What Injuries Are Considered Catastrophic?
Catastrophic injuries are those that are considered life-altering in such a way that quality of life is gravely compromised and way of life is never again the same.
Catastrophic injuries may occur accidentally, but often times some form of negligence plays a significant role in the injury coming about. After suffering an injury of this kind, get the representation you need from our San Jose catastrophic injury attorneys at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP.
TYPES OF CATASTROPHIC INJURIES
- Brain injuries: Also called cognitive injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBI), severe injuries to the head can lead to serious neurological damage and impairment, effecting coherence, the ability to function under one’s own accord, and ability to form new memories.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spine can lead to paralysis, and can permanently render one incapable of being able to walk, speak, or move even a single muscle.
- Amputation injuries: Injuries that require the removal of seriously injured limbs will forever change a person’s way of life.
- Burn injuries: Severe burns may require skin grafts and can permanently alter one’s appearance.
- Multiple bone fractures: Injuries consisting of multiple bone breaks / fractures that require an extended period of time to heal, and one may never fully recover, experiencing life-long impediments in regard to even walking comfortably.
- Vision impairment: Loss of vision requires a dramatic shift in sensory perception, rendering one dependent on all other senses and drastically altering one’s lifestyle.
- Internal Organ Damage: Accidents with extreme force, such as a car crash, can lead to internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening.
- Other Damage Related to Orthopedic Function or Tissue: Many serious accidents result in catastrophic damage to the bones, muscles, and tissues, which may lead to partial or total immobility.
Were you or a loved one seriously injured due to the negligence of another party? There is no need to struggle through the consequences, if you were not at fault. Schedule a free case review with one of our experienced catastrophic injury lawyers in San Jose at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP to determine if you have a case. Our attorneys are backed by years of experience and are ready to help you obtain just compensation for what you must now endure. Reach out today.
CAUSES OF CATASTROPHIC INJURIES
Accidents are unpredictable, but some situations lead to catastrophic injuries more than others. Common causes of catastrophic injuries are traffic collisions (especially with large trucks), faulty product, dangerous conditions or workplace accidents (construction site accidents), pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, violent crimes, and dog bites. Catastrophic accidents are often at least partially the responsibility of one or more parties that have exhibited negligence to some degree.
Costs associated with a catastrophic accident are not only those associated with hospital bills and the like, but also those employment wages that have been and will be lost due to diminished capacity and such long recuperation times.
Commonly Required Treatments for Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries are life-threatening and are often life-changing as well. As a result, the medical treatments for such injuries can be intense. It is unusual for someone to suffer a catastrophic injury and not need extensive medical care, including specialized or experimental methods.
In the average catastrophic injury case, the claimant will require:
- Extensive hospitalization: A hospital stay is very likely in order after a catastrophic injury of any type, be it a head injury, spine injury, amputation, or broken bones. You could be in the hospital for weeks or months before your medical team is confident that you can return home without complications.
- Surgery: Many catastrophic injuries will not heal on their own. To start the healing process or allow a wound to improve to at least some degree, complex surgeries might be necessary, such as spine surgery that alleviates a herniated disc or surgery to repair broken bones.
- Years of rehabilitation: After your release from the hospital, your medical treatments will likely continue in the form of rehabilitative treatment in skilled nursing or other in-patient facilities. Additionally, years of out-patient physical therapy might be needed to restore mobility to your legs or arms after an injury left you paralyzed, or further surgeries might be needed as well.
- Continuing medical care
- Visiting nursing care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Medical equipment such as a hospital bed or wheelchair
The costs of medical care can and will get expensive in a catastrophic injury case. Even a single day in the hospital can drain your healthcare reserves. Longer stays will demand even more of your finances.
Compensation Available in a Catastrophic Injury Claim
Our San Jose catastrophic injury lawyers know how to accurately calculate the full amount of damages owed to you. We can take your case against any major insurance company, medical institution, individual, or corporation and apply the pressure for a fair settlement. No matter how much that compensation amount is once all your damages are added together, we are the team that can handle the case.
Significant damages to consider in a catastrophic injury claim include:
- Medical costs: Medical costs can be significant after treating someone with a catastrophic injury. We fight to make sure that all costs are covered by the liable party, including any amount that you paid out of your own pocket.
- Lost income: The time you spend off your feet and recovering is good for your health but bad for your job and income. The paychecks you were unable to earn and the future income you cannot achieve can be calculated as economic damage in your claim.
- Disability costs: Living with a new disability is complicated and can be costly. Installing wheelchair ramps or hiring an in-home living assistant can be expensive, for example. Any miscellaneous costs related to a disability caused by your catastrophic injury can be included in your damages.
- Pain and suffering: California law allows you to seek non-economic damage in a catastrophic injury claim, which relates to your pain, suffering, and trauma. Even your lessened enjoyment of life and lost independence can be calculated as a form of non-economic damage.
- Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium is to compensate spouses for the loss of the relationship of the victim.
- Wrongful death: A wrongful death lawsuit will be filed by the family members of the victim who passed away due to the accident or injury caused by someone else’s negligence.
- Punitive damages: These damages are rewarded to victims, but the goal is to punish the defendant for their egregious behavior. This is to deter other entities or individuals from making the same wrongful mistakes.
From a financial, legal, and emotional standpoint, a catastrophic injury can be devastating. The implications go much further than the injury itself, and it can affect one’s work life and relationships with loved ones.
How Our San Jose Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Can Help
What can you expect from our legal team when you hire us for your catastrophic injury claim? We would be happy to provide complete case management and nothing less. From the initial investigation of your accident and calculating your damages, to filing your claim and litigating in court, our catastrophic injury lawyers in San Jose can do it all. You have enough to deal with already, so leave all the legal work and related complications up to us.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long do I have to file a catastrophic injury claim?
California has a two-year statute of limitations on most catastrophic injury claims. It begins on the date of the injury or when that injury becomes reasonably apparent. The statute might be different and shorter in some situations, though. For example, claims filed against a public entity can have a brief 6-month statute of limitations instead. If you don’t file a claim within the statute of limitations, then you essentially cannot do so afterward.
How much is my catastrophic injury case worth?
The worth of every catastrophic injury claim is unique because it factors in the claimant’s injuries and losses, as well as the defendant’s liability and insurance coverage. The underlying truth to a catastrophic injury claim, though, is that it will have a much greater value than a typical injury claim.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
You are not required by law to hire an injury attorney for your catastrophic injury claim, but it is highly suggested. Even the insurance companies defending the liable party sometimes insist that the claimant hires an attorney before going too far in the case because it does not want to be accused later of committing insurance bad faith and coercing you to take a bad settlement.
How do I know if my injury is considered catastrophic?
An injury is considered catastrophic in most cases if it threatens the victim’s life, causes a permanent disability, or permanently affects the victim’s ability to hold gainful employment.
Will my catastrophic injury case go to court?
Catastrophic injury cases can be settled in many cases if your attorney can clearly show the defendant that your claim is legally sound. Rather than dragging things out and possibly losing more money through a courtroom battle, most insurance companies will consider a settlement first. That being said, some cases will head to trial if the insurance company thinks it can fight the claim or if it thinks it stands to lose too much if it settles.