Catastrophic Injury Lawyers in Florence
Assisting Accident Victims through Severe Injury Claims
The experienced Florence catastrophic injury attorneys at McCutcheon & Hamner have decades of combined legal experience helping accident victims of traumatic brain injuries and other severe injuries recover due compensation. If you or a family member are worried about the costs of medical treatment from your injury and personal rehabilitation or the future costs of living with a catastrophic injury-related disability, a lawsuit may provide you with an opportunity to regain personal financial stability. While each case is different, our attorneys have recovered verdicts and settlements to help our personal injury clients cover extensive losses that were incurred because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional act of another party. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury of any kind, McCutcheon & Hamner can help you learn about your legal rights and available options for recovering compensation.
The Alabama Brain Injury Lawsuit Process
Your personal injury attorney must first determine whether you have a valid claim for relief. To have a valid brain injury case, you must have been injured by the negligent, reckless, or intentional act of another, such as a careless doctor or a drunk driver.
If the parties to the brain-related lawsuit do not reach an out-of-court settlement, your McCutcheon & Hamner personal injury attorney will prepare for trial by working with various medical experts and other related witnesses to explain to the court how the defendant’s negligence caused your brain injury. Medical experts may be used to demonstrate to a jury just how your injuries were caused by the malpractice or negligence of another party. The medical neurological expert may offer testimony in regard to the treatment and rehabilitation that will be needed in the future to help you recover. An economic forecast expert may be used to explain to the jury the financial value of your lost wages and diminished earning capacity as a result of your brain injury or accident.
Brain Injury Classifications
A personal traumatic brain injury may be legally or medically classified as mild, moderate, or severe. When evaluating brain injury claims, many insurance companies often attempt to classify the brain injury as “mild.” While some injuries are clearly more severe than others, any attempt by an insurance company to downplay the seriousness of a brain injury is unacceptable. The brain injury attorneys in our Alabama offices are experienced in dealing with insurance companies in these brain injury-related cases and will work to develop a plan that seeks adequate compensation for a brain injury victim. Even when an injury seems minor at first, the victim may develop serious disabilities or personality changes as a result of the injury.
Mild traumatic brain injuries can at times be the most difficult to diagnose and treat. Many of the symptoms of mild and even moderate brain injuries can be subtle and may not be detected by routine medical tests. In some cases, mild brain injuries can remain undiagnosed for several months.
Symptoms of a mild brain-related injury can include:
- Impaired judgment
- Difficulty speaking and communicating
- Memory loss
- Impaired sight, smell, or taste
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Short–term memory loss, decreased attention span, or trouble concentrating
- Sleep-related disorders
- Unusual anger, depression, or other personality changes
What Are Brain Injury Verdicts & Settlements Worth?
While each case is different, a brain injury victim and his or her family may be eligible under Alabama law to receive compensation for the following types of damages:
- Medical related expenses: Through a brain injury lawsuit, a victim may receive compensation for past, present, and future medical expenses. In addition, a brain injury victim may be eligible to receive compensation to cover the costs of in-home care and rehabilitation expenses, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapists, as well as home health aides.
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity: A brain injury victim may receive compensation for work missed while they are recovering from a brain injury. If the brain injury reduces the victim’s ability to perform the essential function of his or her job, he or she may be able to recover damages for their diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: Victims may be eligible to receive compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering caused by a brain injury. This may include chronic headaches, lifestyle changes resulting from the injury, and an overall reduced quality of life.
- Loss of consortium: If the brain injury victim is married, the injured person’s spouse may have a possible claim for loss of consortium. Loss of consortium is intended to compensate a victim’s spouse for deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship.
- Punitive damages: In some brain injury cases where particularly egregious or reckless conduct has occurred, a court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the person or persons whose egregious or reckless conduct contributed to the brain injury and discourage other individuals or entities from engaging in similar types of behavior in the future.
Paralysis & Other Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be one of the most serious types of life-changing injuries caused by accidents, negligence, or intentional wrongdoing. Spinal injuries can be life-threatening as well as drastically alter the quality of one’s life. After a spinal injury or accident, the victim may require costly rehabilitation services, intensive medical care, or expensive medical equipment to regain the ability to function and even perform normal, activities of daily living. When full bodily function cannot be regained, spinal injury victims may experience a loss of income and have to pay for assistive devices and medical supplies like wheelchairs, prescription medications as well as in-home healthcare to get the best quality of life possible for the victim.
When considering the level of life-changing impact that a spinal injury of this kind may have on a victim and his or her family members, it is important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who is experienced in the handling of spinal injury cases as soon as it is possible to do so. You may have only a limited time period from the spinal incident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Taking legal action immediately can help to preserve your right to just compensation.
Spine Injuries: Causes & Effects
A spine injury can be caused by an auto accident, slip and fall, tripping accident, or assault. The spine itself may sustain a blow, or the back may twist or be pulled in an unnatural way. In either case, the vertebrae and/or spinal cord may be stretched, permanently damaged, or severed completely. The spinal cord is part of the central nervous system and has the task of carrying information and commands to and from the brain and the rest of the body. Any spinal area injury to this sensitive area can impair motor control and sensation, leading to severe life-changing consequences such as paraplegia (paralysis of the legs and lower torso) or quadriplegia (paralysis of the legs, arms, and torso).
The spinal cord area has four regions, these regions are known as the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral regions. Injuries that occur higher on the spinal cord (in the cervical or thoracic areas) can often result in the most severe debilitating effects because they can impact a larger region of the body. Depending on the location and extent of the spinal damage, a victim may suffer from partial or total paralysis which cab affect part or all of the body.
Severe Burn Injuries
With any personal injury burn case, it’s difficult to make an accurate prediction as to what any burn injury settlement or verdict will be. Some of the biggest factors can be the severity of the burn injury, the intentions of the person who may have caused the burns, and the extent to which a defendant can pay a settlement. Burn injury cases tend to have a higher settlement value due to the pain and permanent scarring.
The elements of a personal burn injury lawsuit depend on the facts. Most burn personal injury lawsuits are based on negligence, which involves the careless actions or inactions of another.
The four elements of negligence are:
- Breach of Duty
- Direct or Proximate Cause
Each of the personal injury burn case elements above has to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. If the personal burn injury lawsuit involves a recalled defective product and the burn is linked to that product, the case is one of strict liability, meaning the cause is considered proven. If the burn injury resulted in death, the burn personal injury lawsuit becomes a wrongful death case.
Compensation for Burn Victims
Compensation payment for burn injuries is commonly called damages in a burn personal injury lawsuit. Burn injuries may include injuries to any part of the body, which can include the skin, eyes, lungs, and brain. Hands, feet, arms, and legs can be so badly burned that amputation is necessary.
In reaching a burn injury compensation settlement, both sides will negotiate based on what they believe the plaintiff or victim may be awarded at trial. How and where the burn injury occurs may be important because it may show the degree of the defendant’s liability. This could affect how much a jury might be willing to award at trial. There is no one kind of personal burn injury case. They happen in a variety of ways, they can include workplace burn injuries, faulty consumer products burn injuries, arson burn injuries, and any kind of burn accident that is caused by some degree of negligence.
The following personal injury damages can usually be claimed in a burn injury lawsuit:
This can include personal medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, cost of care, and other related expenses.
This is an amount awarded to a burn injury victim as a means of punishing the person or persons responsible. If the burn victim dies, the family of the burn victim may have a wrongful death claim and sue the companies responsible.
Duty of Care in a Burn Injury Case
With a personal injury burn accident case, there can be multiple parties that may have had a duty of care.
Depending on the facts of a case, possible parties with a duty of care to you at the time of your burn accident may include the following:
- An employer
- A property owner
- The owner of a vehicle
- The driver of a vehicle
- A product manufacturer
- A utility company
- A propane company
- A person who may have serviced a propane tank, vehicle, piece of equipment, etc.
- A person’s landlord
The Florence burn attorneys at McCutcheon & Hamner will thoroughly investigate your burn accident and injury to determine who should be sued to compensate you for your pain, suffering, and financial losses resulting from your burn injury.
Expert Witnesses That May Be Needed in a Burn Injury Lawsuit
Burn injury lawsuits may require the expert legal testimony of medical doctors, biomedical professionals, and engineers. At McCutcheon & Hamner, we have the needed resources to get qualified expert witnesses and pay for professional visuals that can make their testimony come to life in a courtroom trial.
The personal injury lawyers at McCutcheon & Hamner understand the complex science behind burn injury cases we have successfully used complex, science-based testimony of expert witnesses, in pre-trial motions and during negotiation settlements.
At McCutcheon & Hamner, we recognize the horrible pain and disfigurement resulting from burn injuries and the legal and financial needs of burn survivors and their families.
Loss Of Limb & Amputation Injuries
A traumatic amputation personal injury occurs with the loss of a body part toe, finger, leg or arm) which is caused by a serious personal injury. Some causes of a traumatic amputation injury may include car accidents, construction accidents, factory accidents, farm accidents, other work-related accidents, or injuries involving defective products.
Amputation accident and injury cases may involve an accident, medical malpractice, a defective product, a dog attack, or assault.
Fault is determined by the facts involved in each amputation injury case. If someone is at fault for your amputation personal injury, you have a right to seek compensation from all liable parties involved.
Amputation Lawsuit: Liability
Liable parties in a personal injury case are people and companies that are responsible under the law for your amputation accident or injury.
Liable parties in an amputation case may include one or more of the following:
- A vehicle owner
- An employer
- A trucking company
- The driver of a vehicle
- The owner of freight being hauled by a tractor-trailer truck
- A construction company
- The owner of a dog
- The manufacturer of a defective product that caused your amputation
- The manufacturer of a drug responsible for your amputation, such as a medication that may have caused gangrene, which leads to an amputation
- The owner of the property on which you were hurt, such as the owner of a construction site or a farm
- The person who assaulted you and inflicted injuries that led to your amputation injury
Amputation Lawsuit: Amputation Victim Compensation
After your amputation, you may be contacted by insurance companies THAT WILL BE seeking a quick settlement. Insurance companies will never offer you the amount of amputation injury compensation you deserve. Do not talk with these insurance representatives of the potentially–liable parties. Anything you say about your case can be used by the insurance company to pay you less than you should get and deserve in your case.
When you have lost a limb, you deserve justice. You won’t get your limb back, the only way you will get the justice and compensation you deserve is to get the most money possible in an amputation personal injury lawsuit against all of the liable parties.
Compensation for amputation injury and accident victims, may include money for the following:
- Loss of quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
When McCutcheon & Hamner represents amputation victims, we use our own investigation team to gather evidence regarding fault, liability, and damages (the amount you should be compensated for your amputation injury).
In most amputation personal injury cases the insurers or insurance companies of the liable parties are contractually obligated to pay you the compensation agreed to in an amputation personal injury settlement or monies awarded to you by a jury.
Medical negligence actions in the state of Alabama are governed by the Alabama Medical Liability Act. This act was passed by the Alabama legislature and it requires a person who claims to have been injured by the negligence of a health care professional to prove certain things. One unusual requirement is that the dean of the Medical School of Harvard University is not qualified to come to Alabama to testify that your doctor did anything wrong. A dentist may not testify against an orthodontist and an orthodontist may not testify against an endodontist. Requirements of the Act are that the medical specialist must be equally qualified, licensed to practice, and actually practiced in the same field as the health care professional you allege has committed an act of medical negligence. If that physician is board certified then the expert you rely on must be board certified.
Medical negligence is defined as a breach of the relevant standard of care. Damages must result as a proximate result of that breach. These cases are very difficult to win and very difficult to prove. One of the reasons is that doctors are reluctant to testify against each other and another more practical reason is that most doctors out there are really trying to help people. That is no excuse for negligence, but the intent is different and I think the jury often sees that.
Personal injury lawyers who do medical negligence actions have to prove what the standard of care is through the testimony of an equally well-qualified health care professional or book that is recognized in the field. You have to prove that that standard was breached and prove that breach of that standard was an act of negligence that caused the harm that you claim. Statistics show that lawyers who file these claims are losing about 8 out of 10 even though some reports indicate that medical negligence is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
As an accident and injury law firm, the attorneys with McCutcheon & Hamner get a lot of questions about sports-related injuries to minor children. Often these sports injuries occur at a school or during a school-sponsored event. Occasionally, we will see a child or teenage athlete injured pretty badly and often as the result of a flagrant foul committed by an opposing player. Outraged parents want to sue someone and ask us about lawsuits arising out of sports injuries.
Schools, school officials, teachers, coaches, and school boards are all protected by the concept of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a concept that comes to us from English common law when the kings and queens of England were thought to have been anointed by God. They were deemed immune from the courts of justice here on earth as they were beyond its earthly influence. Governments still retain sovereign immunity especially as it protects the governmental pocketbook.
Generally speaking, governmental immunity or sovereign immunity applies to employees of a governmental agency in about the performance of their duties. Obviously, if they are not at work, but merely citizens violating traffic regulations and injuring someone, they are not immune.
An intentional injury by an opposing player could be the basis of both a criminal and civil penalty. This does occasionally occur. the problem with a civil lawsuit against a minor for injuring someone in a sporting event is that minors have no money and you cannot insure against an intentional act. If you intend to hurt someone and do, there is no insurance coverage to protect you.
The only cases that have been truly successful are those unfortunate cases where there is a failure of equipment such as a football helmet that is designed to protect against injury and injury occurs. Those cases have been successfully litigated as product liability cases.