Serious Injury Lawyers for Fatal & Catastrophic Injuries in Texas
Serious Injury Lawyers for Fatal & Catastrophic Injuries in Texas
Currently Taking Cases in the Greater Dallas, Fort Worth, North Texas, and Central Texas Regions
Were you injured in a serious accident, or did you lose a loved one in a fatal accident? If the answer is yes we are truly sorry and want to help you get the compensation you deserve. A personal injury lawyer from Baron & Budd can help hold the person responsible for your suffering accountable. Our firm was founded right here in North Texas, and we are committed to to doing what’s right. We are currently seeking serious injury victims in the greater Dallas and DFW region in addition to Denton, Midland, and Abilene. If you lost a loved one in a serious accident, you may also be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Call us to schedule a free case evaluation, filing a lawsuit costs you nothing unless we win your case.
Serious car accidents involving speeding, reckless driving, 18 wheelers, and rollovers are the leading cause of preventable injuries on record at emergency medical facilities across the country. Often these serious accidents cause catastrophic injuries, leaving victims disabled or eventually leading to death. Insurance policies classify certain injuries that occur in serious accidents as catastrophic injuries. The insurance is meant to provide a layer of protection for people who suffer traumatic, life-changing injuries that require extensive long-term care. For example, in many states (but not Texas) schools are required to carry catastrophic insurance covering uninsured athletes that participate in sports. This insurance provides a cushion, covering most medical expenses for care if a student suffers from a catastrophic brain injury or spinal injury requiring costly medical care.
If a doctor diagnosed your spouse, child, or parent with a catastrophic injury like paralysis, blindness, brain death, or cognitive impairment, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit for the cost of the victim’s care and medical bills. Call us to discuss your situation or request an appointment online.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury includes many types of serious injuries causing temporary or permanent disabilities, disfigurement, loss of cognition, or severely diminished physical and/or mental capacity. Examples of a catastrophic injury include severe or extensive burns, limb loss or amputation, disfigurement, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, losing an eye or going blind, going deaf, brachial plexus nerve damage, and breaking multiple bones. Once a physician determines that a patient has suffered a catastrophic injury, a life care plan is created to define specific long-term arrangements. Long-term care after a catastrophic injury is expensive; an injury lawyer can help recover damages from those responsible.
When someone gets seriously injured in a fall, in an assault, or in a pool or playground accident, their entire family is impacted. Each year more than 5,700 people in Texas are left permanently disabled by TBI. As if this number were not sobering enough, more than 144,000 Texans suffer a traumatic brain injury every year according to the Texas Brain Injury Association.
What is the Difference Between a Serious and Catastrophic Injury?
Understanding the difference between a serious and catastrophic injury is important because one defines the manner of punishment and liability that your attorneys can seek and the other is a specific medical diagnosis that could increase the compensation amount for victims. Your personal injury attorney will assess your specific case to determine your best course of action.
Texas Penal Code § 1.07 define a serious injury as “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” So if a person is found guilty of causing serious bodily injury in criminal court, possible punitive damages can increase. In some cases, serious injuries are similar in nature to a catastrophic injury; however, the two are distinct in that a catastrophic injury can only be diagnosed as such by a physician.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include traumatic brain injuries (TBI), quadriplegia, paraplegia, spinal cord injuries, loss of a limb, severe burn injuries, brain damage and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) to name a few. Blindness, deafness and other injuries are of the senses are also considered catastrophic injuries. These are life-changing injuries which often limit certain abilities and independence, preventing them from leading the lives in the same manner they did prior to the serious accident.
What Can I Get Compensated for If I File a Lawsuit for Getting Serious Injured in Texas?
If an injury qualifies as catastrophic according to Texas laws, then a personal injury lawsuit can help recover financial damages for medical bills and other wrongs caused by the negligent or liable party.
Types of damages you can recover in a catastrophic injury lawsuit include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional or psychiatric distress, wrongful death, loss of companionship, and punitive damages (in some cases). Personal injury lawsuits are filed to protect victims financially after an accident.
How Do Serious Accidents and Fatal Injuries Usually Occur?
Serious injuries occur suddenly, without warning, and because of someone’s negligence or failure. Fatal accidents can occur on roadways, in shopping centers and stores, while working in an office or at a job site, and even to athletes participating in sports. Personal injury statutes in Texas require proof that a third party was responsible for you or your loved one’s injuries in order for a claim to be made. The responsible party is different in every case, depending on how and where the injury took place.
The top five causes of death from serious injury according to the Texas Department of State Health Services in order from greatest to least include: car and truck accidents, suicide, unintentional poisoning, homicide, and fatal falls. In 2014 the leading cause of injury death in Texas was unintentional motor vehicle crash (MVC).
An overwhelming 48% of fatal injuries were classified as “other injuries”. These injuries include drowning accidents, injuries from assault and attacks, and work injuries.
Serious Accidents that Cause Fatal and Catastrophic Injuries
- Car Accidents with Trucks & Commercial Vehicles
- Sports Injuries
- Injuries Caused by an Attack or Violence
- Work Injuries
- Plant & Worksite Explosions
- Injuries Caused by Product Defects
- Falls and Slips
- Exposure to Toxic Substances or Carcinogens
- Dangerous Drugs
- Swimming Pool Drowning & Serious Spinal or Brain Injury
- Amusement Park Injury
Fatal car accidents are the leading cause of death by injury in Texas. Wrong way accidents, rollover crashes, accidents with drunk drivers, and collisions between commercial trucks and family vehicles are some of the most fatal types. A driver can be negligent for failing to control their speed, driving drunk, texting while driving, eating, talking on the phone, because of fatigue, or from getting distracted by something on the road.
Both students and professional athletes can be fatally injured while participating in a sport. Some of the most common injuries according to emergency medical facility data include athletes playing football, cheerleading, soccer, basketball, bicycling, boxing, and wrestling. While most injuries are not fatal, some are catastrophic head and spinal injuries that athletes never fully recover from.
Some of the most common scenarios involving death from an attack or assault include apartment complex injuries, home invasions, parking garage assaults, attacks in poorly lit store parking lots, cashiers and store employees killed in robberies, and many types of shootings. The types of fatal injuries sustained by people most include shooting, physical attacks and rapes, blunt force trauma, and cuts or stabbing.
The most common type of fatal work injury is a fall accident. The most common places for someone to fall at work include construction sites, city and municipal employees working on power lines or traffic lights, high rise building sites, warehouses, chemical plants, food processing plants, and retail stores. Usually fatal falls involves spinal injury or traumatic brain injury, which can occur in a fall as short as five feet. Other types of work injuries include electrocution, limb loss, severe burns, and broken bones.
Explosions can occur at any plant or manufacturing facility containing or processing volatile or flammable materials. Some of the most common work explosion deaths occur in chemical plants, offshore on oil rigs, at fertilizer plants, and sugar mills.
Defective product deaths can happen anywhere; at work, school, home, or on the road. Examples of faulty products that can cause fatalities are defective air bags, faulty tires, and defective heart implants.
Although unintentional falling is one of the leading types of deaths from injury in the United States, one of the most common causes of serious fall injuries is slipping on uneven or wet surfaces. Common places that people become injured from slipping include office stairs, in grocery stores, shopping at the mall, at restaurants and bars, and around swimming pools. Falls from slipping are usually preventable, occurring because someone failed to secure a railing or clean up a mess. Another common fall injury involves backyard trampolines which according to the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, account for over one million visits to the emergency room every year.
One of the leading causes of death in the United States is surprising to many people: accidental poisoning. Accidental poisoning can occur at work from exposure to toxic fumes, at home from lead paint or old water pipes, and at school from asbestos or other carcinogenic materials. Some contaminations from death occur quickly, while others make the victim ill for a long time before they finally succumb to their injuries.
People can be electrocuted in various situations, leading to death or catastrophic injury. Common places that electrocutions occur include work, swimming pools, and in homes where construction or remodeling is taking place. The overwhelming majority of serious electrocution injuries and deaths from electrocution occur at work. Jobs at highest risk for electrocution injury include: construction workers, tree trimmers, utility workers, and civil workers in charge of putting up signs. Most of the deaths occur when someone comes in direct contact with a power line. Other occupations most at risk for electrocution include electricians, roofers, construction site supervisors or foremen, HVAC technicians, and carpenters.
Serious injuries can and have occurred after taking drugs that were contaminated, recalled because of dosing errors, and because of unreported and dangerous side effects. Some of the most common lawsuits filed for drugs with dangerous side effects include kidney failure from Nexium; skin cancer and heart attack or stroke from Viagra; nerve damage from Cipro, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke from Testosterone, and ketoacidosis from Invokana.
Unfortunately when someone drowns, they usually cannot be resuscitated and brought back to life as we commonly see in the movies. Accidental drownings occur at neighborhood pools, in private homes, and at water parks. When a drowning victim does not die, sometimes they never completely recover. That is because oxygen deprivation, which is a common cause of traumatic brain injuries that occur in swimming pools, can cause severe cognitive and physical disabilities.
Amusement park rides cause over one death per year in the U.S. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an “estimated 113,272 emergency department-treated injuries associated with inflatable amusements in the years 2003-2013.”
Deaths Caused by Accidental Injuries Continue to Increase in Texas
The following graph represents the increase in death by accidental injury in Texas from 1980 to 2010 according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Serious Injury Lawsuits
Under Texas statutes, victims or their families must file a lawsuit within two years. Immediately following a serious accident resulting in a catastrophic injury or the untimely death of a loved one from fatal injuries, get in contact with an injury attorney to see if you can file a claim. According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code regarding statute of limitations, failure to file a suit within the two year statute of limitations could mean you forfeit the right to pursue financial compensation.
Texas laws also have a negligence statute, which makes proving negligence a requirement for a personal injury claim to be awarded. Texas uses a modified comparative negligence rule; if you or the victim is found to be more than 50 percent to blame for the accident resulting in an injury, no damages will be awarded. However, Texas laws regarding civil lawsuits for accident victims is complicated; we highly recommend contacting an experienced injury lawyer at our firm to discuss the specific details of your accident and injuries as soon as possible.
With the exception of medical malpractice claims, which have a set cap on awards, there is no cap on injury claims in Texas for punitive damages. Serious or catastrophic injury and wrongful death lawsuits allow victims and their families to file for both compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are to reimburse someone for the actual out-of-pocket damages to body or property while punitive damages are designed to punish or “teach a lesson” to the person responsible for the injuries or death.
Compensating an injured person for harm they have suffered is the goal of filing a lawsuit for serious injury. Whether it’s an auto accident, a sporting accident or a work injury, these damages are designed to reimburse the victim for harm.
Compensatory damages compensate victims injured in an accident for medical bills, future medical bills and long-term care, and pain and suffering. If the person or party who caused the injury is found to be grossly negligent or malice is proven, you can also file for punitive damages.
In addition to basic compensatory damage, there are special awards for loss of earnings, disfigurement, loss of use of property, loss of limb or body function, emotional and mental trauma. You can also ask that the person pay for your attorney and court fees in the claim.
Both compensatory and punitive damages may be sought in a wrongful death lawsuit. Compensatory damages are available in wrongful death cases; they are designed to ensure medical bills, are paid by the person responsible as well as to compensate for pain and suffering and mental anguish suffered by the person prior to their death.
It is common for family members to receive financial compensation for losing companionship, in addition to financial awards for the loss of support and future earnings for spouses and children of the deceased victim.
Surviving spouses, partners, children, grandchildren, dependents, and in specific cases, parents may be able to file a claim after a fatal accident. If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, contact an attorney to see if you can file a lawsuit for damages.
Survivors can file a lawsuit for reimbursement of the deceased’s medical care prior to death, funeral and burial expenses, emotional distress of surviving family, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, loss of services, loss of actual and potential wages, and loss of services and support. All of these are valid claims in a wrongful death lawsuit following a fatal accident.
Punitive Damage Claims for Wrongful Death & Serious Injuries
Punitive damages are an additional type of claim designed to punish someone responsible for death or for serious or catastrophic injuries. For example, a drunk driver may be ordered to pay punitive damages as may a company who sold a defective product that killed someone. An airline company may be held responsible for punitive damages if passengers are killed in a plane crash caused by an improperly inspected aircraft. Punitive damages are only allowed in certain cases where the defendant is said to be grossly negligent.
However, there is a statute of limitations for making a punitive damage claims for injuries, and Texas imposes a cap on financial compensation for wrongful death claims. An experienced injury lawyer familiar with wrongful death and punitive damage claims can help determine whether the responsible party’s conduct could be considered reckless or grossly negligent, allowing you to pursue additional punitive damages.
Contact an Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident, we are here to help. You don’t pay anything unless you are awarded financial compensation, and we have over three decades of experience fighting against big companies and corporations for victims. It is important to understand that each and every injury lawsuit and wrongful death claim is different; the circumstances of the accident, the parties involved in the accident and the ultimate harm caused to the victim are unique. Work with an injury attorney who is both experienced and has case records and settlement awards to prove they can win.
Give us a call today and schedule a free case review with our team. When lives are cut short, and innocent victims suffer, we are here to hold the negligent parties responsible. We’re committed to doing what’s right, and here for you when you need us.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission, Inflatable Amusements Deaths and Injury in 2015. Link to pdf download: http://www.cpsc.gov/Global/Research-and-Statistics/Injury-Statistics/Amusement-Rides/InflatableAmusementsDeathsandInjuries2015.pdf