Episode 13: Calloway County personal injury attorney Jeff Roberts discusses handling cases of accidents resulting in paralysis or amputation. Jeff handles car wrecks, truck wrecks, workers’ compensation and social security disability cases. Over the past 27 years, a number of them have involved these tragic injuries.
Amputations of the lower extremities (toe, foot, leg, etc.) and of the upper extremities (finger, hand arm, etc.) have a bearing on the injured person’s ability to do his/her work. The type of work a person dies is particularly relevant in determining the “value” of the loss. For instance, a surgeon who loses a finger is more impaired than an attorney who loses a finger.
Future Medical Expenses
When dealing with these types of serious injuries, you must be diligent in documenting the future medical expenses. That is also an important part of the calculations an attorney must consider in representing a client.
In most cases, once a settlement agreement is signed, unforeseen expenses related to the injury can’t typically be renegotiated. The claim is over. Kentucky workers’ compensation claims resulting from workplace injuries can be settled with future medical left open. This is the exception.
Some future expenses people often don’t consider might include wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs that wear out. Handicap-accessible vehicles that eventually need to be replaced. These expenses need to be estimated and included in settlement negotiation valuations.
Experience is Vital
Knowing what questions to ask the doctor is an important factor. Jeff Robert’s has handled injury cases for over 27 years and has tremendous experience in learning, understanding and knowing how to get important issues documented on behalf of his clients. This, again, is used in the calculations for properly valuing an injury claim. It’s not just about the current needs, it’s about considering those needs, which will occur much further down the road.
Life-Care Planning Experts
When dealing with accidents resulting in paralysis or amputation, Jeff will often consult with the treating doctors and other professionals, such as life-care planners, who have experience in providing data and estimates of expenses related to treatments that may be incurred as a result of the injury.
These professionals often work with an attorney to help estimate future medical expenses. They can speak directly with the injured victim to try to fully understand the difficulties and concerns resulting from the paralysis or amputation. They’ll speak with the doctors and other experts, as well.
They document the problems a person will experience, the lifespan of durable medical equipment (and related replacement costs) and other issues.
Mental Health Counseling
It’s difficult for some victims to come to grips with loss of use of a limb due to paralysis or amputation. The emotional and psychological impact is often significant. Learning to accept and cope with the new reality can be a struggle. Jeff strongly recommends that the client consider mental health counseling. Seeking out help sooner rather than later is beneficial. It can positively a person’s mental outlook on life going forward and his/her relationships with family members.
The Risk of Substance Abuse
Depression due to accidents resulting in paralysis or amputation can sometimes increase the risk of substance abuse. Opioid pain medication can be over-prescribed. The body can develop a tolerance to the pain medication if used for an extended period of time. The medicine can be highly-addictive. It’s an issue that needs to be closely monitored. If the individual can wean himself/herself off of the medicine, while the pain may persist, it may also decrease to an acceptable level. This change can also have a positive impact on the person’s attitude toward life in general.
For more information, visit www.JeffRobertsLaw.com. This podcast is meant to provide information and is not legal advice. Jeff’s principal office is located at 509 Main Street, Murray, Kentucky. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson. This is an advertisement.