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Michael Agruss

Written and Reviewed by Michael Agruss

  • Managing Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law.
  • Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.
  • Over 8000+ consumer rights cases settled.
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law: Juris Doctor, 2004.

Serious accidents can sometimes result in life-altering injuries or permanent disability. These injuries, like spinal cord damage, brain injuries, or losing a limb, are known as catastrophic injuries that can leave you with long-term pain and suffering, poor quality of life, and extensive financial burdens. You might not be able to work again, or even do basic things like walking or feeding yourself. The worst part is, an injury like this can impact an entire family’s future.

If a negligent party is responsible for this tragedy that has resulted in a catastrophic injury, permanent disability, ongoing medical care, and the loss of your career, get in touch with us at Mike Agruss Law today. Our Illinois personal injury lawyers are here to help you hold the at-fault party accountable for their reckless actions, and recover compensation you need to manage your medical expenses (and more).

Types of Serious or Catastrophic Injuries

Some of the catastrophic injuries for which we have represented injured victims over the decades include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Severe burn injuries (third-degree burns)
  • Amputations
  • Multiple broken bones
  • Organ damage
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Nerve damage
  • Facial disfigurement
  • Crush injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries (e.g., paraplegia, herniated disc, fractures, anterior or central cord syndrome)
  • Neurological issues (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, concussion-related cognitive impairment)

Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries in Illinois

As our leading Illinois catastrophic injury lawyer, Michael Agruss would tell you, you can get severely injured even when you are most careful – because the other party’s behavior may be reckless. The Brain Injury Association of America has reported that at least 2.8 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury in the U.S. every year. Some of the most common cases of catastrophic injuries we see in Illinois occur due to:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (texting or eating while driving)
  • Reckless driving (tailgating, road rage, ignoring traffic signals)
  • Drunk driving (under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
  • Motor vehicle accidents (involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles)
  • Boating accidents (collisions, capsizing, passenger overboard incidents)
  • Pedestrian accidents (crosswalk incidents, hit-and-runs)
  • Defective products (substandard machinery, toys, medical devices)
  • Lack of safety measures (especially in workplaces or public spaces)
  • Medical malpractice (surgical mistakes, wrongful treatment, failure to diagnose, wrong prescriptions)
  • Poorly maintained properties
  • Animal attacks
  • Negligent security
  • Slip and falls (wet floors, uneven surfaces, lack of signage)
  • Public transportation accidents (involving buses, trains, or subways)
  • Recreational accidents (during skydiving, scuba diving, or extreme sports)
  • Industrial accidents (chemical spills, explosions, malfunctioning equipment)
  • Construction accidents (falls, electrocutions, severe burns)
  • Farming accidents (tractor rollovers, limbs or clothing getting caught in heavy machinery, exposure to pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers)
  • Sports injuries (concussions, fractures, heat-related illnesses)

How is Fault Determined in Catastrophic Injury Cases?

In personal injury claims, the state of Illinois works on a legal concept known as “comparative negligence”. This means, when you seek compensation, the court looks at who is primarily responsible for the accident and to what extent others may share some of the blame.

For example, let’s say you are in a car accident and you were not wearing a seatbelt. The other driver was speeding and ran a red light, resulting in your spinal cord injuries. In this case, the court might find the other driver 90% at fault for running the red light but could also find you 10% at fault for not wearing a seatbelt. Your compensation would then be reduced by your percentage of fault.

What to Do After a Catastrophic Injury?

If you have suffered severe injuries, such as burn injuries due to someone else’s negligence, the immediate steps you take will make a big difference in your recovery as well as the legal case. Also remember, the state has a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury cases, so do not delay in taking action. Here is what you generally need to do in these situations:

  • Call 911 or get to your nearest emergency room as fast as you can.
  • If possible, take photos or videos of the accident scene and your injuries.
  • Collect names and contact information of anyone who saw what happened. These witness statements can support your personal injury claim.
  • Whether it’s a car crash, workplace accident, or medical error, make sure there is an official report. For car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, or pedestrian accidents, file a police report; for workplace injuries, notify your employer.
  • Save all medical bills, test results, and treatment plans. These documents can prove the extent of your injuries and the costs involved.
  • Consult with a Chicago personal injury attorney right away because major injuries generally mean complicated insurance claims, filing a lawsuit, and proving liability.
  • Follow your extensive medical treatment plan and attend all follow-up appointments. This will help document the continuing impact of your injuries.
  • Do not talk to the insurance companies on your own. They may try to offer a quick, lowball settlement. Consult with your personal injury lawyer before you make any statements, sign any documents, or accept any offers from the insurers.

We also recommend keeping a journal and documenting your severe pain and emotional trauma after the accident. This can be useful in showing the long-term effects of your serious injuries and calculating recovery and rehab costs, lost income, pain and suffering and emotional distress damages. As your catastrophic injury attorney, we will pursue the strongest possible claim against the at-fault party, be it a driver, employer, product manufacturer, or healthcare provider.

Can You Survive a Catastrophic Injury?

The very term “catastrophic” implies that the injury is life-threatening. So, the survival rate largely depends on the type and severity of the injury, but also:

  • How quickly you get medical attention
  • The quality of medical care
  • Your age and current health condition

In most cases, if the injured accident victims receive quick and proper treatment, they are able to live through injuries like spinal or brain damage. But even then, they are probably looking at permanent disabilities. Survival is a good possibility, but the focus in these cases then shifts to the quality of life post-injury.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Top-rated Illinois Catastrophic Injury Attorneys

No matter how you got severely injured, you now have to deal with multiple surgeries, exorbitant hospital bills, extensive physical therapy, lost wages. At Mike Agruss Law, our catastrophic injury attorneys are here to hold those accountable whose negligence has cost you so dearly. If you require extensive medical treatment, we can refer you to the leading care providers in Illinois.

Call or text us at 312-300-5996 (local) or 844-SEE-MIKE (toll-free), or send us a message online. Our legal team has a track record of fighting tooth and nail for our clients, and recovering millions in jury verdicts and out-of-court settlements for our clients. Let our catastrophic injury lawyers deliver the same results for you.

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Submitted Comments

5 months ago
Catastrophic personal injury at RUSH on 2/5/2021 resulted in disability. Negligence caused severe PTSD. I have a password protected statement. IDHR is doing an investigation. I am seeking representation.