When Is a California Personal Injury Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

When Is a California Personal Injury Considered a Catastrophic Injury?

Nobody wakes up in the morning expecting to be catastrophically injured that day. Catastrophic personal injuries happen suddenly and unexpectedly, changing victims’ lives forever.

While many catastrophic injuries occur during California car accidents, not all happen on the roads. Catastrophic injuries can happen anywhere: at home, at work, while shopping, during a visit to a government building, or even just while relaxing at a friend or family member’s home.

Do you know the differences between regular personal injuries and catastrophic personal injuries? Read on to learn more about catastrophic injuries in California.

California Catastrophic Injuries vs. Other Types of Injuries

To understand the range of severity in personal injuries, picture a wide spectrum where the mildest injuries are on the far left side. Most moderate personal injuries fall somewhere in the middle. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, to the far right, are catastrophic personal injuries.

Catastrophic injuries are the worst-of-the-worst severe injuries, where the person is lucky to have survived but has permanent or long-term effects. The person has suffered extreme bodily injuries and/or mental injuries that impact almost every aspect of their life.

During a catastrophic accident, you could lose a limb, be severely burned, experience a spinal fracture, be left with a brain injury, or have many other types of long-lasting or permanent impediments to your full mobility, vision, hearing, or thinking.

Examples of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Organ damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other severe head injuries
  • Severe/permanent spinal cord injuries
  • Partial to total paralysis
  • Loss of a limb
  • Third-degree burns and scarring
  • Severe and permanent face and body disfigurement
  • Cognitive damage to your thought process
  • Loss of vision, hearing, bladder function, or another significant function
  • Injuries that prevent you from working or require intensive long-term care

Why Do Catastrophic Injuries Happen in California?

Broadly speaking, the cause of most catastrophic injuries is a sudden and dangerous situation. This could be a moment of enormous chaos due to something completely unexpected, like a building collapse, or it could arise from an individual’s negligence, like a drunk driver.

Negligence is one of the most common causes of catastrophic injuries and occurs when someone else’s careless behavior leads to a victim being catastrophically hurt. Gross or ordinary negligence can arise from causing harm or a failure to prevent harm in a variety of situations. 

For example, a California trucking company that fails to do routine maintenance could be negligent when a semi truck’s brakes fail, leading to a major freeway crash with catastrophic injuries. Aside from traffic accidents, other examples of catastrophic accidents in California include:

  • Pedestrians hit by bikes and scooters on walking paths
  • Sports-related accidents that happen on fields and in parks
  • ATV and UTV off-roading accidents
  • Burn injuries that happen around food trucks, restaurants, and festivals
  • Crushing injuries from equipment and collapses
  • Golf cart accidents on golf courses and private properties

Here in California and across the nation, there has been a rise in recreation-related catastrophic injuries. High-powered ATVs, dirt bikes, watersports vehicles, and golf carts create dangerous situations every day.

The use of alcohol is a major contributing factor to catastrophic injuries in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. When someone ingests alcohol, their inebriation puts them at higher risk of being both the instigator and victim of a catastrophic accident.

Work-related catastrophic injuries are described in the California labor code as follows: “A catastrophic injury, including, but not limited to, loss of a limb, paralysis, severe burn, or severe head injury.” These catastrophic injuries are often handled through workers’ compensation claims rather than personal injury claims.

The Full Impact of a Catastrophic California Injury

Victims of catastrophic injuries face challenging circumstances with wide-ranging impacts on their lives. There’s an urgent need to figure out how to pay for medical bills during a long recovery period where the injured person may or may not be able to generate an income.

Imagine trying to handle financial issues, legal issues, and insurance issues all while you’re also coping with a permanent loss of mobility, cognitive function, organ function, vision loss, hearing loss, or other types of severe health consequences. It’s overwhelming.

Someone with a catastrophic injury could also suffer interpersonal and relationship damage due to the accident. They may never be able to enjoy intimate relations with their spouse again and they could lose the ability to enjoy a favorite hobby or job they’ve loved for decades. In one dangerous moment, a catastrophic injury can change lives forever.

After a catastrophic injury, let us help you get your life back. The compassionate team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers has the experience it takes to handle cases involving catastrophic injuries. Contact us now for a free catastrophic accident evaluation.

We Have the Experience for Your Catastrophic Injury Claim

Contact the attorney team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of personal injury law, including catastrophic personal injuries. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details. Call 877-380-8852 today for a free case evaluation.

Accident Client

Well I have so much to say about Sally Morin. I was in a motorcycle accident and the other driver was 100% at fault and it changed my life. After reviewing many law firms I chose Sally Morin and from day one I knew I was in good hands. The process gets very stressful and frustrating at time but the entire staff were compassionate and caring from start to finish. They guided me and helped me throughout the process dealing with the insurance companies and just listening to me vent. This accident really messed with me emotionally as well as my physical injuries. Sally and her team were and are absolutely amazing. After a bit of back and
forth with the insurance company we finally settled with a number that I was satisfied with. This settlement was solely due to Sally’s patience and amazing negotiating skills.

Sally Morin sincerely cares about her clients and she is extremely experienced in this field. If you want a lawyer you can trust, one that keeps in contact with you every step of the way, answers any and all questions, delivers real results then Sally Morin is who you need to call.

Thank you Sally and your entire staff for truly making a very difficult and stressful situation manageable. You are all amazing.

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After an accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of traffic injury claims. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a
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It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible