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What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury in Florida?

Fiol & Morros Law Group|Posted in Personal Injury on November 24, 2020

You could suffer many different types of injuries in an accident in Florida. A bad accident could lead to more severe personal injuries than a minor accident. On a legal level, a catastrophic injury describes the most severe types of personal injuries. They are the injuries that will most likely stay with a victim for life, such as a permanent disability or severe disfigurement. A catastrophic injury negatively impacts a victim’s quality of life and the ability to earn a living wage. Determining whether Florida law considers your injury catastrophic can help you seek fair compensation for your related losses.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Florida is a no-fault car accident state. Under this car insurance rule, an injured crash victim can only recover financial compensation from the negligent or at-fault party if the victim has serious injuries. A serious injury under Florida’s threshold (Florida Statutes 627.737) is one that causes significant and permanent loss of a bodily function, permanent injury, significant scarring or disfigurement, or death. A catastrophic injury will affect a victim significantly and/or permanently. Florida law recognizes many different types of catastrophic injuries.

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Skull fractures
  • Serious bone fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Internal injuries or significant loss of a bodily function
  • Severe burns
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of limb
  • Permanent disability or debilitation
  • Eye or ear injury

Catastrophic injuries in Florida are often associated with car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, boating accidents and acts of violence. A workplace accident could also cause a serious, catastrophic or permanent bodily injury. If you were badly injured at work, you may qualify for disability workers’ compensation benefits under Florida Labor Code 440.15. The amount of money you can receive will depend on the nature and duration of your injury.

Catastrophic Injury vs. Personal Injury Claim

You do not need a catastrophic injury to have grounds for a personal injury claim in Florida. You can file a personal injury case with a less serious injury in Florida as well. In a car accident case, you can only file a claim if your injuries are severe enough to meet the serious injury threshold. For a claim that does not involve a car accident, however, such as a slip and fall accident or workplace accident, your injuries do not have to be as serious to hold the negligent party responsible.

You can file an injury claim after an accident that is not a vehicle collision with any type of personal injury in Florida – even minor injuries. If you have catastrophic injuries, you will generally recover greater financial compensation than with a minor injury claim. The value of your case will increase with a catastrophic injury vs. a typical personal injury due to the lifelong costs associated with a serious injury. Discuss the exact value of your catastrophic injury claim with an attorney in Tampa.

Damages in Catastrophic Injury Claims

One of the key differences between an injury claim and a catastrophic injury claim is the amount of compensation available. With an attorney’s assistance, you could recover compensation for your past and future medical expenses, live-in care, physical therapy, other health care costs, lost wages and the lost capacity to earn, chronic pain, emotional distress, and lost quality of life as someone with a catastrophic personal injury. You may not qualify for as many damages with a standard injury.

You or your lawyer will need to prove the severity of your catastrophic injury, as well as the associated losses, to obtain a fair award in Florida. If someone else’s negligence gave you a catastrophic injury in Florida, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney for assistance with the claims process. Otherwise, you may accept a settlement from an insurance company that does not accurately reimburse your lifelong medical costs. A lawyer can ensure you receive a fair and full amount for your life-altering injuries.