Catastrophic Injury Attorneys in Los Angeles
Catastrophic injuries result from a wide variety of accidents. Vehicle crashes are a significant contributor to catastrophic injuries, but they’re not the only problem. National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center data reveal that while vehicle accidents generate 38.3 percent of all spinal cord injuries, falls produce another 31.6 percent. Meanwhile, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identify falls and being struck by objects as the cause of 62 percent of all traumatic brain injuries.
Whatever the cause of an accident, for those who survive a horrific physical trauma, life changes forever. Accident victims must endure rigorous emergency treatments and lengthy hospitalizations. If medical intervention is successful, injured victims and their families must adjust to a new way of life marred by pain, inconvenience, and long-term disabilities. The costs of repeat hospitalizations, continuing medical care, living assistance, and diminished earning capacity may result in multimillion-dollar losses during the course of a lifetime.
Throughout California every year, car accidents, pool mishaps, construction accidents, manufacturing incidents, product defects, and organized sports accidents result in all manner of catastrophic injuries, including severe brain and spine injuries, burns, and traumatic limb crushing and amputations.
Catastrophic injury-causing incidents often share two common traits: A negligent or reckless act is the initiating cause, and someone other than the victim is at fault.
No Injury Is Too Serious for Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
Our firm represents clients with catastrophic injuries. We believe that negligent or reckless parties should pay for the injuries they cause. Our attorneys commit their legal experiences, resources, and tireless efforts to recovering multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for many severely injured victims. We’ve also helped families recover damages when catastrophic injuries caused their loved ones’ wrongful deaths.
Catastrophically injured persons present legally and medically complex cases. Their medical and rehabilitation costs can easily exceed $1 million during the first year alone. After reaching maximum healing, victims often live with lifelong impairment, financial insecurity, and lost career and life opportunities. For optimum results, the law firm that represents a catastrophically injured person should have the resources to meet the inherent challenges of pursuing justice to its fullest possible extent.
While many firms will agree to handle a catastrophic case, few have the experience and resources to produce consistently successful outcomes. At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our team handles the complex catastrophic cases that other, less-experienced firms struggle to handle. Indeed, fellow lawyers often refer their most difficult catastrophic injury cases to us because of our track record of success in those cases.
We Give Our Clients the Attention They Deserve
Catastrophic injuries, disabilities, and personal and financial disruption can leave an injured victim feeling vulnerable and anxious. The process of pursuing insurance claims and litigating against responsible parties can increase that anxiety. That’s why we do our best to promote our clients’ peace of mind. Our attorneys give clients the care and attention they deserve, treating them like family from the first interaction to the last. Active engagement with our injured clients helps us understand their most critical needs. It also inspires us to provide the highest caliber representation possible.
Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Recovered for Catastrophic Injury Victims
At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our attorneys work toward the best results possible. That means preparing our clients’ cases from day one as though trial were inevitable. When the opposing party is reasonable, prudent, and fair, we have no problem negotiating a settlement if possible. But if we cannot reach an appropriate settlement for our client’s case, we do not flinch at proceeding to trial and positioning our case for the best results possible.
Our firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our catastrophically injured clients. Here are just a few of the results that illustrate our track record of success.
- $25 million settlement: A construction worker received severe electrical injuries and third-degree burns after contacting an underground electrical line while drilling at a construction site. The city of Alameda settled the case.
- $32.5 million settlement: The defendant’s auto struck a vehicle in which the plaintiff was a passenger. The plaintiff sustained catastrophic intestinal injuries and a loss of digestive tract function.
- $36.1 million verdict: A car hit a young girl as she ran across the street to catch a school bus. The jury found the bus driver and bus company negligent for failing to report a dangerous intersection
- $13.8 million verdict: A 56-year old unemployed LACMTA bus passenger sustained injuries when the bus struck a parked transportation carrier. The plaintiff’s subdural hematoma caused brain damage and hemiplegia. The court awarded a judgment against the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
- $5.5 million settlement: A 32-year-old female motorcyclist lost traction on a roadway flooded by pool water negligently pumped into the street. The motorcyclist sustained a brain injury.
- $4.9 million verdict: Anoxia during a breech birth caused infant brain damage. The court awarded damages against Calexico Hospital.
Our past results don’t guarantee future outcomes, but our firm is proud of our accomplishments.
Why Other Law Firms Refer Catastrophic Cases to Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
When Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, accepts a catastrophic injury case, we take on its accompanying challenges. We understand that the large and powerful corporations who are often responsible for our clients’ injuries have both the financial ability to pay, but the inclination to fight tooth-and-nail against opening their checkbooks.
We don’t back away from the challenge. We’re determined to seek fair compensation for our clients and we have the resources and experience to put our clients’ best case forward:
- Our firm has won many seven- and eight-figure verdicts for catastrophically injured clients and their survivors.
- Our successes help us develop our resources, allowing us to invest in comprehensive investigations and meticulous trial preparation.
- We employ skilled investigators that we have used to uncover the evidence, witnesses, and documents necessary to analyze liability and prepare strong cases.
- We have retained medical and economic experts, reconstruction specialists, non-destructive testing technicians, engineers, test laboratories, and other professionals to analyze damages and evidence and support product defect allegations.
- Our attorneys offer litigation and procedural knowledge derived from courtroom experience. We negotiate aggressively and present cases with the primary goal of defeating corporate defendants and their insurance companies when they are not offering full and fair compensation.
- Our firm has worked hard to develop our status as a preeminent, trusted California catastrophic injury law firm.
- We are a plaintiff’s firm only. We commit our time, energy, and resources solely to recover damages for catastrophically injured victims and their survivors.
- Our firm has received recognition from Best Lawyers in America as the number one personal injury law firm in California. Our lawyers have received honors—jointly and individually—from the National Law Journal, the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, Consumer Attorneys of California, the American Trial Lawyers Association, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, and many other professional publications and organizations.
- Our reputation for multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts precedes us, giving us a level of esteem and a reputational advantage a small-claims litigation firm cannot offer.
What Injuries Are Considered Catastrophic?
The term catastrophic injury encompasses a wide range of life-changing medical conditions. Brain and spine injuries are the most widely recognized of these, but the category also encompasses traumatic amputations, severe burns, and any condition that leaves an injured person with a serious loss of bodily function.
Medical expertise often saves catastrophic injury victims’ lives, but it can’t always restore them to full health, cognition, and mobility. When people sustain catastrophic injuries, their new normal must integrate daily living with ongoing care, therapeutic maintenance, family assistance, and a serious financial commitment.
Spinal cord injuries: The National Spine Injury Statistical Center estimates 17,700 new spinal cord injury cases occur each year. Vehicle accidents—autos, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs—are among the primary causes. Falls and gunshot wounds also play significant roles in causing these injuries. Victims may die immediately following a major spine trauma. Those who survive often live with severe disabilities.
The extent and location of a spinal cord injury determine a person’s disability. Paralysis and loss of bodily function occur at the damage site and below. If the cord is damaged but not severed, the condition is considered incomplete. When the cord is severed, the complete trauma causes a greater loss of bodily function. The higher the damage is located on the spine, the more bodily function a person may lose.
Tetraplegia, paraplegia, and triplegia are the three primary injury designations. They’re based on injury location, damage severity, and loss of function.
Traumatic brain injuries: CDC data documents traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a major cause of disabilities and a factor in 30 percent of all injury deaths. TBIs are caused predominantly by severe head trauma, falls from high elevations, and serious auto accidents. The worst traumatic brain injuries occur from severe blows or jolts the body or head. This causes the brain to slam against the interior skull and often causes brain and brainstem damage, bleeding, swelling, coma, or death.
Injury location and damage severity determine a patient’s symptoms. TBI injuries cause cognitive and motor function, sensation loss, and emotional impairment.
TBI injury categories include:
- Closed head: The brain is forcefully twisted or shaken within the skull.
- Open wound: An object breaks the skull and penetrates the brain
- Crushing injury: May cause brain or brain stem damage
Serious burns: Extensive burn injuries can occur as a result of an electrical accident on a construction site, a commercial premises fire, a workplace chemical event, a truck accident, or a residential fire. As described by the NIH, severe burn injuries cause shock due to the body’s inflammatory response.
Following emergency and inpatient hospital treatments, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-degree burn victims often require long-term rehabilitation, skin grafts, scar revision surgeries, infection prevention measures, and ongoing medical and psychological treatments.
- Third-degree burns destroy the skin’s dermis and epidermis, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
- Fourth-degree burns cause damage down to the body’s fat layers.
- Fifth-degree burns cause damage down to the muscle.
- Sixth-degree burn damage extends to the bone.
Post recovery, victims experience residual symptoms, including pain, infections, vision or hearing loss, scar numbness, breathing difficulties, and even amputations.
Amputations: Amputations often occur as a result of serious auto and truck accidents and on-the-job trauma. The severe impact when a heavy truck collides with a smaller vehicle may crush or shatter a limb, leaving amputation as the only medical alternative. Job-related injuries are a well-documented cause of amputation injuries.
OSHA’s initial report, Severe Injury Reporting Program: An Impact Evaluation, documented 2,644 work-related amputations during a single year; 57 percent of workplace amputations occur during manufacturing operations. In many cases, safety measures and employer-implemented safety programs would have protected workers from injury.
The trauma of an amputation, the lifetime of disabilities, lifestyle changes, lost earning capacity, and severe disfigurement are among the most significant aspects of an amputation injury. After the initial medical treatment and inpatient care, expenses for future treatment include rehabilitation services, prosthetics, and treatment for psychological trauma.
Assigning Fault for Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Negligence
California’s comparative negligence statute recognizes that when an accident is caused by someone’s negligence, liability is often shared by more than one person or entity for the same injury event. (In contrast, a strict liability standard applies to product defect cases, meaning that in most cases, anyone in the chain of creation and distribution is responsible when a product causes injury, regardless of whether negligence is shown.)
For example, several parties may share liability in the following cases:
- Vehicle accidents: Autos and trucks aren’t the only vehicles that cause catastrophic injuries. The list also includes motorcycles, bicycles, all-terrain vehicles, trains, buses, and others. Liable parties may include the vehicle operator and owner, and if a defect causes the injury, any corporation that’s responsible for vehicle maintenance or manufacture.
- Truck accidents: A truck driver and the employer or motor carrier are often liable due to negligent operation, loading, supervision, and hiring. Other involved parties may share liability for load-shifting accidents, failed maintenance, defective manufacturing, and other negligence.
- Falls: Falls are a significant cause of spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. A premises owner, employer, subcontractor, or maintenance contractor are often responsible parties.
- Sports injuries: Organizers, sponsors, team managers, and equipment manufacturers are often responsible for SCI and TBI injuries related to diving, skiing, surfing, horseback riding, and other sports.
- Construction accidents: Construction site negligence causes brain and spinal injuries, traumatic amputations, and other catastrophic injuries. General contractors are responsible for site safety, but subcontractors, delivery companies, architects, and others may share responsibility.
- Violent acts: Property owners, management contractors, and security firms share liability when persons are injured by violent acts or other safety issues.
- Product defects: When a product malfunction or defect causes an injury, the manufacturer, distributor, or any entity in the chain of distribution or maintenance may be strictly or negligently liable.
Of course, the potential for sharing liability also allows opposing parties to claim that the victim contributed to the injuries. At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, we prepare our cases diligently to defend against these sorts of claims. If the negligent party is trying to shift blame for your injuries to you, give us a call.
Investigation and Evidence in Catastrophic Injury Cases
At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our in-house investigators have worked hard to help us maintain professional investigative standards. In past cases, our investigation team has helped us to obtain:
- Witness statements: Witness statements can prove critical in catastrophic injury cases. Witnesses, however, move or become unavailable. As with most people, a witness may forget details as time passes. Our investigators have worked hard to quickly obtain eyewitness testimony to corroborate our clients’ versions of the events that led to their injuries.
- Site investigations: Whether a truck accident, product malfunction, construction site injury, or other event caused our client’s injuries, when appropriate, our investigators have visited the location of accident scenes, producing photographs, descriptions, and diagrams to help us better present our cases.
- Truck activity recording devices: Commercial truck drivers present such high risks on the highway that they are legally required to document their activities via paper logs, black boxes, or Congressionally mandated Electronic Logging Devices.
- Machine/equipment maintenance records: Manufacturers often maintain maintenance logs for the machines on their production floors, especially the older equipment.
- Product retrieval: Our investigators have retrieved defective products for nondestructive testing. We have stored defective products in an evidence warehouse where we have conducted demonstrations for judges, juries, and opposing counsel that proved how those products injured our clients.
Contact Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
Vehicle accidents, construction events, and many other accidents cause catastrophic injuries, leaving victims to live with the results. When parties other than the victims have responsibility for causing these accidents, our attorneys believe you deserve fair compensation.
We dedicate our law practice to injured people who have sustained severe brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and other catastrophic injuries due to someone else’s negligence or reckless conduct. We have also represented families for wrongful death actions against the parties responsible.
We not only represent catastrophic injury victims, we also provide our skills and resources to other personal injury attorneys. We invite you to schedule a free consultation by completing our online contact form or calling us at (310) 576-1200.