Recovering Compensation for Disabling Car Accident Injuries
Every year, tens of thousands of people die from car-related accidents in Minnesota and all over the United States according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While each of those deaths is tragic, permanent disability resulting from a car accident can cause nearly equal pain and suffering, both for the injured and for the injured’s family. Often permanent disability arises where the accident involves a semi-truck driver, a motorcyclist, or an exceedingly negligent driver.
You may require need medical care and treatment for the rest of your life.
Serious injuries require lifelong treatment. Though you might not need rigorous treatment for a period of time, as you get older, the natural course of aging will often be intensified by injuries. Therefore, you should consider those associated costs of future treatment and care before you settle.
Though you might believe it is in your best interest to settle as soon as possible to help pay your current bills, if you settle too soon without proper development of your case, then you may lose out on the appropriate settlement amount for your injuries. Remember: once you settle, you cannot go back in time and request additional compensation, even if the new medical evidence supports that you were impacted by the accident more significantly than previously thought.
The personal injury attorney you choose can affect your financial well-being for the rest of your life.
If you have experienced a serious injury in a car accident resulting in a permanent disability, then the insurance company is highly incentivized to settle the case as quickly as possible to limit the potential damages that they will have to pay. However, an experienced attorney will be able to advise you on the appropriate settlement amount as well as the appropriate time to settle.
You might be ashamed of your disability and even ashamed of asking for compensation for your injuries. However, you must remember that you would not be disabled but for someone else’s negligence. You did nothing shameful and are not being “greedy” by negotiating for a fair and just settlement. You are not expecting a “windfall,” but rather an award to cover current and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other associated costs of injury.
Car Accident Injuries That Cause Disability
Disability is a disturbingly common result of car accident injuries. Vehicles moving at high speeds have the ability to cause collisions that inflict massive trauma that permanently destroy the function of certain organs. Truck accidents and motorcycle accidents are known to be especially damaging and likely to cause disabling injuries due to the size and weight of trucks and the exposed nature of riding a motorcycle. Among these many dangerous motor vehicle accidents, there are a few types of injuries that stand out among the rest as particularly injurious and common.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Car accidents can inflict immense amounts of trauma to someone’s back. As a result of this immense back trauma, a person’s spinal cord can be compromised and cause lifelong disabilities. The spinal cord is a spongey bundle of nerves that makes its way up the spine and to the brain and is encased in the bony confines of the spine’s vertebrae. When the vertebrae experience intense trauma because of a car accident they can fracture or become misaligned which can put pressure on the spinal cord or tear it thus damaging it. Since the spinal cord is responsible for conveying sensory information to and from the brain and signaling various organs, damage to it will interfere with these functions. That means paralysis, loss of sensation, spasms, incontinence, and phantom sensation that can leave a person disabled.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A blow to the head always has the potential to cause a level of damage to the brain. Our brains are arguably the most important organ of our bodies since they essentially are what makes us “us”. Not only that but almost every function of our body is controlled by this natural miracle of processing power. A traumatic brain injury is a classification of head injury where someone undergoes significant force on their head to the point that it causes damage to the brain. This trauma to the brain often results in permanent injury which can take on a number of forms. Traumatic brain injury is well known for causing problems with a person’s cognitive abilities. This can manifest through symptoms such as mood swings, change in personality, trouble concentrating, loss of coordination, speech issues, sleeping problems, and much more. Common types of traumatic brain injuries include concussions, coup-contrecoup injuries, brain contusions, and diffuse axonal injuries.
It is not unusual to see amputations done as a result of the trauma caused by a car accident. An amputation may need to be carried out for a number of reasons but regardless of the cause, it will generally cause some form of disability that will last for a person’s entire life. In especially severe car accidents, the force of a collision can cause enough trauma that a part of the body may not be able to heal properly and will need to be removed. This can be because of extreme crushing of the limb, lacerations, multiple breaks/fractures, or a combination of these kinds of damage. The most common limbs that are amputated because of car accidents are the arms and hands with 70% of all amputations consisting of these limbs. When someone loses a limb they are losing part of their mobility which can have repercussions for their career, relationships, and even their mental health.
If your permanent disability prevents you from working gainfully, then you may be entitled to social security disability benefits.
Depending on your work history or your household assets and income, you may be eligible for social security disability benefits. If the injury sustained in the car accident, along with any other prior impairments, has resulted in limitations that prevent you from being able to perform your past work or other work (depending on your age), then you may qualify if those limitations are expected to last for 12 months or more.
If you hope to work in the future, you can still apply for benefits. However, you should make your personal injury attorney aware of your social security claim or any award (or, in the alternative, your social security disability attorney aware of your personal injury case or settlement) for information and advice on how to prevent one award from negatively impacting the other. A large personal injury award may cease Supplemental Security Income (or income-based benefits) for a period of time if not properly managed.
Whether you live in large cities such as Minneapolis or St. Paul, or in the surrounding regions, it is important to obtain experienced local counsel to assist you in your fight.
Fearing the unknown such as a lifetime of disability is daunting, however, fighting the insurance company does not have to be. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident and is now facing permanent disability, please contact us online or call us at 651-291-7263 for a free consultation.