Columbia Attorneys for Catastrophic & Serious Injuries
Severe injuries are devasting and life-changing. When someone suffers a catastrophic injury, it can take a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims and their families. Victims of serious injuries are typically unable to work for an extended period of time, and even after months or years of rehabilitation, they will often never be able to make a full recovery. If you or a loved one has suffered a severe injury due to the negligence or recklessness of another party, you deserve to be fully compensated.
At Peake & Fowler, our Columbia personal injury attorneys have helped victims of some of the most serious injuries recover compensation through negotiated settlements with the at-fault parties and their insurance companies, as well as through litigating cases in court to jury verdicts and judgments. We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators, and we fight hard to protect the rights and interests of each client we serve.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic or serious injuries can occur in a number of instances, including:
- Car, truck and motorcycle accidents;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Construction sites and industrial workplace accidents;
- Nursing home abuse or neglect;
- Medical malpractice;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Fires and explosions;
- Sports-related accidents;
- Intentional acts of violence.
When these injuries occur, special care must be taken to make sure the victim is thoroughly compensated. Serious injuries often cause permanent disability or other long-term injury which requires ongoing medical care and therapy. In addition, modifications to the home, personal vehicles and work space (where applicable) may be necessary to enable the accident victim to achieve the maximum in independence, self-care, mobility and quality of life.
As attorneys with over 100 years of combined experience helping victims of serious accidents and injuries recover compensation from responsible parties, we understand what it takes to prepare and present a persuasive case for the full amount of compensation which is appropriate. Whether negotiating with an insurance company or trying a case to judge and jury, we take the time to investigate and build a strong case and fight for the rights of our clients to be compensated to the fullest extent of the law.
Our lawyers help victims of all types of accidents with serious injuries cope with the challenges and costs of living. This includes but is not limited to:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A traumatic brain injury can be a blow, jolt, bump, or any other type of injury that causes disruption of the normal brain function. This can have lifelong consequences, often resulting in cognitive dysfunction, emotional problems, abnormal speech patterns, and limited mobility of the arms and legs.
- Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Spinal injuries are characterized by a wide range of symptoms; including loss of movement, loss or altered sensation (e.g., the ability to touch, feel heat or cold, etc.), sharp and shooting pain (often due to nerve damage), spasms and other exaggerated reflex actions, loss of bladder control, difficulty with balance or walking, and paralysis.
- Back Injury: Back injuries are closely related to spinal cord injuries and are characterized by many of the same symptoms. Injuries to the upper, middle, and lower back can restrict mobility and make it difficult to run, walk, lift, and do other physical activities.
- Burns: Serious burns (i.e., 2nd or 3rd degree burns) can cause severe scarring, bloodstream infection (sepsis), severe fluid or blood loss, hypothermia, breathing problems, disfigurement, and depending on the location and severity of the burns, permanent disability.
- Fractures: Serious injury victims often suffer fractures (broken bones) in various places of the body. Depending on the age and health of the victim and the severity of the injury, a fracture could take months or even years to heal. In many cases, victims are never able to fully recover from a severe fracture.
- Amputations: Losing a limb is a major physical setback for any accident injury victim. Amputees have tremendous physical and emotional challenges adjusting to the fact that they will never be able to use their lost limb again.
- Loss of Sight or Hearing: Losing one of your five senses is another incomprehensible setback. Not being able to see and/or hear again requires some major life alterations to say the least.
- Ruptured Internal Organs: A ruptured spleen, kidney, liver or other organ can cause internal bleeding. If this is not detected shortly after the accident, it can quickly become a life-threatening situation.
Damages Available in Serious Injury Cases
In most cases, catastrophic injuries are permanent or at the very least, the effects are felt for several months or even years. In addition, these injuries have a much larger impact on not only the victim, but on their loved ones as well. For this reason, damages in serious injury cases tend to be significantly higher than in cases with minor injuries.
Categories of damages for severe injuries may include:
- Medical Bills: Serious injury victims must be compensated for all their current and future medical costs, including the costs of rehabilitation, ongoing doctor visits, in-home care, etc.
- Loss of Earnings: A severe injury will likely keep the victim out of work for a long time. In the case of a permanent disability, there is a chance they will never be able to perform the same type of work again. Current and future earnings lost because of the injury should be compensated.
- Pain and Suffering: A major injury results in severe physical pain and suffering. It is hard to put a dollar amount on physical pain. This number is often calculated by multiplying the total medical expenses and lost earnings by a set number, or multiplier. In catastrophic injury cases, the multiplier can often be 10 or higher.
- Emotional Distress: A permanent injury can have a major psychological impact on victims and their families. Anxiety, mental anguish, sleepless nights, and other types of emotional trauma must be accounted for and compensated.
- Loss of Consortium: Some types of serious injuries deprive the person closest to the victim of a loving relationship. One prime example is someone who is paralyzed from the waist down and no longer able to perform certain physical functions.
- Wrongful Death: Complications from severe injuries sometimes turn fatal, resulting in a wrongful death claim.
- Punitive Damages: In some rare cases in which the injury was caused by especially egregious conduct on the part of the responsible party, punitive damages may be awarded to ensure that this type of behavior is not repeated.
How Severe Injuries Affect Families
In the days, weeks, and months after a catastrophic injury, much remains unknown. Even with the best doctors working on a victim’s case, their prognosis can change in moments. However, you or your loved one will likely need ongoing care. This may happen different ways, based on your circumstances and the support available to you.
In some situations, an injured individual has around-the-clock care from a licensed caregiver or periodic visits from a home health aide. This may involve helping the victim take baths, take medications, eat, perform range-of-motion exercises, and otherwise meet their daily needs. For victims who are less profoundly impacted by their injuries, they may only need physical assistance for some tasks.
If a paid caregiver is not in the budget or is not available, a family member may step up to fill this role. This obviously changes the family dynamics and can put enormous physical and mental stress on the caregiver, especially if they used to lean on the accident victim as a source of support.
The victim’s care needs may change throughout their lifetime. You may find that your condition improves with time and you need less assistance for daily tasks, or your mobility may become even more limited and require you to accept more help from others.
Changes in Financial and Homemaking Obligations
Almost everyone in the family will feel the strain of changed obligations. In a two-parent home, one parent suffering a catastrophic injury generally means the loss of one source of income. This forces the other parent to step up and provide financial stability, even if it means working extra hours or taking a second job. However, they also have to do more at home as their spouse can no longer do household chores or provide childcare.
Under this strain, it can be difficult for the victim to get the care they need. They may start to feel like a burden on the family, a feeling that often leads to depression or anxiety. Some may not ask for help when they need it, because they don’t want to impose on anyone.
Children can also suffer in this arrangement. They may need to grow up more quickly than they otherwise would, stepping in to do laundry, prepare meals, and take charge of their own homework and extracurriculars. This can lead to resentment, which is why it is important for everyone in the family—not just the victim—to get the counseling and support they need.
All of these changes place a strain on a family’s finances. A personal injury settlement is often the best way for accident victims to get the financial help they need when they suffer because of someone else’s negligence.
A personal injury settlement allows you to seek compensation for all of the many losses you suffer after a catastrophic injury.
Contact Experienced Columbia Serious Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured due to the negligence or misconduct of another, you need the help of experienced injury lawyers who know what it takes to get the maximum amount of compensation. At Peake & Fowler, we understand what victims of catastrophic injuries and their families go through, and we do everything possible to make the legal process smooth and stress-free. Our initial consultations are always free, and we take all injury cases on a contingency basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case.
In Columbia and surrounding areas, call our Personal Injury lawyers at 803-788-4370 to schedule your free consultation.
Peake & Fowler Law Firm, P.A., is located in Columbia, SC and serves clients in and around Newberry, Lexington, Sumter, Allendale, Orangeburg, St. Matthews, Bishopville, Florence, Blythewood, State Park, Eastover, Columbia, Elgin, Irmo, Hopkins, Ridgeway, Lugoff, Ballentine, West Columbia, Kershaw, Camden, Dusty Bend, and Richland County, Lexington County, Calhoun County, Orangeburg County, Sumter County, Kershaw County, Newberry County, Fairfield County, Lee County, Clarendon County and Florence County.