A catastrophic injury can be life-changing for the victim and their family. These injuries often have lifelong consequences and bleed into every aspect of a person's life. When someone you love struggles, you may not know what to do and what kind of help they need.
At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we help victims and their loved ones find healing after a traumatic accident. While life may never be the same as it once was, our goal is to give you what you need to find your new normal.
If you or someone you love is facing life after a catastrophic injury, there is help. In many cases, you may be eligible for financial compensation. For more information and to speak to one of our legal professionals, contact Eau Claire catastrophic injury lawyers or fill out our online request form for a free initial consultation.
When you need it the most, count on Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers?
When you work with Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, you can trust that you have someone by your side who will fight. We won’t roll over when the insurance company refuses to pay what is fair and just. Our experienced legal team is experienced working with insurance companies, and we know how to combat the tactics they use.
Because we don’t take on a heavy caseload, we can give our clients the personalized connection they need. When you have questions, we aim to provide answers as quickly as possible. We know how stressful it can be to recover from an accident and figure out how you will cover ongoing expenses. That’s why we do what we do.
Everyone has the right to legal representation. With 13 offices throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota, we aim to make legal services accessible to those who need them most.
Results that speak for themselves
Money can’t turn back time. It can’t take away your injuries. But it can help you get the care and services you need. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we fight hard to get victims results that are fair and in line with the value of their case. While we cannot promise a given outcome, our results are evidence of our dedication to our clients.
While no guarantee of future success, previous results include:
- $1,117,000 for a motor vehicle accident.
- $1,100,000 after a motorcycle accident
- $1,050,000 was awarded for a pedestrian hit by a car.
Catastrophic injuries can happen from everyday activities
A life-changing accident can happen in the blink of an eye. They happen at work, in stores, or while walking down the street. Knowing that these accidents happen when you are just going about your day is difficult to process. Realizing that they often come at the hands of another person's negligence can be infuriating.
Every day, catastrophic injuries happen because someone wasn’t paying attention or didn’t care. When these types of injuries occur, our job is to help you fight for what is right. Common causes of catastrophic injuries include:
Car and truck accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are arguably the most common cause of catastrophic injuries we see. These accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries and one of the top causes of traumatic brain injuries.
When you are in a car accident, the law allows you to recover damages from the responsible party. If that party had insurance, their insurance company would determine what they feel is a fair and reasonable amount. If you are unhappy with this, your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company until you reach a comfortable figure.
Pedestrians are incredibly vulnerable on the road. In the event of a collision with a motor vehicle, a person walking has nothing to protect them. Because of this, drivers must be extra vigilant when pedestrians are on the road. Unfortunately, recent data shows increasing pedestrian accidents in Wisconsin.
Common causes of pedestrian accidents include:
In Wisconsin, residents commonly use ATVs to get out and enjoy the winter weather. However, many people do not realize just how dangerous these vehicles are. Countless accidents and injuries happen due to inexperience or negligence. The latest numbers report 47 ATV fatalities in Wisconsin for the year in which the most recent data is available.
If you suffer a catastrophic injury as a passenger of a negligent driver or in a collision with another driver, you may be eligible for damages.
Common causes of ATV accidents include:
- Inexperience as a driver or with the terrain
- Too many passengers (2 people in a single-occupant vehicle)
- Performing dangerous maneuvers
- Driving under the influence
When you participate in a sport or recreational activity, you take on a level of responsibility to understand the risks and know your surroundings. But in many cases, this does not eliminate the property owner’s obligation to eliminate the risks of an accident.
An example of this is swimming pool accidents. Any person or company who owns a pool has a legal obligation to eliminate potential dangers and warn of risks. A public swimming pool must mark the pool's depths and ensure unauthorized persons cannot access dangerous areas.
For private residences, Eau Claire's municipal pool ordinances require a four-foot fence around all in-ground pools and the placement of all in the rear or side yard, guarded by a fence.
Slip and fall accidents
Slip and fall accidents can lead to many injuries, including catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. When you enter a business, the property owner is responsible for ensuring there are no hazards that may cause you harm.
This means they must perform regular inspections and routine maintenance. If you are hurt on someone else's property, that person may hold financial responsibility for your injuries if they knew or should have known about the dangers.
Common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Wet flooring
- Loose tiles or carpets
- Electrical cords
- Items on the floor or in pathways
- Poorly maintained sidewalks or driveways
- Icy floors or sidewalks
What is a catastrophic injury?
Catastrophic injuries are not defined by how they happen or the type of injury they cause. The definition of a catastrophic injury comes down to how that injury affects a person’s life. Will they require lifetime care? Are they unable to function the way they were before their injury?
Catastrophic injuries usually pertain to injuries that result in a permanent loss, whether physical, emotional, or financial. Examples of these types of injuries include:
Traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can vary dramatically from person to person. For this reason, not all TBIs fall under the classification of traumatic brain injury. If a TBI results in a permanent loss of function or a permanent change, then we usually consider it catastrophic.
Examples of catastrophic brain injuries include:
- Permanent memory loss
- Personality changes
- Loss of hearing, sight, or smell
- Changes in speech
- Difficulty processing
- Changed decision-making and reasoning skills
Spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries are almost always, by definition, catastrophic. Spinal cord injuries usually result in permanent, total loss of movement and sensation from the point of injury down. When this happens, the person who sustains the injury will likely need lifelong medical care and is more vulnerable to secondary conditions, including sores, infection, mental health conditions, and bladder and bowel issues.
Additionally, spinal cord injuries can require support services and may result in loss of employment. Often, the cost of these injuries is tremendous. The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation reports that a high tetraplegia injury can cost upwards of $5 million over a lifetime.
When working with spinal cord injury victims, we try to account for all costs.
This may include:
- Current and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Structural modifications to a personal residence
- Support services
Loss of limb
The loss of a limb can change every aspect of your life. We often take for granted how much we rely on the ability to use both arms and legs.
Aside from the emotional trauma, losing a limb can make it difficult to return to work or participate in the activities you once loved. When this happens, there is no other way to categorize this loss than catastrophic.
The Amputee Coalition reports approximately 2 million Americans are living with limb loss. Of these, trauma was the cause of the loss in 45 percent of cases.
Examples of accidents that result in loss of limb include:
- Workplace accidents
- Defective product accidents
- Car accidents
- Large truck accidents
We have all suffered a burn at some point in our life. But most of us have not suffered the type of burn we would consider a catastrophic injury.
Medical professionals categorize burns by degree levels, ranging from minor first-degree to severe third-degree burns. Third-degree burns are what we consider catastrophic injuries. These injuries can cause scarring, infection, nerve damage, muscle damage, and loss of mobility. Burn victims are also at a higher risk of suffering from mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Your rights after a catastrophic injury
When we look at catastrophic injuries, we don’t simply look at the here and now. We look into the future. What costs can you expect to incur? What treatment will you need? The goal of a catastrophic injury case is to make sure you have the resources available to take care of issues that may arise. To do this, we will demand damages from the responsible party.
The type of damages your case will include will depend on the nature of your injury, your prognosis, and the recommendations of professionals. While every case is different, there are basic costs you can expect.
- Medical costs: Catastrophic injuries can lead to a lifetime of medical costs. These injuries require treatment after you resolve your legal case. Because of this, your attorney will very likely request future medical costs. These costs will consider what type of treatment you need, the cost, and how long you need it.
- Lost income: Your injury may prevent you from returning to work. If so, you may recover lost income. These wages cover the duration of the time you miss from work. This can include future lost wages if you cannot return to work.
- Durable medical equipment: Catastrophic injuries often require the use of medical equipment. This can include wheelchairs, hospital beds, stairlifts, prosthetics, and other assistive devices.
- Home services: When you cannot do the things you were able to before, you may need professional help. This may include housekeeping, yard services, or cooking.
- Pain and suffering: Catastrophic injuries can cause severe physical and emotional trauma. This pain is real, it matters, and you can include it in your personal injury case. Examples of pain and suffering include chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers: By Your Side
After a catastrophic injury it can feel like your life has been upended. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, our job is to lessen your stress and help you fight for what’s right. After an accident, we work with our clients to ensure they have the proper care and information to focus on recovery.
When a catastrophic injury leaves you questioning what’s next, let us help. Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers at (715) 226-6149 or contact us online to request your free case evaluation.