Catastrophic Injuries often Result in a Lifetime of Losses
Some of the most notorious accidents in California are those involving catastrophic injuries. These are the accidents that we see on the news that devastate lives just short of death. For most victims, it’s not a matter of when their physical recovery will occur, but if it will ever be possible.
If you or a loved one’s life has been impacted by a serious or life-threatening injury resulting from an accident, you’ll want to arm yourself with as much knowledge about catastrophic injuries as possible so that you can recover maximum compensation for all of your harms and losses.
Defining Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury is defined as one that significantly injures an individual and leads to permanent disfigurement or impairment. The injured person is usually unable to carry out daily tasks as usual. The common denominator among catastrophic injuries is that the healing process involves:
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Multiple or major surgeries
- Total loss or inability to lead a normal life
Another crucial factor in determining what is considered a catastrophic injury is the impact that it has on the life and livelihood of the victim. Long-term injuries that result in permanent impairment and prevent the victim from earning a living (in the exact same or comparable type of work they were in pre-injury) will likely be considered catastrophic in nature.
Causes of Catastrophic Injuries
An individual might suffer a disastrous injury from working with powerful equipment, driving a motor vehicle, riding a motorcycle or bicycle, or playing sports. Other types of occurrences include burns from a fire, falling down stairs, or even attacks by animals. A catastrophic injury victim in California can make a personal injury claim if the injury is due to negligence on the part of another person, company, or faulty product. If the accident took place at work, it is possible that the victim may also be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Catastrophic Injuries Change Lives Forever
Like other injuries, catastrophic injuries impact people in a number of different ways. Some injuries impact individuals physically, as victims may have scars and/or depend on others to do simple, everyday tasks, such as grooming and eating. Other disastrous injuries affect the brain, and victims may struggle with amnesia and/or decreased mental capacities, such as impaired cognitive function and difficulty speaking.
Many catastrophic injuries impact individuals mentally. Victims might experience psychological distress, including irritability and loss of interest in regular activities. Friends and family members may feel emotionally drained as they watch their loved one suffer. The psychological effects of catastrophic injuries may drive friends and families apart.
Further, catastrophic injuries can affect people financially. Expensive healthcare and personal care expenses can drain the funds of victims, their friends, and/or their relatives. In most personal injury cases, the injured person is entitled to recover for their financial losses.
Compensation Limits on Catastrophic Injuries in California
Victims of catastrophic injuries should understand the ways in which they can collect for their damages in California. There are two distinct categories of damages that can be recovered in a personal injury claim:
- Economic Damages
- Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages are awarded to victims who have monetary losses. Under California law, there is no limit to economic damages that a person can recover. The goal behind this monetary award is to reimburse and compensate the individual for past and future financial losses. These types of losses include:
- Medical treatments, prescriptions, and future medical costs
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Home construction for reasonable accommodations
On the other hand, catastrophic injury victims also face losses related to pain and suffering. This type of loss cannot be directly measured by examining financial records. In California, catastrophic injury victims are entitled to compensation for all of the following: past and future physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress.
If you or a loved one suffered catastrophic injuries in an accident, you should speak with an experienced California personal injury lawyer right away.