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San Bernardino Catastrophic Injury Attorneys

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a catastrophe as “an event causing great and often sudden damage or suffering.”

If you or someone you love has suffered catastrophic injuries in San Bernardino, this definition might understate the adjustments and changes you had to make as a result of an injury.

From a legal perspective, a catastrophic injury refers to any permanent injury, illness, or disease that prevents an individual from working. Sometimes catastrophic injuries refer to adults who cannot return to work after sustaining a life-altering injury. In other cases, children who sustain catastrophic injuries lose the opportunity to pursue a career.

People who lose the ability to contribute to society, their household, and pursue their aspirations in life sometimes suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles on top of the physical pain and economic challenges that come with a catastrophic injury. Family members who move into a caretaking role after a loved one suffers a catastrophic injury also face emotional struggles in accepting the way the injury has impacted their loved one.

If you, your partner, or your child have suffered a catastrophic injury, you might feel overwhelmed because of the changes and adjustments you’ve had to make in the wake of a catastrophic injury. You should not have to suffer the financial consequences too when the injury happened because of someone else’s careless actions or failures.

Fortunately, California law permits you to take legal action, and we are here to guide our San Bernardino neighbors through the claims process, advocate for you and your family, and help you seek the justice you deserve.

If you live in or near San Bernardino, contact 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 Claims

The skilled catastrophic injury lawyers at The Gomez Firm 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 The Gomez Firm 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 Injuries

Not 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 Injuries

In 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.

Amputation

Traffic 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 Injuries

Not 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 Families

The 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 Costs

Those 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
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescription medication
  • Follow-up care

Rehabilitation Expenses

Catastrophic 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 Care

The 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 Wages

By 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 Home

Some 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 Services

Each 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.

A San Bernardino Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Can Help

Catastrophic 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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