Ottawa Catastrophic Injury Lawyers
Motor vehicle accidents can be shocking, traumatic, life-changing events. For people who have sustained catastrophic impairments as the result of a collision, the injuries arising from their accidents could have prolonged, all-encompassing consequences that impact their physical health, emotional stability, and financial well-being.
In the context of motor vehicle accidents, the term “catastrophic impairment” is more than a descriptive phrase for injuries resulting from the collision. It is a legal term defined by the province of Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) in order to assess the amount of insurance coverage that should be available to severely and permanently injured survivors of motor vehicle collisions.
There are several factors considered when determining catastrophic impairment. In accordance with the SABS, accident-related injuries meet the threshold of catastrophic impairment if they result in at least one of the following medical outcomes:
- Paraplegia or Tetraplegia
- Severe impairment of ambulatory mobility or use of an arm; or Amputation
- Loss of Vision of Both Eyes
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) meeting the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended (GOS-E) criteria
- Physical Impairment or Combination of Physical Impairments (which results in 55% or more of whole person)
- Mental or Behavioural Impairment (excluding Traumatic Brain Injury) Combined with a Physical Impairment (which results in 55% or more impairment of the whole person)
- Marked impairment in three or more areas of function that precludes useful functioning; or an Extreme impairment in one or more areas of functioning due to mental or behavioural disorder
Catastrophically impaired survivors of motor vehicle accidents should be entitled to higher amounts of accident benefits coverage than people whose collisions resulted in less severe injuries. In order to offset the costs of injury-related expenses, all basic auto insurance plans in the province include the following mandatory minimum levels of accident benefits:
- $3,500 in medical and rehabilitation benefits for accident victims who sustained minor injuries
- $65,000 over 5 years for the combined total costs of medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits for accident victims who sustained non-minor, non-catastrophic injuries
- $1 million for life in combined medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits for accident victims who sustained catastrophic injuries
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for insurers to dispute whether an applicant’s injuries meet the definition of catastrophic impairment. Even if their attending physicians have completed an OCF-19 form requesting that a determination of catastrophic impairment be applied to their patient, insurance providers may refuse to pay injured accident survivors what their claim is rightfully worth. This can result in a lengthy and complicated dispute resolution process.
If your insurance provider disputes your claim for accident benefits, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Our Ottawa catastrophic injury lawyers may be able to help you navigate the dispute resolution process and advocate for your rights so that you can receive the benefits to which you should be entitled based on the severity of your injuries. To learn more about options that may be available to you, contact us today and receive a free initial consultation on your case.
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Our catastrophic injury lawyers serving Ottawa appreciate how confusing, disheartening, and overwhelming it can be to push back against an insurance provider who has offered an unfairly low settlement amount, or one who has denied a claim for accident benefits outright. To learn how our Ottawa catastrophic injury lawyers may be able to fight on your behalf to help you get the coverage you deserve, take advantage of a personalized, free initial consultation and discuss your case with us today.