As the commercial center for Lee County and a major destination for people visiting islands along the Gulf Coast, the number of both residents and visitors to Fort Myers has soared in recent years. Unfortunately, increases in the number of people on the road in our area have resulted in an increase in car accidents. In too many cases, these crashes and collisions end up resulting in catastrophic injuries. For victims and their families, getting the maximum amount they are entitled to in a claim plays a key role in the recovery process.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
The last several years have proved dangerous for drivers on roads in Fort Myers and the surrounding areas. According to a January 2020 report the USA Today’s News-Press, the number of car accidents has jumped dramatically as has the severity of the injuries involved. Crashes and collisions have claimed the lives of as many as 100 people annually since 2015 while leaving hundreds of others with potentially catastrophic injuries.
Injuries that are classified as ‘catastrophic’ generally have severe impacts on the victim’s physical, emotional, and cognitive processes. Their condition is likely to prevent them from working both now and in the years to come while hastening their eventual death. Common types of catastrophic injuries suffered in car accidents include:
Spinal Cord Injuries
Damage to the nerves in the spinal column or the spinal cord is one of the most severe types of personal injuries. The Mayo Clinic advises that paralysis may occur at the sight of and below the injuries on either a temporary or permanent basis. In addition to impacting the victim’s ability to move their hands, arms, legs, or feet, it can impact the functioning of important body parts and systems, such as the kidneys, heart, or respiratory system.
Any type of bump, blow, jolt or shaking of the head can cause damage to the brain, disrupting neural pathways and brain functions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly three million people visit hospital emergency rooms each year and are diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These can impact your vision, balance, coordination, and memory while producing dramatic changes in personality. Once a brain injury occurs, any subsequent accidents that TBI victims are involved in, even if relatively minor, could end up resulting in severe, permanent disabilities or even death.
Severe burns can happen in car accidents due to fires, explosions or contact with hot oil and engine parts. In addition to being extremely painful, victims face a long recovery process that is likely to include skin grafts and other types of surgeries. During this period, they are at risk for deadly infections while the trauma their body goes through could cause system-wide failures and the shutting down of body organs.
Loss of Body Parts
Amputations and loss of body parts can occur as a result of contact with sharp metal surfaces and broken glass. While many amputees go on to live full, active lives, healing often takes years. Medical expenses associated with these injuries can end up totaling millions of dollars, in addition to the high costs of physical therapy and any prosthetic devices needed.
Medline Plus warns that crushing injuries can cause internal bleeding, loss of the use of certain body parts, and damage to internal organs. These injuries are common in car accidents and are often due to getting caught in between the dashboard and the driver’s seat or crushed metal as a result of a crash. Without immediate and ongoing medical care, these injuries are likely to prove fatal.
Seeking Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
Car accidents that result in catastrophic injuries are generally caused by the reckless driving behaviors of others on the road. Speeding, driving distracted, falling asleep behind the wheel, and driving under the influence are all common causes. At-fault drivers can be held accountable for the medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses you suffer in a car accident claim.
Florida insurance requirements mandate that all motorists maintain insurance coverage to protect themselves and others in the event of car accidents which are to blame. Unfortunately, the amount covered under these policies is minimal. Even if the driver maintained more than the required amount, this is still likely to prove inadequate in covering the costs associated with catastrophic injuries.
In these types of cases, it is important to consult with an experienced Fort Myers car accident attorney before making any statements or accepting an insurance settlement offer. We can advise you on additional amounts you may be entitled to by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver involved.
How Much am I Entitled to in a Comprehensive Injury Car Accident Claim?
While each case is different, there are certain types of compensation you may be entitled to claim under the Florida Statutes. These include:
- Economic damages, which cover actual costs such as your current medical costs and lost wages, as well as any future expenses or losses in earnings you are likely to incur in the coming years;
- Non-economic damages, which cover intangible costs, such as your pain, suffering, and the loss of enjoyment in life you experience due to ongoing disabilities;
- Punitive damages, which is an additional amount the judge may order when the at-fault driver was grossly negligent.
While no amount of money can make up for the losses victims suffer as a result of catastrophic injuries, compensation in a claim can help to ensure they get the care they need both now and in the future.
Reach Out to Our Fort Myers Car Accident Attorneys
At the Bernardo Law Firm, we provide the compassionate client care and aggressive legal representation clients need when car accidents result in catastrophic injuries. You have only one chance to get the compensation you need to recover in a claim. To get our legal team fighting on your side, call or contact our Fort Myers car accident attorney online to request a consultation today.