Common Examples of Catastrophic Injuries in Los Angeles
Before you can recover compensation for damages that another party caused, you are required to prove how they caused those damages. Most of the personal injury cases filed in Los Angeles result from acts of negligence, but they may also arise from intentional misconduct. When a personal injury is catastrophic, the at-fault party can face extensive liability for the victim’s immediate and future losses that result from their actions. Some commonly cited catastrophic injuries each year include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Blunt force trauma to the head or any injury to the brain can have devastating effects on the victim, including cognitive impairment, sensory processing disruption, issues with language, and memory loss. One of the most challenging issues with brain injuries is how difficult they are to treat and how unpredictable they can be in terms of their long-term effects.
- Spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord allows the brain to control the rest of the body, and any injury to the spinal cord can disrupt this connection. The spinal cord cannot heal itself like the rest of the body, so these injuries are permanent, potentially resulting in paralysis of the body connected to the spinal cord below the injury site.
- Severe bone fractures. While some broken bones can heal completely with timely medical treatment, rest, and rehabilitation, some are so severe that they require surgical correction and cause permanent symptoms like chronic pain and nerve damage.
- Severe burns. Burns are some of the most painful injuries anyone can suffer, and they have a high chance of causing permanent scarring. Burns may also reduce the elasticity of the skin and reduce flexibility, and their psychological impact can be devastating as well. Many burn victims require skin grafting procedures and endure severe chronic pain from these injuries.
- Injuries from toxic exposure. Certain chemicals have the potential to cause devastating harm to the human body, both internally and externally. Some of these injuries can cause permanent medical complications and result in all types of disabilities, from neurological impairment to complications with internal organs and increased susceptibility to disease.
Ultimately, any personal injury that results in permanent disability or disfigurement qualifies as a catastrophic injury, and the victim is likely to face a very challenging road to recovery. The first step in recovering from any such catastrophic injury in Los Angeles is proving how the injury occurred and identifying the party or parties who caused it. Your Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney can be essential for accomplishing this and securing as much compensation as possible for your damages.
Calculating Damages in a Catastrophic Injury Claim
Under California’s personal injury laws, the plaintiff in a personal injury case has the right to seek full repayment of any financial losses incurred because of a defendant’s actions, and they also have the right to pain and suffering compensation as well. Your Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney can be invaluable when it comes to proving the full scope of your immediate and future economic damages, which are likely to include the following:
- Medical treatment costs. Any catastrophic injury is likely to be a medical emergency that demands immediate care. Your attorney can assist you in holding a defendant accountable for all of the hospital bills, emergency transportation fees, surgery costs, and other immediate healthcare expenses arising from your injury.
- Long-term care costs. Most catastrophic injury victims will face permanent disability and require extensive rehabilitative care. Whether you need physical therapy, multiple surgeries, ongoing counseling, occupational therapy, or any combination thereof to reach maximum possible recovery, the defendant who caused your injury is liable for all your long-term care costs.
- Lost wages. If you cannot work in the aftermath of your catastrophic injury, the defendant is liable for the income you could not earn during this time. Your attorney can also assist you in obtaining compensation for paid time off you were forced to use after your accident.
- Lost earning capacity. Many people who suffer catastrophic injuries cannot work in the future due to the severity of the harm done to them. If this applies to your situation, and you cannot earn as much income or cannot work at all because of your injury, the defendant is responsible for the income you can no longer earn.
- Property losses. If the defendant damaged your home, vehicle, or other personal property, they are responsible for these losses as well.
You may be surprised to learn that You can claim far more compensation for your economic damages than you originally anticipated at the outset of your case. However, the non-economic damages you receive from a successful catastrophic injury claim are likely to amount to much more if you have the right attorney representing you.
Pain and Suffering Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
California law allows a personal injury plaintiff to hold a defendant accountable for the intangible damages they inflicted, specifically pain and suffering. This may seem difficult to quantify, but an experienced Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney can help determine a suitable figure to include with your civil claim.
The two most commonly used methods for calculating pain and suffering compensation in personal injury cases are the per diem method and the multiplier method. The per diem method is more applicable to plaintiffs expected to fully recover from their injuries in the near future, awarding compensation based on the number of days it takes them to reach maximum medical improvement from their injuries. For catastrophic injury claims, the plaintiff’s attorney is more likely to use the multiplier method.
As the name implies, the multiplier method entails calculating the plaintiff’s total economic damages and then multiplying them by a factor of one to five based on the severity of the injury. For example, if you are claiming $500,000 in economic damages, your attorney may seek five or more times this amount in pain and suffering compensation to reflect the fact that you were permanently disabled by the defendant’s actions.
Other Variables That May Influence Your Case
The attorneys at Easton & Easton approach every catastrophic injury claim we take with the goal of helping our client maximize their recovery as much as possible under state law. Aside from your economic damages and pain and suffering compensation, you could enhance your recovery further in the form of punitive damages or restitution. These are likely to come into play when a defendant has injured you through illegal misconduct like driving under the influence (DUI) or violent crime.
Conversely, your final case award could be diminished by the shared fault you hold for the incident in question. The state enforces the pure comparative negligence law, and this can come into play whenever multiple parties share liability for the damages involved in a civil suit. If a plaintiff bears fault, the judge handling the case assigns a fault percentage to reflect their level of liability. This percentage is then deducted from their final case award. For example, bearing 10% fault in a million-dollar civil suit would mean losing $100,000 of the total case award.
When you select Easton & Easton to represent your catastrophic injury claim, we can immediately begin handling your case by gathering any evidence you will need to prove liability for the damages you suffered. We can consult expert witnesses if necessary and help draft a compelling initial complaint that encourages the defendant to seek a swift settlement. We can guide you through the settlement negotiation process, but if litigation is required, we are fully prepared to represent you in court.
Q: How Long Do I Have to Start a Personal Injury Claim for a Catastrophic Injury?
A: You need to file your personal injury claim within the applicable statute of limitations, which is two years in California. Failure to file your claim within two years of the date your injury occurred could amount to losing your ability to claim compensation from the defendant who caused your injury. It’s advisable to consult an experienced Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure the reliability of witness testimony and the freshness of evidence you will need to prove fault.
Q: Will the Defendant Who Caused My Catastrophic Injury Go to Prison?
A: When a personal injury results from simple negligence, the at-fault party is unlikely to face criminal charges, but they will be responsible for the full scope of damages the defendant caused. When a personal injury results from illegal misconduct like DUI or interpersonal violence, criminal charges are likely for the defendant. Any conviction will entail greater penalties when a defendant has caused serious bodily harm or death to a victim.
Q: How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Catastrophic Injury in Los Angeles?
A: A catastrophic injury, by definition, entails expansive economic losses for the victim. You have the right to hold the defendant accountable for the full scope of medical treatment you need to reach maximum medical recovery from the injury and manage all your related medical issues in the future. Your Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney is the optimal asset you have to maximize the compensation you obtain from the defendant.
Q: How Long Will It Take to Finalize My Catastrophic Injury Claim?
A: If the defendant’s liability for your injury is clear and you have a seasoned Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney representing you, it may not take too long to resolve the case. Private settlement may only require a few weeks of negotiations, but if you need to resolve the case through litigation, it will take much longer. Your attorney can provide an estimate of how long it will take you to receive the compensation you need to recover from your catastrophic injury.
Q: How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Los Angeles Catastrophic Injury Attorney?
A: It is understandable to have concerns about your legal fees when you are already struggling with the effects of a serious injury, but this is no cause for worry when you select Easton & Easton as your legal representatives. We accept personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only take a fee when we win your case. Additionally, the fee you pay is a percentage of the total amount we recover on your behalf. This eliminates the risk of your legal fees overshadowing your final case award and allows you to approach your case with peace of mind.
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have successfully represented many catastrophic injury claims on behalf of clients in the Los Angeles area, and we are fully prepared to provide the legal counsel you need to recover as much as possible. If you are struggling in the aftermath of a serious injury someone else caused, we can help hold them accountable. Contact Easton & Easton today to schedule your consultation with a Los Angeles catastrophic injury attorney.