Chicago Catastrophic Injuries Lawyer

Man injured in a wheelchair

The Jasmer Law Firm is recognized as a leader and innovator in the field of personal injury. We are at the forefront of exposing the role of driver fatigue in causing truck collisions, pioneering the use of innovative discovery techniques to prove that a fatality or severe injury was caused by a truck driver falling asleep at the wheel. Our Chicago catastrophic injury lawyers offer compassion and clear-eyed advocacy — when you need it most.

About David Jasmer

About David Jasmer

David Jasmer is a renowned catastrophic injury lawyer with far-reaching skills in many related areas of law.  Mr. Jasmer has helped achieve important innovations in the law in major product liability, medical malpractice, and truck crash cases.

Mr. Jasmer’s ingenuity and skill helped create new laws in medical negligence cases to overcome a hospital’s claim that it has “lost” critical medical records, laws that are instrumental to winning cases for victims of malpractice. In a blockbuster product liability case, Mr. Jasmer proved that medical device manufacturers must properly warn doctors of the dangers of their products.

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Our Results

Catastrophic Injury Verdicts & Settlements

  • Spinal cord injury: $20 million. A 23-year-old woman was rendered paraplegic in a truck collision with a UPS semi-tractor trailer (A record-setting result in Illinois)

  • Traumatic brain Injury: $21 million. A woman suffered a severe TBI after she was injured by the disconnection of a catheter connector manufactured by a major medical device manufacturer.

  • Traumatic brain Injury: $8 million. A 40-year-old man suffered a brain injury and ultimately died as a result of an improperly treated asthma attack.

  • Premises liability: $7 million. A 22-year-old woman fell to her death as a result of a defective ladder at an apartment building. Though her blood alcohol content was over 3 times the legal driving limit, the jury determined that she was only 5% at fault.

  • Traumatic brain injury: $5 million. A 16-year-old boy suffered a TBI in a collision with a U-Haul rental truck.

For a list of our recent settlements and verdicts, please visit our Results page.


$30 Million Settlement For a man burned over 95% of his body in propane gas explosion.

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Catastrophic Injury: An Overview

Any injury, however small, has the potential to disrupt a person’s life and livelihood. Catastrophic injuries are in a unique category, as they all have the potential to permanently alter the course of your life. Catastrophic physical injuries often lead to lasting emotional distress, including anxiety and depression, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Catastrophic injuries often result in permanent disability, which renders a person physically compromised, unable to work, and/or unable to maintain relationships. 

When a catastrophic injury was caused by the fault of another person or entity, the survivor may be entitled to compensation for the costs associated with the injury. This may include medical bills, lost wages/loss of income, loss of consortium, and more.

At the Jasmer Law Firm, our goal is maximum compensation for all catastrophic injury claims. Our personal injury lawyers work closely with every client, with the goal of fully understanding how their lives have changed since their catastrophic injury. We work with expert witnesses, forensics experts, medical professionals and insurance company experts in making your case—and we never settle until our clients receive the maximum total allowed under Illinois law.

What is my catastrophic injury claim worth?

There are a multitude of factors that influence claim value, but the two largest factors are liability (who is at fault) and collectible damages (how much is owed). Recovering compensation requires both factors to be probable in a court of law, which requires going through the legal process of proving your claim.

Assuming that you are provably injured and that your injury occurred as the result of another person or entity, your catastrophic injury claim value depends on the expected costs of your ongoing medical care, wage loss, pain and suffering, and other factors. Additionally, family members whose lives have been affected by another family member’s catastrophic injury may also be eligible for compensation.

In general, catastrophic injury claim value falls into any of all of these categories:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are simply the tabulated cost of past medical expenses, as well an estimate of all future medical expenses. Catastrophic injury cases often require expert testimony from medical professionals, psychologists and economists to capture the full cost of the injury endured.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of intimacy (also known as “loss of consortium”), and loss of enjoyment of life. When the quality of a person’s life plunges after a traumatic event that was caused by another person’s negligence, the noneconomic damages will be large.

Punitive Damages

Finally, in some extreme cases, punitive damages may be applied to a catastrophic injury case. “Punitives” are intended to punish the defendant for the negligence that caused the accident, while also serving to deter future cases that would result from the same behavior. Punitive damages are rare in non-catastrophic cases, but are much more common in cases involving catastrophic injuries.

The Jasmer Law Firm stands committed to helping people put their lives back together after a catastrophic event. Call us today at (312) 782-6344 for a free case evaluation, and to find out how we can help.

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Defining the Scope of a Catastrophic Injury

Defining the Scope of a Catastrophic Injury

Catastrophic injuries are different from other types of personal injury cases in three ways.

1. Severity Of Damage

Catastrophic injuries cause much more severe damage, and often require a much greater financial burden, than a non-catastrophic injury. Catastrophic injury survivors may find that they are not able to perform basic daily living activities (walking, doing the dishes, brushing teeth, etc.). Catastrophic injury survivors may also find it difficult to work and maintain social and/or intimate relationships after the accident. In some cases, catastrophic injuries require the assistance of a full-time, in-home caregiver.

2. Recovery Time

Recovering from a non-catastrophic injury may take days, weeks, or even months. With catastrophic injuries, recovery time often takes years—and in many cases, as with amputations and severe TBIs, a full recovery is simply not possible. The severity of a catastrophic injury is generally life-altering, and the recovery may be a life-long process.

3. Sustained Trauma

Lastly, the physical mechanisms of catastrophic injuries generally are more traumatic. A non-catastrophic TBI may mean a concussion that lasts a few weeks and requires some time off of work; by contrast, a catastrophic TBI may cause permanent brain damage and lifelong impairment. Recovering from the sustained trauma of a catastrophic injury may require medical supervision, therapy, medication and more.

Understanding Catastrophic Injuries In Chicago

What is a catastrophic injury?

A catastrophic injury is defined as an injury that results in one or more life-changing effects on the survivor. Catastrophic injuries can affect physical, mental, and emotional health; in the vast majority of these cases, the injury can never be fully healed or repaired. Catastrophic injuries require significant short-term medical care, as well as ongoing, consistent, long-term rehabilitative care.

People suffering from catastrophic injuries may not be able to return to gainful employment for an extended period, if ever. Victims of catastrophic injuries may never lead the life they enjoyed prior to the injury, and that is why these injuries deserve special consideration. 

Our team specializes in four common types of catastrophic injuries: amputations, burns, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). We will go into each type of case in more detail below.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

Whether through a motor vehicle accident, construction accident or medical malpractice instance, losing a limb forever changes a person’s quality of life. Amputations vary in degree of severity based on how much of a limb is lost, but all amputations run the risk of ongoing medical complications. 

Amputees often report “phantom limb” pain; they are also at an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), heart attack, stroke, and other bacterial infections. In addition to physical and occupational therapy, people living with amputation injuries may require surgery to minimize pain and address issues that develop after their limb loss.

Additionally, amputation survivors frequently suffer from debilitating mental health issues. Many suffer from depression, anxiety, and/or post-traumatic stress disorder from their accident. Both physical and psychological damage are potential sources of financial compensation in catastrophic injury lawsuits.

Jasmer Law Firm represents clients who have lost fingers or toes, hands or feet, arms or legs, or any other body part. Our team of knowledgeable, compassionate lawyers listens carefully to their stories to understand how amputation affects their ability to work, move, and live comfortably. We approach all amputation cases from both physical and psychological perspectives to maximize potential case value and benefit to our clients. 

Whether from a motor vehicle accident, chemical spill, house fire, or nursing home neglect involving electric blankets or space heaters, burns are catastrophic injuries that need to be taken very seriously. Burns can cause excruciating pain, as well as permanent damage and disfigurement to the tissue and muscles in the body. Scarring can be significant, even with skin grafting, and a person’s range of motion may be limited as a result of skin tightening around the affected area. 

A burn injury can also be an ongoing challenge for the survivor, as chronic pain is common. Plastic surgeons who seek to repair scar tissue may recommend repeated surgeries over a long period of time — especially for children who will grow and put stress on the scar tissue. It is important to be mindful of the length of time that may be required to heal—and that, in the most severe cases, a full recovery is not possible.

Jasmer Law Firm is here to help you put your life back together after a serious burn accident. We understand the nuances of these specialty cases, and take the time necessary to review your case from every angle. We often consult with medical burn experts, dermatologists, and surgeons who specialize in skin grafting, as well as occupational, physical, and mental health therapists when constructing your case.

Inside the spine, protected by the bones known as vertebrae, is a delicate bundle of nerve fibers called the spinal cord. When the spinal cord is injured, those signals get interrupted and communication between the brain and the affected parts of the body does not work as well. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including pain, numbness, loss of motor control, and paralysis. Sometimes, those symptoms improve over a period of weeks, months, or years, and in other cases, they may be permanent.

Spinal cord injuries can be categorized by the amount of sensation and motor control that remains in the affected part of the body. If the affected body parts are entirely numb and paralyzed, the injury is referred to as complete. If some sensation or movement remains, it is known as incomplete. Catastrophic spinal cord injuries include paraplegia (paralysis of the legs) as well as quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs). These severe, permanent spinal cord injuries are usually the result of an injury to the upper spine.

Spinal Cord Statistics

According to the National Institute of Health, automobile crashes are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries (31.5%), followed by falls (25.3%), gunshot wounds (10.4%), and diving incidents (4.7%). Medical/surgical complications comprised another 4.3% of all spinal cord injuries. 

The cost of living with a spinal cord injury can be extremely high, often including extensive medical bills and lifelong care, as well as loss of income, necessary home modifications, and other damages. When a spinal cord injury is caused by someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, the injured person may be able to recover financial compensation through the civil legal system by filing a personal injury lawsuit. 

Of catastrophic injury types, traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are among the most common—and misunderstood. TBIs can result from any sudden impact to the head and could result from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or an object penetrating the skull and piercing the brain. Not all brain injuries are catastrophic, but severe TBIs frequently result in chronic impairment. The effects of TBIs are wide-ranging, from noise and light sensitivity to memory loss, speech impairment, personality changes, mental health issues, and shortened life expectancy.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, the effects brain injury victims experience after an accident are highly variable and often depend on the location, cause, and severity of the trauma. For example, one TBI victim may experience issues with his or her ability to remember things for a few weeks after the initial trauma occurs. Comparatively, another TBI victim may have a difficult time adequately expressing his or her emotions and may deal with the effects of anxiety for the rest of his or her life.

Due to the complicated nature of traumatic brain injuries, it is imperative to find a Chicago brain injury lawyer who can help you navigate these challenging cases. The scope of damage may be multi-modal (physical, mental, emotional, professional, sexual, interrelational, etc.) and may require other people who knew the injured person before the accident to offer testimony corroborating how the injury affected them.

There are a multitude of other potentially catastrophic injuries in addition to those listed here. These include any injury resulting in:

  • Loss of sight (blindness)

  • Loss of hearing (deafness)

  • Facial deformities

  • Neurological issues

  • Nerve damage

  • Severe organ damage

One consistent factor in all catastrophic injuries is that the survivor will likely have to live with the effects of the injury for the rest of their life. The Jasmer Law Firm understands that no two catastrophic injuries will be the same; our team of legal experts is here to help determine liability in catastrophic accidents and define the range of compensation to which you are entitled.

Common Accidents That Cause Catastrophic Injuries

Common Accidents That Cause Catastrophic Injuries

Any type of accident can cause a catastrophic injury, but the most common types of accidents are described below.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Any accident involving motor vehicles—cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, or any other high-horsepower machine capable of high speed—has the potential to cause a catastrophic injury. Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists can be particularly catastrophic. Children, elderly, and/or disabled people also pose a greater risk of suffering a lifelong injury in motor vehicle accidents.

Workplace Accidents

Construction areas, warehouses, and work sites are common backdrops for catastrophic injuries. Falling objects, fires, chemical exposure, slip and falls, and crush injuries are among the most typical types of workplace accidents. Always speak to a catastrophic injury attorney if you have experienced a workplace accident.

Premises Liability Accidents

Premises liability accidents occur when property owners and/or property management companies fail to keep their property free of unsafe or hazardous conditions. This could include defective stairways, inadequate lighting or security, elevator/escalator issues, fire safety/building code violations, faulty design and/or maintenance of the building(s), tripping hazards, and/or weather-related dangers.

Defective Products

US law protects consumers from defective products, i.e., any product that has been designed, maintained, and/or manufactured in a way that is demonstrably unsafe. Catastrophic injuries may occur when unsuspecting people use the product as it is intended and experience the worst-case scenario. Defective products range from car parts and machinery to firearms, medical products, food and pharmaceuticals. Defective products can cause serious and injuries, including death.

There are several other ways that catastrophic injuries can occur, but one element remains consistent: these serious cases require dedicated and experienced legal representation. Talk to a catastrophic injury attorney today to discuss your case: (312) 782-6344. 

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Catastrophic Injury: Frequently Asked Questions

A catastrophic injury is an injury that causes substantial physical distress for an extended period of time, often permanently. Catastrophic injuries frequently include mental and emotional distress as well and may require substantial economic and non-economic costs well into the future.

If you or a loved one has recently experienced a catastrophic injury, what you do in the aftermath of the event can play a large role in the outcome of your claim. Here are several ways to preserve the evidence of your case and strengthen your catastrophic injury claim:

  1. Always get the contact information of anyone involved in the accident, including all witnesses.

  2. Call 911 immediately and cooperate fully with your first-responder team. Give a full and complete account of what happened to the officer taking the official police report.

  3. Take pictures and videos of all injuries and visible property damage. Also note the condition of the road, the positions of all vehicles involved, and any details that may become important to your case.

  4. Keep a dated journal of any changes in your medical condition, including medical treatments and costs incurred.

  5. Speak to a catastrophic injury lawyer as soon as possible to begin the process of collecting damages for the substantial harm resulting from your accident. The Jasmer Law Firm is always ready to help: (312) 782-6344. 

Pro tip: Save our phone number under your contacts as CHICAGO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY. This way you will be ready to call us the moment the need arises.

Some of the most common types of catastrophic injuries are listed below:

  • Amputations

  • Severe burns

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Internal organ failure

  • Permanent disfigurement

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

No two catastrophic injuries are exactly the same; they can vary in terms of location, severity, and length of time needed for recovery. Catastrophic accidents caused by another person or entity’s negligence can also lead to wrongful death cases.

The most common types of catastrophic injury include motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, premises liability cases, and defective products (consumer protection) are among the most common causes of catastrophic accidents in Chicago. Catastrophic accidents can happen practically anywhere, at any time; our experienced attorneys are prepared to work on types of personal injury claims, including catastrophic injury litigation.

In legal terms, “negligence” is “the failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances.” Catastrophic injury often result from someone, or some business entity, failing to take reasonable care and the resulting circumstance severely harming one or more people. 

While this may seem straightforward, many catastrophic injury cases are anything but. The damages incurred after a catastrophic accident can be enormous; the defendants’ lawyers and insurance carriers will try every trick to avoid their massive financial responsibility. The Jasmer Law Firm specializes in cases involving catastrophic personal injury, where we draw from decades of practice to put forward the strongest case possible. Talk to one of our catastrophic injury attorneys to discuss your case: (312) 782-6344.

If you are interested in setting up a time to meet with attorney David Jasmer in our downtown Chicago office, please get in touch We don't collect attorney fees unless we obtain compensation for you.