What is Considered a “Catastrophic Injury?”
Generally, catastrophic injuries are the most severe kinds of injuries and they can affect the spine, brain, or head to the point that the victim can remain in a coma and/or suffer long-term disability. Injuries like this are typically classified as catastrophic when they happen suddenly and without warning, leaving the victim with life-altering impacts. Despite these injuries being able to occur at nearly any time in a person’s life, catastrophic injuries most often happen as the result of:
- Car, truck, motorcycle, and bus accidents
- Boating accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Sports accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Fire and explosion accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
There are a variety of types of injuries that can be considered catastrophic, each with many potential causes. The most common types of catastrophic injury include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur when the brain is impacted by a force, is deprived of oxygen, is shaken rapidly, is subjected to rotational force, or is penetrated by an object. While all instances of TBI have the potential to be serious, some can be much more severe than others. TBI-related injuries can be fatal or greatly impact a person’s cognition, thinking, memory, emotions, sensations, and more. While some cases of TBI can be treated and sometimes lead to a victim’s recovery, in many instances these injuries can cause permanent disability requiring long-term care and preventing the injured party from returning to work and enjoying their life as they did prior to the incident that caused harm to their brain.
Spinal Cord Injuries
One of the most devastating types of catastrophic injuries is spinal cord injury. When a spinal cord injury occurs, the spinal cord is impacted with force, sometimes as the result of a vertebral fracture. This specific injury disrupts the spinal cord’s ability to send messages between the brain and the rest of the body. In these cases, the result is often paralysis from the site of the injury down – paraplegia – or even full quadriplegia. One of the most devastating aspects of spinal cord injuries is that they are very often permanent and leave victims impacted for life.
Limb Amputation Injuries
Losing a limb is a devastating, life-changing injury that many accident victims deal with. These events are tragic and leave those impacted reliant on medical assistance for the most basic tasks of daily living. While prosthetics and physical therapy can help aid in restoring one’s quality of life after an injury that leads to limb amputation, nothing can be done to restore those limbs after a severe accident. Crush injuries are a common cause of amputations.
Burn injuries are among the most painful types of injuries to deal with. There are many types of burns, including friction burns, thermal burns, radiation burns, and chemical burns, among others. Burns are also classified by degree, with the first degree being superficial and only affecting the outermost layer of skin, and fourth-degree – the most severe – impacting all layers of skin as well as bones, muscles, and tendons. These injuries can be life-threatening and cause long-term mobility and disability issues. Not only that, but depending on the severity of the burns, they can leave victims disfigured and potentially in need of multiple rounds of surgeries to repair the damaged flesh.
Skull Fracture Injuries
Fractures to the skull are often catastrophic. These injuries are recognized as such due to the potential for injury to the brain and/or spinal cord. Additionally, treatment for skull fracture injuries is incredibly risky and generally requires specialized surgery conducted by a surgeon trained in such matters, as a small error could result in further injury or disability.
What are the Most Common Causes of a Catastrophic Injury?
California lawyers can help victims who have suffered from catastrophic injuries because of someone else’s negligence.
These severe injuries can commonly be caused by:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck or big-rig accidents
- Bicycle or pedestrian accidents
- Uber or Lyft ridesharing accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Heavy machinery accidents
- Severe dog bites
- Premises liability accidents
- Slips, trips, and falls
Who Can Victims of Catastrophic Injuries File a Lawsuit Against?
There are various individuals and/or entities that could be held responsible for causing catastrophic injuries in California. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Business owners and operators
- Animal and dog owners
- Product manufacturers
- Property owners and private landowners
- Corporations and partners
How Lawyers Can Help Victims of Catastrophic Injuries
California personal injury lawyers are vital to helping victims successfully file lawsuits and bring personal injury claims. They also help victims maximize their potential financial recovery, including but not limited to damages for:
- Lost earning capacity and lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages, if applicable
If those catastrophic injuries lead to death, a personal injury attorney can help the victim’s family and/or the representative of the decedent’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party or parties for causing the fatal accident, which means they could cover expenses or pay out compensation for other types of damages, which include:
- Loss of the deceased’s income
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of the deceased’s support and companionship
For their physical and financial protection, it is in the best interest of victims suffering from a catastrophic injury in California to seek the guidance of a personal injury attorney. This type of legal representation comes at no financial risk to the plaintiff because our catastrophic injury lawyers offer free case evaluations and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe us nothing unless and until we recover financial compensation on your behalf. Whether or not the victim seeking legal help decides to follow through with filing a lawsuit, any communication between an attorney and their clients is privileged, so nothing said in a consultation can be disclosed without the client’s permission.
If you or someone you care about has been injured due to the fault of another party, please reach out to a member of our legal team as soon as possible.