Alabama Serious Injuries Attorney
You never think it will happen to you, until it does. A serious injury can include a car or trucking accident, a fall, an injury on a premise that is not your fault. Everyday products you assume are safe can injure you or your family. Doctors who you trust can make medication, surgical, and diagnosis errors that can cause serious injury or death.
While scrapes and bruises heal, there are some injuries that are more serious and can cause catastrophic harm and a financial hardship that can last a lifetime. It is at this time that you need an advocate on your side.
During a long recovery, you will require the finances to take care of your bills and your family, especially if you’re unable to work. A consultation with our law firm will lay out your options to help pave the road to recovery and make your future more secure.
What do we mean by catastrophic?
By definition, a catastrophic accident is one that results in severe injury to the brain, skull, spinal cord, appendages or senses. It may mean the injuries are permanent and the victim is unable to return to work or even function in the world as he/she previously did due to the serious long-term effects.
Unlike some personal injury cases, the injured individual may need a lifetime of care due to his/her impairment.
Injuries fall under two categories – economic and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages – If your property such as a car or house is damaged, if you incur hospital bills and medical expenses, these are economic damages. In other words, these are actual monetary losses that you would not have incurred unless you were injured.
Non-Economic Damages – These are the real human losses such as loss of life, emotional trauma, loss of a partner, and pain and suffering. Non-economic damages can also be compensated with the understanding that money does not bring back your lost loved one, but it is the only remedy we can seek in a civil court.
If we can demonstrate that your accident was not your fault and caused by the negligence of another, you may be able to be compensated for your financial and emotional losses.
One of the most serious injuries one can suffer is an impact to the head. It could happen when you hit the dashboard or are thrown from the vehicle. Head injuries can also occur on the playground and while playing sports.
Basically, in a concussion the soft tissue of the brain slams into the skull. The injury can be temporary or long-term and permanent.
The brain has a limit to how much it can heal following a permanent traumatic blow to the head.
In Alabama, the Department of Rehabilitation Services finds that falls are the greatest cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) (35.2%) followed by a blow to the head (16.5%), assault (10%) and a motor vehicle accident (10%).
TBI is a contributing factor to almost one-third of injury-related deaths in the U.S., according to the agency.
Spinal Cord Injuries
We have seen from time to time the injuries that can occur to the spinal cord in an accident. A soft tissue injury in a car accident, compression injury from the impact of a crash, bulging discs, and crushed vertebrae.
An injury to the spinal cord can result in paralysis and the inability to walk and perform normal tasks which might include performing your job.
These back injuries can be serious and lifelong.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham finds that in the U.S. there are 17,730 new spinal cord injuries (SCI) a year. The average age at the time of injury is 43 years old and about 78% are male.
The top causes of Spinal Injuries include:
*Acts of violence (gunshot wounds)
Historically, the lifetime costs of a serious spinal cord injury is $5 million for someone injured at age 25 and more than $1 million during the first year.
It is our sincere hope that the injury you suffered can be improved with medical treatments and physical therapy.
Time Limit Following an Injury
Time is of the essence in a personal injury lawsuit and consulting with an experienced team will help ensure that you do not miss any deadlines for filings.
In Alabama, the statute of limitations requires you to file a lawsuit within two years after the date of your accident. If you choose to file a claim after that time, it will be time-barred, and you will be unable to file.
Why file a lawsuit? If you are responsible for your accident and there is no one else to blame, you would not file an action. However, if you are injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, you can file a claim in civil court for compensation. Why should you pay medical bills and suffer lost wages and perhaps permanent disability when someone else caused you to be injured?
Who is at Fault?
Consider a car accident where you are the pedestrian and a driver hits you in the crosswalk. It would seem to be pretty clear that the driver of the automobile is at fault. But Alabama law requires you to clear another hurdle to file a successful lawsuit. If you in anyway contributed to your injury, you may not have a case.
If, for instance, you were walking against the stoplight, Alabama’s “contributory negligence” rule would apply. Under contributory negligence, even if you are found to be only 1% at fault, you may be barred from recovering compensation for your injuries.
Most other states allow a person the right to recovery even if they have some degree of fault, so this is an additional challenge you have to overcome if your injury occurred in Alabama.
Other Limits to Claims
Under Alabama law, there are no limits on personal injury compensation.
After you file your claim and determine how much you will ask for in compensatory damages, there is an opportunity, in some cases, to ask for punitive damages. These are designed to punish the responsible party for bad behavior in an effort to prevent it from happening in the future.
Alabama caps punitive damages at $1.5 million or three times the compensatory damages award.
Long-Term Care for a Catastrophic Injury
Because of the long-term nature of a catastrophic injury, the family may need to become full-time caregivers. That means adjustments, not only financially, but in terms of resources that must be accessed now and in the future.
The standard in Alabama is “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant you are opposing acted with “deliberate or conscious malice,” and it is a high bar to cross. We hope you are never facing a serious or life-altering injury but if you are, our experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys will be able to guide as to how to proceed. To schedule a free consultation and case assessment, call our office today at 251-473-6691.