Catastrophic Injury Lawyer in San Diego
Every day, people face hazards that can result in injuries, including negligent drivers, property owners who fail to maintain their property to avoid injuring others, and even defective products that can expose a person to unreasonable risk. Many injuries resulting from someone else’s negligence are relatively minor and heal in days, weeks, or months.
However, some injuries permanently impact a person’s life with long-term medical expenses and disabilities that prevent them from earning an income. These injuries are often referred to as catastrophic.
While any injured person can use the personal injury claims process to seek compensation for injuries caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions, catastrophic injury claims are more complex because the expenses and the impacts are likely permanent.
Because of this, the claim’s value must be high enough to provide compensation throughout the claimant’s life.
If another person’s negligence caused you or your loved one to suffer a catastrophic injury, an experienced San Diego catastrophic injury lawyer from Rawlins Law can provide vital services to help you seek compensation for the extraordinary expenses and impacts these injuries cause.
San Diego Catastrophic Injury Guide
- What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
- How Catastrophic Injuries Occur
- Types of Catastrophic Injuries
- Seeking Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury
- If You or Your Loved One Suffered a Catastrophic Injury, We Are Here to Help You
Trust Rawlins Law With Your Catastrophic Injury Claim
The legal team at Rawlins Law has assisted our clients in obtaining millions of dollars worth of compensation through negotiated settlements and court awards. We have extensive experience handling claims involving catastrophic injuries.
We understand the care and consideration required when valuing such claims and the aggressive advocacy needed to effect a meaningful settlement or prove the claim for a judge or jury. We have the resources to fight for fair compensation in the courtroom while also being responsive to your needs and available to answer the questions you have about your claim quickly.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
Certain types of injuries are so severe that the victim permanently loses their ability to work or independently complete normal daily living tasks. Other injuries cause these impairments not because they are particularly severe but simply because of the part of the body injured.
Catastrophic injuries are among the most expensive personal injury claims, as the claimant needs compensation for the expenses and impacts incurred during the early phase of their recovery and continued treatment, wage replacement, and personal care services for the remainder of their life.
How Catastrophic Injuries Occur
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of catastrophic injuries, including accidents involving passenger vehicles, motorcycles, commercial trucks, or even vulnerable roadway users such as pedestrians and bicyclists.
Falls are another common cause of these types of injuries, particularly those involving the brain or spinal cord. Other causes of catastrophic injuries can include fires, explosions, or even dangerous or defective products.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
While there is no formal definition of the types of injuries considered catastrophic, here is a look at some of the injury types most commonly associated with catastrophic injury claims.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The brain is arguably the most powerful organ in the body, controlling the body’s voluntary and involuntary responses, controlling body temperature, regulating breathing and pulse, housing emotions and memories, and controlling one’s behaviors and impulses.
Oddly enough, despite the importance of the brain to survival, it has a very limited ability to heal from injury. Traumatic brain injuries involve damage to the brain due to a violent blow or jolt to the head or body.
Brain injuries are commonly classified as mild, moderate, or severe, however, no injury to an organ that controls so much of the body and does not heal is mild. Even concussions, regarded as mild brain injuries, can result in disabling impacts on the sufferer’s ability to work, function, and have mutually satisfying relationships with others.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord and brain make up the body’s central nervous system. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves extending from the skull’s base to the waist responsible for sending messages to and from the brain and other parts of the body. Contrary to popular belief, most spinal cord injuries do not involve severing the cord but rather bruising.
Like the brain, the spinal cord is not especially adept at recovering from injury, which means the sufferer of the injury may suffer permanent disabilities that most likely involve the loss of sensation and function (paralysis) beneath the site of the injury. If the injury occurs high up on the spinal cord, the sufferer can be paralyzed from the neck down.
In addition to paralysis—and often as a result of paralysis—spinal cord injuries are commonly accompanied by complications that require lifelong medical treatment. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, individuals who suffer any motor function loss due to the injury are looking at lifetime costs of more than $1 million for medical treatment alone.
Damage to the Spinal Vertebrae or Discs
The spinal cord is housed within the bony vertebrae of the spinal column. Between each vertebra (tiny bones that make up the spine), there are small discs filled with a jelly-like substance that cushions the vertebrae. When an individual sustains severe damage to the spinal vertebrae or discs, it can result in a loss of stability in the spine and chronic pain. Both of these impacts can result in an inability to work and loss of mobility.
In some types of accidents, particularly motor vehicle accidents involving vulnerable roadway users such as pedestrians and bicyclists, an individual can suffer a traumatic limb amputation, which occurs when the limb is torn from the body due to contact with sharp metal or the roadway.
Surgical amputations can also occur after an accident to remove severely damaged limbs to prevent infection and provide the sufferer with a better chance of recovery. Losing a limb can have serious and permanent impacts on an individual’s earning capacity.
Yearly, 486,000 people in the U.S. receive medical treatment for burn injuries, 40,000 are hospitalized, and 30,000 sustain burns serious enough to require treatment from a specialized burn center. Burn injuries commonly result in scarring or disfigurement that never completely fades, even with skin grafting, plastic surgery, and other procedures. Burn scarring on the joints can result in a loss of mobility around that joint.
Multiple Bone Fractures
While many types of bone fractures heal within weeks or months, some fail to heal properly, resulting in mobility loss and chronic pain. These issues are particularly likely when an individual incurs multiple bone fractures simultaneously.
When a violent accident occurs, such as a motor vehicle accident, an individual can make extremely hard contact with an object and cause damage to their internal organs. Organ damage can also be caused by broken ribs cutting and digging into nearby organs. One of the difficulties with organ damage is that it is impossible to see the extent of the damage without imaging tests or surgery. These injuries often cause dangerous internal blood loss and irreparable damage to the organ before they’re even discovered.
Seeking Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury
Victims seek compensation for catastrophic injuries through the same personal injury process used to compensate less serious injuries. This process involves first filing a claim against the relevant liability insurance policy of the party who caused the accident that resulted in an injury. Depending on the accident, the claim can be against an auto liability policy, homeowner’s, business, or property insurance policy.
The insurance provider will review the claim and decide to either pay it, deny it, or offer to settle it out of court for less than its established value. The insurance provider’s initial settlement offer is often only a fraction of the claim’s value, and the claimant’s attorney must negotiate with the insurer to get them to increase the offer. If the claimant considers the level of compensation offered as settlement to be acceptable, they will enter into a settlement agreement, receive payment, and the claim will be resolved.
However, if the insurance provider does not compensate the claim fairly, it can be filed as a personal injury lawsuit. This legal claim filed in civil court requests a judge or jury to hear the case and decide whether the defendant was liable for the claimant’s injury and how much compensation the liable party owes the claimant.
The Importance of Finding the Right Attorney to Help You With Your Claim
Most personal injury claims settle before they ever make it to trial. Many personal injury lawyers have attempted to cash in on this by only taking claims they think will settle quickly and taking on as many claims as possible. The higher a claim’s value, the less likely the insurance claims adjuster will make a fair settlement and instead take their chances of prevailing in court.
An experienced catastrophic injury lawyer understands the disastrous effect of accepting a low settlement. They will be ready to litigate to obtain the most compensation possible on their client’s behalf. They are also careful about how many cases they take on at once to provide quality legal services to those who need it most, rather than cashing in on quick settlements.
Considerations to Be Made When Valuing Your Case
Some of the considerations an attorney will make when establishing a value to your claim include:
- Calculating not just the medical expenses you have already incurred but those you will likely experience in the future due to the permanence of the injury.
- Calculating the loss of earnings that you have already incurred, as well as the impacts to your earning capacity that you will likely incur through retirement age.
- Determining the value of the significant psychological impacts that accompany catastrophic injuries, including the loss of the ability to participate in activities that are important to you, the loss of the ability to enjoy intimacy and companionship with your spouse or domestic partner, and the pain and suffering associated with the injury, treatment, or complications.
If You or Your Loved One Suffered a Catastrophic Injury, We Are Here to Help You
At Rawlins Law, our legal team emphasizes open and honest communication with our clients and services aimed at reducing anxiety about a suddenly uncertain future. We are known to be tenacious negotiators, who won’t settle for anything less than fair, and we are not afraid to go to court if it means more compensation for our client.
If you or your loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s careless or reckless actions, an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer from Rawlins Law is ready to help you understand the claims process and explore your legal options. We understand that serious injuries can make it difficult to attend meetings with lawyers, and we are happy to come to you to make our services as accessible as possible.