Auto accidents are an unfortunate reality of today’s life and they happen to just anyone even the most careful of drivers. When a driver gets behind the wheel, they get exposed to the possibility of experiencing an accident. It only takes a second for a severe auto accident to occur and cause critical injuries that can alter one’s life permanently. Such injuries are referred to as catastrophic injuries. While the word “catastrophic” is often used in media to describe auto accident injuries, there’s an acceptable standard for its use. A catastrophic injury is the type of injury from which the victim is not likely to ever fully recover. Simply put, the casualty is left with disfigurement, disability and the need of long-term care. It can also prevent one from performing daily routine activities or even going back to work.
When your injuries following an accident are termed as catastrophic, be sure that the use of that word is not light or exaggerated. In such a situation you will face difficult physical recovery as well as the possibility of a huge legal battle. If you have been involved in a catastrophic auto accident that has caused you catastrophic injuries, it is crucial to contact an experienced LA auto accident attorney for an initial case review. You may be eligible for legal compensation for damages incurred. The Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney are dedicated personal injury lawyers with comprehensive skill and tenacity essential to help auto accident casualties recover for their life-altering injuries. Please do not hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation at 424-231-2013 at any time 24/7.
Types of Auto Accident Injuries That May Be Considered Catastrophic
Determining whether an injury is catastrophic depends on the results of the injury and not so much on the severity of the accident or injuries sustained. For instance, an individual could suffer an incapacitating head injury in a collision or could suffer a fractured limb that leaves them unable to walk. However, there are certain injuries may not be physical but result from the trauma associated with a serious auto accident. When your injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence, California law gives you the opportunity to recover from the party or parties responsible for your injuries. Some of the injuries that can be termed catastrophic following an auto accident include the following:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBI usually occur when an individual’s head receives a violent blow or jolt. It could also occur when an object such as pieces of shattered windshield or metal shards penetrates the skull. A casualty who sustains TBI will experience lasting deficits and hardships such as long-term social and emotional difficulties.
- Spinal Cord Injuries
An auto accident that causes trauma to any part of the spinal cord or spinal canal nerves can permanently impair a person’s strength, sensation and other functions below the point of injury. A casualty could be rendered in a situation where they are unable to move, walk or even feed themselves.
Paralysis can be termed as the loss of the ability to control motor functions. Paralysis can either be paraplegia or quadriplegia (total or partial paralysis). With paraplegia, only a limited area of the body is left paralyzed, for example, the legs. Injury to the lumbar region of the spine can also interfere with bladder and sexual function. When it comes to quadriplegia, however, things are even worse since the victim experiences total paralysis from the neck down and are therefore not able to move their entire body. Paralysis is usually as a result of TBI, multiple bone fractures and spinal cord damage resulting from an auto accident.
- Severe burn injuries
A vehicle may ignite after a crash and this may leave the accident victim with severe burns and deep wounds. Burn injuries can be catastrophic if the victim will be required to take long-term stays at burn centers and the burned body parts may never recover full use. Victims who sustain burn injuries often undergo skin grafting to cover large wounds.
- Loss of limb
A serious auto crash can result in amputation particularly if the victim was thrown out of the vehicle. In other cases, the limb is amputated if the surgeons see it necessary to remove it during post-accident care. Loss of limb is catastrophic in the sense that the victim will never be able to perform the normal functions that require the hands or legs.
- Disfigurement and scarring
In the event of a vehicle crash, it is left in a mangled position and in most cases; the occupants are just as damaged. The victim may suffer severe cuts and burns resulting from impact forces, flying debris or fire. This may leave them disfigured and scarred.
Catastrophic often require victims to undergo specialized treatments may take longer to complete; maybe months or years. Some victims are even left with lifelong care dependence due to disabilities caused by an auto accident. If you or a loved one has sustained these life-changing injuries in a vehicle collision that is due to no fault of your own, it’s paramount that you fight to get the compensation you need to take care of all the expenses.
How are losses in catastrophic injury settlements measured?
Personal injury settlements are made with the intention of making the victim “whole” again and cope with the injury’s devastating impact. While compensation cannot restore the health of the victim, personal injury attorneys work to negotiate a settlement that will help the victim regain the life they enjoyed before the mishap. This means that it is aimed at allowing the casualty to lead a “normal” life as far as the current circumstances are concerned.
While a catastrophic auto accident may render the victim unable to walk again, the settlement may restore mobility in some way by ensuring that the victim is able to acquire a state-of-the-art wheelchair. The victim will also need to have their homes remodeled in order to support their new state such as by adding accessible entrances and ramps. The victim may also be forced to take a new career path and therefore, vocational rehabilitation is a must. The personal injury settlement will also take care of lifetime lost wages as well as all the medical expenses that the victim will incur as a result of the injuries. The victims may also sustain injuries that may make them confined to bed and this, therefore, calls for the hiring of professionals who will ensure that the casualty stays safe and comfortable.
In order to determine the extent of your catastrophic injuries and the amount you require in order to lead a normal life under the circumstances, your personal injury attorney will work with other auto accident experts. This includes medical practitioners, accident construction specialists, medical equipment suppliers, life care planners, and accessible housing experts. This will help your attorney understand the struggles that the injuries will put you through and therefore come up with techniques that will help you overcome the obstacles.
Determining Catastrophic Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering caused by another person’s negligence are the biggest issues that victims of catastrophic injuries always have to deal with. The pain could either be physical and emotional. While pain and suffering cannot be quantified, auto accident victims are entitled to compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life and emotional distress. A casualty of catastrophic injury cannot be able to perform social activities such as raising a child, taking a walk in the park, playing sport, socializing or having sexual relations. Simply put, the victim will completely lose the ability to engage in activities that were once part of their lives.
No amount of money can enable the victim to overcome the pain and suffering associated with catastrophic injuries. However, victims are still compensated in order to help them find new ways to enjoy life. Pain and suffering cannot be measured with precision or calculated mathematically. Auto accident personal injury attorneys, however, use other factors to evaluate the loss. This, for instance, is by evaluating what has been awarded in similar cases by the local juries. The jury may work in favor of either side for instance by being sympathetic to the casualty or putting themselves in the position of the liable party. This is why you need and experienced and aggressive Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney who can be able to predict the award of damages and fight to ensure that you get it.
California Catastrophic Auto Accident Lawsuits
In order to get the compensation that you most deserve, you need to determine liability that is, whose negligence caused the accident and thus your catastrophic injuries. Other drivers on the road are expected to act in accordance with the standard of care. However, breaching this duty of care leads to some sort of injury to another. The at-fault driver’s negligence is usually the common cause of an auto accident and it can manifest itself in the following ways
- Not obeying traffic signals
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to account for weather conditions
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Following too closely
- Failure to come to a complete stop
In some cases, an auto accident leading to catastrophic injury is not caused by another driver but by another party such as the government entity in charge of road construction and maintenance. If the road is in a poor condition, it is possible for one to be involved in a serious accident. A vehicle or auto parts manufacturer could also be responsible if their defective equipment lead to your condition.
California is what is known as a comparative negligence state, and this implies that if you were partly responsible for the accident, you can still be able to recover a certain percentage of the full compensation. For instance, if you were 20% negligent and the other party was 80% negligent in causing the accident; your total award will be reduced by 20%. If you were to recover $100,000 you would only be able to get $80,000.
Statute of Limitation for Filing Catastrophic Injury Claims and Lawsuits
You are hurting and possibly huge medical expenses are already knocking at your door; all because someone else acted negligently. You will definitely need to get compensation as soon as possible in order to take care of these expenses that have the ability to strain you financially and emotionally. Therefore, it is important to understand that personal injury claims in California are subject to a strict statute of limitation. You are only given a limited amount of time to file a claim and delays may cause you to lose the right to make a claim and could also lead to the destruction of evidence that may act to your favor. In California, you only have two years to file a claim associated with auto accidents. If the government is in any way connected to your accident, then the time is reduced to only six months. Since this law can be complex and may differ with situations surrounding each case, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible in order to avoid losing your right to file a claim.
Determining and fighting for damages to compensate your catastrophic injuries is often a fact-specific issue and will only be possible if you have special legal experience. Therefore, it’s vital to contact and hire a personal injury attorney with comprehensive knowledge and experience in dealing with catastrophic injury cases. At Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, we have just such experience with auto accident victims in the greater Los Angeles area. The defendant’s attorney and insurance companies involved will work to ensure that you receive a reduced amount of compensation. This is why you need an personal injury attorney who can deal with a non-responsive insurance company to ensure you receive your settlement quickly and favorably.