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In medical terms, a catastrophic injury results in damage to the spine, spinal cord, or brain. The definition offered by the American Medical Association (AMA) goes further to include skull and spinal fractures. However, the law defines a catastrophic injury differently.
The legal definition of a catastrophic injury is one in which the victim suffers any type of injury which results in a permanent disability or one which would result in their having to change the way they work and live.
While these sound like similar descriptions, consider this: If a victim of a car accident suffers deep cuts in their leg, the leg later gets infected, and they develop sepsis, they may be forced to have a portion of their leg amputated. This is certainly a catastrophic injury that both results in a permanent disability and forces the victim to rethink the way they work and live.
The challenge between these two definitions is understanding the difference in how insurance companies (and potentially a jury) might view a catastrophic injury and how much suffering a victim has to endure while recovering from this type of injury. In terms of the legal nature of these injuries, liability also plays a role. Contact the Riverside Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys for more information.
All across Riverside, a variety of accidents result in serious injuries to residents; however, some accidents go one step further, causing horrific and life-altering harm. These types of accidents are often labeled “catastrophic.” In terms of legal damages, there are quite a few differences when it comes to a catastrophic injury versus other injuries.
At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we know that if you have been injured in a catastrophic injury accident in Riverside, you are not only dealing with severe pain, but you also have a significant amount of uncertainty and stress in your life right now. We also understand that you do not have time to decipher different legal terms and definitions, figuring out which ones match your injuries.
That is why we want to help you. We have prepared answers to the below frequently asked questions that many victims have following a catastrophic injury accident. We hope with this information, you have a better understanding of the legal issues that are involved with a catastrophic injury, and how our legal team can help you pursue the compensation you deserve following one of these horrific accidents.
Gomez Trial Attorneys was founded in 2005 by John Gomez to provide legal services to victims who have suffered personal injuries. In the last 15 years, our experienced Riverside personal injury attorneys have collected over $550 million in settlements and jury verdicts. We have had more than 135 awards that amounted to over one million dollars each. Due to our resources and experience, we have created a track record of taking on the most significant and complex cases, while getting our clients results.
We have helped people who suffered catastrophic injuries from:
Sadly, car accidents occur every day in Riverside and all across the state. One of the most common injuries suffered in a car accident is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). These injuries have a devastating impact on victims and their families. TBIs range from mild to very severe. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), thousands of people lose their lives on an annual basis as a result of a TBI. Several thousand are forced to live with the long-term repercussions of the injury.
Over the long term, victims who suffer from a TBI may have to live with sleep issues, problems with hearing and vision, headaches, and motor issues. In very serious cases, the victim may lose the ability to care for themselves, meaning they will need a caregiver for the rest of their natural life. Since TBIs can occur after any bump, blow, or jolt, several accidents can cause them. For instance, a TBI may occur from an accident in the workplace, a car accident, or when a nursing home patient falls out of bed because they were not adequately monitored.
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury, or your loved one was injured and suffered a TBI, contact the Riverside personal injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys today and let us help you hold the responsible party accountable.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), more than 10,000 people are victims of spinal cord injuries every year. The majority of these victims are males, typically between the ages of 16 and 30. Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in younger victims, while falls are the leading cause in older victims. These injuries can be life-altering, including leaving a victim paralyzed.
When a victim does not suffer paralysis, the other possible spinal cord injury complications they could face include incontinence, long-term back pain, muscle weakness, and loss of sensation. These are long-term problems that could seriously damage some victims’ day-to-day lives.
When a person is injured in a car accident, or a slip and fall accident caused by someone’s negligent behavior, a Riverside catastrophic injury lawyer could help victims recover financially, and make sure they get the long-term care they may need after a spinal cord injury.
Amputation of a limb can be life-altering. When someone gets an arm or hand caught in a piece of equipment, is in a crushing car accident, or suffers an injury that restricts blood flow resulting in amputation, the changes in a victim’s lifestyle are unimaginable.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, approximately 75 percent of amputations of the arm are performed as a result of some form of trauma. Statistics show that 10 percent of these partial or complete upper body amputations occur due to agricultural accidents, 19 percent as a result of industrial accidents, and 51 percent result from motor vehicle accidents.
Following an amputation, victims may suffer other health complications including mental health problems. The costs associated with a prosthetic can be overwhelming. However, victims may have the option to hold the person responsible for their accident, and subsequent amputation, financially accountable for their expenses by contacting a catastrophic injury attorney, like those at Gomez Trial Attorneys.
The leading causes of catastrophic injuries include:
In most worker’s compensation situations, employees file a claim with the company’s insurance carrier for workers’ compensation claims. However, workers can file third-party claims against an employee who has failed to follow proper safety procedures, a manufacturer who failed to ensure their equipment was safe to use, or a contractor who was on the worksite and was operating a tractor or other heavy equipment.
Car accidents are common, and while California does require every driver to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, these policies may not come close to covering the costs associated with a catastrophic injury. Minimum requirements include $15,000 for injury or death to one person, $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage. A catastrophic injury will result in expenses of more than $15,000, and victims should not have to bear that financial burden alone.
Victims who suffer spinal injuries, or other catastrophic injuries need someone to advocate on their behalf. Oftentimes, their families are uncertain where to turn for the help they need in holding the party responsible for the injuries accountable for their actions, or inaction. That is where Gomez Trial Attorneys can come in.
Physically recovering from a catastrophic injury is always difficult and, in some cases, a victim may never fully recover. These victims are facing pain and suffering, emotional anguish, physical issues, and mounting medical bills. All of this occurs when they cannot return to work.
Some of the potential compensation you could recover from filing a catastrophic injury lawsuit includes:
Catastrophic injuries are those types of injuries that can permanently disable an individual and stop them from performing any gainful work. These injuries typically require emergency medical services and lifetime treatments. At times these injuries may even be life-threatening or involve a loss of mental or physical capacity resulting from a loss of a limb, brain damage, spinal cord injury, or a traumatic brain injury.
What makes these injuries so severe compared to other serious injuries is that the injury’s after-effects are so debilitating. Consider a traumatic brain injury. These victims are often dealing with years, if not a lifetime, of memory and cognition problems, as well as behavior and speech issues.
Even though you may be unfamiliar with the term catastrophic injury, there is a good chance that you still have heard of someone experiencing one of these injuries. In fact, these types of injuries are not that rare and occur all over the country (and Riverside) frequently.
Statistics show that:
Since there are so many different types of catastrophic injuries, there are numerous ways a catastrophic injury can occur.
However, the more common accidents in Riverside that typically tend to result in devastating injury include the following:
It does not matter whether you were hurt in a car crash or injured by a defective product or drug. If your catastrophic injury resulted from the misconduct or negligence of another individual or corporation, our legal team can help you obtain the financial recovery you deserve.
Many different types of injuries can result in dire consequences and life-long medical treatments.
However, some of the more common catastrophic injuries include:
What makes these catastrophic injuries so unique compared to other serious injuries is that they typically lead to permanent disability, causing the victim’s life to be forever affected. Those victims that survive these devastating types of accidents will need ongoing extensive rehabilitative therapy, multiple surgeries, and long-term care just to function, let alone live their life like they once could.
According to California Law, there may be more than one at-fault party responsible for your catastrophic injury. Many times the fault may be due to a negligent individual, employer, or even a company. However, if you want to be successful in your catastrophic injury claim, you need to show that your injuries resulted from an individual’s or entity’s wrongful actions or inaction.
Meaning, you need to prove that the at-fault party acted intentionally or committed the following negligent elements:
Additionally, your Riverside catastrophic injury attorney can also help you determine ALL the at-fault parties legally responsible for your injuries.
These parties can include:
Discussing your case with a Riverside catastrophic injury attorney can help you figure out not only if you have a viable claim, but how to pursue all those parties responsible for your catastrophic injuries.
The first compensation offer you receive from the defendant or the insurance company rarely covers your full costs and expenses, especially in accidents that involve a catastrophic injury. Before you accept any offer, you need to consider your immediate needs and your future costs, including any at-home care you may need, your lost earning capacity, and your ongoing medical bills. You may also want to factor in your family in this compensation and consider everything they have been through and will continue to go through for the rest of your life.
For these reasons, if you receive any offer, it’s vital to speak with our knowledgeable Riverside catastrophic injury attorney first. Our lawyers can verify whether the compensation offer is fair to you, and if it is not, we can negotiate a fair settlement or, if necessary, take your case to trial.
Due to the significant harm that results, catastrophic injuries tend to involve a lot of costly expenses. Consequently, the damages also tend to be relatively high. If you have been injured in an accident in Riverside, you may be entitled to the following damages: Economic, noneconomic, and punitive.
Economic damages: These damages are easily quantifiable and are meant to compensate the victim for their out-of-pocket expenses associated with the accident.
They can include:
Noneconomic damages: These damages are not easily verifiable and are somewhat subjective. They compensate victims for losses associated with their injuries and how they affected their lives.
Punitive damages: In California, punitive damages are only awarded in specific circumstances of egregious misconduct, typically when the court determines a defendant acted with malice, oppression, or fraud.
In any catastrophic injury case, it is hard to give an exact answer in terms of how much your case is worth. Generally, the more significant and extensive the injuries, the more money you may be likely to recover.
Yet certain factors can affect the case’s worth:
If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, you have two years from the injury’s date to bring a claim. However, this length of time can vary depending on the facts of your case. For example, if the victim was a child or you are pursuing compensation from a governmental entity, this statute of limitations can be shortened or extended. That is why you must speak with a Riverside catastrophic injury attorney as quickly as possible. These lawyers can verify precisely how much time you have to file a claim.
Typically, you do not want to wait too long to bring a claim in a catastrophic injury case. The longer you wait, the higher the chance of evidence getting lost, memories of the accident fading, and losing contact with witnesses.
Catastrophic injury accidents are usually complicated, confusing, and require incredibly detailed evidence to show fault. After helping countless catastrophic injury accident victims, Gomez Trial Attorneys know what it takes to succeed in these cases.
Our skilled, compassionate, and experienced attorneys can get to work on your case immediately, focusing on:
If you suffered a catastrophic injury in a Riverside accident, do not wait any longer—contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today.
When someone suffers a catastrophic injury due to the actions or inaction of another person, it is possible to file an insurance claim with their insurance provider. However, insurance companies are concerned with protecting themselves. This means you may face numerous roadblocks, and might have your initial claim denied.
To protect yourself, or your loved one, from insurance company tactics, you should speak with a Riverside catastrophic injury lawyer as soon after an accident as possible. The insurance company could make every attempt in the book to try to get you to accept a fast settlement, particularly if the injuries are catastrophic. The problem with this is that you may not know the extent of your financial losses for weeks or months following an accident that results in a catastrophic injury.
When you hire someone who has a track record of advocating for their clients, you can feel more confident that you will not be taken advantage of by an insurer. While it is possible to reach an agreement with the responsible party’s insurer, you may get a better result if you have a lawyer on your side.
One concern that is common among victims of catastrophic injury and their families are the anticipated costs of hiring a lawyer to represent them.
A free initial consultation does not place anyone under an obligation to hire our attorneys. This consultation allows you to find out your legal options, and can help you decide what actions are best for your family. If you do want to hire us, we work on a contingency fee basis.
Some people think they can represent themselves in a catastrophic injury case. But, an attorney who has experience handling complex cases, such as those associated with catastrophic injuries, understands the strategies to negotiate with insurance companies. They would also have experience litigating complex cases in court, meaning they know how to present cases in a way that helps secure the best possible outcome for their clients.
You and your family deserve justice. There is never enough money to compensate you for the losses you suffer physically after a catastrophic injury. However, a catastrophic injury attorney could help you recover financially, and help your family enjoy a more stable financial future despite your physical limitations and pain.
When you or your family member suffer a catastrophic injury, you need time to heal physically and emotionally. Having to deal with insurance company adjusters, or the responsible party’s legal team, can add more stress. This can hamper your recovery. Do not wait until you are only left with the option to accept the insurance company’s initial offer. Contact a Riverside catastrophic injury attorney as quickly as possible after your accident.
The legal team at Gomez Trial Lawyers is committed to advocating for each client, and we are committed to getting you the compensation you deserve following an accident. Contact our offices today and let us help. You can reach us by calling (619) 237-3490 or using our online contact form.
Gomez Trial Attorneys
11840 Pierce Street
Ste 200 Riverside, CA 92505
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“Mr. John Gomez and his team, Gomez Trial Attorneys, are very passionate about the work they do. They never left us alone and were always in our corner every step of the way. Never once during the process did we ever feel we were in this by ourselves. They are very diligent, thorough and compassionate at the same time. We had a delicate case and they always made sure we were comfortable. The made it easy for us to meet with them and very accommodating. They definitely did all their homework and of course, the result was a positive outcome.”
Review by: Clemente C.
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