Understanding Complex Catastrophic, Personal Injury Claims
In essence, a catastrophic injury is a severe injury to the brain, spine, or spinal cord. It can also include fractures to the skull or spine. These injuries are devastating and most often life altering. One such accident happened last month. In late January 2016, Nick Liffert, an active church goer and a volunteer with the All Saints’ Youth Group ski retreat, suffered a serious spinal cord injury. Mr. Liffert was leaning back too far and fell back crushing his C6 vertebrae as he landed on his back. He then slid into two other males. In the end, his C6 vertebrae was crushed and his spinal cord was damaged. His injuries prompted emergency surgery in effort to remove the fragments and place a bone graft and metal plate and screws to stabilize the area. Today, Mr. Liffert is in ICU with a good group of nurses and doctors. From this injury, Mr. Liffert has no feeling below his breastbones. Luckily, however, he can move his arms and he has no brain damage.
Your Case and the Investigation
As mentioned above, a catastrophic injury is a severe injury to the spine, spinal cord, brain, or even fractures to the skull or spine. If the injury occurs by an employee during the regular course of his or her job duties, a dilemma arises. Imagine that an employee is constructing a house and is climbing a 10-foot ladder. The ladder suddenly folds and the employee falls significantly injuring his spine and is now paralyzed. As you may already know, if this individual pursues a workers’ compensation claim, his rights of recovery, as a matter of law, will then be substantially limited. In specific, the injured employee will not be able to file suit against his or her employer.
The settlements in workers’ compensation cases are also limited. This is due to the fact that you will only be entitled to lost wage benefits on 66 2/3 percent of your gross weekly pay along with your payment of your work related medical bills. What is noteworthy is that if you file a claim for workers’ compensation, you are not then entitled to damages for pain and suffering. You are, however, entitled to such damages if you opt to file a personal injury lawsuit in lieu of workers’ compensation. Thus, for catastrophic injuries, you can get substantially more damages by pursuing a personal injury claim.
For this reason, if the employee suffers from a catastrophic injury, he or she should think about other theories of recovery or compensation. For one, a products liability case can be filed against the manufacturer of the ladder. This may lead to significant compensation. What’s more, if the employee was injured on a worksite, there may be multiple contractors involved whom are responsible for certain parts of the construction project. Thus, the injured employee’s attorney should investigate the circumstances of all those involved with the project.
Take Action for your Case
If you or your loved one suffered a catastrophic injury, you should hire an experienced catastrophic personal injury attorney. Such an attorney can be found. We are among the largest personal injury law firms in Philadelphia. You do not owe us anything unless we recover money on your behalf. Call us at 866.569.3400 for a free consultation.