Unfortunately, there are many accidents that result in injuries. Some injuries are so severe they are catastrophic. Catastrophic injuries happen without warning and change your life forever. But what is considered a catastrophic injury in California? A catastrophic injury is one that leaves you permanently disabled and unable to live your life the way you used to. Common implications include lifelong care, significant changes in employability, and reduced social interactions.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, contact the Frederick Law Firm. Our legal team has the experience, resources, and compassion to get you the fair compensation you deserve.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injuries are more than a broken leg from a slip and fall. They are more severe. California personal injury law does not have a definition of a catastrophic injury. But, a catastrophic injury leaves you with permanent or long-term consequences that can impact your daily life and your ability to continue working.
Any accident, incident, or situation can cause catastrophic injuries under certain conditions. Whether it’s a vehicular accident, medical malpractice, or premise liability, the cause of such injuries is usually negligence. Negligence is the failure to take ordinary care. To prove a negligence claim, you must prove four elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Your lawyer knows how to make your case for negligence.
Common situations that result in catastrophic injuries include the following:
- Vehicle accidents,
- Bicycle accidents,
- Premise liability,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Train accidents,
- Construction accidents,
- Animal bites,
- Boating accidents, and
- Medical malpractice.
Catastrophic injuries are complex cases. The Frederick Law Firm will be able to review your case to determine if your injuries constitute catastrophic injuries.
What Are Types of Catastrophic Injuries?
Personal injury law covers a wide range of harm, but catastrophic injuries are the most severe. They uproot your normal routine and leave you permanently damaged. Examples of catastrophic injuries include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries,
- Severe burns,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Severe pain,
- Severe nerve damage,
- Disfigurement, and
- Organ damage.
Catastrophic injuries usually require extensive treatment and care. These tend to increase the cost of future medical treatment. Victims typically have multiple surgeries and many doctor visits. They typically need to see specialists and participate in rehabilitation services. Others might require long-term assistance and possibly in-home healthcare.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
Catastrophic injury lawyers can help you navigate the law. If another party is at fault for your injuries, their insurance company usually pays your damages. However, insurance companies always try to offer the least amount of money they can get away with. This is especially true for catastrophic injuries. Because these injuries are so massive, disastrous, and long-term, the medical care needed is much more expensive than for minor or even moderate injuries.
Catastrophic injury attorneys will help by doing the following:
- Collecting all medical documents,
- Collecting all employment documents,
- Assisting in calculating damages,
- Interviewing witnesses,
- Filing court documents,
- Negotiating with insurance companies, and
- Defending you in court, if necessary.
To be sure insurance companies don’t take advantage of you, have a law firm on your side that can fight for your rights.
Who Is at Fault for a Catastrophic Injury?
California is a pure comparative negligence system. As a victim, you can recover damages caused by the accident. However, this damage is reduced if you were at fault for the accident.
For example, suppose you suffer $100,000 in injuries from a truck accident. If you were not responsible for the accident, you could recover all the damages ($100,000). Alternatively, if you are determined to be 10% at fault for the accident, you can only recover $90,000 in damages. The notion is that it would be unfair to allow a victim to collect on the portion of damages for which they were at fault.
Determining fault can be difficult, and the other party will try to blame you so they don’t have to pay your damages. Having a California catastrophic injury attorney on your side will help you fight back against improper assertions that you were to blame.
How Long Do I Have to File for My Catastrophic Injury?
Personal injury lawsuits must be filed within a set period of time. In California, you must file your personal injury cases within two years of the date of your injury. Suppose your catastrophic injury resulted from medical malpractice. In that case, you have the lesser of three years from the date of the injury or one year after you discover or should have discovered the injury to bring a claim. Consulting with an attorney immediately is imperative. You do not want to miss your filing deadline. Never assume that you cannot recover your damages just because you think a deadline has passed. Some exceptions may apply.
What Damages Can I Collect for My Catastrophic Injury Case?
If you or a loved one got hurt in an accident and suffered catastrophic injuries, you may be entitled to the following compensation:
- Medical bills,
- Long-term care,
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment of life,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Wrongful death.
If the circumstances warrant, you may also get punitive damages, but these are very rare. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate you for your catastrophic injuries. Instead, they are intended to punish the party who wronged you and deter other bad behavior.
How Much Is My Catastrophic Injury Case Worth?
As with any personal injury case, the case’s value is hard to determine. You must look at the surrounding circumstances:
- The severity of your injuries,
- Medical care costs,
- Employment and lifestyle before the accident,
- Long-term disabilities and related care,
- Ability to work after the accident,
- Shared fault, and
- The strength of your case.
A catastrophic injury attorney will consider these factors when calculating the value of your case.
Contact the Frederick Law Firm for a Free Consultation
Catastrophic injuries are devastating. We know you and your family have a lot on your minds, but you don’t have to face this alone. The Frederick Law Firm has advocated for its clients for the past 40 years. We know how to navigate the law and deal with insurance companies, so we will negotiate the best possible settlement for you. And if we have to, we will defend your rights at trial. We are committed to helping you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Frederick Law Firm now and learn how we can help you.