Being involved in an accident in Texas (of any kind) can be scary and overwhelming. You may experience damages to your personal property and injuries – from minor to severe.
While most accident-caused injuries will heal with proper treatment, this isn’t the case 100% of the time. If you experience a permanent injury, do you know how to deal with the aftermath? It can cause significant financial stress, especially if you can’t return to work.
If you find yourself in this situation, we recommend contacting Corpus Christi personal injury lawyers from The Burkett Law Firm. We can review your situation and help you recover all the compensation you are entitled to.
Common Types of Permanent Injuries
Before diving into the details of valuing your permanent injury, it’s important to learn what these are. Permanent injuries are those that will impact your life forever.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
TBIs have received extensive attention in the news due to the concussions athletes playing contact sports experience. Brain trauma can leave accident victims unable to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. This includes things like cleaning, cooking, and bathing. It may also cause them to be unable to move without using assistive devices, while some won’t be able to move at all.
Even if accident victims don’t experience a TBI, they may find it difficult to keep a job or have ongoing migraine headaches, memory loss, and mood swings. TBIs usually develop in those who were involved in slip and fall or auto accidents.
Slip and fall accidents and auto collisions are the top causes of whiplash. This injury is caused by the neck-snapping back with extreme force and causing damage to the upper portion of your spine. If this happens, it can cause paralysis.
Cases of paralysis keep the accident victim from returning to work and result in significant medical bills.
While the upper spine is often damaged in auto and slip-and-fall accidents, these are not the only parts susceptible to injuries. Accident victims may experience serious damage to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in their neck, which can result in ongoing pain and stiffness.
Ongoing Back Pain
Back pain is often hard to treat because the source can’t be found. After an accident, it is not unusual for accident victims to have issues with ongoing back pain. This is because the accident can cause fractures, sprains, and strain on the back, making even small movements painful.
If an accident victim is dealing with recurring back pain, it can impact their job, too. Lifting heavy items improperly can limit their ability to keep working if their job is physically demanding. Also, ongoing back pain will likely result in accident victims seeking medical treatment and physical therapy for the rest of their lives.
It’s estimated that around 5.4 million people in the U.S. live with some level of paralysis. While innovative technology has helped some with paralysis get back to work, this isn’t the case for most people who experience this limitation.
If an accident victim’s paralysis were the result of negligence by another party, they would likely receive sympathy from the jury or judge. In many cases, this results in higher settlement offers or amounts.
Amputation (Loss of Limb)
Losing a limb is a serious and devastating injury. If amputation of a limb is the only option for an accident victim, it will significantly reduce their quality of life.
While workplace accommodations can help those who have lost a limb get back to work, the pain and mental trauma of the amputation often limits these individuals’ options for a career.
Prosthetics are now available to provide these individuals with devices that are more comfortable than ever before. However, the cost of these items is significant. This often limits who can access this type of treatment.
How to Prove You Experienced a Permanent Injury in an Accident
It’s necessary to provide strong evidence that shows how you experienced a permanent injury in an accident. You also need to prove that the injury you sustained will likely affect you for the remainder of your life.
An effective way to have your accident-caused injuries labeled as “permanent” is to gather medical records that show the results of diagnostic tests that were used and descriptions of the rehabilitation sessions and treatment programs you are going through.
Modern diagnostic testing shows the injury’s severity. This is going to help provide proof that the injury is something that will affect your life forever.
Determining the Settlement for Permanent Injuries
Usually, if you file a personal injury lawsuit, it won’t see the inside of a courtroom. Instead, the insurance company and victim will come to an agreement about a settlement amount that is negotiated without going to court.
Once you accept a settlement, you give up your right to file a lawsuit in the future.
While settling your case may be the wise thing to do, this isn’t always the case. For example, do you even know how insurance companies determine the value of your permanent injury claim?
Each case is unique, and therefore there will be unique factors considered; however, some of the things considered when determining the value of your permanent injury include:
- The total cost of all accident-related medical costs and the future cost of medical treatment
- Long-term limitations you will face because of the accident
- If you contributed to the accident or shared fault in any way
- Your pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- How bad is your permanent disfigurement
- Total past and future lost wages you did not earn due to the accident and your injuries
Learn more about how significant each of these factors is in determining the value of your permanent injury accident claim here.
This may be common sense, but the higher your medical costs are, the more your settlement should be. When determining the value of medical costs, you will consider the bills you have currently received and the cost of medical treatment that may be needed in the future.
Additional surgeries and ongoing physical therapy or occupational therapy costs will be factored into the final settlement amount.
Limitations Throughout Your Life
After an accident, you may have a long road to a full recovery. Unfortunately, some may never completely recover from the injuries sustained in the accident.
Usually, insurance companies are willing to increase the settlement offer for those who experience accident-caused limitations for the rest of their lives.
Some body parts that may be injured and lead to permanent limitations include nerve damage, spinal cord damage, and brain damage. These injuries will likely require you to receive ongoing assistance and use assistive devices to handle normal, day-to-day tasks.
Pain and Suffering
Your pain and suffering are examples of non-economic damages. With these, you have no requirement to prove a direct cost, like hospital bills. With damages like pain and suffering, the injury’s impact on your life is considered. When determining an amount for pain and suffering, the insurance company must focus on the accident and the need for painful surgeries or treatments.
Assignment of fault in the accident must be considered. Usually, the insurance company will reduce the settlement amount if they believe the victim shares any fault in the incident. Based on state law, the damages awarded to an accident victim will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Cases of permanent scarring or other types of disfigurements can result in long-term emotional distress. Settlement amounts for permanent disfigurement are usually higher for young individuals or those with a job that relies on their appearance.
Are your injuries so severe that you won’t ever be able to return to work? If so, the settlement offer must account for this. While this is true, periods of lost wages must be factored into your settlement offer.
In some situations (especially for younger accident victims), you can recover compensation for lost earning capacity. This means you can receive payment for the wages or salary you would have earned during your life if you could continue working.
Don’t Wait to Call Corpus Christi Personal Injury Lawyers
At The Burkett Law Firm, our Corpus Christi personal injury attorneys are ready to help you recover the compensation you are owed. Permanent injuries are those that will impact you and your family’s life forever. Because of the seriousness of these injuries, it’s important to ensure your settlement offer represents the long-term issues you will experience.
We can gather evidence related to your injury to show how it has affected your life and how it will continue to impact your life. The first step is to call our office and schedule an initial consultation.