Orange County Catastrophic Injury Attorneys

Accidents happen all the time. You can be driving to the local supermarket and get into a small accident. Or once you’re at the market, you can slip and fall on an unmarked wet surface. Crossing the street, you might encounter a driver who doesn’t notice you but is able to hit the brakes in time to prevent any serious injury. 

But what if that fender bender were a more serious incident, and you suffered severe injuries that would affect your life forever? Likewise with the slip and fall in the market—what if your neck and spine were damaged to the point that you would have trouble walking the rest of your life? Or, what if you were hit by a vehicle while crossing the street? 

Insurance policies don’t always make room for serious injuries like these. That’s why you need a trusted injury attorney on your side to fight for the compensation you need to recover. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in Orange County, California, contact us at the Law Offices of Steven Zwick. Our personal injury attorneys will listen to your story, discuss your legal options, and then help you recover your medical expenses and other losses in a just and fair way. 

Our team proudly serves clients in cities throughout Orange County, including Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Fullerton, Mission Viejo, Los Alamitos, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Tustin, Yorba Linda, and more. Reach out today to set up a time to talk.  

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

A catastrophic injury, by definition, is one that leaves you unable to perform any gainful work for the rest of your life. Not only will you be facing ongoing medical expenses, but you also will have no income to provide for you and your loved ones. A catastrophic injury might be one that affects your spine, brain, or skull. It might also include paralysis, amputation of a limb, blindness or deafness, chronic lung damage, or severe burns. 

If these injuries result from the negligence or intentional actions of others, then the at-fault party can be held responsible. In the examples above, the driver who injured the shopper on the way to the market would likely have auto insurance, upon which a claim could be made. In the slip and fall inside the market, the owner/operator would also likely have commercial liability insurance. Lawsuits are also an avenue to compensation. 


Steven Zwick in a navy suit.

Fault and Comparative Negligence in California

If, for instance, you’re injured in an auto accident, the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company will be responsible for compensating you for your injuries, losses, and property damage. Drivers owe others on the road, whether in vehicles or as pedestrians, a duty of care. If they breach that duty of care, then the legal principle of negligence leaves them open to claims and lawsuits. 

However, and this is where the average claim filer may hit a roadblock, California also recognizes the legal principle known as pure comparative negligence. Under this principle, both (or all) parties in an accident can be assigned a percentage of the fault.  

Say you’re rear-ended in your car, but your brake lights malfunctioned. You could be assigned 30 percent of the fault (or more or less). Thus, if your claim is for $100,000, you would be able to recover only $70,000 -- $100,000 minus 30 percent. 

The point here is that when you press your claim against the at-fault party’s insurance coverage, the parent company will assign a claims adjuster to grill you. The adjuster’s role is to get you to admit some portion of the fault so they can low-ball or even deny your claim. That’s why, if you’re injured in an accident, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Let your lawyer deal with the claims adjuster.  

Damages Available

Say you do file a lawsuit; you can seek both economic and non-economic damages (compensation). Economic means medical and related expenses as well as lost income. Noneconomic refers to the pain and suffering you undergo, as well as the loss of enjoyment in life, and the loss of consortium (companionship). 

Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In California, you generally have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. But every situation is unique, and the law acknowledges this. That’s why there are certain exceptions in place.  

Say you undergo an operation, but it’s not only months later that you begin suffering from the operation that was mishandled. That’s when the clock starts ticking in a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you break your neck in a slip and fall, the clock starts the moment of the slip and fall. 

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you lose a loved one in an accident that caused catastrophic injuries, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. While a lawsuit cannot bring your loved one back, it can hold the at-fault party accountable, preventing future/similar instances of negligence from happening. A successful lawsuit can also help you and your surviving loved ones collect the compensation you need to move forward from the tragedy.  

Surviving spouses and partners and children of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If there is no surviving spouse, partner, or children, then other relatives may file a lawsuit based on California’s rules of intestate succession. In these cases, the statute of limitations is also two years (starting from the date of the death), and our attorneys can help you throughout every phase of the legal process. 

Catastrophic Injury Attorneys Serving Southern California

If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury because of someone else’s negligence or intentional act anywhere in Orange County, California, reach out immediately to us at the Law Offices of Steven Zwick. We will handle your insurance claim and fight for the just compensation due you, and if necessary, launch a personal injury lawsuit. Your first consultation is free.

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