| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

Catastrophic injuries are often both devastating and debilitating, leaving victims and their families unsure of where to turn as they face a new normal. These injuries are almost always permanent and can often prevent a person from obtaining or retaining gainful employment. If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury as a result of an accident or someone else’s negligence, you need immediate representation to preserve your legal rights. 

At Frederick Law, our catastrophic injury attorneys can guide you through the most challenging moments in your life. 

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

Almost any type of injury can rise to the level of a catastrophic injury if it is severe enough. However, specific injuries leave little room for debate about whether they are catastrophic. These include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries,
  • Spinal cord damage,
  • Paralysis,
  • Loss of limbs,
  • Severe burns, and
  • Significant compound fractures.

If the injury leaves the survivor with a permanent orthopedic or cognitive disability and impacts their mobility and functional capabilities, it is likely catastrophic. If you believe you or a family member suffered a catastrophic injury, you should contact our catastrophic injury lawyers in SLO.

Catastrophic Injury Claim

A catastrophic injury claim will generally proceed in the same manner as a personal injury suit. Most of these claims proceed on a legal theory of negligence. In other words, the victim must prove the defendant deviated from the acceptable standard of care, leading to the victim’s injuries. 

Catastrophic injuries can be caused by a wide array of negligence, including car, truck, and bus accidents, defective or dangerous products, including medical devices, slips and falls, unsafe property conditions, exposure to toxic chemicals, and more.

The Role of Comparative Negligence in Catastrophic Injury Cases

California is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning the plaintiff can still recover damages even if they are partially at fault. Notably, California does not forbid a plaintiff from seeking compensation even if they are more than 50% at fault for the accident. However, the plaintiff’s damages award is reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if the plaintiff is 10% at fault for the accident, their award will be reduced by 10%. If the plaintiff is 60% at fault, they will be limited to recovering 40% of the damages. As an accident victim, you and your family deserve compassion, justice, and support, even if you were partially responsible for your accident.

Do I Need Catastrophic Injury Attorneys in SLO for My Case?

There is no legal requirement to have an attorney to pursue your case. However, we strongly recommend you consult a knowledgeable attorney if you suffered a catastrophic injury. These matters tend to be some of the most complex personal injury cases, often involving multiple parties, different insurance companies and policies, and extensive litigation. The investigation and discovery process can be especially complex, as determining cause and liability is not always straightforward. 

Life Care Plan

It is common for catastrophic accident victims to need lifelong assistance for their disabilities. One way our catastrophic injury attorneys will assist you with facing this reality is by developing a life care plan. When an accident leaves you with horrific permanent injuries, a life care plan can map out the necessary changes in your everyday life and help you assess and plan for essential future financial support. Life care plans are usually developed with input from a variety of experts, making them very useful in establishing a value for your future injuries.

Creating a life care plan is not easy and can be emotionally draining. It is undoubtedly difficult to face and adapt to the changes in your life after a catastrophic accident. Let us ease that burden. 

When Should I Hire a Lawyer?

You should hire an attorney immediately or shortly after your accident. Generally, accident victims only have two years to file their lawsuit, and when you are recovering from devastating injuries, two years can go by quickly. It is also important to be mindful of circumstances that can shorten the window of opportunity you have to bring a lawsuit. One example would be a claim against a government agency.

Practically speaking, it is best to initiate your suit as soon as possible while the events are fresh in the parties’ minds. Our catastrophic injury attorneys will assess your case and ensure timely filing. 

Damages in Catastrophic Injury Cases

There is a lot at stake for catastrophic injury victims. The medical bills alone can quickly exceed six and seven figures. If you can successfully prove your case as a plaintiff, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your economic and noneconomic losses. 

Examples of damages in a serious or catastrophic injury case include:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Assisted living costs,
  • Home healthcare expenses,
  • Past and future lost wages,
  • Home or vehicle modification costs,
  • Transportation expenses,
  • Medical equipment,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

If the defendant’s action was grossly negligent or so egregious, the court may award punitive damages for the defendant’s misconduct.

Catastrophic Injury Attorneys San Luis Obispo

At Frederick Law Firm, we treat each client like family. When a catastrophic injury tears your life apart, your focus should be on recovery and healing. With over 45 years of combined experience, we have the expertise to fight for your maximum compensation. 

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