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Life-Altering Injuries: Seeking Compensation for Catastrophic Accidents

catastrophic accident

A catastrophic accident can change a person’s entire life in a single moment. If you or your loved one suffered a life-altering injury in a car crash, a slip and fall, medical negligence, or any other type of accident, it is imperative that you are able to secure the maximum available financial support. 

What is a Catastrophic Accident or Injury?

A catastrophic injury is an extremely serious injury that is often life-altering. The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research defines a catastrophic injury as those that “result in permanent functional disability” and those that are “serious injuries that result in temporary functional disability with full recovery.” The unfortunate reality is that many people who suffer catastrophic harm are not able to make a full recovery. Examples of catastrophic injuries include: 

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): A concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur when an external force causes damage to the brain. A severe TBI can cause catastrophic long-term harm, including permanent physical and/or psychological impairments.
  • Third-Degree Burns: Third-degree burns are severe injuries that destroy the outer layer of skin (epidermis) and the entire layer beneath (dermis). These burns can cause horrific pain and carry a major risk of infection. A skin graft surgery may even be necessary. 
  • Amputations: An amputation is the removal of a limb (arm, leg, etc) due to injury, disease, or surgery. It is a catastrophic injury that results in long-term disability and generally requires extensive physical rehabilitation. 
    • Severe Broken Bones: Multiple fractures involve breaking two or more bones at the same time. It is a type of injury that can lead to prolonged recovery periods and multiple surgeries.
    • Organ Damage: Organ damage refers to injuries that impair the function of major organs such as the liver, kidneys, heart, or lungs. These injuries can be life-threatening and require immediate medical intervention. 
  • Spinal Cord Damage: Spinal cord damage involves trauma to the spinal cord that affects its ability to send and receive messages from the brain to the body’s systems. Damage to the spinal cord can cause paralysis. 

Three Things to Know About the Catastrophic Accident Claims Process

While any type of personal injury case can be challenging, a catastrophic injury case is especially complex. Not only is there a lot more at stake, there are often unique considerations that must be addressed. Here are three essential things to know about catastrophic accident claims in California: 

  • The Rules and Procedures are the Same: To start, it is important to emphasize that the laws and legal claims process are, technically, not different. Despite the severity of injuries sustained in catastrophic accidents, the legal framework governing claims remains consistent with other personal injury cases. Injured victims must still prove negligence, causation, and damages to secure compensation. The same statute of limitations applies. 
  • Future Costs and Intangible Damages Must Be Accounted for: Catastrophic injuries often result in long-term or permanent disability, necessitating ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation, and personal care. Calculating future costs is a critical component of the claims process, encompassing medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and other life care needs. Equally important is the consideration of intangible damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress. 
  • Family Members Often Need to Provide Additional Support: The role of family members is pivotal in the wake of a catastrophic accident. Beyond emotional support, families often find themselves involved in the claims process, assisting with the gathering of evidence and sometimes even participating in legal proceedings. Beyond that, family members may need to take on caregiving roles, adapt their homes for accessibility, and help manage the victim’s day-to-day needs. 

You Need a Lawyer With Experience Handling Catastrophic Injury Claims

As catastrophic injury cases are uniquely complex, it is imperative that victims and their families have top-tier legal representation. A California personal injury lawyer with experience taking on catastrophic accidents can review your case, answer your questions, and investigate the accident. document your damages, handle insurance adjusters, and take aggressive action to help ensure that your family is in the best position to get justice and the absolute maximum financial compensation. 

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