Have you experienced a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence? You may have the right to collect compensation. Contact Madison Law Group today for a free consultation.
Samantha, out on a stroll in beautiful Long Beach, California, was hit by a car crossing the street in Belmont Shore, resulting in a badly broken leg. She woke up in the hospital and was told she needed extensive surgery and rehab to recover. Samantha faced financial and emotional struggles due to the accident, including thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages from taking time off work. It was entirely possible that she would be permanently disabled due to the severity of her injury. She doesn’t know her legal rights or how to pursue a claim, but she desperately needs help figuring out how to ease the financial burden the accident caused.
Although this is a fictional account, plenty of people have experienced something very much like the scenario above. If you or a family member are in a situation that sounds similar to this, contact a catastrophic injury lawyer. Having an experienced Long Beach personal injury lawyer advocating for you can make a big difference in how your recovery goes; that includes physically, mentally, and financially.
The Devastating Impact of Catastrophic Injuries: Understanding the Emotional and Financial Toll
Catastrophic injuries are injuries that are particularly severe, altering the course of one’s life in a matter of moments. These serious injuries often occur in a split second and are a stark reminder of the fragility of life. The physical, emotional, and financial impact is extremely challenging for anyone to have to deal with.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
A catastrophic injury is defined as a severe injury that has long-term or permanent effects on the victim’s life. These injuries can range from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, amputations, and other debilitating physical injuries that impact a person’s ability to live everyday life.
The Emotional and Financial Impact of Catastrophic Injuries
In addition to the physical injury sustained, catastrophic injuries have a significant emotional and financial impact on the injury victim and their family. The injured person may experience a wide range of emotions, including depression, anxiety, and fear as they try to come to terms with the extent of their injuries and the overall impact on their life and future.
Additionally, the financial burden of these injuries can be staggering. When you get injured in a severe or catastrophic manner, you will likely have initial medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing healthcare care costs for things like physical therapy and maybe even treatment for mental health as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2019 cost of injury in the U.S. was $4.2 trillion. The expenses reported include health care, lost work productivity, and cost estimates for lost quality of life and lives lost.
When Accidents Happen, Trust Our Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyers for Justice
Serious injuries are life-altering events that can happen in a sudden flash. At the Madison Law Group, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll catastrophic injuries can take on injury victims and their families. You need top-level legal services if you have suffered a devastating injury due to someone else’s negligence in Long Beach to ensure you get the maximum compensation you are entitled to by law.
We are a Long Beach personal injury law firm with a proven track record of successfully defending our clients’ rights and securing the compensation owed to them. We have defended our clients against insurance companies, individuals, and businesses and have settled thousands of personal injury cases for over $100,000.
We offer a free consultation to assess your case and determine the best legal action. We understand the importance of communication during this difficult time, which is why we also offer a 24-hour call-back policy to ensure that you are always up to date on the progress of your case.
Contact Madison Law Group today to schedule your free case review and take the first step toward rebuilding your life.
Understanding Catastrophic Injuries: A Guide to the Most Common Types
Traumatic Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries occur when there is a sudden impact or trauma to the head, causing damage to the brain. This type of injury can have long-term or permanent effects, including cognitive impairment, personality changes, and physical disabilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 64,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2020, equating to about 176 TBI-related deaths daily.
Additionally, the CDC reported more than 223,000 TBI-related hospitalizations in 2019.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries are caused by damage to the spinal cord, resulting in the loss of sensation or movement in parts of the body. These injuries can result in paralysis, bowel or bladder control loss, and other debilitating conditions.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 17,810 new cases of spinal cord injuries each year in the United States.
Severe Burns: Severe burns can result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, and long-term physical and emotional trauma.
Amputations: Amputations can result in the loss of limbs or extremities and can profoundly impact the injury victim’s ability to perform everyday tasks.
Who Can Be Held Liable for My Catastrophic Injuries?
Imagine a scenario where a tourist visiting the iconic Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach suddenly slips and falls on a wet floor, breaking their hip. The tourist was having a great day, totally unaware that there would be a wet spot on the floor. In the blink of an eye, that tourist is now a hospital patient, facing medical bills and lost income from being unable to work.
Upon investigation, the tourist’s Long Beach personal injury attorney discovered the aquarium staff had not placed warning signs or taken adequate measures to dry the floor, leading to the accident. In this case, the aquarium staff could be liable for their negligence.
What is Liability?
Liability refers to the legal responsibility of a party to pay for damages or injuries caused by their actions or inactions. In Long Beach, several parties can be held liable for your injuries, including:
- Individuals: If an individual’s actions or inactions led to your personal injury, they could be held liable. For example, if a driver was texting while driving and caused a car accident that resulted in your injury, they can be held responsible for your damages.
- Businesses: If a customer suffers a broken hip due to a loose handrail that causes them to lose balance and fall, the company who owned the property where the incident occurred can be held liable. This business is responsible because the store failed to properly maintain its premises, leading to the slip and fall accident resulting in injury. This area of law falls under the category of premises liability.
- Government Entities: If a city or county government entity causes your personal injury, it could be held liable. Examples of these entities include the Long Beach Transit, Long Beach Airport, and Long Beach Public Works Department. For instance, if a poorly maintained road caused a car accident that resulted in your injury, the city or county responsible for maintaining the road can be held liable.
- Product Manufacturers: The manufacturer can be liable if a defective product causes personal injury. For example, if a faulty airbag causes severe injuries in an auto accident, the manufacturer can be responsible for the damages.
- Landlords: The landlord could be liable if your personal injury results from a hazardous condition on a rental property. For example, suppose you suffer burns in a fire due to faulty electrical wiring in your rental unit. In that case, your landlord can be liable for failing to maintain a safe living environment.
- Healthcare Providers: If a doctor caused you to sustain a personal injury, the healthcare provider responsible for your care could be held liable. For example, if an anesthesiologist administers too much or too little anesthesia, which results in brain damage, the anesthesiologist can be held responsible for the damages. This area of law is known as medical malpractice.
- Contractors: If faulty construction work causes personal injury, the contractor responsible could be liable. For example, if a decay in the bridge’s support structure causes a car accident resulting in your injury, the construction company can be responsible for the damages.
- Dog Owners: If a dog attack causes your personal injury, the dog owner can be held liable. For example, if a bulldog owner fails to restrain their dog and it attacks you, the owner can be held responsible for your damages.
Injured? How California’s At-Fault System Affects Your Case
California is known as an “at-fault” state regarding Long Beach personal injury claims. But what does that mean? And how does it impact your ability to seek compensation for your personal injury?
In simple terms, “at-fault” means that the party responsible for causing an accident or injury is also responsible for paying for the damages. This legal concept differs from a “no-fault” state, where each party’s insurance company pays for their damages regardless of who caused the serious injury.
In an “at-fault” state like California, the legal system often determines the party responsible for causing the accident or injury. The legal process involves gathering evidence, speaking with witnesses, and potentially going to court to determine fault.
Here’s a scenario illustrating how “at-fault” works in Long Beach:
Imagine you were driving your car on the Pacific Coast Highway when another driver speeds through a red light and crashes into you. As a result of the accident, you suffered a personal injury, requiring extensive medical care and rehabilitation.
In this scenario, the other driver who ran the red light would likely be found “at fault” for causing the accident and your injuries. In other words, their insurance agency would pay for your damages, including healthcare expenses, lost wages and salary, and pain and suffering.
Fighting for Fair Compensation: How Pure Comparative Negligence Affects Your Case
When you suffer a devastating injury caused by someone else’s negligence in California, you may have the option to seek financial recovery for your damages. But what happens if you were partially responsible for the accident? That’s where California’s “pure comparative negligence” rule comes into play.
Other legal terms used to describe “pure comparative negligence” include “comparative fault” and “contributory negligence.” The biggest misconception about the pure comparative negligence rule is that you cannot recover damages if you contribute to the accident.
In simple terms, “pure comparative negligence” means the court system can assign each party involved in an accident a percentage of fault for the incident. This percentage can range from zero percent to 100 percent, and the compensation you receive gets reduced by the percentage of fault you have in the incident.
Let’s look at an example scenario to illustrate how “pure comparative negligence” works in Long Beach.
Imagine that you were riding your bike on a sidewalk in Long Beach when a driver failed to yield and struck you. As a result of the accident, you suffered a traumatic brain injury requiring extensive medical care and rehabilitation. However, you were not wearing a helmet, which California law requires.
In this scenario, you may be found partially at fault for not wearing a helmet. Suppose a judge concludes you were 25 percent at fault for an accident. Your compensation gets reduced by 25 percent. So, if the verdict is for $100,000 in damages, you will be awarded $75,000.
Insurance companies may use pure comparative negligence as a way to reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay. That’s why working with an experienced Long Beach personal injury lawyer who can advocate for your rights and recover fair and full payment is absolutely crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome for your situation.
California Personal Injury Claims: When Must You File?
If you’ve experienced a life-changing injury caused by someone else’s negligence in California, you might wonder how long you have to file a Long Beach personal injury claim. The answer is generally two years from the date of the injury.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations refers to the maximum time a person can file a lawsuit. The California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1 outlines the statute of limitations. After the statute of limitations expires, you lose your right to file a lawsuit forever.
Example of a Long Beach Personal Injury Claim
Suppose you were in a car accident on Atlantic Avenue on March 7, 2021, and suffered a spinal cord injury due to another driver’s negligence. The two-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim would expire on March 7, 2023. If you fail to file your claim before the statute of limitations ends, you cannot file a lawsuit and receive compensatory damages for your personal injuries afterward.
Why Does California Have a Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims allows for a timely resolution of legal disputes. Parties involved in the accident need ample time to gather evidence, interview witnesses and investigate the incident while the evidence remains fresh.
Additionally, the statute of limitations aims to balance the injured party’s rights to seek legal action with the need to protect the defendant from unlimited liability.
Can I Name Multiple People in My Claim?
You can name multiple people in your Long Beach personal injury claim. If more than one person contributed to your personal injury matter, that means more than one party was liable. Including all of them as defendants in your claim ensures you have the best chance to receive the maximum compensation possible.
Example of Multiple Defendants in a Long Beach Personal Injury Claim
If a catastrophic accident occurs in the workplace, multiple parties, including the employer, equipment manufacturers, and other employees, could be liable. Let’s look at construction accidents, where this happens unfortunately fairly often.
Construction sites use heavy equipment such as cranes, bulldozers, and excavators. If this equipment is defective, it can malfunction and cause severe injuries to workers or bystanders. For example, a crane cable snaps due to a manufacturing defect. The crane operator drops its load on three workers below, causing each to suffer injuries such as broken bones, a head injury, and a spinal cord injury.
Since the workers suffered injuries, the crane manufacturer may be liable to recover compensation for the defective crane equipment. At the same time, the construction company may be responsible for failing to maintain a safe workplace environment.
Long Beach Personal Injury Cases: Will It End Up in Court?
Whether a personal injury case in Long Beach goes to court depends on the specific details of your case. Here are some factors determining whether going to trial is the best option.
Pros and Cons of Going to Trial
Going to court can allow the injured party to tell their story to a judge or jury and receive a fair decision. However, court cases can be time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining. Settling outside of court prior to your trial date can provide a quicker resolution, reduce legal fees and costs, and avoid the uncertainty of a court decision.
Reasons Why a Case Would Go to Court
If the insurance company or the responsible party denies liability or refuses to offer or agree to a fair settlement, the injured party may need to take the case to court. Additionally, if there are disputes over the extent of the injuries, the medical treatment required, or the amount of damages, going to court may be necessary to resolve these issues. The court serves as a referee to help resolve settlement disagreements and disputes.
Ultimately, going to court can be seen as a last resort to achieve a fair outcome for the injured party. Like a game of tug-of-war, it can be challenging and strenuous, but it may be the best way for the injured victim to obtain justice and compensation.
The vast majority of cases settle before going to trial. However, our lawyers at Madison Law Group are fully prepared to do so if necessary.
Reasons Why a Case Wouldn’t Go to Trial
Many Long Beach personal injury cases settle out of court through negotiations with the insurance carrier or the responsible party. The parties may also opt for mediation or arbitration as an alternative to a court trial. Both sides benefit from not going to trial, since it is so expensive.
Mediation offers a non-confrontational, voluntary forum for parties in dispute to work towards resolving their differences with the guidance of an objective mediator. The mediator does not decide on the case’s outcome but helps the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation is typically less formal than arbitration and can be less expensive and time-consuming.
Parties in a Long Beach personal injury case can use mediation to negotiate a settlement. For instance, if the insurance company for the responsible driver disputes the amount of damages claimed by the injured party in a car accident, they may choose mediation. The mediator will facilitate discussions about the injuries, medical costs, and other factors affecting compensation. Approximately 80 percent of cases get settled during mediation, with about one percent making it to trial.
Arbitration is a more formal negotiation method in which a neutral third party, the arbitrator, decides on the case’s outcome. The arbitrator’s decision is typically binding, meaning that the parties are bound to accept the result and cannot appeal the decision. Arbitration can be less formal than going to court, but it is more structured than mediation and may involve presenting evidence and testimony.
In a Long Beach personal injury case, the arbitrator determines damages owed by the responsible party or their insurance provider. For example, in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, the parties may opt for binding arbitration to determine compensation. The arbitrator will consider evidence like medical records and witness testimony to determine damages.
Mediation and arbitration can help resolve Long Beach personal injury cases without needing a trial. The choice between the two approaches depends on the case’s specific circumstances and the parties’ preferences. Both options are a proven way to settle disputes faster without the high cost and stress of a court battle.
How Much Compensation Is Available for Long Beach Personal Injury Cases?
Compensation is the monetary award a victim of a serious injury can receive from the liable party for their losses and damages. Receiving these payments helps cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other associated costs.
- Economic damages: These can be calculated based on expenses or losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
- Non-economic damages: These are more subjective and may not have a specific monetary value, such as pain and suffering, emotional or mental distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages: These awards intend to inflict a penalty on the defendant and discourage them from engaging in reckless conduct. For example, a construction company is found to have knowingly violated safety regulations and failed to properly train their workers, resulting in a traumatic brain injury to an employee. The court may award punitive damages to punish the construction company and deter other companies from engaging in negligent behavior.
Factors that impact the amount of compensation awarded to a victim can receive include:
- The severity of the injury
- The cost of medical treatment
- The length of recovery time
- The effect the injury has on the victim’s quality of life
According to a Jury Verdict Research study, California’s median compensatory award for personal injury trials is $150,000. This amount far exceeds the national average of about $40,000. However, only 45 percent of personal injury victims who go to trial receive monetary damages.
Evidence Needed in Long Beach Personal Injury Cases
Imagine you were in a car accident caused by a distracted driver and suffered a serious injury. You must gather pieces of evidence to prove that the other driver was liable and that you deserve compensation. You will need concrete evidence to back up your claim, such as the following:
1. Police report
A police report is a detailed document created by an officer responding to an accident or crime. It includes basic information like the date, time, and location, a description of the incident, statements from parties involved and witnesses, evidence, and the officer’s conclusion. A police report provides an official record that attorneys and insurance companies can use as evidence in legal proceedings and insurance claims.
2. Medical records
Medical records contain your health and medical history. These documents typically include patient information, medications, diagnosis, treatment, lab results, progress notes, and discharge summaries. Obtaining medical records after a Long Beach personal injury accident is crucial as they provide a detailed history of injuries, treatment, and costs. Insurance companies and attorneys use medical records to evaluate the extent of injuries, the need for ongoing treatment, and the cost of medical care. Additionally, these documents can serve as evidence in court.
3. Witness statements
Witness statements are accounts of an event provided by individuals who witnessed it, and these statements can be written or recorded. Obtaining witness statements after an accident offers crucial information about the accident’s circumstances and helps establish fault and liability.
4. Expert testimony
Expert testimony is provided in court by someone with specialized knowledge in a field relevant to the personal injury case. These professionals can establish the cause, injuries, and damages in accidents. Insurance companies and attorneys use the testimony of these specialists to evaluate the case and determine liability. Examples of expert witnesses include accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, civil engineers, and certified financial advisors.
5. Photographs and video footage
Photos and videos are crucial evidence in personal injury cases, and they provide objective proof of what happened and the extent of injuries. Valuable types of video footage include surveillance, dash cam, and body camera. Insurance companies and personal injury lawyers rely on this footage to determine liability and evaluate claims. When at the scene of an accident, be sure to photograph the location, vehicles, and any injuries.
Proving your case can help you receive maximum compensation for your losses and damages. A personal injury attorney can gather all the necessary evidence for you.
By gathering evidence on your behalf, a personal injury attorney can build a compelling case that puts you in the best position to receive a successful outcome. Let someone who is skilled and resourceful at handling personal injury claims take care of the legal issues while you focus on your recovery.
What Types of Personal Injury Cases Does The Madison Law Group Handle?
At the Madison Law Group, we understand a catastrophic injury’s devastating impact on your life. That’s why our personal injury lawyers dedicate themselves to helping our clients receive fair and full compensation for the harm done to them.
We handle a wide range of personal injury cases, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Burn injuries
Our legal team of skilled attorneys prioritizes supporting individuals who have experienced catastrophic injuries, providing legal guidance and advocacy to help you obtain the compensation you need to rebuild your life.
Long Beach Lawyers Who Get Results
Did you sustain a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence? Don’t wait another second to get the justice and compensation you deserve – turn to Madison Law Group. For over 18 years, Kyle Madison and his dedicated team of lawyers have been committed to providing comprehensive legal representation to personal injury victims throughout Long Beach.
Our clients are our priority at Madison Law Group, so we offer a free consultation without commitment. Our compassionate and knowledgeable staff will assess your situation and provide insight on how best to proceed, completely free of charge. We believe in the importance of communication and are proud to offer a 24-hour call-back policy to keep you informed at any point in the legal process from start to finish.