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Catastrophic Injury Lawyer in Elk Grove & Sacramento Area

The O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm is a firm dedicated to helping people affected by serious injuries.

We have taken a special interest in catastrophic injury cases, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, and wrongful death.

We recognize that these types of injuries change our clients' lives forever. As a result, we have dedicated a large part of our practice to helping such victims get the compensation they need to pursue the highest quality of life following a traumatic injury.

Clients who suffer catastrophic injuries will face new physical and emotional challenges. It is our mission to ease their stress during such difficult times. For qualified and dedicated representation contact our firm located in Elk Grove. Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Zehnder will meet with you personally during a free case evaluation to determine a strategy best suited for your needs.


$1.3 Mil Greyhound Bus Accident

$1.4 Mil Product Liability

Bicyclist Hurt in Intersection

Bus Roll-Over Accident in Kenya

$4.2 Mil Construction Site Worker Injured

$430K Trial Victory Against Allstate

$7 Mil Man Paralyzed in Shooting

$600K Fall from a Defective Plank

$450K Faulty Crane Operator


What Are Catastrophic Injuries?

Catastrophic injury is a term defining severe personal injuries sustained on the spinal cord or brain that may result in long-lasting medical problems, physical and emotional changes, and a shortened life expectancy.

These injuries can cause death or often leave the victim with permanent disabilities, for example, quadriplegia. There are various situations and accidents in which a person can sustain catastrophic injuries, such as:

These injuries have long-term effects upon a patient's lifestyle as they often require:

  • Numerous follow-up surgeries (for example the multiple reconstruction procedures for burn injuries)
  • Long-term hospital stays
  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Full-time nursing help

Catastrophic accidents have a disastrous monetary and emotional impact upon a person's entire family. When dealing with overwhelming losses, choosing the most experienced lawyer to represent your catastrophic injury case becomes a necessity.

Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Zehnder have the highest level of qualification in helping victims and their loved ones recover the compensation they have the right to receive from negligent parties. Before the trial, Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Zehnder carefully discuss the victim's situation with medical experts and life care planners to estimate future medical needs. Focusing on such relevant details is essential for the grounds of a successful lawsuit and for obtaining fair compensation.

Types of Catastrophic Situations

A severe trauma can have a lasting impact upon one or more body systems including the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and urinary ones. Managing these effects often requires a team of skilled and experienced health care professionals such as therapists, surgeons, nurses, and counselors. Most of the victims may face permanent disability, reduced life expectancy, and experience long-term pain.

Catastrophic injuries have severe and long-term medical consequences including:

  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Altered thermoregulation
  • Eye injury
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Pulmonary issues and gastrointestinal complications
  • Foot injuries and disorders
  • Limb loss, even amputation
  • Paraplegia or tetraplegia

Frequently, these problems correlated with catastrophic injuries do not surface until weeks, months, or years after the initial accident.

For instance, burn injury victims may need several further reconstructive surgeries. Injured children may encounter difficulties caused by the catastrophic injury as they grow and their condition might require surgeries to accommodate their growth.

Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Zehnder have extensive experience in catastrophic injury cases.

Read more about a specific type of catastrophic injury case:

Distinction Between Common and Catastrophic Injuries

Disputes concerning catastrophic injuries are qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from any other kind of personal injury cases. Their complexity resides in:

  • The difficulty of quantifying the full life-long physical and emotional impact the injury has on the victim's existence.
  • The catastrophic injury's signification is far more intricate than that of a regular one. This entails an elaborate investigation of the event, assisted by professional investigators, liability experts, care assessment experts, and medical experts. They can evaluate the victim's condition and pronounce certified opinions about matters such as prognosis, rehabilitation process, placement, and the length of time he or she is likely to survive.
  • A lawyer's crucial mission is to convince the jury and to prove how the catastrophic injury has long-lasting repercussions upon a patient's family and lifestyle.
  • Obtaining a favorable outcome in a catastrophic injury lawsuit resides in the detailed preparation of several aspects. For instance, it's very important to document the victim's injuries and medical treatment with videos and pictures taken throughout the course of medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Who is Responsible?

Determining liability is a key issue for all individuals who sustain catastrophic injuries. Responsible parties can include:

  • Employers
  • Vehicle drivers or owners
  • Manufacturers or distributors of products
  • Premises owners

Employers can be held liable for the negligent behavior of their employees as long as these are acting according to the conditions of their work contract. For instance, if a taxi driver's carelessness causes an accident, the victim can hold the driver's employer responsible for his or her injuries.

Manufacturers can be held legally responsible for any injuries caused by a defect in their products. Property owners are responsible for injuries caused by dangerous conditions on their property as long as they know or should have known about them and failed to take reasonable precautions.

At the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm we carefully analyze the circumstances of every case to make sure every culpable party is held responsible for our clients' injuries.

Who is Likely to Suffer Catastrophic Injuries?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 200,000 people living with spinal cord injuries in the U.S. and up to 20,000 new cases are being diagnosed each year. The most common cause of these injuries is a motor vehicle accident.

Various types of falls, violence, and sports are responsible for the rest of the cases. Males account for 80% of spinal cord injury patients while the majority of new cases occur in individuals younger than 30.

Individuals working in certain types of jobs are more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. Such dangerous jobs include:

  • Oil and gas platform work. Workers have to deal with hazardous conditions, long working hours, and heavy equipment.
  • Construction site work. Workers often suffer slip and fall or crush injuries due to soaring heights, heavy machinery, and busy contractors.
  • Cab and delivery work. Drivers are permanently exposed to the risk of auto accidents due to dangerous traffic, weather conditions, and tight schedules.
  • Waste collecting. Collectors are exposed to toxic and hazardous materials, also to spinal cord injuries caused by heavy lifting.
  • Airline work. Airport employees are exposed to the risk of severe injuries from airplanes, moving vehicles, and strenuous activities.
  • Sportsmen. Sports activities affect especially people practicing American football, cheerleading, rugby, ice hockey, gymnastics, and skiing.

What Type of Compensation Can Victims Receive?

The type and amount of compensation each victim can receive depend on the circumstances of his or her injuries. The purpose of personal injury compensation is to try to balance the scale between the magnitude of harm and a corresponding amount of money. Therefore, monetary compensation usually covers:

  • Medical bills, including emergency treatment, surgery, and rehabilitation costs
  • Long-term medical care costs including required medical devices like wheelchairs
  • Lost wages during the recovery period if the victim regains his earning capacity
  • Lost future income in case of permanent disabilities
  • Pain and suffering related to injury

Catastrophic injuries usually result in substantial monetary damages because the injuries are so serious. If you or a loved one has sustained a catastrophic injury as a result of another's negligence, you should contact the O'Brien & Zehnder Law Firm immediately so that your right to sue is not lost due to the passage of time.

How to File a Catastrophic Injury Claim

Here are the steps you have to follow to file a catastrophic injury claim:

  • In general, if you have suffered from catastrophic injuries caused by someone's negligence, you have serious grounds for a catastrophic injury claim.
  • Gather any kind of documents and evidence that can prove the extent of your injury. You can include here the police report, videos, or photos of your injury and of the scene where the accident took place, and medical reports detailing your condition and injuries.
  • Get in touch with an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer as early as possible in this process because there is a statute of limitations that governs this kind of lawsuits, and if you don't respect it, you might lose your rights to demand the damages you are entitled to.
  • Together with your lawyer, examine the case and show him/her all the pieces of evidence you've gathered.
  • First, you can analyze the option of settling. If that does not work, you can consider filing a lawsuit. This means that both parties meet to settle the dispute out of court. This is where you need a skilled lawyer who can negotiate the best monetary settlement for you and maybe a few extra conditions as well.
  • If your claim is strong or if the settlement is not sufficient, you can formally accuse the responsible person.
  • Even though you can start a lawsuit, there are yet a few chances that your case may not go to court, since you will likely negotiate with the insurer's representative before the process.

Get in Touch With Catastrophic Injury Lawyers - John M. O'Brien & Grant Zehnder

Regardless of your circumstances, we are committed to providing high-quality representation. Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Zehnder have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for people who have suffered catastrophic injuries. The following are just a few notable verdicts and settlements:

  • Verdict exceeding $7,000,000 for a client who was rendered quadriplegic in a shooting
  • $4,500,000 settlement in a complex product liability case
  • $2,000,000 settlement (insurance policy limit) for a client severely injured at a work site in Modesto
  • $2,300,000 jury verdict against an obstetrician for the wrongful death of a 33-year-old mother of three who died during childbirth
  • $1,400,000 jury verdict in federal court against Wal-Mart in a falling merchandise case

Mr. O'Brien & Mr. Zehnder are leading personal injury lawyers in the Sacramento area. In 2008, he was inducted into the selective national organization, the American Board of Trial Advocates. This honor is only given to a few trial lawyers who are chosen by their peers as having demonstrated high ethical standards and excellence in the courtroom. In California, there are only 1,600 members out of 176,000 practicing attorneys in the state. In 2009, Mr. O'Brien was selected as the Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association Advocate of the Year based on his work in a complicated medical product liability case he successfully handled.

If you've sustained a traumatic injury, or if your loved one was killed as a result of negligence, attorneys John M. O'Brien and Grant Zehnder can help you. They represent individuals and families in Elk Grove, and throughout California.

Catastrophic injury defines serious personal injuries sustained on the spinal cord or brain that may result in a shortened life expectancy, long-lasting medical problems, and physical and emotional changes.Catastrophic injuries can …

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Catastrophic injuries are severe injuries sustained by a person that result in permanent disabilities or require long-term medical treatment. Catastrophic injuries can result in damages to the ce…

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