When an auto crash is catastrophic, it could have instantly devastating effects on the victim’s life. The strain of a catastrophic auto accident may add a further burden to your painful injuries that could be lifelong and sometimes permanent. The medical expenses can make this situation appear overwhelming. Taking care of these injuries may need lifelong rehabilitation and medical attention, and you would need help doing so. The initial step in obtaining help is seeking legal representation to make sure your losses and injuries are adequately compensated by those responsible. Although seeking help could be the most challenging step to take, a personal injury attorney can serve to lower the general hassle.

The prominent personal injury lawyers of San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm assists catastrophic auto accident victims in recovering fair compensation for any injuries and losses they have suffered. Our experienced attorneys are passionate when it comes to advocating for you. You can concentrate on getting better as fast as possible while we solve the complexities and intricacies of your claim. Reach out to us any time you or your loved one has a personal injury case involving auto accidents. In this article, we look at what types of auto accidents are catastrophic, their cause, and how to go about obtaining compensation.

Understanding Catastrophic Auto Accidents

Vehicle crashes are one of the unfortunate realities of the present life and may occur even to those drivers and other road users that are most careful. Car crashes can result in severe injuries that might require prolonged medical care and hinder a victim from working. These types of injuries are what we call catastrophic injuries. They include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Amputations
  • Burns
  • Post-traumatic visual loss
  • Internal injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Brachial plexus
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional trauma

These are only but a few of the forms of catastrophic injuries that can occur as a result of a vehicle accident. They are usually life-changing for the victim and his/her family.

Consequently, it’s critical for any person that has been hurt in a vehicle crash to reach out to a skilled auto crash lawyer for a case review. Victims of car accidents may be eligible for legal compensation for the losses and injuries incurred. These include pain & suffering, medical expenses, property damage, or lost wages, as we shall see later on.

Common Causes of Auto Accidents that Result in Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic-related auto crashes may occur due to:


Operating a motor vehicle is already a risky task in itself in most cases. One common thing that makes driving more dangerous is speeding. In California, driving an auto beyond the stipulated speed limit is the most common reason for auto accidents to occur by a wider margin, with a higher possibility of killing a person and an elevated likelihood of catastrophic injuries.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is also one of the significant causes of vehicle accidents.  An inattentive motorist is one who diverts his/her attention from the road and shifts it to other things like talking on the cell phone, sending text messages, eating, looking out through the window, or talking to passengers. When a driver is not attentive, he/she can easily cause an accident by driving into another vehicle, hitting a pothole, or hitting a pedestrian or an animal on the road. These kinds of occurrences, too, can result in catastrophic injuries.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

When a driver is drunk, he/she loses the ability to concentrate and function properly. This is very risky when driving a vehicle.  A DUI causes auto crashes daily, even when they’re one of the primary causes that could be avoided. An auto accident due to drunk- or drugged-driving may lead to several types of catastrophic injuries and sometimes death. It is advisable to use a designated motorist any time you go out drinking.

Wrong-Way Driving

Apart from driver distraction and intoxication, a few drivers merely overlook roadway signs and rules & regulations. When this happens, these motorists may find themselves turning where they aren’t supposed to or in the wrong lane altogether. These types of events result in the most violent accidents on the roads, often affecting several parties.

Despite several safety initiatives being put in place, auto collisions and the injuries and deaths they lead to are continually increasing with no indication of slowing down. Everybody must do what they are supposed to do in maintaining the safety of the road. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and this causes catastrophic crashes to occur.

Catastrophic collisions may ruin a victim’s life. For instance, it may be difficult for them to continue working or even enjoying the pleasures they used to enjoy before. Additionally, the treatment and nursing cost of these injuries can be challenging to raise.

Reckless Driving

In case you do not drive carefully, you might end up being involved in an unnecessary car accident. That is what usually happens to reckless motorists who change lanes so quickly, tailgate, or speed before causing an auto collision. Often, reckless motorists are impatient in traffic. Therefore, ensure you take further care when around aggressive motorists.

Types of Catastrophic Auto Accidents

Knowing the kind of crash in which you are involved is critical when evaluating your case and determining what the ideal cause of legal action will be. Note that hiring a skilled injury lawyer can boost your chances of recovering adequate damages for the losses and catastrophic injuries you suffered in the crash. Here are the various auto crashes that may result in catastrophic injuries:

Rear-End Accidents

A rear-end accident takes place when a vehicle hits another from behind. It occurs mostly during rush hours when there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. How severe this kind of accident varies based on the speed of the car hitting the other. Speed also counts if the crash takes place when both vehicles are traveling high speeds. Like in most accidents, a slight bump on the rear end of an auto that’s driving at an elevated speed may cause that motorist to lose the vehicle’s control. If this happens, what would be a minor fender-bender, may turn into a substantial catastrophic injury accident due to the traveling speed of the cars.

California law dictates that the motorist who hit the car in front is responsible for the collision in many cases. This implies that in case injuries and damages were incurred due to someone rear-ending your vehicle, you are allowed to seek to be compensated by them since they’re ultimately liable for the wreck.

Head-On Collision Accidents

A head-on collision is among the most severe kinds of auto collisions, often resulting in fatalities or catastrophic injuries. This is a crash whereby the front parts of two automobiles collide. The accident occurs when a motorist’s car crosses and enters into traffic that’s heading the opposite direction, making it collide with an approaching vehicle. This impact is mostly unpreventable, and the motorist involved in such a wreck has no means of preventing it. Injuries sustained from these kinds of crashes are usually severe and result in death. Head-on collision survivors are most likely to face steep medical and hospital costs, to add on the trauma and pain of being made victims of something as horrifying as this form of crash.

Side-Swept Collisions

A side-swept impact occurs when two automobiles, usually traveling in a similar direction, meet each other’s side. How severe this kind of accident is is based on whether motorists can control their autos in the course of the crash. If the drivers are capable of controlling their vehicles, the damage on these autos may merely be cosmetic. But, if a single or both motorists aren’t able to control their cars, it could result in a more severe collision involving catastrophic injuries and even death.

Rollover Crashes

A rollover crash involves only a single-vehicle. The auto rolls to its roof or side due to sudden turns or driving at high speed. The rollover may occur because of unpredicted circumstances like objects on the road, slippery roadways, or merely the motorist losing control of his/her vehicle. Autos that aren’t so close to the ground like SUVs or trucks are at an increased risk of rolling over since they have a higher center of gravity. Operating vehicles like these need substantial care when driving at elevated speeds and taking turns. Rollover crashes can be hazardous to the motorist of the auto plus the passengers since the roof is most likely to collapse, leading to severe head injuries.

Multiple Vehicle Accidents

Multi-auto accidents occur when any given collision involves three or several automobiles. A pile-up can take place in residential intersections, but they mostly occur on the highways or freeways. A multi-auto collision usually starts with a single or two automobile accidents. Then it results in a pile-up when other motor vehicles on the roadside aren’t capable of avoiding colliding with the already stopped autos. Large trucks, bad weather that involves low visibility, and slow traffic are the leading causes of these types of accidents.

T-Bone Crashes

Side-impact wrecks are also called T-bone accidents. They occur when the front part of a car drives into the side of another auto. This could happen due to motorists disregarding traffic signals and signs or because of poor weather conditions. In case two automobiles are involved, it is still possible to determine fault with the appropriate legal counsel.  These types of crashes can result in severe damage for a single or both motorists as well as their passengers, particularly those occupying the side seats where the collision occurs.

Hit & Run Accidents

A collision where one motorist flees the scene of the accident is called a hit & run accident. It could be challenging to establish the identity of the vehicle or driver in situations like this.

Single-Car Accidents

A single-car accident is the one that involves only one auto. This kind of crash is also common in California. They happen when an auto hits an object like a tree, pole, wall, or fire hydrant. In specific cases, they might involve pedestrians or other bystanders. Single-auto collisions can lead to passenger and driver injuries, pedestrian or bystander injuries, and frequently massive property damage.

Who is Responsible for the Auto Accident?

For you to hold any party accountable for your lost income, medical bills, loss of future earning capacity, and other losses you went through due to a vehicle wreck, you have to identify that liable party first. In case you were knocked over by a motorist that was stumbling around after the crash and he/she was drunk, then responsibility in your wreck will be apparent. However, it’s not always this simple to identify who ought to be held accountable after an accident. Part of your attorney’s job is to investigate the facts of your collision deeply, so you can know who to sue for compensation.

Based on the reason for your accident, the at-fault party might be another motorist, a government entity, or corporation, and the particular legal issues surrounding your case may vary significantly based on who caused your injuries. Examples of possible negligent parties that might be responsible for your crash include:

Other motorists- Most auto collisions are a result of a mistake on a driver’s part. Even though motorists are required to drive their trucks and care reasonably safely, they don’t always do so. When a motorist is driving unsafely and causes damages and injuries, they may be found to be negligent and accountable for the losses the victims incurred. Examples of motorist negligence include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Violation of traffic rules
  • Aggressive driving
  • Improper passing
  • Failure of the driver to maintain his/her vehicle

Auto Manufacturing Companies- A manufacturer has the legal obligation to produce safe products for use, and vehicles aren’t any different. In case an automobile is faulty, a malfunction may lead to a motorist losing control and usually crashing. Whether the defect resulted in multiple vehicle collisions or a singer auto crash, the manufacturer has to be held accountable for the losses and injuries of the victims if they sold a faulty vehicle. Ways an auto can be defective include:

  • Improper assembly
  • Inherently faulty design
  • Inadequate materials used
  • Failure to recall the vehicle from the market if it has a defect

Government agencies- Mostly, the government is in charge of ensuring that roads are in a secure condition and do not have any hazards that could injure motorists. However, with tight budgets and busy schedules, most government agencies put roadway repair lower on their list of priorities. Most accidents take place due to improperly maintained or inspected roadways, including:

  • Cracks
  • Potholes
  • Dangerous turns or intersections
  • Improperly designed roadways
  • Non-working or improperly timed traffic signals

Damages in Catastrophic Auto Accidents

When your auto accident is caused by someone else’s reckless, negligent, or intentional behavior, there are significant financial implications. You may be forced to file a suit because your whole life, plus the wellbeing of your family, depends on getting compensated by the liable party. Choosing a lawyer becomes a crucial decision for you as he/she is the one to help you prove the negligence of the at-fault party.

When a catastrophic injury is involved, it’s critical to hire an attorney with extensive trial experience. Even though most cases don’t reach the trial stage, a lawyer with this kind of experience has more leverage during negotiations with the insurance provider of the at-fault party compared to attorneys that mostly settle their cases. A skilled lawyer will work with several experts before trial to determine the extent of your injuries and your future needs. 

The compensation in catastrophic vehicle accident cases is likely to be substantial. Like other types of suits, they include lost income, medical expenses, property damage, and out-of-pocket costs. They will also include non-economic damages like pain & suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, loss of consortium, and disfigurement. The amount of non-economic compensation may also be higher due to the nature of the injuries.

Unlike most minor injuries, it’s difficult for the at-fault party’s lawyer to limit the compensation amount granted in a catastrophic injury lawsuit. Therefore, the attorney is most likely to attack the accused’s responsibility. He/she will try to prove that the crash was partially the victim’s fault. 

California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that the victim’s ability to get compensated will be lowered by the degree by which he/she is comparatively or partially to blame for the collision. Unlike in modified comparative negligence states that cap the degree of fault at 50%, courts in California permit victims to recover damages even if they’re 99% to blame for a crash. Therefore, if the court finds that your negligence, too, played a role in the occurrence of an accident, you will obtain only the proportionate compensation amount for which the at-fault party is responsible. The court may award the victim his/her full damages, but an experienced lawyer who can prove that the victim was partly to blame for his/her injuries may limit the amount the victim is owed. 

Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney

If you were severely hurt in a catastrophic auto accident, you undoubtedly need an expert lawyer. There isn’t room for chance when long-lasting pain & suffering, and high medical bills are in question. At the very least, we highly recommend that you consult an injury lawyer, which is charge-free.

Additionally, if you suffered an injury that will require prolonged care or one that resulted in a permanent disability, seeking the services of an injury attorney might be the only means to prevent severe, lifelong financial hardships for you or even your family. Also, your lawyer can help you to:

Determine the Party at Fault

If you’ve been involved in a crash and it’s not clear who is to blame, you ought to consult a lawyer. In cases like this, the insurance company of the other involved party will try to blame you for damages. Speaking with an attorney could help you to defend your rights and protect you from cross-claims and counterclaims.

Additionally, if you are injured in a collision that involved several parties, speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney will provide you with an ideal chance of not being stuck with heavy bills. Lawyers have the expertise necessary to handle multiple insurance providers at a go and to assist in building a solid case to protect their clients.

In a situation where there are multiple at-fault parties for your injuries, an attorney also has the experience necessary to make sure that you recover all the damages you deserve.

Negotiate with the Insurance Companies

Insurance providers are aware that about 99% of injury victims don’t understand the complicated procedures and laws that govern personal injury claims. Therefore, they will use this to their advantage and try to deny a victim’s valid injury claim since they know you can’t do anything about it.

Further, insurance providers also delay claims to beat the hurt victim into submission slowly. They are aware that money is hard to find, and the medical bills are piling up, so they’ll often utilize this chance to offer a fraction of the total amount that your claim is worth. In case any of these scenarios happen, you should speak with an injury attorney right away.

Find an Auto Accident Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of a catastrophic auto crash and you need legal help with filing your claim, a skilled lawyer from San Diego Personal Injury Law Firm can assist you. You have a right to pursue damage recovery for any losses you have suffered because of another person’s negligence. In our free consultation, we will review the details of your case and determine the available legal options. We will also fight on your behalf, whether in or out of the court, to ensure you obtain the best possible legal compensation. Call us at 619-478-4059 for efficient, quick, and cost-effective services.