Auto accidents can result in various injuries. Some of these injuries are catastrophic, while others are minor. Suffering a catastrophic injury is one of the most devastating outcomes of an auto accident. A catastrophic injury will prevent you from performing gainful work or living your life as you used to. If you suffer from a catastrophic injury, you will require extensive medical care. In some cases, one will require being on medical care all their lives and be assisted in doing everything. The suffering and pain a person goes through is substantial, not to mention the expenses associated with the treatment.
Fortunately, the law permits victims of an auto accident that suffer catastrophic injuries to seek compensation for the injuries and the expenses associated. This will require you to get an experienced lawyer to help you navigate the complex personal injury laws. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer who has handled many cases of catastrophic injuries in the Orange County area, get in touch with us at the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney.
Understanding Catastrophic Injuries According to the Law
The law defines catastrophic injury as one where the person sustains long-term or a permanent loss or pain of a body part or its function. Some common catastrophic injuries from auto accidents include:
Suffering partial or permanent paralysis
Injuries to the spinal cord
Injuries that result in deafness or blindness
Amputations or when a body part loses its function
Significant burns causing disfigurement
Suffering chronic damage to your lungs
Sustaining traumatic brain injuries
Other injuries to the brain that may lead to permanent impairment, mood imbalance, or physical disability
Types of Auto Accidents that Result in Catastrophic Injuries
Auto accidents can involve any type of motor vehicle on the road. From motorcycles to trucks or even accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians, most result in catastrophic injuries. Below, we will discuss in detail various auto accidents that are typically associated with catastrophic injuries.
These are the kind of auto accidents where a vehicle crashes on the side of another. These kinds of accidents are common at intersections where a driver may fail to yield the way or disregard traffic lights. The impact of these crashes can be significant, resulting in catastrophic injuries to the victims.
The side of a vehicle has nothing much to protect the occupants inside it. The front end of the crashing car hits on the side of the other vehicle, where occupants are not as protected. These kinds of crashes can be fatal, aside from the catastrophic injuries they cause.
Side impact accidents can happen between two regular cars or a regular car with a commercial vehicle such as a track. Regardless of the vehicles involved, the injuries suffered can be catastrophic if not fatal.
Establishing Fault in Side Impact Crashes
When one is injured in side-impact accidents, they will suffer various damages that they need to be compensated for. However, it is crucial to know who is at fault in a side impact accident to get compensated. The driver at fault is expected to bear the cost of the damages and injuries suffered.
Fault can be established by investigating the crash scene where accident reconstruction experts can help by analyzing all the evidence available. Once it is established who is responsible for the accident, their insurance provider is expected to pay the other victims of the accident for the damages and injuries suffered.
If both drivers are to blame for the accident, the blame is apportioned according to the degree of fault. All the damages and injuries suffered from this kind of collision is compensated in California.
These types of auto crashes can cause very significant injuries. The impact is often extremely forceful because of the speed at which the colliding vehicles are driven. Various things can cause injuries in these types of accidents, aside from the crash. The impact of the airbag can result in severe injuries to the occupants.
Occupants can also experience the impact directly on their bodies when the vehicles collide. Sometimes, the safety belts can fail because of the impact, and the occupants are thrown out of the car. When they hit the road directly, the effect can be so severe, leading to fatality in many cases.
Head injuries that can result in cognitive impairment, spinal injuries or amputation of body parts are also common with these accidents. At times, a victim may also suffer from internal injuries that may lead to organ failure needing a transplant or prolonged treatment.
Who is Responsible for a Head-on Accident?
In California, the party responsible for an accident is usually burdened with the damages and injuries suffered by the victims. The entity responsible for the accident can be one driver, both drivers, and other factors such as road conditions, mechanical failures, among others.
Once the fault is established, the party responsible will be tasked with paying for the damages and the catastrophic injuries sustained. If both drivers are responsible for the accident, the damages will be awarded according to the percentage of their fault.
Various factors can result in rollover auto accidents. These kinds of crashes can be very violent and complicated. Rollover accidents often reflect the driver’s interaction with the road, their control of the vehicle, or other environmental factors. Sometimes, the type of vehicle can also significantly play a role in the accident.
A driver’s behavior, road conditions, and other factors can cause these types of accidents. These accidents involve a vehicle rolling over once or multiple times. A driver moving at very high speeds and comes face to face with an emergency can cause this kind of an accident. If emergency brakes are applied, and the vehicle swerves to one side, often, it may result in the car rolling over multiple times.
When this accident occurs, the occupants are thrown all over the vehicle. Or out of it if their safety belts fail, or they did not have them on. Rollover accidents do not have to involve other vehicles for them to cause catastrophic injuries. The impact of rolling over can be very severe on a person’s body resulting in a fatality or catastrophic injuries.
Some vehicles rolling over may burst into flames. If the victims are not quickly rescued or are unconscious, they can suffer more injuries or die from the fire. Rollover accidents are some of the most severe forms of accidents, and one of the best ways to avoid them is to drive at controllable speeds.
Establishing Fault in Rollover Accidents
Most rollover accidents involve one vehicle. Determining fault in such an accident can be challenging. Sometimes the driver may have operated the vehicle while intoxicated, resulting in impaired judgment. Reckless or negligent driving often may result in rollover accidents as well. Dangerous road conditions where a road has a porthole in the middle of the road, or other conditions, can also cause a motorist to rollover.
When a fault is established, the party responsible will be held accountable, and their insurance provider pays for the damages. Whether another car hit them or it was due to mechanical failure of the vehicle or dangerous road conditions, the party responsible will carry the burden for the catastrophic injuries suffered.
Multiple Vehicle Collisions
Sometimes auto accidents can involve multiple vehicles. When vehicles keep crashing on to the first vehicle, the impact keeps increasing, resulting in more injuries being sustained. Numerous car collisions can lead to many people suffering from catastrophic injuries. If some of the vehicles involved are heavy commercial vehicles such as trucks, the impact can be significant.
The victims involved can suffer traumatic or catastrophic head, neck, back, or internal body injuries. These can result in permanent disabilities or life-altering consequences.
Establishing Fault in Multiple vehicle Accidents
Determining who is at fault in an accident involving multiple vehicles can be difficult. Various causes may lead to the initial collision where other vehicles keep crashing into the first vehicles in the accident.
Multiple collisions can be as a result of a negligent or reckless driver, drunk driving, bad weather, or dangerous road conditions, among others. Accident reconstruction experts, when called to the scene, must be able to determine what caused the accident or who is at fault. Various motorists can be found responsible for the accident resulting in the apportioning of damages according to the percentage of fault.
Hit and Run Auto Accidents
Hit and run do not always involve hitting another vehicle and escaping from the scene to avoid prosecution. A driver can also hit a lone pedestrian and escape them, hoping not to be found out. A driver could be on probation for drunk driving but still drinks and crashes into another vehicle. The crash can be so severe that it results in significant or catastrophic injuries to the other party.
On realizing what he has done, the motorist can escape the scene of the accident, especially when he or she realizes the area is lonely and thinks they cannot be caught. Hit and run accidents can result in catastrophic injuries that will require prolonged periods of treatment or change your life.
Establishing Fault in a Hit and Run Crash
Hit and run, even where there are no injuries, is an offense in California that can result in severe penalties if convicted. When a person runs away from an accident scene, it is like an admission of guilt. If you are found to have been responsible for a hit and run accident that resulted in catastrophic injuries, you are likely to be held accountable for it. This means your insurance provider will have to pay for the damages and catastrophic injuries that you caused.
Motorcycle accidents result in many catastrophic injuries. When a motorcyclist crashes into another car or hits the road, they often suffer traumatic injuries. Unlike vehicles where the vehicle body protects the vehicle occupants, motorcyclists usually get the impact of the accident directly to their bodies.
A motorcyclist will wear a helmet and knee and elbow pads to protect themselves. However, this does not always offer protection against crashes. When a person’s body is exposed to the collision, the injuries suffered can be catastrophic.
Motorcyclists can be involved in head-on crashes with other vehicles on the road. The impact is usually very severe, resulting in death or catastrophic injuries to the cyclist.
Vehicles making a left turn often also crash into motorcycles that may have been moving at high speeds. The car can hit a motorcyclist when:
The motorcyclist is passing through a junction or an intersection
The motorcyclist is trying to overtake another vehicle or
When they are passing the vehicle
Usually, an auto accident where a vehicle turning on the left hits another motorist occurs, the car making the turn is found at fault. However, a motorist could have been moving in the wrong lane and at high speeds. This can result in both the motorcyclist and the vehicle driver sharing the blame for the accident.
Motorcyclists are also fond of lane splitting. This is when a cyclist decides to move in between two vehicles, especially in traffic jams or when they want to overtake others. Often, the vehicles involved do not see the motorcyclist and may end up crashing into them. When a car changes lanes while the motorcyclist is in between them, it is possible to cause a severe accident leading to catastrophic injuries.
Motorcyclists are also known to be lovers of speed, while others consume alcohol or take drugs and ride on the busy highways. High speed and intoxication are reported to cause many motorcycle accidents that lead to catastrophic injuries. When one is moving at high speeds, it becomes difficult to control their motorbike when faced with an emergency. Alcohol or drug consumption makes the situation even worse because of impaired judgment on the road.
A motorbike can crash on its own or crash into another vehicle. Regardless of how the accident happens, the injuries sustained are often traumatic to the rider.
Crashing into stationary objects is also common with motorbikes. When a rider is avoiding a situation on the road, they can end up crashing against a tree or a building. As a result, the rider will suffer traumatic or catastrophic injuries that can alter their lives forever.
Some rear-end collisions can result in serious injuries that can be life-altering. Speeding and sudden brakes are some of the reasons rear-end accidents occur. The airbag can seriously injure a motorist if it disengages at high speed or from an impact with the vehicle.
A vehicle can be hit from behind by a big car, such as a truck. The impact of a truck is more significant and can result in motorists suffering catastrophic injuries.
In most cases, the driver rear-ends the other is often found at fault. However, sometimes fault can be shared by both motorists, and where the crash involved multiple vehicles, the blame is shared. The police, insurance adjusters, or accident reconstruction experts look at various things to establish the at-fault party for the accident.
Once the at-fault party or parties are established, they will bear the cost of the damages suffered.
Although there are special lanes for cyclists, they often get into accidents with motor vehicles. Most cyclists only wear a helmet to protect their heads in case of an accident. Unfortunately, the rest of their body is exposed to the dangers of the road.
When riding a bicycle on the road, sometimes a motorist may want to make a turn but does not see you. This may result in them hitting you, causing significant injuries. Most bicyclists involved in a crash with a vehicle often sustain serious injuries. How significant the injuries largely depend on the speed of the car that hit them and its size. The bigger the vehicle, the higher the impact as well as the rate they are traveling in.
Road Accidents Involving a Pedestrian
A lot of times, pedestrians are hit by speeding vehicles or negligent drivers. Drivers in California are expected to exercise a duty of care to pedestrians. This means as they drive, they must be watchful of pedestrians at all times.
When a vehicle crashes at a high impact on a pedestrian, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic. The pedestrian can suffer from significant back or spinal injuries, head injuries, among many other serious ones.
Liability in Catastrophic Injuries from Auto Accidents
According to the law in California, liability in auto accidents causing catastrophic injuries can be shared by various parties or be solely on one party. For instance, an accident can happen because a driver was negligent while the other driver tried to stop, and their brakes failed. The manufacturer of the failed brakes and the negligent driver may both be found to be responsible for the auto crash.
When a road accident happens, however, it is always essential to get an attorney to pursue your claims for you. Never admit fault in an auto accident. Your lawyer, with the help of experts, will establish the party responsible for the accident resulting in catastrophic injuries. Some of the entities that may be found accountable for the auto crash include:
Another driver involved in the accident
The distributor or manufacturer of a faulty vehicle part
The government entity responsible for ensuring the roads are in good condition
When your lawyer establishes the person or entity responsible for your accident, they will pursue damages from them.
Your lawyer will prepare a claim on your behalf to the insurance provider of the at-fault party. The claim must be accompanied by evidence of the damages you are seeking, as well as indicating their driver was at fault. Some of the pieces of evidence include:
Doctor’s report – if you are involved in an auto accident that results in catastrophic injuries, your doctor must document giving details of the injuries sustained. If the injuries will require prolonged treatment or a lifetime of care, all that must be included. The doctor’s report must also contain all the procedures that have been performed on you. Costs and future procedures must also be included.
If there is a need to have reconstructive surgery or any other type of surgery, you should include this in the report. The insurance company will not make a payment on claims that are falsified. This is the reason why the doctor’s report is crucial in this case.
Police statement – the police are supposed to give a report of the accident and details of what happened. The report typically will contain the details of the vehicles involved, the accident victims, and photos from the accident scene.
Witness statements – these are crucial in establishing the at-fault party. The statement should be clearly written and signed by the witness. The details of the witness must also be included in the statement.
Pictures – your lawyer will include photos of you in the hospital or of the injuries. There must be no room to doubt that you suffered catastrophic injuries if the insurance is to pay your claim.
Once the claim is presented for catastrophic injuries, the insurance adjuster will evaluate the claim and make a decision. If they are in doubt that their client was at fault, they will carry out their independent investigations to determine if the blame is shared.
Once they have evaluated the claim and conducted their investigations, they will decide to pay the claim, decline to pay, or give their offer. At this time, your lawyer will negotiate with them to get you the best settlement possible.
If it is not possible to agree, your lawyer will petition them through filing a lawsuit to pay the damages suffered. Your lawyer will get ready for the case and present evidence of your catastrophic injuries and who is to blame for them. The jury will, however, make an independent decision based on the evidence of the party at fault and award damages as they see fit.
If you share the blame, California, under the law of comparative fault, will expect the liability to be shared. This means that the damages received will be according to the degree of responsibility.
When to Seek Damages Following the Auto Accident
Every state has its own statute of limitations. This is the period the law gives you to present your claim in court. In California, if you suffered catastrophic injuries because of an auto accident, you have two years to submit your claim. If you fail to initiate your claim within this period, you will lose your right to seek damages for the injuries and damages suffered.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Auto accidents can result in injuries that can be costly to treat. A victim of an accident will suffer more damages, not only those of catastrophic nature. Different kinds of auto accidents can result in these injuries that can be life-altering. The state allows victims to seek compensation for the cost of treating these injuries as well as other damages suffered. An experienced lawyer will help you get your damages from an auto accident. We at the Orange County Personal Injury Attorney are experienced in helping our clients seek compensation after an auto accident. Reach us at 714-876-1959 for professional legal help from our experienced attorneys.