Accidents happen every day. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 39.5 million doctor’s office visits and 29.4 million emergency room trips each year are for accidents or unintentional injuries. In most cases, those visits are for relatively minor injuries, such as broken bones — but too often, people suffer devastating, life-changing injuries in accidents.
A catastrophic injury is any injury where a person suffers a loss of the use or function of a limb or organ or permanent or long-term pain. If another person or entity’s negligence was responsible for a catastrophic injury, then the victim may be able to recover for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
At Kuvara Law, we have helped victims of all types of accidents in California since 1971. Over this time, we have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. If you have been hurt in any type of accident, a San Rafael catastrophic injury lawyer can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is one that changes a person’s life, often on a permanent basis. A person who suffers this type of injury may never fully recover, even with years of medication, therapies, surgeries, and other forms of medical treatment. A catastrophic injury makes it difficult to get back to the quality of life that a person had before the accident, and may also affect the victim’s loved ones who may need to take on a new role as caretakers.
Catastrophic injuries can cause long-term or permanent damage to a person’s health. However, not all types of long-term injuries are considered catastrophic. For example, a person may take months or longer to heal from a whiplash injury, but because people usually do recover from whiplash, it is not considered a catastrophic injury.
With a catastrophic injury, lifelong or extensive treatment is usually needed. this type of injury may make it impossible for the individual to work or even to live alone. Some people who suffer catastrophic injuries may require 24-hour care and medical treatment that amounts to millions of dollars over the course of their lifetime.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Amputations or loss of the use of a limb;
- Severe burns;
- Eye injuries that cause blindness;
- Ear injuries that lead to deafness; and
- Organ damage.
These injuries and others can affect a person’s ability to accomplish the tasks of daily living, like caring for themselves. They may also significantly affect a person’s mental health. In some cases, these catastrophic injuries are fatal.
In addition to the losses that a victim suffers, their family and friends are also affected by catastrophic injuries. A spouse may find their partner to be permanently changed after a brain injury, for example, and may have to take on the care of their husband or wife. If a child suffers a catastrophic injury, one or both parents may have to stop working in order to care for them.
Filing a Lawsuit for Catastrophic Injuries in California
In California, a person who is injured as a result of another person or entity’s negligence can file a legal claim against them for their losses. In some cases, there may be more than one person or entity responsible for a catastrophic injury. Each responsible party may be sued for their share of the damages.
To recover financial compensation in a personal injury case, an injured party must prove that the at-fault party was negligent. This is done by demonstrating:
- That the defendant (the at-fault party) owed the plaintiff (the victim) a duty of care;
- That the defendant breached (violated) that duty; and
- That the defendant’s breach was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff.
A person is considered to be negligent when they fail to act the way that a reasonable person would in the same situation.
Catastrophic injuries can happen in a number of ways. A person might strike their head in a slip-and-fall accident that was caused by a dangerous condition on someone else’s property. They may also be injured by a dangerous or defective product. In many cases, catastrophic injuries are caused by car accidents, pedestrian collisions, truck crashes, bike accidents, or motorcycle wrecks.
Whatever the underlying cause of the injury, if someone else caused the accident, then you may be able to file a legal claim against them. With some exceptions, California personal injury claims must be filed within 2 years of the date of the accident. This is known as the statute of limitations.
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer is incredibly important in catastrophic injury cases because of the scope of the losses involved. Not only will your attorney investigate the case and put together a factual and legal argument for your damages, but they will also work with experts to ensure that you receive compensation for your full range of injuries. This may include developing a life care plan that takes into account your needs over a lifetime.
What Damages Are Available in Catastrophic Injury Cases?
In any personal injury claim, the injured party may be entitled to financial compensation for their losses, such as property damage, medical bills, and lost wages. In catastrophic injury cases, the claim for damages is typically higher and far more complex.
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you may be able to recover for:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Physical, occupational, and/or psychological therapies;
- Short or long-term care;
- Lost wages;
- Reduced or lost earning capacity;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Pain and suffering.
In addition, your loved ones may also be entitled to compensation for their losses as a result of your injury. For example, your spouse or partner may be able to recover for loss of consortium, which is the loss of companionship, moral support, and/or intimacy due to your injury. A skilled San Rafael catastrophic injury lawyer can help you determine the value of your case, including the potential for your loved ones to recover damages.
How We Can Help
Any accident can be traumatic. But when that accident results in permanent, devastating injuries, the struggle to move forward may be even more difficult. While financial compensation won’t make you whole again, it can help ensure that you get the care that you need over your lifetime.
For almost 50 years, Kuvara Law Firm has represented injured Californians in a range of personal injury cases. We have a track record of success and are committed to helping each of our clients achieve justice. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, reach out online, or call us at 415-479-7070.