Being in a car accident is traumatic, and when someone suffers a severe injury, they can face a very long road of recovery.
After a serious car accident injury, it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible. In most cases, a victim's recovery is dependent on having access to robust rehabilitative services. In addition, accident victims will likely need to miss work while they recover. They may also need a personal care attendant or other caregiver to help with household chores, cooking, dressing, transportation and other tasks of daily living.
Given all of this, it is easy to see how the costs associated with severe injuries can quickly add up. Ontario law provides legal protections for people who experience catastrophic injuries as a result of someone's negligence. However, in nearly all catastrophic injury cases, it is necessary to take legal action in order to secure adequate compensation
What are catastrophic injuries?
There are a number of injuries that qualify as "catastrophic injuries" under Ontario law, including, but not limited to the following:
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Amputation of a limb resulting in total and permanent loss of use
- Blindness in both eyes
- Severe brain injury
- Injury resulting in severe impairment of the whole person
- Injury resulting in severe mental or behavioral impairment
Catastrophic injuries are particularly troubling not only because of the physical or cognitive impairments they cause, but also because they cause emotional and psychological distress that can hinder the recovery process.
Many catastrophic injuries aren't immediately evident. For example, a spinal cord injury can cause increasingly severe impairments as time moves on and the pressure within the spinal column builds. Over time, the injury could cause debilitating pain or loss of mobility.
Similarly, the effects of a head injury can persist long after the initial trauma has healed. Traumatic brain injuries can cause a number of significant impairments including headaches, dizziness, changes in personality, cognitive disabilities and impaired motor skills.
In addition, it is important to note that some injuries are specifically excluding from the definition of catastrophic injury. For example, Ontario law classifies whiplash, strains, sprains, bruises and joint dislocations as "minor injuries."
Working with a personal injury lawyer
Some people are hesitant to talk to a lawyer after an accident because they assume the insurance company will pay all of their bills and make a fair offer of damages. In reality, though, insurance companies are profit-driven businesses that often try to settle personal injury claims for as little money as the victim will accept.
This is why it is so important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney in the wake of a serious car accident. Attorneys can help accident victims recover fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.