Too often, accidents cause serious or catastrophic bodily harm including dismemberment, disfigurement, organ damage, permanent disability, or even death. These serious injuries impact the lives of not just those injured, but also their closest loved ones who may have depended on the victim for support or may become full-time caregivers. California law recognizes the rights of these parties to recover from parties who carelessly or intentionally caused the injury.
California does not, however, require that injury victims suffer a serious injury in order to receive compensation from an at-fault party. Any person who has suffered an injury due to someone else’s wrongful actions may be entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover for related losses. This is true even when a full recovery is expected.
Some people mistakenly believe that a serious injury is necessary in order to be eligible to bring a CA personal injury lawsuit. While that is not necessary, here are a few places “serious injury” comes up.
When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, some states have adopted a “no fault” system, which limits the ability of car accident victims to bring a personal injury lawsuit unless they have suffered a serious bodily injury. These injuries are defined under their respective state statutes and can require permanent disability, loss of a limb, or other hallmarks of catastrophe.
California does not follow a no-fault system; those who are injured in an auto accident have the right to bring a lawsuit for any losses that they suffer, with a few caveats. First, if the victim was also partly to blame for the accident, recovery can be reduced by the proportion of his or her fault. Second, the lawsuit must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is two years from the date of the accident except under special circumstances.
When it comes to workplace injuries, Section 330(h), Title 8, of the California Administrative Code defines a “serious injury” as:
any injury or illness occurring in a place of employment or in connection with any employment which requires inpatient hospitalization for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation or in which an employee suffers a loss of any member of the body or suffers any serious degree of permanent disfigurement but does not include any injury or illness or death caused by the commission of a Penal Code violation, except the violation of Section 385 of the Penal Code, or an accident on a public street or highway
The state statutes require employers to take steps to prevent serious injuries as well as to report them promptly.
Recovering for personal injuries in Southern California
At Salamati Law, we know first-hand that even when a serious injury does not fall into the categories discussed above, it can disrupt the life of an individual and his or her family. That is why our team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers work closely with experts who can help prove your claim and maximize recovery. We are prepared to fight for your best possible result. Call today for a free confidential consultation.
Additional serious injury resources:
- California Department of Industrial Relations, California Administrative Code Title 8 Section 330(h), https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/330.html
- California Courts, Statute of Limitations, http://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm