home personal injury serious injuries

Santa Barbara Serious Injury Lawyers

We Handle Catastrophic Injury Cases in Santa Barbara

In a split second, an accident can change your life forever. While a minor crash can result in broken bones that take months to mend, more serious accidents can result in catastrophic injuries. These injuries involve the loss of a sense, a complete change in lifestyle, or changes in the personality, which will impact the injured person and his or her entire family.

At NordstrandBlack PC, we represent people who have suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence. If you or a loved one needs our help, contact us online for a free consultation. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis. You don't pay for our services unless you receive compensation for your injuries.

What Are Catastrophic Injuries?

This term generally refers to injuries that are so destructive that they change a person’s life forever. They can include serious facial injuries that destroy sense organs (eyes or nose) and leave people disfigured; traumatic amputations; and spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis.

In many cases, any kind of recovery is partial at best, because full recovery may be impossible with modern medicine. Someone who suffers a catastrophic injury is often unable to go back to work or loses out on opportunities for future advancement or new career options.

In fact, the fallout of catastrophic injuries is strongly felt by the victim’s friends and family members, not just the victim. Paralysis or a traumatic brain injury can leave a person unable to care for himself, and he must rely on a spouse, family member, or healthcare professional to assist with daily tasks. This scenario can be frustrating for even the most loving family members, and may result in changes in the relationship or even divorce between spouses. A brain injury can turn a spouse into a stranger, or leave an adult child unable to care for his parents – which can have devastating consequences for decades.

We have handled the following types of serious injuries:

Traumatic Amputation

Traumatic amputation is the second leading cause of amputation in the United States. (The leading cause is vascular diseases such as diabetes.) Traumatic amputations result from sudden accidents where a body part, typically a toe, finger, hand, arm, foot, or leg, is completely or partially severed from the body. The most common cause of these amputations is vehicle accidents, though they can also happen due to industrial accidents, construction accidents, and firearm accidents.

Following traumatic amputation, surgery is generally required to repair the neuromuscular tissue, close the skin, and reattach muscle. Traumatic amputation is potentially life-threatening and requires emergency treatment followed by long-term medical care and rehabilitation. Whether a body part was successfully reattached or not, an amputation victim may suffer from the following conditions:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Necrosis of the replanted body part
  • Vascular problems
  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Muscle shortening
  • Chronic pain
  • Physical inactivity


Paralysis is usually caused by an accident in which the nerves that run through the spine are damaged. “Partial paralysis” indicates that the victim has partial control over muscles below the level of spinal cord injury, while "complete paralysis" means the victim has no muscle control at all. The type of paralysis depends on the location of the injury.

  • Monoplegia – Paralysis of a single part of the body, usually one limb. Monoplegia is usually caused by cerebral palsy or a traumatic brain injury, but it can also result from nerve damage.
  • Hemiplegia – Paralysis of an arm and leg on the same side of the body. Much like monoplegia, it is usually caused by a brain injury or malformation.
  • Paraplegia – Paralysis below the waist, usually affecting both legs. Such paralysis is frequently caused by spinal cord injuries, and the exact parts of the body affected depend on where the injury occurred on the spine.
  • Quadriplegia – Paralysis of all four limbs and the torso, also called tetraplegia. Spinal cord injuries in the neck or shoulder area typically cause this kind of paralysis, though it can also be caused by traumatic brain injuries.

Vision Loss Due to Trauma

Although vision loss can occur due to brain damage, and injury to the eye or facial bones can also destroy vision. Direct impact with a hard or sharp object may damage one or both eyes; for example, broken glass entering the eye in a car crash. Harsh chemicals can also cause vision loss, which is why safety equipment is so important for professionals handling such products.

Minor injuries might only cause temporary vision loss that can be repaired through treatment or surgery. Catastrophic injuries, however, mean the destruction of the eye or permanent vision loss, whether partial or complete.

Hearing Loss Due to Trauma

Hearing loss in an accident is rarer than vision loss, since the sensitive parts of the ear are more protected than the eyes are. A blow to the head or direct damage to the inner ear, however, can easily result in temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Traumatic brain injuries to certain regions of a person’s brain can also cause hearing loss, which may be permanent. Partial hearing loss can often be treated through the use of a hearing aid, though surgical procedures may be necessary in some instances. For total hearing loss, full recovery might not be possible.

This can have a tremendous impact on the rest of a person’s life, including his professional opportunities, relationships with friends and family, and general quality of life.

What to Do after a Serious Accident

NordstrandBlack PC advises clients to seek immediate medical attention if they are injured in a catastrophic accident. If possible, photograph the scene, whatever caused your injury, and all visible injuries you have suffered. You should get contact information for all witnesses and call the police and a lawyer to represent you.

By law, you are entitled to recover money for injuries and losses caused by another person or company. There are two categories of damages available in California: economic damages and non-economic damages.

  • Economic damages: These damages are quantifiable financial losses that can be clearly shown in a civil court or during arbitration. This includes things such as lost wages and earnings, medical expenses, and other out-of-pocket spending. You can even include lost future earnings due to how a serious injury or amputation has changed your life and professional outlook.
  • Non-economic damages: Often referred to as "pain and suffering," these damages include past and future physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional distress. Non-economic damages are difficult to determine because there is no formula to calculate this loss, which is subjective; it is based on how the injuries have changed your quality of life.

Each person’s damages are different. An experienced Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer knows how to present these losses to an insurance company and a jury to maximize your recovery.

How We Can Help Serious Injury Victims

Catastrophic injuries require extensive medical care and rehabilitation, and the victim is rarely able to work. The expenses associated with an injury can be overwhelming. Without an income, these expenses are impossible to pay.

Attorney Renée J. Nordstrand-Black understands that the financial needs of a seriously injured person may be ongoing. That is why we focus on seeking compensation to cover the long-term expenses associated with an accident. We work with medical experts and accident reconstructionists to build our cases. Whatever is necessary to maximize the amount of compensation we can get for a client, we will do.

The Santa Barbara serious injury attorneys at NordstrandBlack PC have over 75 years of combined experience. We know the law. We know how insurance companies work and we vigorously advocate for our clients. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury such as a traumatic amputation due to someone else's negligence, then you deserve compensation. Call us at (866) 298-2041 for a free consultation.