A catastrophic injury is the most severe form of injury you can ever experience and comes with permanent or long-term effects. These injuries typically occur in extremely dangerous and chaotic situations where the injured victim is lucky to survive.
For example, consider a pedestrian who is simply using a crosswalk when a semi-truck barrels into them and flips them up onto the truck’s hood, then onto the rough pavement. This poor pedestrian is now facing an enormous struggle with emergency medical care and life-changing injuries.
Many catastrophic injuries happen in traffic accidents on California’s roads, but not all of them. Catastrophic personal injuries can also occur in everyday situations where someone is not paying attention or is doing something risky.
As catastrophic injury lawyers, the team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers has seen everything from pedestrian and vehicle crashes to accidents that happen on golf courses, in restaurants, at shopping centers, in government buildings, and more. All it takes is one dangerous moment and a catastrophic injury can change your life forever.
After you’ve already suffered catastrophic injuries, you don’t need more worry or hassle. Let us help you get your life back. Contact us now for a free catastrophic accident evaluation and continue reading for more information about various types of California’s most severe personal injury situations.
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Injured victims in catastrophic accidents have injuries like severe third-degree burns, limb loss, spinal fractures, brain injuries, and/or deep lacerations that affect the body’s organs and structures. These are life-altering injuries that will have serious and long-term consequences.
When it comes to traffic accidents, a minor accident has no significant injuries and only a small amount of vehicle damage. A moderate accident may have some level of vehicle damage and injuries, but the person’s injuries aren’t extreme.
On the extreme other end of the spectrum, catastrophic accidents are unbelievably horrific and usually happen suddenly and without warning. Emergency responders rush to the scene to help injured people who may be struggling to survive the accident. The worst multi-vehicle crashes close down the roads and freeways as crews clear away the debris.
As a victim of a catastrophic crash, you’ll be facing a pile of medical bills and other costs, plus you’ll have an extended period of recovery time. An extreme accident like this completely changes your life and throws your daily routine into chaos.
When you’re catastrophically injured, small things that used to be no problem for you become extremely difficult. This includes ordinary activities like shopping for groceries, attending appointments, and caring for your kids. You might have a long period off work to heal or you could even lose your job due to so many missed days of work.
This is why it’s a good idea to keep a journal of the many ways your accident has impacted your life after the accident. If you’re too physically injured to do it yourself, narrate it to a friend or family member who can type it up for you. A daily journal helps capture your struggles since the accident.
It’s also important to save your medical bills, prescription copay receipts, and any other documentation that shows your extensive costs from the accident – even if insurance is covering some of them. This is the kind of evidence that helps you build a strong case for catastrophic accident compensation.
In this situation, you need a catastrophic injury lawyer to help you cope with the massive fallout from the accident. Only a lawyer with experience handling catastrophic injury cases can truly understand the far-reaching impacts on your life and help you pursue the full compensation you deserve.
Even in the most catastrophic of injury cases, you don’t necessarily need to go to court to cover your losses. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, our team of attorneys can negotiate a valuable insurance settlement that keeps you out of court and allows you to focus on healing.
We know how to apply an array of effective techniques that maximize the money in your pocket, like convincing medical providers to lower your bills and organizing evidence that gives the proper monetary valuation to your extreme pain and suffering.
A catastrophic personal injury happens in a moment of danger that creates a long-lasting impact on your life. As a result of the injury, you have partial and/or permanent loss of mobility, cognitive function, organ function, vision or hearing loss, or other severe health consequences.
These injuries usually come with other catastrophic life losses like job loss, financial instability, permanent loss of hobbies, damage to interpersonal relationships, and more. To gain compensation for these losses, you’ll need to gather evidence that shows the full extent of the damage to your life, finances, and relationships.
Examples of non-car-accident-related catastrophic injuries include:
In the past few decades, there has been a rise in sports and recreation-related catastrophic injuries across the U.S. This is primarily due to the new availability of equipment related to dangerous activities and high-powered recreational vehicles like ATVs, UTVs, four-wheelers/quad bikes, watersports vehicles, speed boats, mountain bikes, and mountain-climbing gear.
Overall, alcohol is also a significant contributing factor in catastrophic personal injuries. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that alcohol-related injuries account for around one-tenth of the total impact of alcohol on U.S. human health. Ingesting alcohol significantly increases the odds of hurting oneself or others in a severe accident.
There’s a reason why car accidents are commonly associated with catastrophic injuries. Most of California’s catastrophic injuries are the result of severe car accidents that leave people horrifically injured or even permanently disabled.
The top two locations of catastrophic injuries are at work and on the road. More than 3 million nonfatal but severe injuries arise from car accidents every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Catastrophic car accident injuries include:
Accident victims with a lawyer receive an average of 3.5 times more than those who are unrepresented.
Catastrophic high-speed truck accidents are among the most severe accidents that ever happen on California’s freeways and highways. They can also happen at lower speeds on virtually any roadway due to the powerful forces involved in a heavy truck collision.
When a pedestrian or small passenger vehicle is the victim of a truck accident, catastrophic injuries are common. Injured victims may have body-wide physical injuries, organ damage, brain damage, limb loss, or other severe health outcomes.
If there is any silver lining to these horrible truck crashes, it’s that trucking companies are heavily monitored by federal agencies and are required to carry significant trucking insurance. Someone who is injured in a catastrophic semi-truck crash has a good chance of recovering high-dollar compensation when they need it.
However, not all truck accidents involve big trucking companies. If your catastrophic truck crash was caused by a small, independent owner-operator or a one-person delivery operation, they might not carry the insurance required to cover your catastrophic injuries.
Talk to your catastrophic truck accident lawyer at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers about your legal options. Although we prefer to help you find an out-of-court solution to your case, like a settlement with a trucking insurance company, there are also other paths to compensation. We might be able to pursue a truck manufacturer, maintenance shop, parts producer, government agency, or another responsible party for your catastrophic injury compensation.
There’s nothing else quite so devastating as a catastrophic motorcycle accident in California. Motorcyclists are exposed to the full force of an impact with another vehicle and can easily be hurt or killed in the blink of an eye.
After your motorcycle accident, injuries that are considered catastrophic involve significant to permanent disability, limb loss, severe burns, severe and permanent organ damage, cognitive damage, paralysis, and loss of bodily functions. The impact on your life is so severe that there’s almost no way to continue riding your motorcycle in the future or even living the same life you once lived.
While many law offices claim to handle motorcycle accidents, not all have experience with catastrophic motorcycle accidents. You need someone with the compassion and talent to fight an uphill battle with the insurance company and other drivers who might hold unfair biases against bikers. You have rights under the law and you deserve the full compensation you’re due as a catastrophically injured motorcyclist.
Here in California, catastrophic pedestrian accidents are all too common. When vehicles zip through pedestrian zones, drive drunk, drive recklessly, or are just too distracted by their phones to drive safely, pedestrians pay the price.
If you’re ever catastrophically injured in a pedestrian accident, you may find that you have a surprisingly difficult time making an insurance claim or taking legal action to cover your heavy losses. Pedestrians have plenty of legal protections in California, but not everyone understands the law or wants to follow the rules.
You may become a victim of the blame game, where someone tries to push all of the responsibility onto you for your injuries. By hiring a catastrophic injury lawyer, you help protect your rights as an injured pedestrian who may deserve high-dollar compensation.
After a catastrophic injury, you’ll likely spend significant time in the hospital and attending medical appointments to manage your recovery process. Eventually, you’ll need to decide on your next steps in a financial and legal sense.
This is your only chance to maintain your path to catastrophic accident compensation. Make the wrong move, sign the wrong document, or say the wrong thing, and you could ruin your chances of obtaining the full compensation you deserve.
If you’re able to do so, you can support the compensation recovery process by gathering car accident evidence. Ask a friend, family member, or your lawyer about taking videos and/or photos of the scene of the accident. Get a copy of the police report and pass it along to your lawyer. Also, photograph your visible injuries and scarring, and maintain an ongoing journal that documents your struggles and how hard it is to recover from catastrophic injuries.
Beware of talking to the insurance company. They may ask you to make a recorded statement and try to get your private information, like your social security number. There’s no need to do this, and you can legally decline and refer them to your lawyer.
If the insurance company or someone else makes you a fast offer to settle your case, this is probably a lowball offer that could easily be negotiated to a higher amount. Don’t feel pressured to make a decision too quickly.
Although it’s tempting to talk about a catastrophic injury online, keep your injury off of social media and the internet in general. Social media posts and interactions on the internet can be used against you by other parties who wish to twist your words to harm your case.
Don’t sign any paperwork or make any promises until you speak to your lawyer. Also, don’t admit fault or agree that you could be partially to blame. Your lawyer will help you understand the best way to handle communications about your catastrophic injury so that you protect your rights and preserve your legal options.
There is a strict time limit on filing a catastrophic accident lawsuit, which is known as the statute of limitations. For most accidents in California, this is within two years of the date of the accident. You must start your case by then or lose your chance forever. Accidents that involve a governmental entity like a city, county, or state agency, have a much shorter deadline of within six months of the date of the accident.
INJURIES REQUIRING SURGERY
TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Many factors come together to help determine how fault should be assigned. California is a comparative negligence state, where the fault can be split among parties with each receiving a proportion of the blame. Even if you share partial fault for your catastrophic injuries, you can still get a portion of your expensive costs paid.
Relevant factors in catastrophic accidents may include:
Plus, the accident that left you with catastrophic injuries could be even more complex than you originally realized. A company like a commercial trucking company, a delivery company, or a driving company like Uber could be responsible for what happened to you. There could be a private company or government agency involved.
To make the legal issues more complex, you may be eligible for protection under California’s emergency doctrine which shields people from blame when they are confronted by dangers they didn’t create. As you can see, cases involving catastrophic injuries can be complicated and it pays to have an experienced California catastrophic injury lawyer on your side.
Why risk sabotaging your SF catastrophic injury claim by trying to handle it alone?
Get your no cost, risk-free case evaluation. And get peace of mind.
If at any time within the first 30 days of signing with Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers you are not 100% satisfied with the quality and care of service you receive from our attorneys, we will cancel your contract at no cost so that you can seek different representation. No questions asked.
If you aren't ready to move forward with hiring a lawyer? Want to do a little more research about how to find the best San Francisco catastrophic injury lawyer? Well, we have some things you should be doing in the meantime to help your case.
#1. Get Medical Care Right Away
If you were seriously injured, you were probably hauled off by ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital for emergency treatment. If not, get checked out now! This is important not only for your health, but It will also help you prove your injuries if you ending making a personal injury claim.
Don’t be too worried about the cost of treatment if you are truly injured. In California, reasonable and necessary medical care that arises from injuries caused by an at-fault driver will be paid by their auto insurance once you make a successful claim.
#2. Preserve and Collect Evidence
Hopefully when you were at the scene of the accident, you took photos, got the driver’s contact info, insurance and registration and you had SFPD come out and file a traffic collision report.
Assuming you are no longer at the scene, let’s talk about what you can do now to help build the evidence in your case.
Having solid evidence will make it that much easier to get a good settlement when the time comes. If you end up hiring a San Francisco bike accident attorney, they’ll be able to help you gather and track all the necessary evidence.
#3. Open a Claim with the Driver’s Insurance
Contact the driver’s car insurance carrier (usual via a 1-800 number) to open a personal injury claim. Be careful! Anything you say can and WILL be used against you! You probably want to get some advice from an experienced San Francisco catastrophic injury lawyer before giving the insurance carrier anything other than the basics like your name and contact information. Whatever you do… do NOT give them your Social Security Number. That is something they’ll definitely use against you.
#4. Do NOT Post about your Catastrophic Injury on Social Media
We get it. A serious injury isn’t an everyday event for you. You probably want to let your family and friends know what happened and get their support. But you really should NOT post about your injury on social media! It could be detrimental to your case.
The driver who caused the accident, their attorney or insurance company will scour your social media accounts to find anything they can to make your case look weak.
Don’t post about your injuries on social media until after you consult with a qualified San Francisco catastrophic injury lawyer. They’ll probably instruct you to stay off social too.
#5. Don’t Give Recorded Statements
Insurance adjusters will use all sorts of tactics – including recording every conversation with you – to get you to say something that could minimize your injuries, admit fault or share responsibility for the accident. Here are a few things you can do to avoid damaging your claim:
#6. Hire a San Francisco Catastrophic Injury Attorney
Ok, so we said this was a list of things you should be doing while you are figuring out which lawyer to hire for your bike accident, but now you really need hire someone to help do the heavy lifting and get you a good settlement.
You’ve suffered serious injuries hiring a San Francisco catastrophic injury attorney is not on the top of your list. But, as time goes by and things get more complicated, you’ll start to understand why it’s a smart idea to get a good lawyer on board.
Hiring a good San Francisco personal injury lawyer will allow you to bypass all of these complications, because they are not new to this. This is what they do. Isn’t it time you handed your case over to an expert, so you can get back to what it is you do best?
"I was hit by a car while on my bike and they helped me put my life back together."
"While riding my bike in Golden Gate Park I was struck by a car. Rebecca negotiated a settlement for me that exceeded my expectations."
You can probably tell by now that the difficulty of handling your own serious injury claim can be overwhelming and discouraging. Rather than stress about handling your own case, just get the best from the start. Our team of San Francisco catastrophic injury lawyers at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers has been helping people seriously injured in the Bay Area for over twenty years. We have settled some substantial personal injury cases without even having to go to court, but we have also litigated several of these cases across California very successfully.
You can verify all of this by checking out:
Complete Guide on what to do after an accident in San Francisco
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Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers is an all female team of customer-focused, five-star California personal injury attorneys who exclusively handle traffic accident settlement negotiation. They have California offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland.