Seemingly out of nowhere, life can change in an instant. When you least expect it, an accident can happen, and incidents serious enough to permanently change a person’s life are considered catastrophic. These are the kind of injuries resulting in long-term or lifetime complications from physical trauma. Catastrophic injuries have the potential to prevent people from returning to their chosen profession, and t can leave entire families buried under a never-ending pile of bills.
Some of the Most Common Causes of Catastrophic Accidents
Catastrophic injuries frequently result from car accidents. A recent traffic survey, conducted on a state level by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed there were 13,975 serious traffic accident injuries reported in California during 2018. When asked, approximately 19.4 percent of the respondents cited speeding as the biggest safety problem on our roadways. This was followed by:
- Distracted driving due to texting (16.9 percent)
- Poor road surfaces (15.3 percent)
- Distracted driving due to talking ( 14.2 percent)
- Drunk driving (6.5 percent)
- Congestion (4.5 percent)
- Internal car distractions (2.9 percent)
- Infrastructure (2.7 percent)
- All other reasons (17.7 percent)
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every five falls results in a serious injury, such as a head injury or hip fracture. More than 800,000 people are hospitalized every year due to a fall, and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Falls are common in our increasing elderly population. By 2030 it is estimated there will be 8.9 million persons over age 85 in the United States, and by 2050 that number is expected to reach 10 million.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons warns that catastrophic injuries are prevalent in high school sports such as ice hockey, wrestling, football, swimming, soccer, pole vaulting, cheerleading, and gymnastics. Among the most serious of these injuries are concussions and head or neck injury.
The statistics are eye-opening. There are an estimated 1.1 million high school and 75,000 college athletes participating in tackle football progThe teams every year. A 2017 report from the National Center For Sports Injury Research indicates cheerleading accidents are responsible for approximately 66 percent of all catastrophic injuries in either high school or college athletes.
Other Causes of Catastrophic Injury Include:
- Workplace injuries
- Medical errors
- Violence and assault
Our attorneys at Golden State Lawyers have the experience, resources, and drive necessary to fight for fair and just compensation for our clients. If you have suffered from a catastrophic injury, contact us.
The pain from a catastrophic injury can last forever. At Golden State Lawyers, we understand a severe injury can affect your ability to work in your chosen profession, necessitate ongoing, expensive, and painful medical treatments, and damage personal relationships.
The Four Most Common Catastrophic Injuries Include:
Traumatic Brain Injury
The Centers For Disease Control reports that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States and contributes to about 30 percent of all injury-related deaths. TBI patients will often experience long-term symptoms such as:
- Cognitive impairment
- Difficulty understanding language
- Sensory abnormalities (vision loss, tinnitus)
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can be disabling, devastating, and sometimes permanent. According to a 2019 data information sheet from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, 17,730 people are diagnosed with a spinal cord injury every year. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause, with falls following a close second. Lifetime costs associated with a spinal cord injury will vary based on the your age and level of neurological impairment. Spinal cord injuries also often result in substantial wage loss due to limiting a person’s ability to work.
Burn injuries can happen suddenly and unexpectedly in virtually any scenario. According to the National Fire Prevention Association approximately every 60 seconds, someone in the United States sustains a burn injury serious enough to require medical treatment.
First and second degree burns, although quite painful, are usually self-limiting and will resolve with little or no lasting consequences. Third and fourth-degree burns can leave a person with permanent nerve damage and scars that can last a lifetime. It is not uncommon for these burn patients to expect:
- Multiple surgeries
- Expensive physical therapy
- Limited range of motion
Traumatic Orthopedic Injuries.
Not all fractures are simple and heal easily with a cast. Serious, compound and crush-type fractures may require complicated surgery and have the potential to result in:
- Bone infection
- Permanent nerve damage
- Organ damage
Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury
Following a catastrophic injury, in all probability, the life someone enjoyed before their accident will never be the same. The financial damages for a catastrophic injury can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars. The legal system allows people to seek financial compensation when someone else’s negligence caused:
- Past and future medical bills
- Cost of physical and occupational rehabilitation
- Necessary modifications to the home due to physical limitations
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
San Jose Catastrophic Injury FAQs
Some vehicle crashes and other sudden unexpected incidents result in relatively minor injuries that might need just a few weeks to heal. Other incidents might cause devastating injuries that impact your functioning and result in lasting impairments, disabilities, or disfigurement. Medical and legal professionals often refer to such severe injuries as catastrophic.
If you suffered a lasting injury, you likely have many questions about your rights, legal options, and future. Below, find some answers to common questions our San Jose catastrophic injury lawyers hear. To speak with us about your specific situation, contact Golden State Lawyers, APC, directly.
What injuries are catastrophic?
While there is no one universally accepted definition of catastrophic injuries, lawyers and medical professionals generally use the term to refer to injuries that will result in a permanent loss or impairment of function. Often serious brain or spinal cord injuries. Any injury that results in issues like significant and lasting hearing loss, vision loss, limitations of movement, cognitive impairments, or other permanent issues may be considered catastrophic.
Some examples of injuries that may be considered catastrophic include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Eye injuries
- Ear injuries
- Severe concussions
- Crush injuries
- Deploying injuries
- Traumatic amputations
- Anoxic brain injuries
- Severe burn injuries
I'd course, not all of these injuries are always catastrophic. For example, an incomplete spinal cord injury (one in which the spinal cord is not completely severed) may completely heal. On the other hand, there is no successful treatment for complete spinal cord injuries, and people typically suffer permanent quadriplegia or paralysis below the site of the injury.
What are some common causes of catastrophic injuries in San Jose?
Catastrophic injuries can result from a wide range of incidents.
Some incidents that may cause life-altering injuries are:
- Car crashes
- Commercial truck crashes
- Motorcycle crashes
- Construction site accidents
- Injuries caused by defective products
- Dog bites and attacks
- Pedestrians being hit
- Injuries due to property hazards
- Acts of violence
No matter what type of incident caused your catastrophic injury, it is important to discuss your legal rights with an experienced attorney who works with clients with severe and permanent injuries.
What common treatments do survivors of San Jose catastrophic injuries receive?
All types of catastrophic injuries require emergency treatment. Someone should call 911, and emergency medical technicians should arrive at the scene. This is important because many people with catastrophic injuries should only move with the help of skilled medical professionals who have special equipment, such as long backboards for neck and spinal immobilization.
Once you receive ambulance transport, you will receive emergency trauma care at the emergency room. The goal is generally to stabilize your immediate condition and determine the next steps.
These may include:
- Emergency surgery
- Imaging tests to determine the extent of damage
- Admission to the hospital or intensive care unit
- Lengthy hospitalization
- Time in a rehabilitation center
- Ongoing follow-up care
- Medical equipment and medication
- Home health assistance
Every bit of medical treatment is critical to improve your prognosis and prevent complications as much as possible. Unfortunately, every bit of medical care also results in bills for that care.
For many people with catastrophic injuries, medical treatment will be an ongoing part of the rest of their lives. This might be due to complications such as pressure ulcers or infections in paralysis patients. They might also need to regularly replace medical equipment like wheelchairs, hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, and more.
Needless to say, the medical costs of catastrophic injuries can be astronomical, and many people incur bills that reach into the millions. Speak with a catastrophic injury attorney in San Jose about possible recovery for your past and future medical costs.
How can a catastrophic injury disrupt my life?
The losses from catastrophic injuries do not end with medical expenses. In fact, medical bills are only the beginning of a long list of losses and effects of these severe injuries.
Some other ways that catastrophic injuries might affect your life are below.
- Lost earnings - Catastrophic injuries can keep you from returning to work for months, years, or perhaps ever again. This can result in a lifetime of lost potential earning ability and financial strain for your household.
- Pain and suffering - Most catastrophic injuries cause severe physical pain, and many people have chronic pain management needs. Both the nature of a severe injury and the accompanying pain can also result in mental and emotional suffering.
- Permanent effects - Many injury survivors have impairments, disfigurement, or disabilities that are irreversible. This is an important loss to consider in catastrophic injury claims.
Can I recover compensation for my catastrophic injury losses?
Whether you can recover compensation for your losses after a catastrophic injury depends on whether your injury was the result of someone else’s negligence. If it was, there is a good chance that you can recover compensation in the form of an insurance settlement or a court award for your injury-related damages.
Some examples of damages that you might pursue in a catastrophic injury case include:
- Medical bills
- The cost of ongoing medical care and treatment
- The cost of mobility aids, prosthetics, or other medical devices
- Past, present, and future lost income
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
After a catastrophic injury, you may need to seek a significant amount of compensation because you may need to pay for ongoing losses for the rest of your life. For this reason, do everything you can to protect your rights and put yourself on even footing with the insurance company handling your case—starting with retaining one of our catastrophic injury attorneys in San Jose as soon as possible.
Should I contact a San Jose catastrophic injury lawyer?
Yes. You should always contact an attorney after an incident that resulted in an injury - especially a catastrophic injury. When you retain an attorney, he or she will represent your rights and fight for a fair settlement offer from the insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to make one, your lawyer will likely file a lawsuit and take the matter to civil court, and trial, if necessary.
Now More Than Ever, Golden State Lawyers Experience Matters
The support of family and friends, is important to help victims of catastrophic injury on a personal and social level. The help of an experienced catastrophic injury attorney is critical and obtaining full and fair financial recovery as well. The legal team at Golden State Lawyers stand with our clients every step of the way toward securing just and timely compensation.
If another person’s negligence harmed you, call us at (408) 279-4222 or send us a confidential email through our contact page to schedule a complimentary consultation.