According to the American Medical Association, a catastrophic injury is “a serious injury to the spine, the spinal cord, or brain.” Regardless of the nature of your accident or injury, if your injury is severe enough that you have long-term effects from it, or you’ve experienced a deformity, it is considered catastrophic for you.
If you have a catastrophic injury, you may need experts, such as life care planners, to formulate a plan of care for the rest of your life. To handle the recovery of your financial compensation, talk to the Florida catastrophic injury lawyers at Searcy Denney.
How Can I Live With a Catastrophic Injury?
Generally speaking, most people who have suffered a catastrophic injury simply want to know how to live with a catastrophic injury, not just make a living. Fortunately, research and technology have developed some key strategies, all of which are intended to make your post-injury life better.
Make a Plan
Planning ahead is often the key to how well various events or outings will go. If you are planning an event in the near future, explain to your friends and family what kind of accommodations and other help you think you may need. These are often easily overlooked, like accommodations for eating, using the restroom, and moving around a gathering space. Often, the people around you are eager to help, but may simply need a little guidance.
Proceed at Your Own Pace
If you’re used to being on the go all the time, it can be challenging to adjust your pace after a catastrophic injury. If you can’t naturally do the things you’re used to, give yourself a break and let yourself adjust to the situation at hand. If you feel tired and overwhelmed by the activity around you, take some time so you can feel rejuvenated and ready to fully participate in the activities.
Most of us have routines that keep us balanced, productive, relaxed, and happy. These routines are especially important for catastrophic injury victims, who may need to revolve their routines around regularly-scheduled therapy and exercise. During special events like weddings, births, and funerals, your routines are interrupted, which may sideline your recovery. If you are unable to keep up with regular therapy or exercise, ask your doctor or therapist whether there are different but similarly effective routines that may be more convenient, at least in the short term. These might include meditation, yoga or moderate exercise, light stretching or consulting with the experts to help guide you through the change in your routine.
Figuring out your routines in your new situation is a process of trial and error. As things change, you can always adjust these routines to better fit what works best for you. Remember to be patient with yourself and the people around you, and communicate openly about other options that may work better for you.
Finding gainful employment after a catastrophic injury is important, but occasionally difficult, especially if you’re the traditional breadwinner for your family. Some tips that may help include:
- Stay positive. Employers are generally anxious to hire people who have disabilities yet manage to stay positive and are fun to be around. It speaks miles to your character.
- Plan ahead. Develop a realistic timeline, and be patient. Jobs can be hard to find even for perfectly healthy people.
- Discuss your limitations with your treatment team. You can prepare for returning to work by understanding your limitations with your doctors, therapists, and family so that you are aware of your potential restrictions and ways you may be able to get around them or at least minimize them.
- Stay busy. Engaging in community activities or volunteer work can help you build endurance, and also impresses potential hiring managers. Again, character is important to potential employers.
- Seek assistance from your treatment team about community reintegration resources. These resources help liaison between patients returning to work and pre-injury employers. If it’s appropriate, the patient’s occupational therapist can make a referral to the local Community Reintegration Team.
- Know your benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Long-Term Disability (LTD) may have benefits available to you.
The good news is: COVID-19, which is rarely thought of as “good,” has dramatically changed the way people work. Working from home is the new paradigm, and any disabilities you may have won’t likely even be noticed.
Take Advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act
Many accident victims enjoy legal protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). The FMLA is a federal law that requires employers with fifty or more employees to provide job-protected, unpaid leave for specific medical and family-related reasons. If they need time to recover from injuries, employees who are covered by the FMLA qualify for up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave.
At the end of the unpaid leave period, an employee may return to the job, or else the employer must offer a similar job with comparable pay and comparable prospects for advancement.
If an employer eliminates your job or replaces you while you are legally away on FMLA leave, and does not offer you a similar position, it is likely a violation of federal law, and you will need the help of the Florida personal injury lawyers at Searcy Denney.
Turn to Searcy Denney After a Catastrophic Injury
Catastrophic injuries are not the end of a productive life; it’s just a different way of life. Let us help. We work entirely on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we win. Contact us for your free consultation.