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What Exactly Is A Catastrophic Injury?


While the legal definition can vary, in general, a catastrophic injury is one that leaves a person disabled enough where they cannot work or sustain themselves without some kind of assistance. Florida law speaks of injuries that are “significant and permanent,” such as losing the use of a bodily function or a limb, among other types. Too many people who experience these events are left exhausted and too overwhelmed to file suit against the person who caused them such injury – but if you are able, filing suit can potentially lead to a financial settlement that could keep your finances in good order while you adjust to a new life direction.

Causes Life-Changing Harm

If you are deemed to have suffered a ‘catastrophic’ injury, it does not necessarily mean that it falls into any other specific legal category. Rather, categorizing certain injuries in this way means that a judge or jury is aware that you have incurred significant medical expenses and had to fundamentally adjust certain aspects of your life. If your injury was due to another person’s negligence, it can seem all the more catastrophic.

Some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), amputations, any injury that causes partial or full paralysis, and severe burns, among others. These injuries can cause trauma not only from initial impact, but also from a long treatment period, including potentially invasive surgeries and other necessary procedures. You deserve the right to seek compensation and closure from the person whose recklessness changed your life.

Recovering For Your Injuries

Because of the severity of the injuries you have sustained and the physical, psychological, and financial harm to you and your family, the likelihood of recovery may be higher in your case than in the average personal injury suit – provided, of course, that you establish the defendant as negligently causing your injuries. Like any other personal injury case, an injured plaintiff must establish four criteria. They are:

  • A duty of care was owed to the plaintiff by the defendant;
  • That duty was breached;
  • The breach happened directly because of the defendant’s actions (or failure to act); and
  • The plaintiff suffered damages (usually physical injuries, though they may also be mental, emotional, or financial).

Be advised that even if you are found partially responsible for your own injuries, you will generally still be able to recover if you establish the defendant’s negligence. Florida follows a legal theory called pure comparative negligence, and it states that if a plaintiff is determined to be partially at fault for their own injuries, they may still be able to recover damages minus their own percentage of fault. For example, if you are held to have been 20 percent at fault, you may still be able to recover 80 percent of your damages, assuming the defendant is able to pay.

Contact A Tampa Catastrophic Injury Attorney

It can be easy to give up hope of any closure if you are involved in a catastrophic accident, but all need not be lost. A knowledgeable Tampa catastrophic injury attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can offer compassionate and dedicated representation during one of the most difficult periods of your life. Contact our offices today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.



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