A catastrophic injury is one that results in the victim incurring severe or lifelong, debilitating health effects or disfigurement. These injuries often occur suddenly, without warning, and typically are characterized as involving the severe disruption of the central nervous system, usually the brain or spinal cord. In some cases, they can involve amputations, organ damage or severe burns.
Many who suffer catastrophic injuries must endure multiple surgeries, an arduous recovery process and sometimes, a lifetime of medical treatment. It’s not uncommon for these individuals to be unable to return to work. Family members may have to give up their own careers and personal lives in order to provide adequate daily care.
The Orange County injury lawyers at Fakhimi & Associates, Trial Attorneys, recognize lawsuits based on catastrophic injuries can present a number of unique challenges.
The American Medical Association describes a catastrophic injury as one that involves a severe injury to the spine, spinal cord or brain, and may also include skull or spinal fractures. We view the definition as a bit more broad, involving any that causes a severe functional disability or results in a severe head or neck trauma, even if there is no permanent disability resuling.
Some of the types of catastrophic injury cases our firm handles:
- Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Amputation Injuries
- On-the-Job Injuries
- Construction Injuries
In addition to possible loss of movement, sensation, cognitive and communicative abilities, such an illness may impact one’s respiration, skin, circulation or other body systems. Managing these injuries is a complex matter, often requiring a team of professionals that include doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors and other consultants.
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries are often the result of negligent or intentional harm by another person or business. Sometimes, they are caused by a defective product or a dangerous condition on a property. Many catastrophic injury cases are the result of motor vehicle accidents.
We recognize that many people may be hesitant to get involved in litigation because it seems like one more battle that has to be fought – on top of everything else. The first thing to understand about this is often, a personal injury lawsuit can determine the future quality of life for the victim, including the level of medical care and support he or she will receive. Along with that is the financial future of the family, as catastrophic injuries tend to deliver a huge blow to a family’s economic stability.
Secondly, an injury lawyer with experience will be able to guide you through the process without adding a greater burden than is necessary. Yes, your participation will be required to an extent, but we bear the brunt and help you formulate the most effective legal strategy. This often begins with a careful assessment of the details of the incident or accident, and continues on with a meticulous calculation of life care planning needs.
People who suffer from catastrophic injuries may require decades-long treatment and support, and those costs need to be factored in when determining a fair settlement or damage award.
Proving causation and damages in California catastrophic injury cases often requires a number of expert witnesses in the fields of:
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Life-care planning
- Other medical or technical areas
Because the cost of these services is extensive, it’s important to seek a legal firm who can secure these resources while working with you on a contingency-fee basis.
Pursuing All Sources of Recovery
Because those who suffer catastrophic injuries face potentially staggering health and life-care costs, as well as lost income, it’s imperative to identify all potential defendants.
The damages to which one is entitled will depend on:
- The egregious nature of the wrongdoing
- Injured person’s ability to work
- Whether independent living is possible
- The types of physical therapy that might improve his or her health
- The effect the injury has had on one’s quality of life, and the spouse and children’s quality of life
Of course, it depends wholly on the underlying circumstances, but it can be a mistake to pursue just a single defendant or source of insurance.
Let’s take, for example, a drunk driving incident. Of course, the driver and his or her insurance company would be defendants. But if the owner of the vehicle is someone other than the driver, he or she too could face liability. So too might the person or establishment who served the drunk driver alcohol prior to the crash, especially if the driver was under 21. We may also want to analyze whether there was some defect in the engineering design or maintenance of the roadway or some vehicle defect that either contributed to the crash or increased the severity of injuries.
In cases where the available insurance resources aren’t enough, it may be necessary to have the attorney help you explore application for government benefits as well. This is rarely a simple or straightforward process, which is another reason consultation with experienced legal counsel is important.
Contact the injury lawyers at Fakhimi & Associates, Trial Attorneys, by calling 714-705-6701 or 909-859-0280. Serving the Southern California counties of Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside.
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