When you suffer an injury and someone else caused it, you can file an injury claim against the responsible parties to seek compensation for your losses. An injury is the last thing that you want to deal with. When you are trying to recover, figuring out how to navigate the claim process and receive full damages can present serious challenges. This is especially true for catastrophic, life-changing injuries.
Having an attorney by your side as soon as possible after your or your loved one’s catastrophic injury will support the best possible outcome in your case. After the incident that led to your injury, you will likely be dealing with insurance companies and attorneys when trying to collect compensation. Having an attorney on your side helps to even the playing field and ensures that you receive the fullest coverage possible.
Read on to learn more about how catastrophic injuries happen, some symptoms to watch out for, and how your San Mateo catastrophic injury lawyer from Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Legally speaking, a catastrophic injury has a major effect on functioning. They include:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A traumatic brain injury affects how your brain works, and damaged brain tissue cannot oversee certain functions as necessary. For this reason, TBIs can result in cognitive impairment, physical difficulties, or even behavioral and mental issues.
Spinal Cord Injury
Your spine sends messages from your brain to your body, but a spinal injury disrupts those messages, paralyzing you below the injury. Paralysis means you can no longer move (including walking) or feel sensation in those areas, and you likely require significant medical equipment and adaptations to your home, if not full-time care.
Third-degree burns damage all layers of your skin and the tissue under it, including bone, muscle, ligaments, tendons, or even organs. These burns can limit the use of the affected body part, even with treatment. In some cases, burn victims lose many abilities they had before the accident.
Amputations can happen traumatically, such as in a power tool accident. An irreparable burn or crush injury might make them surgically necessary. In either situation, losing a body part - quite literally - will change your future life and abilities.
These injuries might stem from truck crashes, serious falls, and other accidents. You need a lawyer who can protect your rights, as proper financial recovery can help you move forward in a better position with your life-changing injury.
Losses From Catastrophic Injuries
Experiencing a significant injury can impact your life in every way, from your personal life to your work. When you experience a catastrophic injury, there will be emergency medical care, in addition to hospitalization, possible surgeries, and then ongoing treatment and rehabilitation. The compensation from your injury claim should cover all medical care associated with your injury so that you don’t have to worry about paying for any of the costs associated with the injury out of pocket.
Outside of your medical bills, you can seek damages to cover the loss of income associated with your injury. When you cannot return to work, you deserve to recover the replacement of your lost wages, in addition to other work benefits you missed out on, such as accrued sick time and vacation days.
If you cannot return to work that pays as well due to your injury, you should receive compensation for the difference between what you could earn before your injury and after. Should you be completely unable to return to work due to your catastrophic injury, you can seek damages to cover your loss of earning ability from the time of your injury through your working life.
While the financial losses from a catastrophic injury can be extensive, the bulk of many injury settlements addresses the intangible - or non-economic - losses stemming from your injury.
These losses include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental trauma or suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disabilities
- Permanent disfigurement
Never discount such intangible losses, as they are recoverable as part of your claim.
Insurance Companies Offer Quick Settlements at Low Amounts
You might receive a settlement offer from the insurance company quickly after your injury that covers all of your immediate medical expenses and some of your lost wages. It might be appealing, as taking this offer would lead to you having money sooner, but the amount you receive from a quick offer of settlement will rarely come close to covering your full damages.
To compute the full future costs of your injury, you often need expert medical opinions about your symptoms, and the opinion of an occupational expert to determine how your medical condition will influence your ability to work. Insurance companies benefit when you take a quick settlement, but this can leave you with only a fraction of what you deserve. Never accept anything with first consulting with a San Mateo catastrophic injury lawyer.
We know how insurance companies try to limit claims, and we stand up for our clients with severe and life-altering injuries. We can calculate the full value of your claim and then negotiate for a reasonable settlement. If the insurer does not offer what you deserve, we can take your case to civil court and fight for your rights in litigation.
San Mateo Catastrophic Injuries FAQ
San Mateo provides a beautiful backdrop for residents and visitors alike, but catastrophic injuries can suddenly mar the natural beauty of the San Francisco Peninsula. Victims of life-altering injuries in San Mateo often come to us with common questions, including:
How Does the Weather in San Mateo Contribute to Catastrophic Injuries?
Weather can be a factor in catastrophic injuries. As one example, an area with excessive rainfall exposes residents to slip and fall accidents, which can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
The weather in San Mateo is true to typical perceptions of the San Francisco Bay area.
San Mateo experiences a below-average amount of rainfall per year but still receives a fair amount of rain. These rainy days can put visitors and residents in San Mateo at risk of slipping and falling or of being in serious motor vehicle accidents.
Though the summers in San Mateo aren’t especially hot, those who exert themselves can conceivably suffer from heat-related hazards like heat stroke. For example, a worker who suffers heat stroke (a roofer or construction worker) can experience a catastrophic work-related injury.
So yes, weather in San Mateo can contribute to catastrophic injuries. Those responsible for responding appropriately to weather conditions—like employers and business owners—may be liable when weather leads to devastating injuries.
Do Certain Intersections in San Mateo Pose a High Risk of Catastrophic Injuries?
Traffic is always a consideration in how dangerous a city is.
Those cities with dense, poorly designed, or confusing roadways may:
- Require motorists to make far too many judgment calls
- Create unnecessary traffic, which can lead to road rage and other hazards
- Have higher instances of traffic accidents and resulting catastrophic injuries
Traffic in San Mateo is a sufficiently important issue that the county issued a Congestion Management Program Report. The report identifies intersections that fall below the expected level of service or LOS. These intersections are considered “deficient” and thus may pose an outsized danger to motorists and pedestrians.
Perilous intersections receive a Level of Service (LOS) grade of F, as the amount of traffic exceeds these intersections’ infrastructural capacity.
Intersections in San Mateo that pose a high accident risk include:
- SR-82 and 3rd Avenue
- East Poplar Avenue and North Humboldt Street, which is notable for a large number of pedestrian accidents
- El Camino Real and Second Avenue
- El Camino Real and Tilton Avenue
When drivers in San Mateo fail to pay attention or act with caution, any intersection in San Mateo becomes a danger.
What About San Mateo’s Terrain Can Lead to Catastrophic Injuries?
San Mateo’s proximity to San Francisco Bay is perhaps its most notable topographical feature. Access to water means a risk of drowning injuries, boating injuries, accidental falls from ledges near the water, and other water-related hazards.
Destinations like Coyote Point Park are magnets for residents and tourists but can also become hazardous. Inadequate fencing, signs, or supervision near water-adjacent locations in San Mateo can present the risk of catastrophic injuries.
San Mateo also has several roadways that mirror the natural curves of the waterline. These roadways can be dangerous, especially at nighttime, in rainy or foggy weather, or when drivers fail to exercise due caution.
Is Someone Legally Responsible for My Catastrophic Injury?
If you or a loved one suffered a catastrophic injury in San Mateo, you might hold someone legally responsible. Even if a factor seemingly out of human control—like the weather—contributed to your catastrophic injury, one or more people can still be liable.
Examples of liability for certain accident types include:
For a Motor Vehicle Accident in San Mateo
Liable parties may include:
- A motorist who was driving while intoxicated after a day at San Mateo Beach
- San Mateo County, if it failed to install proper signage along a curve in the road
Our firm can diagnose liability for any motor vehicle accident in San Mateo.
Countless incidents can lead to catastrophic injuries. An attorney from our firm will review your circumstances and determine who must pay for your losses.
I’ve Suffered a Catastrophic Injury and Am Unsure of What to Do. What Are the Next Steps?
Catastrophic injuries are as world-shifting as a Bay Area earthquake. Victims often do not know how to proceed, as they encounter a barrage of medical appointments, professional disruptions, and financial hardship.
After a catastrophic injury, your priorities may include:
- Getting the medical care you need: Your health is the most crucial consideration. Costs aside, you must get the care that you need.
- Hire an attorney that you trust: With mounting medical costs and no way to pay for them, your attention will eventually turn to seeking compensation from liable parties. An attorney can do this for you.
These two steps are most important. With your health and pursuit of compensation tended to, you can focus on all other areas of your life.
You need an attorney who has handled catastrophic injury cases. This experience will be invaluable as they take your case.
A San Mateo Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Can Help
Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP proudly serves victims of catastrophic injuries in San Mateo. Having an experienced attorney on your side as soon as possible to advocate for your best interests against insurance companies will give you the best chance of getting the settlement you deserve. We are ready to seek justice for you and your loved ones.