What Are “Catastrophic Injuries” in California?
An unexpected injury can have a significant impact on your life, affecting your financial stability, physical health, and ability to go to work. However, some injuries are more severe and lead to more complications than others.
Catastrophic injuries are the most serious bodily injuries a person could sustain. However, this type of harm can be difficult to define. Here is what you need to know about catastrophic injuries in California.
Common Examples of Catastrophic Injuries
According to Supplement 4, Title 42 of the United States Code, a catastrophic injury is defined as any type of injury that permanently prevents a person from performing any type of gainful work. A catastrophic injury can involve many forms of damage, such as the following:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- The loss of a limb or amputation
- Vision or hearing damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe skull fractures
- Scarring or disfigurement
In California, the definition of catastrophic injury is relatively vague. This type of injury is referenced in the California Labor Code, which states that a catastrophic injury includes, but is not limited to, the loss of a limb, paralysis, severe burn, or severe head injury.
The Average Settlement for a Catastrophic Injury Claim
If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit or insurance claim against the person responsible for the harm that you suffered. Through your lawsuit, you can recover compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, disability accommodations, and pain and suffering.
In cases involving catastrophic injuries, these financial awards are often much higher than settlements for non-catastrophic injuries. Depending on your circumstances, your settlement can be as high as hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Catastrophic injury settlements are likely to have a high value for several reasons, such as the following:
- If you have a catastrophic injury, you will likely require greater amounts of medical care than other patients and may also have long-term care costs.
- You may require disability accommodations to live with your injury, such as mobility equipment, live-in caregivers, and modifications to your home or vehicle.
- Catastrophic injuries prevent you from returning to work, meaning that you can claim compensation for the loss of future earnings and benefits.
- Your pain and suffering award will likely be higher for a catastrophic injury because of the injury’s impact on your life.
What to Do After Experiencing a Catastrophic Injury
If you develop a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve justice. In these situations, it is important to remain calm and seek help as soon as you can.
First, you should seek emergency medical attention for your injuries. Your health is your top priority. Go to the hospital or call emergency medical services as soon as possible and save all of your medical records.
If possible, call 911 to report the accident to the police or fill out an incident report. These documents will ensure that there is a record of the accident on file, which you can use to support your injury claim. Try to gather as much evidence as you can, such as photographs, videos, and witness information.
After you receive medical care, contact a California catastrophic injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can guide you through each stage of your injury claim and work to recover the compensation that you deserve.