If You or a Loved One Suffer a Catastrophic Injury in Bakersfield, Call Us
At Rodriguez & Associates, we know that a serious personal injury or the death of a loved one can change your life forever. Our Bakersfield catastrophic injury attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience helping people recover full and fair compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, in-home services and pain and suffering. We do this by knocking down each and every frivolous defense put up by the wrongdoers in their effort to avoid responsibility.
Why Choose Rodriguez & Associates for Your Injury Claim
- Our lawyers have over 100 years of combined legal experience. We have the skills and knowledge necessary to fight for your right to recovery after a catastrophic injury.
- Our firm has a strong track record of successful case results. In fact, we secured the highest personal injury verdict in Kern County history.
- We combine big firm results with small firm service. We will work closely with you throughout your case and handle all aspects of your claim, allowing you to focus on recovery.
What is a Catastrophic Injury?
The American Medical Association (AMA) describes a catastrophic injury as particularly severe damage to the spinal cord, spine, or brain. However, these are not the only kinds of injuries that can be deemed as catastrophic. As detailed in 42 USC § 3796b, a catastrophic injury results in “direct and proximate consequences” that leave the victim unfit to “perform any gainful work.” If you or a loved one has suffered a deformity or long-term disability, reach out to our catastrophic injury lawyers in Bakersfield as soon as possible.
You may be entitled to a catastrophic injury settlement for a number of reasons:
- You suffered a severe injury that required surgeries, rehabilitation, medication, or a permanent medical device to treat.
- The injury prevented you from working, and you lost wages as a direct result of the accident.
- You suffered emotional trauma due to your injury.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Contact us if you or a member of your family has suffered any type of catastrophic injury because of another party’s negligence in Bakersfield, California, or nearby areas. We can assist you with:
- Wrongful death
- Brain injury, TBI
- Amputation, loss of limb
- Serious burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, paraplegia
- Birth injuries
- Loss of eyesight, blindness
What Causes a Catastrophic Injury?
Serious injuries may occur due to a number of situations. Our personal injury attorney is prepared to assist accident victims who have suffered due to:
- A car accident
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice injuries
- Product liability injuries
- Workplace accidents
How to Prove a Catastrophic Injury Lawsuit
To secure compensation in a catastrophic injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the defendant is responsible for the losses that you suffered. Specifically, you and your Bakersfield personal injury attorney will need to gather enough evidence to prove four important facts: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
- Duty: The at-fault party or defendant owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. This will depend on the circumstances surrounding your catastrophic injury. For example, if you are injured in a car accident, the driver would have owed you a duty to follow traffic laws and drive safely for the road conditions.
- Breach of Duty: The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care by committing a negligent act or omission. For example, a driver who operates his or her vehicle under the influence of drugs breaches his or her duty of care. This is because intoxicated driving is highly illegal under California law.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty caused your accident and the catastrophic injury that you suffered. You will need to show that your injury would not have occurred if not for the wrongful actions of the at-fault party.
- Damages: Finally, you will need to show that you suffered damages as a result of the accident that you could claim in your lawsuit. Evidence like medical bills, correspondence with your employer, and journal entries could help establish this element.
Damages Available to Victims of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries can result in serious trauma. Victims often require extensive medical care and suffer from immense pain and suffering. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you can hold the at-fault party accountable for the losses that you suffered due to the catastrophic injury, known as damages.
There are two categories of damages in personal injury claims: economic and non-economic. Additionally, families pursuing wrongful death claims are eligible for different types of damages.
Economic damages involve the tangible, financial losses that you experienced due to the catastrophic injury. Examples include the following.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Disability accommodations
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
Economic losses are relatively straightforward to prove with financial statements, medical records, and other documents. To calculate long-term costs, you will likely need to consult with an expert witness like a medical professional or care planner.
Non-economic damages involve the intangible pain and suffering that you endured due to the injury. This pain and suffering can be physical as well as emotional. Examples of non-economic losses include the following.
- Emotional distress
- Chronic pain
- Permanent disability
- Loss of quality of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
These losses are more difficult to calculate as they cannot be quantified with receipts or invoices. Instead, your attorney will likely employ common formulas that insurance companies use to calculate pain and suffering awards. These strategies will provide you with an accurate estimate of your potential settlement.
Wrongful Death Damages
Under California law, the family members of someone who died from a catastrophic injury have the right to collect economic and non-economic damages. However, these losses are different from damages in personal injury claims.
Economic damages in wrongful death lawsuits primarily involve the financial impact to the family due to the loss of deceased. Examples include the following.
- The financial support that the deceased would have provided to the family
- The loss of benefits or gifts that the deceased would have provided to the family
- Funeral and burial expenses for the deceased
- The value of household services that the deceased would have provided
Non-economic damages primarily concern the pain and suffering that the family experienced, rather than the deceased. The following are a few examples of non-economic losses in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Loss of the deceased person’s guidance
- Loss of the spouse’s enjoyment of intimacy with the deceased
- Loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, care, comfort, protection, assistance, society, affection, and moral support
Are Punitive Damages Available in California Lawsuits?
In some cases, you may be eligible for a third category of compensation known as punitive damages. While economic and non-economic damages are intended to reimburse you for your losses, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party for extremely dangerous or reckless actions.
Not all states offer punitive or exemplary damages to victims of catastrophic injuries. However, California law does offer this remedy. According to the California Civil Code, you could recover punitive damages if you provide clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is guilty of fraud, oppression, or malice.
If you are unsure whether you qualify for punitive damages, speak to an attorney at Rodriguez & Associates. Our firm can evaluate your case, identify all possible avenues to compensation, and determine your eligibility for punitive damages.
How Partial Liability Could Impact Your Case
In many cases involving catastrophic injury, one party is clearly at fault for the accident. As a result, he or she is wholly liable for the losses that the injured person suffered. The at-fault party would need to pay for the entirety of the injured person’s settlement.
However, some cases are not as straightforward. You may be partially involved in the accident, and the court may believe that you share responsibility for what happened. In these situations, your award could be reduced by the court.
This is due to California’s pure comparative negligence statute. Under this law, the court will reduce your settlement by the percentage of fault that you allegedly share. You can recover any amount of compensation following your accident, even if you are 99% at fault for the incident.
For example, say that you suffer a catastrophic injury on someone else’s property. The court discovers that you were looking at your phone at the time of the accident and could have prevented your injury if you were more alert. The court then assigns you 40% of the fault; if you request a $100,000 award, you will only receive $60,000.
If you are facing accusations of shared liability, you need an attorney on your side who can defend your right to maximum compensation. At Rodriguez & Associates, our Bakersfield catastrophic injury lawyers will work tirelessly to limit your liability and establish the at-fault party’s negligence.
Why You Need a Bakersfield Catastrophic Injury Attorney
Navigating a catastrophic injury claim can be very difficult, especially while you are recovering from this severe damage. Litigation can be complex, and the at-fault party may fight tirelessly to reduce his or her liability. In these situations, you need a lawyer who can advocate for your best interests during this process.
At Rodriguez & Associates, we are dedicated to supporting your catastrophic injury lawsuit from consultation to settlement. We will work diligently to achieve the best possible outcome in your case and prove your right to compensation.
Hiring one of our Bakersfield catastrophic injury attorneys can provide several benefits to your claim, from launching an investigation into your accident to representing your interests in civil court.
Investigating Your Case
Your lawyer will have the time and the resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into your accident. Cases involving catastrophic injuries are often very complex, and your attorney can conduct interviews, review evidence, and research the backgrounds of the parties involved in your accident. He or she can leverage this information to craft a compelling case in your favor.
Connecting You to Resources
In addition to investigating your case, your attorney can connect you to valuable resources so that you can establish important facts about your injury. In particular, your lawyer will have access to expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf, such as medical professionals and accident reconstruction specialists.
Representing You in Court
Going to trial for a catastrophic injury lawsuit can be a daunting experience. Your attorney will have years of experience representing clients in the courtroom and can handle all trial-related matters on your behalf.
Negotiating on Your Behalf
During many catastrophic injury lawsuits, the plaintiff needs to negotiate with the at-fault party’s attorney or insurance company. When you hire an attorney from Rodriguez & Associates, your lawyer will handle all negotiations on your behalf. Our lawyers have extensive negotiation experience and will fight tirelessly to defend your best interests.
Victims of catastrophic injuries often require extensive medical care, lose large amounts of wages, and suffer from extreme pain and suffering. As a result, these settlements can be very high—and it can be difficult to calculate your damages on your own.
Your Bakersfield catastrophic injury attorney will have the skills and experience to identify all potential avenues to compensation. We will work carefully to accurately calculate your award, providing you with a clear picture of your damages.
How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim After a Catastrophic Injury in Bakersfield?
For most personal injuries in California, the statute of limitations to keep in mind spans two years. This means that, if you decide to file a catastrophic injury lawsuit in Bakersfield, you must do so within two years of suffering your injury. If you fail to file within the time period, it is likely that you will lose the right to do so. Speak to our Bakersfield catastrophic injury lawyers today to discuss the timeframe that applies to your case and explore your legal options in greater detail.
Contact Our Bakersfield Catastrophic Injury Attorneys
The law firm of Rodriguez & Associates is conveniently located in downtown Bakersfield. We are available for weekend and evening appointments, charge no fee for consultations, and speak both English and Spanish. To contact us, please call 661-323-1400 or 800-585-9262 Toll Free.