A catastrophic injury is an injury that could alter your life permanently, and the effects of these injuries could make it difficult for you to have the quality of life you desire. In most cases, you will require years of therapy and several surgeries to help you recover fully. Fortunately for you, you are entitled to compensation for catastrophic injuries you sustain. After an accident, it is crucial to seek medical and legal help as soon as possible.
The effects of these injuries can last a lifetime and will only worsen if you delay seeking treatment. Also, waiting for long before filing a claim could compromise your chances of recovering compensation from the parties liable for your injuries. Hiring a dedicated and skilled personal injury attorney is wise if you or your loved one suffers a catastrophic injury.
At Overett Group Attorneys, we understand the stress and trauma caused by these injuries. We will use our expertise to hold the liable party accountable for your damages and ensure you receive fair compensation. We serve clients requiring legal guidance and representation in Long Beach, CA.
Overview of Catastrophic Injury
A catastrophic injury is a long-term or even permanent injury that affects your overall health and well-being. Catastrophic injuries are often characterized by severe pain and loss of some body functions. There are many causes of catastrophic injuries, including car accidents, truck accidents, use of defective products, slip and fall accidents, and acts of violence.
Individuals who suffer catastrophic injuries require extensive emergency medical treatment and ongoing medical care. Sometimes, these injuries are permanent, and you will need assistance to perform simple life tasks for the rest of your life. A catastrophic injury will likely affect your ability to return to work or even enjoy life. This can result in serious, physical, emotional, and financial struggles.
Most instances of catastrophic injury result from negligence which is a reckless disregard for the safety of other people. If you sustain a catastrophic injury due to another person’s wrongdoing, you are entitled to compensation for the injuries. By filing a personal injury claim against the liable party, you can recover damages for your losses.
Types of Catastrophic injuries
Catastrophic injuries often happen in an instant and can change the course of your life, and they include:
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injury is one of the most severe and life-changing injuries you can sustain in a traumatic event. Sustaining such an intense and life-threatening injury can be a horrifying experience for you and your family. Spinal cord injuries result from trauma to the spine. The injury may begin with a sudden blow that fractures or dislocates the vertebrae.
Spinal cord injury can be complete or incomplete, depending on the nature of the trauma. A complete spine injury is likely to affect your motor functions below the point of injury. On the other hand, an incomplete injury could allow you to retain some function.
Spinal cord injuries are particularly traumatic and challenging since they involve high medical bills, loss of substantial income and earning capacity, and enjoyment of life. Some of the symptoms that could indicate the occurrence of spinal cord injury include:
- Extreme pain and pressure in your head and back.
- Weakness or paralysis in any body part.
- Tingling sensation and numbness of your feet and hands.
- Loss of bowel and bladder function.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury is any contact with the head that disrupts the brain’s normal function. Brain injuries can range from concussions to coma. There are two primary ways through which a brain injury can occur:
- Non-penetrating injury. This type of injury results from physical and blunt trauma to the head.
- Penetrating injuries. An open TBI occurs when a sharp object penetrates the brain tissue causing bleeding and damage.
Brain injuries manifest in many forms and could affect every aspect of our life. As a victim of traumatic brain injury, you could face a lifetime of physical, emotional, and financial struggle. Symptoms of brain injury could either appear immediately after the impact or after some time, and they include:
- Blurred vision.
- Nausea and dizziness.
- Loss of consciousness for a prolonged period.
- Loss of balance severe headache.
Severe Burn Injuries
The effects of severe burn injuries can be both physically and emotionally devastating. Even with technological advancements and plastic surgery, victims of burn injuries are left with permanent emotional and physical scarring. Severe burns could result from chemical explosions, gas leaks, a car accident, or even defective cosmetic products. In most cases, traumatic burns cause damage to the deep layers of the skin tissue and could result in nerve damage.
There is a wide variety of traumatic events that can result in amputation. Amputation can be accidental where a part of your body is cut off during an accident or medical. With medical amputations, severe damage to the limb, arms, or fingers could prompt the doctor to amputate it. Regardless of how the amputation occurred, losing a body part can be highly traumatic.
Victims who lose body parts in accidents or due to medical malpractice will require mobility aids, costly prosthetics, and other devices to help them move around. Additionally, the physical and emotional suffering associated with amputations is unimaginable. If you have suffered amputation caused by someone else’s negligence, you have a solid basis for a compensation claim.
Loss of Vision
Blindness or vision loss can be caused by trauma or exposure to harmful chemicals. Sometimes changes in eviction after an accident or injury do not recover, and you will have to suffer the effects of the accident for a lifetime. Loss of vision can be a significant change in your life.
Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury can occur in many ways, most of which result from negligence from other people. Fortunately, if you or your loved one suffers catastrophic injuries from another person’s actions, you can file a lawsuit against them and recover compensation. Common Causes of Catastrophic Injuries Include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents.
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common causes of traumatic injuries in California. Most auto accidents result from negligent acts such as drunk driving, reckless driving, and distracted driving. Some of the common types of accidents that could result in these serious injuries include:
- Multiple vehicle collisions.
- Truck accidents.
- Motorcycle accidents.
- Bus accidents.
Catastrophic injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents include spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and amputations.
Pedestrians do not have any protection when a reckless driver collides with them. Many pedestrian accidents result from speeding, drunk driving, or even the failure to follow traffic laws. When pedestrians are struck by a vehicle, they could suffer severe trauma to the head or back, resulting in spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injury.
Acts of Violence.
Some catastrophic injuries are a result of violence from another person. Acts of violence could include gunshots, knife wounds, and assault ant type. Some of the common injuries resulting from these acts of violence include brain injuries, injury to internal organs, and severing of the spinal cord.
If you sustain a catastrophic injury from a violent act, you have a right to seek compensation for the injuries. If the person liable for your injuries lacks the financial capacity to compensate you, you can file a claim against the property owner where you were injured.
Slip and Fall Accidents.
It is easy to hurt your head, neck, and back when you slip and fall. Unfortunately, there are several instances in which a slip and fall accident can occur, including:
- Construction sites. Construction sites are common where you could slip and suffer an injury. Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their space is safe for people who frequent them.
- Dangerous properties. You can file a lawsuit against a property owner if you suffer catastrophic injuries due to their property’s hazardous conditions.
Although medical malpractice is not as common as accidents, medical malpractice results are always very devastating. Some severe matters involving medical malpractice include surgeries done on the wrong person, leaving objects inside a patient’s body after an operation, and misdiagnosis. In medical malpractice cases, most injuries are internal. This can result in loss of organ function or even death.
We all use different products each day. Whether for food, health, personal care, or transportation, some of these products can put us in significant danger if they are defective. There are three categories of faulty products:
- Design defects. A defectively designed product can be hazardous and will affect many people. Defective products could inform poisonous drugs, poorly designed vehicle parts, or even substandard safety equipment.
- Manufacturing defects. Manufacturing defects result from errors occurring during the making of the product. There is nothing wrong with the product design for products with manufacturing defects. However, errors in the manufacture make the product dangerous.
- Failure to warn. Sometimes, manufacturers leave out important safety information when labeling a product. Failure to warn consumers about the product’s potential dangers could result in serious injuries or wrongful death.
If you suffer a catastrophic injury resulting from a defective product, you can hold the product manufacturers liable for your damages. However, not every product that fails is flawed, and telling them apart can be challenging. Therefore, navigating tour claims with guidance from a skilled personal injury attorney.
Liability for Catastrophic Injuries
Establishing liability for your injuries is a significant step in recovering compensation in a personal injury claim. Although many injuries involve a single liable party, it is common to have multiple people be held responsible for your injuries. California law permits filing a lawsuit against several people. Defendants in your catastrophic injury lawsuit could include:
- Negligent parties in accidents. Most accidents are a result of negligence. Some of the acts of negligence exhibited by the defendant could include drunk driving, distracted driving, and failure to follow traffic rules, among others. If you can prove that the negligence from the defendant resulted in your injuries, they will be held liable for the injuries.
- Product manufactures. Sometimes, serious injuries are a result of defective products. This could range from defective vehicle parts to substandard products or dangerous chemicals. If it is clear that your injuries result from o the defective product, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturers.
- Property owners. If you suffer a slip and fall accident or are injured on a dangerous property, you can hold the property owner liable for the injuries.
Liability in personal injury lawsuits is often based on negligence. Therefore, when you file a case, you need to be ready to establish how the defendant’s negligence resulted in your injuries. In California, negligence is characterized by the following elements:
- Duty of care. A duty of care is each person's responsibility to ensure they do not harm others. You must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care in your claim.
- Breach of duty. A defendant breaches their duty towards you by acting in a manner that puts you in harm’s way. Before you recover compensation for the catastrophic injuries, you need to prove the breach of duty causation.
- Causation. A defendant will only be held liable for your injuries if the injuries are a direct and likely consequence of their actions.
- Damages. In the process of recovering compensation for traumatic injuries, you must present evidence of your injuries and the losses associated with them.
Compensation Benefits in a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit in California
Deterring the value of a catastrophic personal injury lawsuit is not an easy task. Many professionals will be required to factor in all the factors of your case and determine the amount you can recover from your injuries. In California, victims of catastrophic injuries are entitled to compensation for:
Catastrophic injuries are associated with prolonged hospital stays and extensive medical procedures. Sometimes, these injuries do not recover completely, and you should undergo therapy and treatment for the rest of your life. If you are successful in your claim, you can recover condensation for present and future medical bills associated with the injuries. Compensation for medical bills could cover:
- Ambulance costs.
Before you recover compensation for your medical bills, you must present evidence of your injuries and treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the injury is documented correctly and the records kept safe when seeking medical attention after a catastrophic injury.
Unfortunately, suffering a catastrophic injury will always affect your ability to return to work. Lost wages are the money you lose from missing work while you nurse your injuries. Lost wages could be in monthly salary, overtime, tips, or even income from self-employment. In your lawsuit, you can recover the wages you have lost owing to the injury. If you seek compensation for lost wages in your lawsuit, you must present relevant evidence to prove your loss. Common pieces of evidence that can help prove your losses include a letter from your employer or past tax returns.
Lost Future Earning Capacity
Catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and amputation are unlikely to heal completely. This can significantly affect your chances of returning to work or in the position you held before the injury. Lost earning capacity is the loss of your ability to work in the future. You do not need a permanent disability to claim future earning capacity. If your injury has not recovered by the time the claim is settled, you are entitled to these benefits.
Pain and Suffering
Catastrophic injuries cause immense pain and suffering. In addition to the physical pain associated with extensive procedures used to treat the injuries, the effects of these injuries could result in emotional scarring. While it is impossible to equate pain to a dollar value, you can still recover compensation. By reviewing the nature of your injuries and how they have affected your life, the court will determine the appropriate amount for these damages.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Catastrophic injuries can change your life completely. Since these injuries take a while to heal and some could be permanent, you may end up spending a long time in hospital undergoing unending medical procedures. Additionally, the effects of such injuries could take a toll on your finances. While some of these injuries are accidental, most catastrophic injuries result from negligence. If you or your loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries resulting from another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
Dealing with the legal issues surrounding a catastrophic injury lawsuit can be challenging, especially when recovering from the injury. Therefore, seeking legal guidance is crucial. At Overett Group Attorneys, we will help you investigate the accident, speak with witnesses, and work with other experts to help file a claim for you. If you are seeking legal guidance and representation to navigate a personal injury lawsuit for a catastrophic injury in Long Beach, CA, you will need us by your side. Call us today at 562-986-9864 to discuss the details of your claim.