-fault parties accountable requires significant knowledge and legal training, which an attorney from Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet can provide for your case.
- Serious and catastrophic injury cases involve extremely high amounts of damage. In these situations, multiple parties may have played a part in what happened to you or your loved one, including people, government entities, and private companies. You may have to face large legal teams when you file a lawsuit for your injuries. When you hire a catastrophic injury lawyer to assist your case, you receive experienced guidance through the Kansas City legal system and a strong knowledge of personal injury law to help you build a compelling case in your favor.
- Because serious and catastrophic injury cases involve significant damages, the settlement amounts can be very high. You may not know how to calculate all of your potential damages alone, or know which damages you may qualify for. Your attorney will help you explore all possible avenues to compensation and calculate your possible damages, helping you work towards the highest potential outcome.
- You may have to negotiate with the at-fault party’s attorneys and insurance companies to reach a settlement for your injuries. Since it is not in these entities’ best interest to pay you the maximum amount, you may not receive a sufficient settlement up front. A personal injury attorney will have the skills necessary to evaluate these settlement offers and negotiate for a higher amount to help you recover.
- When you file a lawsuit for serious or catastrophic injuries, you will need to prove that the at-fault party acted in negligence and caused your damages. Proving negligence can be very difficult and requires knowledge of personal injury case law, as well as investigating and collecting crucial pieces of evidence. Your attorney will have the skills and resources necessary to help fully investigate your case to prove negligence, including interviewing witnesses and accessing surveillance footage.
- Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the type of injuries you are suffering from, your case may require expert testimony and services, such as accident reconstruction, to help prove your lawsuit. Your attorney will have access to a network of expert witnesses he or she can contact to help assist with your case.
Types of Serious/Catastrophic Injuries
Serious or catastrophic injuries come in various forms. However, they all have one thing in common: they are either life-altering or life-threatening. Let’s take a look at some examples:
- Brain injuries. According to the CDC, more than 30% of injury-related deaths in the United States are related to traumatic brain injuries. That is an incredibly high number and is nothing to look lightly upon. Because the death and permanent disability rates are so high, it is crucial that you get the financial compensation you need to pay for the best care possible. When brain injuries do not lead to death, they often cause lifelong mental issues, paralysis, seizures, and other complications.
- Spinal cord injuries. After brain-related accidents, spinal cord injuries are the most serious injuries. The CDC believes there are between 12,000 and 20,000 new spinal cord-related injuries each year in the United States, and many of those are related to negligence. These injuries can be life-threatening and often lead to paralysis, loss of feeling, and chronic pain.
- Scarring or disfigurement. While maybe not life-threatening like brain or spinal cord injuries, scarring or disfigurement can certainly be catastrophic and life-altering. Burn injuries often require extensive medical treatment, surgeries, and ongoing care. Disfigurement can prevent you from completing tasks you were once capable of doing.
- Electrical injuries. Electrocution or electrical-related injuries are very serious. They can harm internal organs, lead to brain damage, and cause serious pain in victims. In many situations, electrical injuries require long-term medical care and treatment.
- Broken bones. While a broken bone may not sound like a serious or catastrophic injury at first glance, they can have life-altering effects in certain situations. This is especially true when breaks occur in multiple places, bones pierce the skin, or breaks cause internal bleeding or ruptures.
How Do You Prove Negligence?
To successfully secure a settlement in a serious or catastrophic injury case, you will need to prove that the at-fault party acted in negligence, leading to your injuries. Proving negligence in a catastrophic injury case is the same process as other personal injury cases.
To prove negligence in a personal injury case in Kansas City, you and your attorney will need to work together to satisfy the following four elements.
- First, you will need to prove that the person or entities responsible for your accident owed you a duty of care in some way. For example, if you lost a limb in a car accident, you can prove this element by the fact that all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road by driving safely and following all traffic rules.
- Next, you will need to prove that the at-fault party breached his or her duty of care to you in some way. For car accidents, proving that the other driver caused the collision or broke a traffic rule, leading to the collision, can help satisfy this element. If you fell down broken stairs in your apartment complex and suffered a spinal cord injury, you can prove a breach by providing evidence that your landlord knew about the broken stairs and failed to fix them.
- Third, you will need to prove that the breach of duty of care led to your serious or catastrophic injuries. You will need to provide evidence to satisfy this element, such as surveillance footage, medical records, and correspondence. This will involve significant investigation on the part of you and your attorney.
- Finally, you will need to prove that you suffered damages as a result of the serious injury that you can collect in your lawsuit. These damages can be both economic and non-economic in nature, such as emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you suffered a serious or catastrophic injury as a result of medical malpractice, the elements to proving negligence are very similar to standard personal injury cases. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional breaches his or her duty of care and causes harm to you in the process.
- The first step to proving negligence in a medical malpractice case is to establish that you and the medical professional had a doctor-patient relationship. You can prove this element by showing that you were under the doctor’s care in a professional capacity at the time of your injury. If you took advice from a friend who happens to be a nurse, you cannot establish a duty of care. However, if the nurse treated you in a hospital setting, you can prove this element.
- Next, you and your attorney will need to prove that the medical professional breached his or her duty of care to you and failed to uphold professional standards. You will need to prove that the doctor’s actions were contrary to what a similarly trained and educated, reasonable doctor would have done. Your attorney may need to consult with expert witnesses to prove this element.
- Third, you will need to prove that the medical professional’s actions caused your injuries. For a medical malpractice case, this can be very difficult because it is very likely you visited the doctor for treatment of the same or another condition. For example, if the doctor ignored your symptoms of meningitis and the progression of the condition led to a loss of hearing, you will need to prove that the doctor’s ignorance led to your injuries. This element may also involve consultation with a medical expert and other medical professionals who provided treatment to you.
- Finally, you will need to prove that your injury led to damages you can collect in the lawsuit. This element is similar to personal injury cases. You can only claim damages related to the injury you suffered as a result of the breach, not the condition you visited the medical professional to treat. Your attorney can help you determine which damages are eligible for your settlement.
Recovering Damages for Serious/Catastrophic Injuries
If you or a loved one has sustained serious or catastrophic injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you can hold them liable for your suffering. In most cases, this means filing a claim for negligence and proving the defendant was at fault. This requires you and your legal team to prove (1) that the defendant had a duty of care to look out for your best interests, (2) the defendant breached that duty, (3) that you sustained injuries, and (4) that your injuries were sustained as a result of the breach of duty.
If each of the four elements of your negligence claim are satisfied, you will be eligible to receive some sort of compensation. This may include recompense for any or all of the following: medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, future lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, emotional trauma, loss of consortium, and more.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Serious Injuries in Missouri?
If you are filing a serious or catastrophic injury lawsuit in Missouri, you will need to ensure that you file your claim within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a deadline under which you must file your lawsuit, or the Missouri civil court will refuse to hear your case.
For personal injury cases, you have five years from the date of the injury to file your case. However, if you did not and could not become aware of your injury until a later date, you have five years from the date of discovery to file your claim.
If your case involves any government agencies or employees, the statute of limitations is much shorter – you only have 90 days from the date of your injury and you must file it with the Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division. If your case involves medical malpractice, you have two years from the date of the injury or the date of discovery to file your claim.
Get Legal Help Today
For legal matters involving serious or catastrophic injuries, it is extremely critical that you obtain legal guidance in all matters related to the situation. An experienced Kansas City injury attorney can help you build a solid case that allows you to maximize compensation and move on with your life. While nothing can replace your health, you can at least rest assured your expenses will be paid for and your family taken care of.