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What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

Hemostats lined up on carrier in operating room with medical professionals diffused in the background

In the field of personal injury law, the term “catastrophic injury” carries significant weight. These injuries are not just severe; they are life-altering, leaving victims with long-term or permanent disabilities. They are more costly to deal with in the short term and over time, and they fundamentally impact quality of life and daily living in ways other injuries do not. Understanding what constitutes a catastrophic injury is therefore crucial for accident victims and their attorneys seeking to hold liable parties fully accountable for the maximum in justice and compensation. Learn more about catastrophic injuries below. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in Southern California at the hands of a negligent driver or other responsible party, contact Ochoa & Calderón to review your case with a skilled and dedicated Riverside personal injury lawyer.

Defining Catastrophic Injury

A catastrophic injury is any injury that results in profound and lasting effects on the victim’s life. These injuries typically require extensive medical treatment and long-term care, and they can significantly impact the victim’s ability to lead a normal life. Common examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can result in partial or complete paralysis, affecting mobility and sensation.

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Severe head trauma can lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss, and changes in personality.

  • Severe Burns: Extensive burns can cause disfigurement and chronic pain and require multiple surgeries.

  • Amputations: The loss of a limb can drastically alter a person’s life, affecting their ability to work and perform daily activities.

Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries can occur in various situations, with some of the most common causes being:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: High-speed collisions can result in devastating injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Collisions between cars and trucks or cars and bicyclists, motorcyclists, or pedestrians, are also likely to end in catastrophic injury in nonfatal accidents.

  • Falls: Slip and falls or falls from heights can cause severe harm, especially to the spinal cord or brain.

  • Workplace Accidents: Certain industries, like construction, are prone to accidents that can result in catastrophic injuries.

  • Sports Injuries: High-impact sports or recreational activities can lead to serious injuries, particularly to the head and spine. Sponsoring organizations might bear liability if they fail to provide equipment, training or supervision as required.

  • Violence: Criminal acts of violence, including shootings and assaults, can result in catastrophic injuries. Depending on the circumstances, a property owner or employer might be liable to the accident victim in addition to any claim against the perpetrator of the violence.

Legal Considerations for Catastrophic Injury Cases

Victims of catastrophic injuries often face significant financial burdens due to medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages. Pursuing legal action can be a critical step in securing the compensation necessary to cover these costs and improve the quality of life for the injured party.

When filing a personal injury claim for a catastrophic injury, it is essential to consider:

  • Liability: Determining who is responsible for the injury is a key factor in any personal injury case.

  • Damages: Calculating the full extent of damages, including current and future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering, is crucial. In the case of a catastrophic injury, it might be necessary to consult experts such as life care planners, economists, and physiatrists to determine the full extent of damages.

  • Statute of Limitations: Victims must be aware of the time limits for filing a claim, which vary by state.

Why You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Navigating a catastrophic injury case requires a depth of legal knowledge and expertise. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims understand their rights, explain their legal options and guide them through the process. Injury attorneys dedicated themselves to building a strong case by collecting evidence, consulting medical experts, and constructing a compelling argument to secure a favorable outcome from a judge or jury. A skilled attorney is also critical in negotiating with insurers. Insurance companies often seek to minimize payouts, especially when dealing with inexperienced attorneys or people without legal representation. A skilled lawyer can negotiate on the victim’s behalf to ensure fair compensation.

Contact Ochoa & Calderón for Help After a Catastrophic Injury in Southern California

Catastrophic injuries are life-changing events that demand comprehensive legal and medical attention. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a qualified personal injury lawyer. At Ochoa & Calderón, our dedicated team is committed to helping injury victims in Southern California navigate the complexities of their cases and pursue the justice and compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and take the first step toward rebuilding your life. Call 951-901-4444 in Riverside or 844-401-0750 throughout Southern California.

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