Car accidents are many on California roads because of the huge population using cars as their transport mode. When you are a victim of a car accident, you can sustain various injuries, with some being minor and others more severe. Many car accidents victims sustain catastrophic injuries that completely alter their lives and force them to learn other ways of living. The cost of treating and living with catastrophic injuries is overwhelming both emotionally and financially.
Fortunately, you can obtain financial compensation from the party responsible for your injury. Although monetary compensation is not enough to have your life back, it goes a long way in making it easier to live with your catastrophic injuries. Pursuing damages is hard, and that is why the help of a lawyer is necessary. At the Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney, we will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
What is a Catastrophic Injury?
Not all injuries you sustain in a road accident can be classified as catastrophic. According to the definition, a catastrophic injury leaves you with permanent or lasting pain, a lost function of a body part, or incapacitated and confined to a hospital bed. Some of the injuries classified as catastrophic following a road accident include:
- Sustaining injuries to your spinal cord
- Suffering paralysis either permanently or partially
- Becoming blind or deaf due to injuries
- Losing the function of a body part or having an amputation
- Severe burns resulting in your disfigurement
- Chronic damages to the lungs
- Suffering a traumatic brain injury
- Severe injuries to the internal organs
Types of Vehicle Accidents that Can Result in a Catastrophic Injury
Traffic accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries can involve different types of vehicles. Personal cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles are all capable of these accidents that leave you with permanent alterations. Catastrophic injuries can be suffered regardless of whether you were the driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian. Various types of car accidents can result in catastrophic injuries. These include:
As the name suggests, these accidents occur when a vehicle crashes on another’s side with their front. Intersections are notorious for these accidents where drivers disregard traffic rules or fail in giving other road users the right of way. Most vehicles do not have enhanced protection on their side, making an impact more forceful and dangerous. When this type of accident occurs, it not only results in catastrophic injuries but also causes death in some cases.
California is a fault state. This means if you are involved in this kind of accident, the party paying for your damages is responsible for the accident. The police usually piece together the accident with the help of an accident expert and establish the party responsible for the crash. Your lawyer has extensive experience in car accidents can also help determine fault and eventually seek your damages from the party to blame.
When vehicles traveling from different directions crash into each other with their fronts, it is a head-on collision. This type of accident is often violent, and the injuries victims suffer are severe. Most of these accidents involve vehicles that were traveling at high speeds resulting in forceful impacts.
If you are involved in an accident, you can suffer injuries from the disengaging of the airbag, or impact with the other vehicle and your car. The impact of this accident can also fail your safety belt, resulting in a more dangerous situation.
When you become involved in this type of accident, you can sustain catastrophic injuries to your head, injuries to your spine, broken bones, disfigurement, and amputations, among others. Internal injuries that can fail some of your organs can also happen from a head-on crash.
Compensation for this type of an accident is also available but, establishing the party responsible for the damages is paramount. Responsibility can be the other driver, or it is shared between you and them. If the other driver is entirely responsible for the crash, they will pay for all the damages sustained. On the other hand, if you are both to blame for the crash, a degree of responsibility must be established.
California practices the rule of comparative negligence, where the parties involved in the accident are apportioned blame according to their degree of contribution. Compensation is obtained relatively, according to the degree or percentage of fault for each motorist.
Rollover Car Accidents
These are also violent accidents that involve a vehicle turning over once and landing on its back or rolling over several times. The impact of this accident on the victims is significant, resulting in a fatality in some cases. Rollover accidents are often complicated to establish responsibility. Many factors can result in these types of accidents, with some being the driver's fault for environmental factors. The type of vehicle involved also plays a significant role in it and the injuries sustained.
If you were moving at high speeds and suddenly came across an emergency on the road, the abrupt application of brakes could result in this accident. Crashing into another vehicle can also result in your car rolling over, resulting in catastrophic injuries.
In some rollover accidents, when affected, the gas tank can burst into flames that will make the accident even more catastrophic. Driving at speeds that you can comfortably control is one of the key ways to avoid these accidents.
Most rollover accidents involve a single vehicle. Determining fault in such a case is not always easy. If you drove impaired by drugs or alcohol or were recklessly operating the vehicle, you can easily find yourself in this accident. Hazardous road conditions are also known to cause these accidents that leave the victims with catastrophic injuries.
Multiple Car Crashes
Vehicle accidents don't always involve two vehicles or two parties. In some cases, several vehicles can be involved in a crash with devastating results. When the first parties are involved in an accident, other vehicles can keep crashing into them, causing more forceful impact. One of the tragedies of this type of accident is that it results in many people having injuries. If the accident involves some heavy commercial cars, the impact is even more forceful and severe injuries.
If you are a victim of this accident, you can sustain various injuries ranging from broken bones, brain injuries, back injuries, or injuries to your internal organs. Treating these injuries can significantly affect your finances, not to mention other damages as a result. Pursuing compensation from the parties responsible for the accident is critical to recovering your financial damages.
However, in this type of accident, determining fault is challenging. Different reasons may have resulted in the initial crash that results in other vehicles crashing into it. Some causes of multiple car accidents can be impaired driving, dangerous roads, or reckless driving. With an accident reconstruction expert, the police and your lawyer can establish the responsible party for your damages.
Hit and Run Car Accidents
Hit and run accidents can happen when another motorist hits you and escapes from the accident scene or when you are a pedestrian, and a car hits you and escapes. The drivers that cause this type of accident are often to blame, and they ran from the scene to avoid responsibility. A hit and run is a crime by itself in California. The law expects a person that hits another person to take responsibility and avoid running from the scene. When a person runs from an accident scene, it is seen as an admission of guilt.
Hit and run accidents also cause significant or catastrophic injuries to their victims. The accident can result in you rolling over and sustaining severe injuries or being hit against the vehicle and suffering these injuries. If you were walking along the sidewalk and are hit by a hit and run driver, you could also suffer catastrophic injuries.
Because of the circumstances following the incident, most hit and run drivers are held accountable for their victims’ catastrophic injuries. With your lawyer's help, you can recover damages from the party to blame for your accident.
Some rear-end collisions also result in catastrophic injuries. For instance, you were moving at a relatively good speed, just like the vehicle ahead of you. Unfortunately, the car ahead comes to an abrupt stop, and you are unable to stop on time, resulting in you hitting them from the rear. Equally, you can also be hit from behind by a vehicle that fails to stop when you stop while ahead of them.
Rear-end collisions also cause catastrophic injuries, depending on the forcefulness of the impact. If you are a cyclist or a motorcyclist riding behind a car that makes a sudden stop can result in you crashing into them. This is likely to leave you with catastrophic injuries that permanently alter your life.
Catastrophic Car Accidents Involving Motorcyclists
The beautiful weather in California and the busy streets make some people opt to use motorcycles to transport. When you are riding your motorcycle, you do it on the roads shared by vehicles. A motorcyclist typically has no protection around their body, making any accident with a vehicle catastrophic. Your protection as a motorcyclist is your helmet, knee, and elbow pads. This is, however, insufficient in protecting you from suffering catastrophic injuries when a vehicle hits you.
As a motorcyclist, you can be involved in numerous types of accidents, as discussed above. You can be hit on the side, head-on collision, or crash into a car and rollover. When you are riding your motorcycle, a car accident can leave you with catastrophic injuries. Like in all the other car accidents in California, you can receive compensation when a car owner is responsible for your injuries. Equally, if you are found to share responsibility for the accident, compensation for your catastrophic injuries will depend on your degree of fault.
What Catastrophic Injury Can You Sustain Following a Car Accident?
According to the discussion above, various types of car accidents can result in catastrophic injuries. Catastrophic injuries are life-altering and threatening if not well treated. Some of these injuries include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A car accident can result in you suffering traumatic injuries to your head or brain. When this happens, you can have your cognitive senses damaged for life and require assistance in doing even the most basic tasks. When the brain is injured, it can be impossible to send required signals to the rest of your body. This results in your inability to perform certain functions that were normal before the accident.
A catastrophic injury to your brain can leave you depending on others for the rest of your life. Treating these injuries and your care is expensive and financially draining to you and your family. With your attorney's help, you can receive financial help to deal with these injuries’ effects.
Catastrophic Bodily Burns
When burns are catastrophic, they can permanently alter your appearance. This disfigurement of your look will require reconstructive surgery, which in most cases, helps you regain some use of the burnt body parts, but yet still leaving you disfigured permanently.
Lost Hearing and Vision
If you had your vision and hearing before the accident and lost these in an accident, the loss is catastrophic. The crash’s impact can cause you to lose your sight or hearing, forcing you to learn new skills to survive. Flying objects or impact to these areas can result in permanent damage to your eyes or ears.
Catastrophic damage to your internal organs can result from a car accident. When the impact is very forceful, your organs’ damage can result in failure or extended treatment. Some victims of car accidents have their organs transplanted when they suffer irreparable injuries. The medical cost of repairing these damages and recovery is compensable by the party responsible for the accident.
Amputation of your Limbs
Amputation means the permanent severing of your limbs or body part. When you had all your body parts functioning well before an accident and lost that, the injury is catastrophic. If you lose your leg or arm following a car accident, you will never recover it and must spend the rest of your life without it.
Sometimes, your doctor will suggest having artificial limbs to replace the lost ones to ease your movement and life. The cost of this is high as it involves multiple surgeries and replacing of the prosthetic often. Fortunately, the party responsible for your accident is expected to pay for these costs that you incur and compensate you for the suffering you will endure.
Injuries to your Spine
A car accident can also result in you injuring your back, resulting in the damage of your nervous system. When your nerves are injured, communication between the brain and some parts of your body is disrupted. As a result, you will lose the functioning of some body parts permanently. Injuries to your spine can lead you to permanent paralysis of your upper or lower body. As a victim, you will spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair, and things you previously did without assistance become challenging to do.
Catastrophic Injury Liability in California
The state of California is both a fault state and comparative negligence one. This means that responsibility for an accident and its damages can be sorely on a single party or shared by multiple parties. If a motorist hits you as a pedestrian or a fellow motorist, you are likely to sustain injuries and, in some cases, catastrophic ones. Compensation law in California puts the responsibility of the damages suffered on the party at fault.
On the other hand, damages can be shared among several parties under the comparative negligence rule. According to this theory, if you are found to be partially responsible for the accident, causing your catastrophic injuries, you will be held responsible for the injuries to some degree. If you seek damages from the other party through your lawyer and refuse responsibility, you will likely petition the court to receive the damages.
During the court hearing, both parties present their case and reasons why the other party is liable for the accident and the catastrophic injuries. Upon completion of the case, the jury decides if a fault is shared or not. If the other party is found to be responsible for your catastrophic injuries, the costs of treating them and other losses, as a result, are paid by them.
If the accident's responsibility is shared between you and the other party, the damages compensated will depend on the degree of responsibility. After hearing the case, the jury apportions blame and the extent of blame. If you are found to be 20% responsible for the crash, you will only receive 80% of the damages and not the full amount.
Establishing fault in a car accident is one of the critical elements in receiving compensation. Your lawyer understands California's compensation law and will work with other experts to determine what or who is responsible for your catastrophic injuries. After determining fault, your attorney will engage the insurance provider for the entity responsible for seeking your damages.
The insurance adjuster upon receiving the claim will study it and investigate its authenticity. After, the adjuster will contact your attorney with an acceptance of the claim, a counteroffer, or a complete decline. Your lawyer and the adjuster will have several discussions to agree on fair compensation for your losses. If an agreement is not attainable, you can ask the court to help you seek your damages. Speed in pursuing your compensation is critical to avoid expiring of the statute of limitations.
Compensable Damages Following a Catastrophic Injury
When car accidents result in a catastrophic injury, the cost of treatment and pain is incredible. These injuries not only cost you a lot in treatment, but they also leave you with permanent disabilities or scars. When you suffer a catastrophic injury in California, you can seek compensation from the motorist or party that caused the accident. Some of the damages you can recover include:
- Medical bills – Catastrophic injuries are costly to treat. Some of them leave their victims in vegetative states that require nursing care every day. By nature, these injuries take a long time to treat and involve various medical procedures that are equally costly. Compensation law in California allows you to receive compensation for the current cost of treating these injuries and future treatments. Medical equipment and procedures used are also compensable according to the law.
- Lost wages – The time taken to heal from catastrophic injuries following a car accident is long. During this time, you will not earn a living, yet you must take care of your daily expenses. With this understanding, the law allows you damages for the income you lose as you recover from the injuries.
- Property damage – Your body is not the only thing that becomes damaged in a car accident. If you were involved in an accident with your car or bike, it becomes damaged as well. As a result, it will cost you money to repair it or replace it. Compensation law allows you to receive damages for the property that is destroyed in a car accident.
- Pain and suffering – Catastrophic injuries cause the victim a lot of suffering and pain. If you suffer these injuries due to a car accident, the inconvenience, suffering, and pain you endure are compensable under compensation law.
- Wrongful death – Catastrophic injuries following a car accident often lead to the death of the victim. In the unfortunate event that you die from the car accident, your surviving family can seek compensation for your untimely or wrongful death.
- Lost earning capacity – Catastrophic injuries often leave the victim incapacitated and unable to work for a living. The law allows you to receive compensation for the years you would have productively worked.
Find a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
Catastrophic injuries disrupt many aspects of your life. The damage to your body and life, in general, is devastating. Car accidents often leave their victims suffering these types of injuries that rob them of the joy of life. The cost of treating and caring for the injuries are significant, let alone the inconvenience and pain. With an experienced attorney, you can quickly pursue damages and receive compensation for your past, current, and future costs resulting from the catastrophic injury. At Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney, we understand the pain and devastation of a car accident. Call us at 424-237-3600 to further discuss your claim.