Internal Injuries: Lawsuits and Compensation
Internal injuries can be life-threatening, and impact people of all ages. They can be hard to identify for hours or even days after an accident, and left unchecked, the consequences can be fatal. In addition to immediate medical support, there are symptoms of internal injuries that can help injured victims identify them early.
If a victim suffers internal injuries due to another’s negligence, they may be entitled to file a lawsuit to gain compensation for pain, suffering and other damages.
Common Causes of Internal Injuries
Many aspects of everyday life—from sports to travel, work to home-based activities—can lead to accidents. There are also traumas related to physical assault like mugging. Regardless of the origin, when there’s enough force, any trauma can be the cause of internal injuries.
WebMD breaks down the trauma related to internal bleeding into two categories:
- Blunt trauma: When the human body collides with an object—often at a high speed, blood vessels may be crushed or torn. The force of an accident or a fall may be responsible or an encounter with a blunt object.
- Penetrating trauma: When an object like a bullet or knife enters the body, it may penetrate a blood vessel. Same too when a fall is complicated by landing on something jagged.
As mentioned, trauma can also be associated with sports, in cases where the athlete hits or collides with a big object, as in tackle football, says Stanford Children’s Health. Other contact sports that can contribute to blunt trauma are soccer, lacrosse and hockey.
Internal Injuries Caused by Negligence
A car accident is a key example of a case where negligence may be at the root of the internal injury. The other driver may have run a red light, took his eyes off the road for a cellphone or proceeded down a residential street at a reckless speed. It’s almost endless the number of ways a driver can be negligent and stray from their mandate to ensure the safety of others on the road.
Sometimes a passenger may be hurt with internal injuries through no fault of their own while traveling with a negligent driver, perhaps on public transportation. In all these cases, there is a legal recourse for the injured party to pursue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of four older adults (65+) in the U.S. falls each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury and injury death for this age group. Yet the CDC considers falls highly preventable.
Yes, in many cases, a fall can be the result of someone’s negligence. Perhaps the landlord failed to shovel or salt the walkways after a storm and someone—elderly or not—falls and gets hurt. Just as risky, broken sidewalks are also the responsibility of a landlord or property owner. Hazards can take many forms, but property owners have an obligation to prevent accidents when they are aware of dangers.
When someone is physically assaulted, the attacker may face criminal charges, but they can also be held negligent in civil court for internal injuries they caused.
If someone’s dog causes the internal injury, the pet owner could be held responsible for not preventing the incident. This is another example of negligence that could result in a civil court award for the victim.
Like the landlord or property owner, an employer is responsible for maintaining a safe job site. In cases where an accident happens because equipment is not maintained or hazards (such as a slippery floor) are not remedied, the injured party may have a case against their employer or building owner for negligence. Sometimes even the manufacturer of the equipment may be to blame and held accountable in a defective product lawsuit.
How to Seek Compensation
When internal injuries are caused by any of the above scenarios, there are several ways to seek compensation. It’s important to explore each avenue, because injuries can extend far beyond medical bills and loss of income. Depending on severity, they may include permanent disability and loss of livelihood.
- Personal injury lawsuit: With the help of a skilled attorney, the injured person can file a claim in civil court for their losses as well as pain and suffering. There is no limit on the amount of a pain-and-suffering award in New York as in some other states. In many cases, the lawsuit doesn’t even go to trial because the attorney is able to negotiate for an acceptable award. In addition, at Sobo & Sobo, consultations are free, and clients only pay an agreed-upon-percentage if they win.
- Workman’s Compensation: New York State has a no-fault system to reimburse wages and provide lifetime medical care for on-the-job injuries. Also covered are travel expenses related to medical appointments arising from the injury. All employers, including most nonprofits, are required by law to carry this insurance. For more information, visit ny.gov/services/file-new-york-state-workers-compensation-claim
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): For those who worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes, this could be a good way to get revenue after an injury. For help in calculating benefits, visit the following ssa.gov/disability/?tl=2. Based on financial need, another federal program is Supplemental Security Income.
Many people pursue one or more of these avenues depending on what they qualify for and what they need financially. Workman’s Comp, for example, provides cash benefits equal to two-thirds of an average weekly wage; and this may fall short of the victim’s needs.
Rather than consider a lawsuit a last resort, realize that working with a qualified attorney early on can achieve the best results and a sense of comfort knowing that nothing is left to chance.
Most Common Internal Injuries
- Abdominal injuries: Stanford Children’s Health in the San Francisco Bay area tells parents that sports-related internal injuries, though still rare, are on the rise according to studies. Abdominal injuries could impact several organs, including the pancreas, diaphragm, stomach, gallbladder, bladder or intestines. Pain and tenderness, as well as blood in the urine, are possible symptoms.
- Kidney injury: Among the 2.7 million youth athletes treated in the Emergency Room each year for sports injuries, a kidney injury is another internal problem that may go undetected. Also look for flank pain and blood in the urine, says Stanford Children’s Health.
- Spleen injury: This is an injury that needs immediate attention as a ruptured spleen can cause rapid internal bleeding, according to Stanford. A sign of spleen trouble is pain in the upper left side of the abdomen.
- Liver injury: It is less common for a ruptured liver to bleed, but when it does, the loss of blood can be substantial. A telltale sign would be pain in upper right side of the abdomen.
- Brain bleed or injury: In clinical terms, epidural hematoma results from a torn blood vessel under the skull, which typically coincides with a skull fracture, says Harvard Health. Sometimes the hematoma will grow until it creates pressure on the brain—with potentially fatal consequences. There are several varieties of brain bleed and injury, many of which are life-altering.
- Pulmonary contusion: Blunt trauma to the chest—such as may occur in a car crash—can lead to pulmonary contusion, says Healthline. Also known as a bruised lung, the injury affects the small blood vessels and can lead to life-threatening complications like acute respiratory distress and deep lung infection.
- Internal bleeding: Many types of organs, including the heart, can bleed after a trauma like a fall. Bleeding can also stem from a torn blood vessel, says WebMD. Surgery may be required to stop internal bleeding, a problem typically associated with more visible injuries.
Contact Internal Injury Attorneys in NY
Sobo & Sobo has experience helping those with internal injuries mend financially, regardless of whether those injuries are caused by negligence or intentional acts. Their free consultations answer any questions a person may have and make them feel at ease. Contact them online today or call 855-468-7626 to begin the recovery process.