Irvine Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Providing Strong Legal Services to the Severely Injured
While the human body is impressive, it can also be frighteningly delicate compared to some of the forces seen in the world. A single accident can have life-changing effects on the victim. Catastrophic injuries are the worst injuries a person can sustain and still survive. However, most survivors of these injuries will require medical treatment and assistance with many tasks for the rest of their lives. If you’ve suffered a catastrophic accident due to someone else’s negligence, they should be held liable for their actions. A catastrophic injury lawyer from Hejazi Law Group can help you quantify the losses you’ve experienced, including less tangible losses, such as pain, suffering, and mental anguish. You have the right to seek full and fair compensation for all your losses so your family is supported and you can feel confident that you will have access to the continuing high-quality medical care you need. Call Hejazi Law Group today to set up a free case evaluation with a lawyer who understands your needs: (949) 749-7402.
How Is a Catastrophic Injury Defined?
For an injury to be considered catastrophic, it must be a long-lasting, severe, and life-altering injury that prevents the victim from performing gainful work. An injury this serious can impact a victim’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks and often decreases their overall quality of life. Some of the most common examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Severe skull fractures
- Amputation or loss of limb function
- Severe or widespread burns
- Chronic lung damage
- Vision or hearing loss stemming from an injury
How Do Catastrophic Injuries Happen?
Any time you are involved in an accident, there is the potential for catastrophic injuries to occur. Even slipping on a wet spot on the floor can cause you to hit your head on a hard surface, possibly resulting in a TBI or spinal damage leading to paralysis. However, as the magnitude of the impacts involved in an accident increases, so does the likelihood of catastrophic injury. Violent accidents present the most significant risks for disabling injuries. Some of the accidents which most commonly cause catastrophic injuries are:
- Truck and car accidents
- Premises liability accidents, such as a slip and fall
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Product defect accidents
- Workplace accidents, especially involving heavy machinery
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bite accidents
Who Can Be Held Liable?
If someone acted negligently and caused your catastrophic injury, they could be held responsible for damages. This defendant could be a driver, a medical professional, a coworker, or even a government entity. There may also be a combination of negligent parties who contributed to your catastrophic injury.
Proving negligence in a catastrophic injury claim requires the same proof as any other personal injury case. Namely, these five items must be shown to be true:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The duty of care was violated
- The violation of the duty of care led directly to your injury
- The defendant should have foreseen that their action could cause harm
- Your injury caused a significant financial loss
An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist you with your catastrophic injury case. They will investigate your accident, gather evidence, identify all liable parties, and take the time to value your claim properly. A catastrophic injury prevents you from working again, so it is crucial to ensure that you receive full compensation for your damages to safeguard the future care and well-being of yourself and your family.
How Can Comparative Negligence Impact Your Claim?
Some states operate under a system of contributory negligence. In a contributory negligence system, a victim can only recover compensation for damages if they were entirely without fault for the accident. Because this is so difficult to prove, it can be challenging to successfully try a personal injury case in these states, even if the accident resulted in catastrophic injuries.
California, however, operates under a pure comparative negligence system. This means anyone injured in an accident can file a claim for their losses as long as they were not 100% at fault. However, their compensation is reduced in proportion to the amount of fault they are assigned. This system has some benefits because catastrophic injury victims who share some blame in their accident can still recover partial damages, which can be critical when facing long-term medical bills and an inability to work. Comparative negligence can also be a double-edged sword because insurance companies will argue that you actually were wholly or partly at fault for the accident, so they do not have to pay full compensation. A catastrophic injury lawyer can fight against these accusations and ensure you recover the damages to which you are entitled.
What Is California’s Statute of Limitations on Catastrophic Injury Cases?
A statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit from the date of the injury. For most personal injury cases in California, the victim has two years to begin legal proceedings. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. For example, if the catastrophic injury was caused by medical malpractice, victims only have one year from the date they discovered the injury. This window is extended to three years from the date of discovery if the malpractice-related injury was intentionally hidden from the victim. When the defendant in the catastrophic injury case is a government entity, the statute of limitations can be even shorter, sometimes as little as a few weeks. Contacting a trusted lawyer promptly who will ensure all filing deadlines are met can be critical to your claim because claims filed outside the statute of limitations are almost always dismissed immediately by the court.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Catastrophic Injury Case?
Properly valuing your claim is a crucial task performed by your lawyer. The stakes are high in a catastrophic injury case because, by definition, your injuries are serious and long-term and prevent you from working. Victims often face skyrocketing expenses for medical treatment with little idea of how they will pay due to their inability to hold a job. This can put extra stress on a family during an already challenging time.
A skilled lawyer will consider both economic and non-economic damages when calculating a fair settlement amount for your losses. Economic damages cover financial losses you’ve felt as a result of your catastrophic injuries. These may include:
- Current medical bills
- Lost income and the loss of future earning capacity
- Property replacement or repair
- Accessibility upgrades to your home and vehicles
- Counseling and therapy expenses
- The cost of continuing medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Paying for in-home help or nursing
A catastrophic injury’s impact on a victim’s everyday life cannot be overstated. It can change every aspect of their daily lives and often decreases their quality of life by reducing their ability to perform everyday tasks. Long-term pain and discomfort are also nearly universal for catastrophic injury survivors. Non-economic damages attempt to place a monetary value on these non-financial losses, including:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- The loss of life’s enjoyment
- Scarring and disfigurement
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?
If you or a loved one have experienced catastrophic injuries, you already have a lot on your plate. You deserve to have the time and space to heal without worrying about bills or how you will provide for your family and your future medical needs. A skilled lawyer can deftly handle all the essential aspects of your case, from gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses to negotiating a settlement with the insurance company and taking the case to court when necessary.
Insurance companies often keep teams of lawyers on their payroll to minimize the amount they must pay victims. Cases can become especially drawn out and complex when they involve large settlements, such as with catastrophic injury claims. Hejazi Law Group has the tenacity and knowledge to help recover the maximum compensation for your losses. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today to discuss your legal rights and options: (949) 749-7402.