California specifically categorizes severe motorcycle accidents, from regular accidents. These accidents cause serious, occasionally catastrophic injuries. Catastrophic injuries are severe bodily injuries with immediate, tangible effects. These severe injuries can make it impossible for you to engage in gainful work in the future. Motorcycle accident victims who sustain catastrophic injuries have one or more body components permanently damaged. Spinal cord and brain injuries are a couple of examples of these injuries.

Even though most catastrophic injuries are curable, doing so could take years and be very expensive. Some render you permanently incapacitated, dramatically altering your life. At the Foos Gavin Law Firm, we assist those who have sustained severe injuries in motorcycle accidents in seeking the compensation they are entitled to. You can bring a lawsuit in Sacramento against the responsible party more efficiently with our help, direction, and counsel.

What are Catastrophic Injuries?

Catastrophic injuries are physical injuries that prevent you from working and enjoying life as you would if you had not been injured. They almost always result in permanent disabilities or long-term consequences. They impact vital parts of your body, like your spine, head, brain, limbs, face, or internal organs. Severe injuries like these will significantly impact your life, requiring surgery, extensive treatment, and sometimes artificial limbs to help you cope. Some catastrophic injuries take a long time to heal; others do not heal completely, necessitating the development of coping skills to live a fulfilling life.

Catastrophic injuries can result from a variety of factors. All accidents, including motorcycle accidents, could cause devastating physical injuries. The force of the impact determines the severity of your injuries in an accident. If you are in a serious motorcycle accident, you will most likely sustain severe injuries that will change your life forever. Receiving adequate medical treatment is critical, regardless of the cause of your accident. Catastrophic injuries necessitate extended hospital stays, extensive surgeries, and medical care in the months and years following the accident.

These injuries, unlike minor ones, will most likely affect you and your entire family. Your extended hospital stay will keep you apart from your loved ones for an extended period. Even after you leave the hospital, your relationship with your family will never be the same. They will have to care for you and learn how to deal with the devastating consequences of your injury. For example, if you are entirely disfigured, your loved ones will not see you the same way they did before, which can further restrict your relationship.

After a catastrophic injury, you cannot care for others as you did before the accident. You will most likely be unable to work and will be unable to pay your bills or contribute to your household's income. If you were your family's sole breadwinner, your injuries would impact everyone in your home. They must find other ways to pay the bills and cover hospital expenses. If you contributed to your family's income, you would also need to make some changes. The income of the other contributor will likely need to be increased to meet all your needs.

Catastrophic injuries have an impact on the mental and emotional well-being of everyone else involved. Your injuries will significantly impact how you perceive and feel about yourself. It could be stressful, for example, to be unable to walk, eat, sit upright, or even speak. You will require 24-hour care for your basic needs, like eating and using the restroom. If you have always been self-sufficient, you will begin to rely on others to perform basic tasks. Your loved ones need to start caring for you and themselves, which could significantly improve their mental and emotional well-being.

Treatment of a catastrophic injury has a significant cost implication. However, if you sue the responsible party, you can recover enough compensation to cover past, present, and future costs. If you cannot perform at your current job, your payment will include the opportunity to learn new skills. If your injury prevents you from working, you will need long-term financial support to meet your needs, even after treatment and counseling. You can pay for care services, medical needs, transportation to and from the hospital, and any treatment or therapy that will improve your quality of life.

Catastrophic Injuries You Will Likely Sustain in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle riders are less well-protected than passengers in cars. Since motorcycles are open, the rider is subject to every type of hazard on the road. Additionally, they lack extra safety elements like seatbelts, which are common in cars. Thus, riders will likely suffer devastating injuries even after a minor accident. Catastrophic injuries are unavoidable, mainly if the collision includes a more severe impact. Injury sites could include your head, face, neck, back, or lower body.

The following are some of the catastrophic injuries you could sustain in a motorcycle accident:

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries occur when there is damage to the right bundle of nerves and cells that send and receive signals from your brain to and from the other parts of your body. A direct injury could cause damage to the spinal cord or the bones and tissues surrounding it. Spinal injuries can cause permanent or temporary changes in your movement, sensation, strength, and bodily functions.

Spinal injuries are relatively common in motorcycle accidents. A spinal cord injury can occur when your spine's disks, ligaments, or vertebrae are damaged in an accident. The result could be partial or total paralysis. You could suffer partial paralysis if you have sensations or functions in areas of your body below the damaged site. Complete paralysis, on the other hand, causes you to be unable to feel or move your body below the location of your injury.

The location of the injury along your spinal cord will determine how severe it is. The afflicted area of your body will be smaller if the injury occurs lower on the spine than if it appears higher.

The following are typical signs of a spinal cord injury following a motorcycle accident:

  • Pressure on your head, back, or neck, or severe back discomfort.
  • Loss of sensation or sensibility in the extremities.
  • Losing the ability to control bowel or bladder function.
  • Having trouble breathing.
  • Your extremities are paralyzed, either entirely or partially.

You could lose the ability to regulate your body's temperature, blood pressure, or heart rate if you suffer a spinal cord injury.

If you were in a motorcycle accident and believe you could have sustained spine injuries, you should see a doctor immediately. If your spine is injured, the best immediate treatment is to lie down on a backboard with a unique collar around your neck to prevent further spinal cord damage. Treatment in the emergency room can include spinal realignment and surgery to remove any bone fragments or objects that could be pressing on the spinal column.

You could also require rehabilitative care, pain medications, and learning new skills to address bowel and bladder problems.

Severe Burns

The human skin is the largest organ in the body, serving several functions, like regulating body temperature and protecting the body from internal injuries. You experience heat, cold, pain, pressure, and itching through your skin. Burns can cause damage to all three layers of your skin.

Burn injuries are common in motorcycle accidents. Riders are more likely to suffer burn injuries in an accident because they are more exposed to road risks. Furthermore, motorcycle riders are not adequately protected from the heat and flames that can result from an explosion or fire following an accident. When you suffer burns in an accident, it is best to have your injuries evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible.

The severity of burn injuries is determined by the size of the affected area and the depth of the burn beneath your skin. As a result, you could sustain burns of the first, second, third, or fourth degree.

Although first-degree burns are less severe, they still cause intense pain and skin redness. They only harm the skin's outer layer. They can heal on their own or with minimal medical intervention.

Second-degree burns cause damage to the epidermis and dermis. They cause discomfort, blisters, and swelling. They could leave your skin looking moist and/or with white and red splotches.

Third-degree burns are more damaging to the layers beneath your skin. They are burn injuries that reach the skin's innermost layer. They leave your skin looking charred or scorched.

Fourth-degree burns are injuries to your skin that affect all layers. They can also have an impact on your bones and muscles.

The severity and extent of your burn injury will determine how you are treated. Covering the burned area with sterile bandages, applying topical ointments and creams to help fight infections, and preparing the wound to close are all possible treatments. However, your doctor can recommend pain medication, IV liquids, or surgery for more severe injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs occur when your head is hit or knocked, causing your brain to strike your skull or move within the skull, resulting in brain damage. Some brain injuries occur when an object, like a broken piece of a skull, goes through your brain tissue after a hard fall. TBIs can range in severity from minor concussions to life-threatening injuries that can put you in a coma or kill you. Mild brain injuries can cause temporary damage to your brain cells. They are treatable within a short period. More severe injuries, on the other hand, can cause torn tissues, bruising, and other physical damage to your brain. Severe brain injuries can result in long-term complications or death.

Here are some of the physical signs that you could have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) following a motorcycle accident:

  • Headache or migraine after the accident
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of balance
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to sound or light
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of concentration
  • Changes in mood, personality, or mood swings

You must seek medical attention immediately if you believe you could have suffered a TBI due to a motorcycle accident. A delay could aggravate your injuries and endanger your life. Your doctor will examine you in the hospital and ask how you feel. They will also want to know the details of the motorcycle accident that injured you. Your doctor would do the following, depending on the severity of your injury and the symptoms you are experiencing:

  • A neurological examination to assess your memory, motor function, cognitive function, and sensory functions.
  • An imaging test, like an MRI or CT scan to look for brain swelling or bleeding.
  • A blood test to look for proteins in your brain that could indicate a concussion.


Amputation, also known as traumatic amputation, occurs when a limb (leg or arm) or a digit is amputated (toe or finger). Amputations are common in motorcycle accidents, leaving the injured with a permanent disability. A traumatic amputation caused by a motorcycle accident can quickly become complicated by profuse bleeding. This could result in an infection or shock, both potentially fatal. Sometimes, a limb or digit severed in an accident can be successfully reattached. In other cases, the victim's natural limb or digit is amputated and replaced with an artificial one.

Even though most accident victims who lose a limb in a devastating accident achieve a high level of functionality after successful treatment, they are in a lot of mental and physical pain and suffer from the loss. Some people can live a satisfying life after treatment, while others could suffer for a long time due to their loss. Though you will most likely live a fruitful life following an amputation, the road to recovery can be painful and costly. Amputation is a disfiguring injury that entitles you to financial compensation to aid your recovery.

However, it would be best if you built a winning lawsuit against the responsible party so that the responsible party compensated you for all of your damages. A competent personal injury attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

To fully heal and regain the functionality of your lost limb or digit, you will require high-quality medical care. Your treatment team can include the following professionals:

  • A physician and rehabilitative specialist who will focus on restoring your health and the functionality of your lost limb or digit.
  • A physical therapist will improve your flexibility, muscle strength, and coordination. They will also teach you how to use a prosthesis if it is part of your recovery plan.
  • If you require a customized prosthesis, you will consult with an orthotist or prosthetist.
  • An occupational therapist will assist you in achieving maximum independence and adjusting to your new life after treatment.
  • A rehabilitation psychologist will assist you in grieving the loss or removal of your damaged limb and any other mental issues that can arise from a severe accident, like PTSD.

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries are prevalent in motorcycle accidents. They can become apparent immediately, days later, or weeks after the accident. Keep in mind that motorcycles provide little protection to riders. As a result, even if riders wear the necessary protective gear, they are more likely to sustain severe injuries in the event of an accident.

Internal injuries are easily overlooked due to the lack of obvious physical symptoms. But they pose a greater risk to riders than most physical injuries. Internal injuries that you could sustain in a motorcycle accident include:

  • Tears in your aorta
  • Bleeding around your lungs
  • Pneumothorax or collapsed lung
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Blunt trauma, tears or cuts to internal organs like kidneys, spleen, liver, bowels, stomach, or pancreas
  • Injuries to the reproductive organs
  • Injuries to your muscles, tendons, or joints

Internal injuries are hazardous because they can lead to organ failure and potentially fatal blood loss. They entail lengthy treatment periods and expensive hospital bills. You will need to take time away from work and family to focus on healing and recovery. Some victims require periodic monitoring to ensure that they are not at risk of complications or recurrences of their injuries. Because dressings and ointments cannot be used to treat internal injuries, you will need surgery. Multiple operations can be required for the same injury. Those who survive severe internal injuries must undergo a lengthy and challenging recovery process. Most people's lives are never the same again.

Internal injuries in motorcycle accidents could occur due to the following:

  • Blunt force trauma
  • Decelerating trauma, or
  • Penetrating trauma

Blunt force trauma occurs when a sharp or even blunt object strikes your body with enough force to cause significant internal damage.

Penetrating trauma occurs when a foreign object pierces your skin and travels through your body tissue, leaving an open wound.

Decelerating trauma occurs when organs within your body shift due to severe bodily motion as it happens in a motorcycle accident. Internal bleeding can result from any of these incidents, which is especially dangerous in the heart, head, liver, spleen, lungs, or large blood vessels.

What To Do After Sustaining a Catastrophic Injury in a Motorcycle Accident

If you suffer a catastrophic injury in a motorcycle accident, you must hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Because your injury will keep you hospitalized for an extended period, you will need an attorney to work on your personal injury case while you recover. It is important to remember that the statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents is typically two years. Having your attorney work on your case while you recover ensures that you meet all deadlines for filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. After the two-year deadline, you will be unable to file a lawsuit against the responsible party and could lose your opportunity to seek compensation.

Your attorney will also help you establish fault and list your damages in your claim. Determining fault can be difficult if the cause of your accident needs to be clarified. Following a motorcycle accident, several possible at-fault parties exist, including the driver, the driver's employer, the motorcycle manufacturer, the government agency, or you, the rider. Personal injury attorneys can establish fault and gather sufficient evidence to support a claim in court using their skills and experience. Your attorney can consult with experts like an accident reconstruction expert to determine the cause of the accident and who could be liable.

With the help of your attorney, you will list all your damages to include in your claim. Compensatory damages in cases like these include the following:

  • Medical costs for all past, current, and future medical needs
  • Lost wages for all the income you could have earned were it not for the accident
  • Lost earning capacity for lost abilities to engage in gainful employment
  • Property damage for everything you could have lost in the accident
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment in life
  • Lost consortium

If the judge believes that the responsible party was criminally negligent in causing your injury, the judge could award punitive damages on top of your compensatory damages. Civil court judges award these damages to punish liable parties and to serve as a deterrent to others who engage in similar behavior. These damages will add to the total amount you receive for your losses. If your personal injury attorney believes your case is deserving, they must petition the judge to award punitive damages. They must also demonstrate in court that the responsible party's actions in causing your injury were grossly negligent.

Find a Competent Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

If you have suffered a catastrophic injury in a motorcycle accident in Sacramento, you could be going through the most challenging time. Catastrophic injuries are life-altering and harm your physical, psychological, and mental abilities. You qualify for adequate compensation to seek medical care and meet your other financial obligations until you recover. We will evaluate your case, provide advice and assistance, and assist you in filing a successful claim at Foos Gavin Law Firm. We will not stop until you receive a just outcome in your case. Call us at 916-779-3500 to begin the legal process.