Sacramento Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Protecting the Rights of the Severely Injured
Any injury sustained in an accident can be painful and inconvenient, but some injuries can have widespread consequences that may impact you for the rest of your life. Catastrophic injuries can instantly change your life’s trajectory and leave you wondering what to do next. Sadly, many catastrophic injuries could have been avoided if the at-fault party had not been negligent or careless.
In a case this important, don’t settle for impersonal legal representation. You deserve a lawyer who will listen closely to your story and fight to uphold your legal rights. If you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligence, The Weinberger Law Firm can help you seek the financial compensation you need and hold those responsible for your losses accountable. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with a compassionate catastrophic injury lawyer: 916-520-0476.
What is a Catastrophic Injury?
When you imagine an injury, you probably think of bodily harm that can be treated and will likely heal within a few weeks or months, such as a cut, bruise, or broken bone. However, some injuries can last for much longer and significantly impact your day-to-day life. Catastrophic injuries involve devastating damage to the body that is anticipated to be permanent or last for a prolonged period of time, which will require a great deal of ongoing treatment. Although the details of each catastrophic injury case can vary, an injury is generally considered catastrophic if it involves:
- The loss of an essential bodily function,
- Long-lasting damage to the body.
- The inability of the victim to maintain gainful employment.
Not every catastrophic injury is permanent, but they all present life-altering challenges for the victim and their family. Following these injuries, victims may struggle to complete simple daily tasks and often require assistance from family members or caregivers. The loss of independence and the ability to provide for themselves and their families can be heartbreaking. Some common examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Birth injuries that result in long-term brain damage or physical issues
- Loss of limb function
- Spinal cord injuries, including paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Severe or widespread burns and scarring
- Nerve damage
- Chronic lung damage or other organ damage
- Strokes or other brain damage that affects cognitive functioning or speech
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Vision or hearing loss due to an accident
How Do Catastrophic Injuries Happen?
Catastrophic injuries are not limited to one type of accident. While it is typically true that these injuries are more likely to occur as the severity of an accident increases, even a seemingly minor accident can leave a victim with serious, long-lasting damage. Even a mundane incident like slipping on a sidewalk could cause you to fall and hit your head, resulting in a traumatic brain injury or spinal damage that could leave you paralyzed.
It’s frightening to imagine that a simple mistake by a driver or property owner could cause a lifetime of medical difficulties and pain for a victim, but unfortunately, it does happen. Some of the accidents most commonly associated with catastrophic injuries include:
- Auto accident, including head-on collisions and crashes caused by a drunk driver.
- Premises liability accidents.
- Bus and commercial vehicle accidents.
- Motorcycle wrecks.
- Pedestrian accidents.
- Bicycle accidents.
- Defective product accidents.
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice, such as birth injuries and surgery errors.
- Truck accidents.
- Construction accident involving being struck by falling objects or heavy equipment.
- Explosions and fires.
- Nursing home abuse or negligence.
- Dog bites.
Who May be Held Responsible for Your Catastrophic Injury?
Catastrophic injury claims can be complex personal injury cases where a combination of negligent parties contributed to the accident. But the bottom line is that if someone acted negligently and caused your catastrophic injury, you have the right to bring a legal claim to hold them responsible for their actions and the damages they caused. You must demonstrate that they acted negligently to mount a successful claim against the at-fault party. To prove negligence in a catastrophic injury lawsuit, you must show the court compelling evidence that these five statements are true:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The duty of care was violated.
- The violation of the duty of care directly caused your injury.
- The defendant knew or should have foreseen that their actions could cause harm.
- Your injury caused a significant financial loss that can be remedied through a settlement.
Catastrophic injury cases can be some of the most complicated personal injury claims because of the large settlement values involved. Insurance companies will often fight fiercely against paying the full value of your claim. It can be highly challenging for you or your family to represent yourself in these cases as you struggle to adjust to all the changes in your life caused by your injuries.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can be invaluable to the success of your case. They have the skills and resources to thoroughly investigate your accident, provide a proper valuation of your claim, identify all liable parties, and gather evidence. A catastrophic injury will likely present challenges every day for the foreseeable future and prevents you from holding a job. Ensuring you receive the maximum compensation for your damages is critical to safeguarding the future well-being of yourself and your family.
How Can a Catastrophic Injury Impact Your Life?
The consequences of a catastrophic injury are far-reaching. Whether they can no longer walk, require the amputation of a limb, or suffer serious cognitive issues following an accident, losing a significant bodily function or body part irreversibly changes victims’ lives. Ongoing medical care, such as surgeries and skin grafts, may be necessary to prevent the injuries from escalating further. Therapy and rehabilitation are often prescribed in an attempt to help victims regain some of their body functions or find alternative ways to complete tasks.
Catastrophic injuries usually require drastic long-term lifestyle changes, including accessibility updates to houses and vehicles, in-home assistance for daily tasks from family or paid providers, mobility aids, or even relocation to a care facility where 24/7 services are available. The sudden loss of independence that often accompanies a catastrophic injury can be extremely detrimental to a victim’s mental health. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and other evidence of mental trauma may be observed.
Your care team may recommend counseling, group therapy, medications, and other mental health treatments to combat these difficulties and help you live the best possible life following your injuries.
How Could California’s Comparative Negligence Laws Affect Your Claim?
There are two main types of negligence systems that states operate under: contributory negligence and comparative negligence. In contributory negligence states, victims are only eligible to seek compensation for their damages if they can prove they shared no fault in the accident that caused their injuries. As this is nearly impossible to prove in most situations, the ability of victims to get compensation for their losses is severely limited. Even in cases that result in catastrophic injuries, a victim may have no legal options for recovery.
Luckily, California is a pure comparative negligence state. Under pure comparative negligence laws, victims can bring a lawsuit for damages against a defendant as long as they are not 100% responsible for their own accident. The obvious advantage of this system is that it provides a much broader opportunity for victims to hold the at-fault parties accountable for their actions, even if they were partially responsible for the accident. However, it is important to note that the settlement amount will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault assigned to you for the action. With your future financial stability on the line, your lawyer must be vigilant to ensure that the defendant’s insurance company does not attempt to place an unfair amount of blame onto you for the accident that caused your catastrophic injury.
What is California’s Statute of Limitations on Catastrophic Injury Cases?
The statute of limitations is the time limit the state places on filing personal injury cases. For the majority of California personal injury cases, you must begin legal proceedings against the defendant within two years of the accident’s date. Unfortunately, medical malpractice cases are subject to a shorter limit of one year from the date the victim discovered the injury. In rare cases, this may be extended to three years from the date of discovery if the victim can prove that the medical professional intentionally hid the malpractice from them. Cases involving government entities also have much shorter filing limits, often as short as six months from the date of the injury.
Prompt action is crucial in a catastrophic injury case. Due to the complexity of these cases and the high settlement amounts involved, it can take time to build a strong claim. Contacting a trusted catastrophic injury lawyer as soon as possible gives you the best opportunity to recover full compensation for your injuries. Missing the filing deadline will nearly always result in the court refusing to hear your case. Don’t let your chance at recovery slip away! If you have questions about whether your case is still within the statute of limitations, contact our Sacramento law office today to learn more.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Catastrophic Injury Case?
Victims of catastrophic injuries often face mounting debts for necessary medical treatment and ongoing care with little idea of how they will pay. If they were the primary provider for their family, the loss of their paycheck could result in an avalanche of unpaid bills and financial difficulties. The situation can quickly become overwhelming.
Sadly, some insurance companies try to use this situation to their advantage. They may offer catastrophic injury victims a quick payout that is well below the actual value of their claim, and victims may agree to it because they are panicked about their bills. We cannot stress enough that you should never sign a settlement agreement without consulting with a personal injury lawyer first. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot go back and ask for more money if you have unexpected medical bills in the future. Agreeing to a low settlement could harm your ability to get the continuing care you need and set your family up for future challenges.
A knowledgeable lawyer will determine the extent of both economic and non-economic damages when calculating a fair settlement amount for your losses. Economic damages account for the financial losses you’ve experienced, including:
- Medical expenses and hospital bills.
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity caused by permanent disability.
- Property replacement or repair.
- Costs for ongoing medical care and future medical expenses.
- In-home services or nursing expenses.
- Accessibility upgrades to your home and vehicles.
Non-economic damages attempt to place a monetary value on the non-monetary losses related to your injury, such as:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of life’s enjoyment.
- Scarring and disfigurement.
In some rare cases, the court may award punitive damages if the defendant caused your injuries through gross negligence or malice, or attempted to cover up their negligent behavior.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
The time following an accident can be chaotic and stressful, especially when serious injuries are involved. After suffering catastrophic injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be uncertain about where to turn and how to begin the process of recovering damages. You deserve to feel that you have a legal advocate you can trust. The Weinberger Law Firm understands that the stakes are incredibly high when you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury. Our law firm is committed to providing compassionate and thorough services to each catastrophic injury client. Call 916-520-0476 today to schedule your free consultation and learn about your legal options.