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Are My Injuries “Catastrophic” Enough To File A Claim?


Florida law recognizes the concept of “catastrophic” injuries, but the law does not have a strict, specific definition of which injuries should be declared catastrophic. Obviously, any injury that someone sustains as a result of another person’s negligence may result in a personal injury claim – but if your injuries are life-changing, the ‘catastrophic’ designation may apply in your case. Contacting an experienced attorney can help to clarify matters.

What Constitutes “Catastrophic” Injury?

When someone is severely injured in an accident and sustains a permanent injury or disability, it can generally be classified as “catastrophic,” even though the state has no specific definition of that term.  Florida’s workers’ compensation statute lists a catastrophic injury as one that causes “permanent and total disability,” which is sometimes used as an effective shorthand, but an injured person should never be afraid that their injuries do not ‘meet the criteria,’ since there is no criteria to begin with.

If one examines past cases, they can see that a host of different types of injuries have been classified as “catastrophic” for purposes of benefits and/or insurance. Examples include:

  • Incapacitation;
  • The loss of a limb;
  • Severe burns resulting in permanent scarring, particularly on one’s face;
  • Serious damage to one’s head, neck, back, or spinal cord (that is, an injury that interferes with one of the body’s major systems); and
  • Any significant injury that prevents you from performing “any gainful work” for which you are employed.

Something else to keep in mind is that it does not matter how you were injured specifically; if you were “significant[ly] and permanent[ly] injured” as a result of someone else’s negligence, whether it was in a car crash or, say, a slip-and-fall accident, you have the right to seek compensation.

You Have The Right To File Your Claim

One way that one might be able to determine their injuries are sufficiently catastrophic is based on how one’s insurer reacts. With a standard accident claim, an insurer may ask a few questions, but will often pay. With a catastrophic injury claim, insurers may ask to see the injuries themselves as proof of your claim’s seriousness, and unfortunately, it often happens that insurers will create more problems in cases where a victim has been severely injured – after all, it is not in their corporate interest to simply pay for large, potentially complex claims.

Every case is different, and even if your injuries are held to not be ‘catastrophic,’ you still have the right to seek compensation for what you have been through if someone else allegedly caused your injuries. Some injury victims choose not to file suit, even though they could, because the prospect of navigating the legal process is too intimidating. An experienced attorney can handle the legal process, while you and your loved ones try to focus primarily on recovery. You do not have to do this alone.

Contact A Tampa Catastrophic Injury Attorney

Any kind of injury that happens because of another person’s recklessness can change your life, but if you sustain any kind of significant and permanent harm, the sense of loss, of fear and confusion are very real. You need an experienced and compassionate Tampa catastrophic injury attorney who understands that your case is about more than figures on paper. The Rinaldo Law Group has handled many of these matters, and is ready to work hard for you. Call our offices today for a free consultation.



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