If you ever experience a catastrophic injury, your life will probably never be the same. Ontario law defines catastrophic injuries as permanent impairment of your ability to work or live your life the way you did before the injury occurred.
In Ontario, many different physical injuries can be considered catastrophic for medical and legal purposes. If you or someone you care for has experienced a catastrophic injury, the professional injury attorneys at Wynperle Law may be able to help you win the medical and rehabilitation benefits you need to manage your long-term disability and recover your quality of life.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
The law considers catastrophic injuries to be any kind of physical trauma that permanently and seriously impairs normal life activities, including work. Catastrophic injuries often require years of physical, mental or occupational therapy to manage the impairment they cause. Because these injuries are defined by the permanent impairment they cause, your life may never go back to the way it was before the incident. Many different types of physical injuries can rise to the level of catastrophic, with some of the most common being:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Damage that impairs or causes the loss of an organ, such as a ruptured spleen
- Amputations, such as a lost hand or foot
- Disfiguring injuries that cannot be easily or completely repaired, such as burns
Common Catastrophic Injuries
Almost any kind of accident or other incident has the potential to cause a catastrophic injury. Car crashes, boating accidents, falls and violent trauma are all common causes of life-changing injuries. Certain types of injury come up again and again as part of a catastrophic injury claim.
Brain injury and spinal cord injury can cause a wide range of effects, from mild and intermittent symptoms to catastrophic impairment that affects the whole body, such as coma or a persistent vegetative state. Other types of impairment a traumatic injury can cause include a mental or behavioural disorder that gets in the way of living normally, or even post traumatic stress disorder that occurs as a result of catastrophic injury victims’ experiences.
Using the common legal definition, a person may be deemed catastrophically impaired if the injury or injuries they’ve experienced are serious enough to permanently prevent them from living and working as they did before they suffered catastrophic injuries. Even relatively minor injuries resulting in a loss of limb, such as a toe that had to be amputated after some types of motorcycle accidents, can be regarded as catastrophic under Ontario law if it causes sufficiently severe impairment as to limit the person’s normal activities and/or requires ongoing treatment or therapy to manage.
Have You Suffered a Serious Injury in a Motor Vehicle Accident? Contact a Wynperle Car Accident Lawyer Today
What Does It Take to Manage Catastrophic Injuries?
Recovering from a catastrophic injury is a long process, and it may never be complete. After the initial treatment at the hospital, you may have a range of ongoing needs that will last a lifetime. These can include:
- Physical therapy
- Mental health therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Prosthetic limb replacement
- Fitting of an orthopedic device
- Mobility aids, such as walkers, wheelchairs and shower chairs
- Prescription medications for chronic pain
What Are You Entitled To?
If the catastrophic injuries are caused by another person’s actions, you may be entitled to recover money to help you manage your care going forward. If the negligent party has insurance, you may be able to file a claim that can help support your needs for the foreseeable future. These are not trivial needs, since a catastrophic injury often results in medical bills and other healthcare related costs, future income cost, extreme impairment and pain and suffering you deserve to be compensated for.
Accident benefits you could claim include:
- Attendant care benefits
- Statutory accident benefits
- Rehabilitation benefits
- Income replacement benefits
- Home maintenance benefits
- Future care housekeeping
What to Do When You’ve Been Injured
If you have sustained catastrophic injuries as a result of another person or businesses’ negligence, it’s important to act right away. The less you say at the scene or while you’re in the hospital the better, since anything you say can hurt your case. Do not accept responsibility for anything until you’ve spoken with an experienced personal injury lawyer who knows your rights and can put your situation in perspective for you. Don’t sign anything or speak to the other party’s insurance company over the phone.
If you are the victim of a potentially catastrophic injury, look after your safety and recovery above all else. If it’s at all possible, try to get the names and contact information of the witnesses who saw what happened, and any pictures of the scene if you can. Let trusted family members handle the details of managing your treatment in the early stages, and follow your care team’s instructions to stabilize your condition and start your recovery.
Should You Get a Lawyer?
If there is the slightest chance you will be involved in a case related to your catastrophic injury, get a lawyer without delay. As soon as you’re able to comfortably talk to a personal injury lawyer, it’s important to get your story to them and preserve your memory of what happened. Many catastrophic injury cases come with time limits for how late you can file, so talking to your injury lawyers should be near the top of your priority list.
What to Look for In a Personal Injury Lawyer
Your catastrophic injury lawyer needs to be good at what they do to get you all the help you need after a serious injury. They should have a proven track record of winning cases for their clients, and a solid reputation for vigorous, ethical advocacy that gets you a fair and equitable settlement that covers your ongoing needs. Good personal injury lawyers know how to confront insurance companies and the negligent party’s own lawyers, and they can preserve your rights to recover compensation during the chaotic weeks and months after a serious injury.
Wynperle Law is a Canadian personal injury law firm in Ontario with offices in Hamilton and Guelph. We are experienced catastrophic injury attorneys with years of experience helping people like you, who need serious representation after being hurt in an accident. Call us today at (855) 623-4060 to schedule a free consultation about your case, and protect your rights in court.