San Bernardino Catastrophic Injury Lawyer
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San Bernardino Catastrophic Injury Attorneys
If you live in or near San Bernardino, contact our San Bernardino Catastrophic Injury Lawyers at the Gomez Trial Attorneys today online or at (619) 237-3490 for a free case evaluation, and to learn more about how we can help you move forward after a catastrophic injury.
Our Results in Catastrophic Injury ClaimsThe skilled catastrophic injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys have more than 20 years of experience negotiating, settling, and litigating personal injury claims for their clients, including those who have suffered life-altering, catastrophic injuries. The firm’s commitment to seeking justice, case preparation, and client service has led to the recovery of over $500 million in damages from settlements and jury verdicts for their clients. Recent case examples involving catastrophic injuries include a $16 million settlement for a client who sustained a catastrophic brain injury during a slip and fall accident, and a $10.8 million settlement for a client who suffered a catastrophic cervical fracture and brain injury. These are only past examples and do not guarantee a specific financial outcome for your case, but the resourceful legal team at Gomez Trial Attorneys has the knowledge and experience to build a strong case against those who caused you harm, giving you the best chances to receive the maximum compensation commensurate with your injuries.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?A catastrophic injury is a specific category that encompasses any injury that causes severe damage to the victim, leading to lifelong chronic issues or permanent disability. A catastrophic injury refers to any condition or injury that prevents an individual from returning to their job or seeking employment in the future. Examples of the most common catastrophic injuries include:
Brain InjuriesNot all brain injuries are catastrophic. In fact, even some that result in permanent damages still allow victims to function in their daily lives. Yet, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) range in severity and functional loss, often depending on the location of the brain damage. Moderate to severe TBIs in certain locations in the brain can cause lifelong struggles for victims, some of which might prevent them from performing duties at a job. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that severe TBIs impact brain function in four different areas:
- Cognitive function. A TBI can impact cognitive functions such as memory, logic, reasoning, and more. Sometimes TBI victims can use special tools and techniques to cope with cognitive issues, so a TBI that only causes loss of cognitive function might not always be catastrophic.
- Motor function. When a TBI leads to malfunctioning or dysfunctional motor skills, victims sometimes experience struggles with balance and difficulty with coordination, making it difficult to perform simple tasks such as holding a pen, using a computer, or self-care. Loss of motor function is serious and often catastrophic.
- Sensation. Some TBI victims suffer one or more challenges related to their senses. In addition to numbness and tingling, some TBI victims suffer from hearing or vision loss depending on the exact location of their brain injury.
- Behavior. Many TBI patients face personality and behavior changes after a brain injury. Oftentimes, behavioral changes include depression, anxiety, and increased aggression. In extreme cases, TBI patients have little or no impulse control in social situations, making employment difficult, especially when combined with other challenges.
Spinal Cord InjuriesIn many cases, spinal cord injuries fall under the umbrella of catastrophic injuries. Spinal cord cells are different from other cells in the body in the way that they do not regenerate. Bruises and minor nicks often heal, giving many a chance for full recovery once the swelling subsides. In more severe situations, spinal cord injury victims face functional loss. Spinal cord injuries that occur closer to the brain cause more loss because they block more signals from the brain to the rest of the body’s nervous system. Neck injuries typically result in tetraplegia, full-body paralysis from the neck down. Injuries that occur further down on the spinal cord may or may not be catastrophic depending on the amount of function loss someone experiences.
AmputationTraffic accidents and construction or farming accidents involving heavy machinery are most likely to result in amputation. Losing a limb, or another body part typically occurs when someone’s arms, hands, legs, or feet get crushed in an accident. Crushed body parts lose blood flow and begin to die. In some cases, emergency room doctors can prevent amputations; other times, too much time has passed and doctors must make the difficult choice to amputate to save a person’s life. Amputees must cope with physical pain as well as the mental trauma of losing a limb or another body part. Additionally, learning to use a prosthetic device and learning how to do common daily tasks differently also create frustration for amputees. Amputations are not always catastrophic, but depending on the loss, a person’s ability to work or do specific things might be impacted.
Back InjuriesNot all back injuries are catastrophic, but the excruciating pain and discomfort that many back injury patients must suffer sometimes prevent them from working. Those who suffer severe back injuries typically experience pain, regardless of whether they are sitting, standing, or lying down. Surgery is an option for treatment but typically does not eliminate all pain and discomfort. It’s not uncommon for back injury patients to have strict pain management regimens that might include cortisone shots, prescription painkillers, or a surgical pain management device implant. Although pain management can help, these tools and techniques are not always helpful enough for a person to return to work or seek future employment.
Catastrophic Injuries Create Economic Burdens for San Bernardino Victims and Their FamiliesThe economic loss that accompanies a catastrophic injury is massive compared to other injuries. Other injured victims suffer some of the same injuries listed above, but not to the same extent. Even severe injuries that lead to permanent damage do not always prevent a victim from working. Examples of the losses that catastrophic injury victims and their families often face include:
Medical Treatment CostsThose who suffer catastrophic injuries face high medical expenses that include a variety of services related to their treatment. Examples of medical treatment costs that many victims face include:
- Ambulance and emergency room services
- Surgery and associated expenses
- Diagnostic imaging and lab testing
- Prescription medication
- Follow-up care
Rehabilitation ExpensesCatastrophic injuries require specialized treatment and therapy for recovery and rehabilitation. Depending on the injury and the requirements, some specialized treatments might be for life. These treatments when spread out over decades can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Examples of treatments associated with rehabilitation include:
- Physical therapy to help patients repair, rebuild, or maintain muscle in areas of the body impacted by an injury
- Occupational therapy to help patients overcome their physical disabilities and learn new ways to complete daily tasks
- Speech and language therapy to help patients recover lost function or learn how to communicate after a catastrophic injury
- Behavioral therapy or other mental health services to help catastrophic injury victims cope with the emotional trauma of a permanent injury
Long-term Nursing CareThe most severe catastrophic injuries require families to seek out costly long-term nursing care in San Bernardino for their loved ones when they cannot provide the care themselves. Sometimes long-term nursing care involves hiring nurses and aides to come into the home and care for a patient. In many cases, injured victims must live in a long-term nursing care facility. Nursing homes in San Bernardino are expensive, and they are not covered under the vast majority of health insurance policies. The cost of long-term nursing care can financially devastate a family if their loved one does not hold a separate policy for nursing homes.
Lost Future WagesBy definition, a catastrophic injury means a victim cannot work, making lost future wages the most costly aspect of injury for most victims and their families. For some families, the injured person was the primary breadwinner, meaning they have lost all or most of their monthly household income. This can result in massive credit card debt, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and vehicle repossession. Some families struggle to buy necessities such as food and personal hygiene products. Someone who suffers a catastrophic disability might receive disability payments. Yet disability has a maximum limit and it only pays for a portion of lost income.
Costs for Modification to the HomeSome catastrophic injury patients are fortunate enough to return home. They might receive outside care or their family members provide the care and assistance they need. In either case, catastrophic injuries can include physical and psychological injuries that require changes to their home to make it more accessible. The costs for modifying a home can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the situation. For example, some families might install grab bars and handrails or build a wheelchair ramp. Other times, families might need to create a main floor living space, requiring the addition of a room or bathroom, because their loved one cannot use steps.
Costs for Replacement ServicesEach adult member of a household contributes to maintaining a home in many ways. A catastrophic injury often prevents an individual from performing most or all the household tasks they did before. In some cases, families can pitch in to pick up the slack. In other cases, families need to hire outside help to replace the labor their loved one provided. For example, some families need to hire a lawn care and landscaping service, a cleaning service, a pool maintenance company, or a nanny or childcare service to help with young children. Victims might also need a personal assistant who can run errands, help with daily tasks, cook, grocery shop, and more.
San Bernardino Catastrophic Injury FAQA catastrophic injury causes massive physical, emotional, and financial pain for San Bernardino victims and their families. Fortunately, California law entitles them to recover compensation from anyone whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions contributed to the harm they have suffered. To obtain that compensation, however, they virtually always need the help of an experienced San Bernardino catastrophic injury lawyer. Below, we answer some of the most pressing questions San Bernardino-area victims of catastrophic injuries have about their legal and financial rights. For answers to specific questions about your rights after suffering a catastrophic injury, contact an experienced San Bernardino catastrophic injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys.
What are catastrophic injuries?Ordinarily, San Bernardino residents, workers, and visitors do not think about how to define and label their bad injury. Any injury that causes them pain, difficulty, and financial hardship is incapacitating. For lawyers, however, the words used to describe an injury have meaning. In the legal world, catastrophic injuries permanently prevent a person from working or (in the case of child victims) obtaining employment in the future.
What types of injuries qualify as catastrophic?Any type of injury, if severe enough, can qualify as catastrophic. However, the bulk of catastrophic injuries our lawyers handle fall into one of the following categories: Burn injuries. A burn injury can occur froma traffic accident, industrial explosion, house fire, ora variety of other scenarios. Severe burns that cover a large portion of the body often require skin grafts and cosmetic surgeries. In the worst cases, burn victims need to spend months in a burn recovery unit and mayeven have to remain in a medically induced coma. Severe burns cause a host of long-lasting symptoms and difficulties that make it impossible for a victim to return to work, including damage to the nervous system, impaired mobility or fine motor skills, and disfiguring scars. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Brain injuries vary in their severity and effects on the victim, but can often make a return to work impossible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that individuals who suffer a severe TBI potentially face lifelong effects that impact:
- Cognitive functions including challenges with short-term and long-term memory, difficulty maintaining focus, and trouble with communicating and understanding speech and ideas
- Motor functions including difficulties with mobility, movement, coordination, and maintaining balance
- Senses and sensations including hearing loss, vision loss, balance issues, difficulty with perception, and numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Behavior including struggles regulating emotions, difficulty controlling impulses, and personality changes, especially increased aggression, depression, and/or anxiety
How much money can I get from my San Bernardino catastrophic injury claim?Lawyers cannot guarantee a specific financial outcome for any San Bernardino catastrophic injury claim. The value of a claim depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the injury, its impact on the victim’s life, the strength of the evidence for liability and damages, and the financial resources available to pay the claim. Generally speaking, the amount of money representing the damages a victim of a catastrophic injury suffers is higher than for most other types of personal injuries. That is because medical costs for catastrophic injuries tend to run high, and—as we’ve explained—a catastrophic injury causes major, permanent disruptions in the victim’s life and ability to hold down a job However, the amount a victim should receive, and the amount the victim can realistically expect to receive, often differ. For one thing, to succeed in a claim, catastrophic injury victims and their lawyers need evidence that proves who should pay them damages and how much they should receive. The better and more available the evidence, in most cases, the higher the value of the claim. For another thing, even the strongest claim might be limited by the financial limitations of the party at-fault. An individual who carries only the minimum auto accident liability insurance typically has far lesser ability to pay full damages than, say, a gigantic company that manufactured defective auto parts that caused a crash. Victims of catastrophic injuries cannot control who owes them money. They can, however, give themselves the best possible chance to recover the most money available from as many parties as possible by hiring a skilled, experienced, resourceful San Bernardino catastrophic injury attorney to handle their claim.
What types of compensation can I receive for my San Bernardino catastrophic injury?As we said, there are no guarantees. However, if you have a successful legal claim for damages arising from your catastrophic injury, then in general you may have the ability to take legal action seeking compensation for:
- Current and estimated future medical expenses, such as the cost of ambulance and emergency room services, doctor visits, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medication, aftercare, ongoing treatment, and ongoing care at home or in a nursing home.
- Lost wages and future lost income, to compensate for your inability to work or to seek gainful employment in the future.
- Expenses to make a home more accessible, such as the cost for installing a wheelchair ramp, constructing a living space and/or bathroom on the main floor, or placing grab bars and handrails in a shower/tub and other areas throughout a home
- Expenses for replacing domestic and household services the victim provided before their injuries, such as the cost of child care, household cleaning and upkeep, laundry service, and lawn maintenance.
- The physical pain and emotional suffering you endure daily because of your catastrophic injury.
- The diminished quality of your life and personal relationships owing to the effects of the catastrophic injury.
- Punitive damages, if your catastrophic injury resulted from decisions or actions that caused willful harm or constituted egregious negligence.
How long will my San Bernardino catastrophic injury case take?It all depends on the facts of your case. We have represented clients in catastrophic injury cases that reach a favorable resolution in a month or two. We have also had cases that lasted a year or more. Neither we nor you can control most of the factors that affect the timeline of a San Bernardino catastrophic injury case, which include considerations like:
- The number of parties involved in your claim;
- What the doctors think a maximum level of recovery will look like for you, and what limitations will be permanent;
- The scope and availability of the evidence your lawyer needs to prove your case;
- The amount of disagreement between the parties over who has a legal liability to you and how much money they should pay; and
- The schedules, work styles, and personalities of the parties and their representatives.
Can I afford your San Bernardino catastrophic injury attorneys?Yes, you can. Our personal injury attorneys in San Bernardino will meet with you for an initial consultation at no charge to you, and will have that meeting wherever and whenever is most convenient for you. If we agree to represent you in your catastrophic injury claim, then we will get to work on your behalf without asking you to pay a penny upfront, and without charging you as the case progresses. Instead, the lawyer will work on contingency, which means the only fee the lawyer gets consists of a percentage of any money the lawyer secures on your behalf. If you don’t get paid, then the lawyer doesn’t get paid.
When should I contact a San Bernardino catastrophic injury lawyer?Immediately. There is no time to lose. Waiting to speak with a lawyer could cost you valuable legal and financial rights. Do not put your rights at risk. Contact an experienced San Bernardino catastrophic injury attorney today for a free, confidential, no-obligation case consultation.
A San Bernardino Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Can HelpCatastrophic injuries devastate victims and their families throughout San Bernardino, creating unfair burdens for everyone involved. You and your loved ones should not have to suffer from the financial aftermath of a catastrophic injury when another party caused harm through their negligence. Instead, let an experienced catastrophic injury attorney help guide you through the claims process and get the compensation you deserve for your catastrophic injury. If you live in or near San Bernardino, contact the experienced catastrophic injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys online, or call at (619) 237-3490 for a free case evaluation to determine the best path forward for you and your family.
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