Last updated Feb. 12, 2018.
Brain injuries are among the most costly and debilitating injuries a victim can sustain. Those who suffer head injuries or traumatic brain injury in an accident in Ontario may be eligible for compensation to address short- and long-term needs. No-fault accident benefits are available in cases related to a motor vehicle, but they may not address adequately the financial needs associated with brain injury.
If you are contemplating filing a brain injury claim for yourself or your loved one, you may be wondering whether or not you need a lawyer and what the benefits are of having a lawyer represent you.
Firstly, you should know that traumatic brain injury claims can be quite complicated because brain injuries are very complex in nature. To win a claim, you’ll need to not only know how to prove the full extent of your injury to the insurer or courts, but also how to navigate the legal system and how to stay within the boundaries of Ontario personal injury laws. Because most individuals with no legal background do not have the experience necessary to handle these cases, it’s in your best interest to have a legal professional assist you.
There are scores of ways a brain injury lawyer can help you. Below we discuss three of the most important benefits they can provide.
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1. A Brain Injury Lawyer Can Build the Strongest Case Possible
Brain injury cases can be difficult to win. There must be solid evidence that the injury was caused by another party and that party is legally liable for the damages. Plus, there will also have to be evidence that effectively shows the insurer or courts exactly how the brain injury has affected you — including how it has affected your work, health, future, relationships, and well-being.
A lawyer will have the resources and legal wherewithal necessary to help with the tasks listed below.
- Gather evidence to support your claim.
- Secure medical expert testimony when necessary.
- Build and present your case to insurers or the court.
For example, motor vehicle accident victims in Ontario typically are eligible for Statutory Accident Benefits. This includes a Medical and Rehabilitation Benefit, as well as other compensation to assist in the care of an injured victim.
These benefits are particularly crucial for a victim who has suffered traumatic brain injury. Understanding the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) and other factors related to brain injury may help you better protect your or your family member’s right to benefits.
It is essential that your loved one’s brain injury is correctly classified after an accident. The SABS requires substantial medical evidence before classifying a brain injury as non-minor or catastrophic. An Ontario brain-injury lawyer will understand the criteria used in making such a classification. He or she can work in coordination with medical providers to collect evidence necessary to support an Application for Accident Benefits.
2. A Brain Injury Lawyer Will Fight for Maximum Compensation
At least 50,000 Canadians suffer brain injury each year, according to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. About half of those brain injuries are sustained in automobile accidents. A severe brain injury is estimated to cost roughly $400,000 at the time of initial treatment, according to ThinkFirst.ca. A study by the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute found follow-up treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) may cost more than $32,000 in the first year alone.
If someone else caused or contributed to your (or your loved one’s) brain injury, you can list all the damages related to the injury on your claim. There are numerous types of damages that might be compensable for you, but that you might be unaware of.
For instance, did you know that you may be compensated for future speech therapy related to your brain injury? Did you know that you may recover your transportation expenses to your specialist appointments? Did you know that if you have to hire someone to do your housework because your injury prevents you from doing it, you may include the cost of the hired help on your claim? Many victims don’t know these things and miss out on money to which they are entitled.
However, if you have a lawyer working on your behalf, he or she can help you create a detailed list of all your damages — and the evidence necessary to prove them — so that you get a fair settlement that address all of your damages.
3. A Brain Injury Lawyer Will Protect Your Best Interests
It goes without saying that a brain injury lawyer should have familiarity with the special concerns associated with traumatic brain injury and head trauma. This includes the common causes of these injuries, the nature of brain injury and recovery, how to determine liability in an accident that has caused a serious head injury, and the long-term financial considerations of treating TBI.
With this knowledge and personal attention to your case, your brain injury lawyer will protect your best interests throughout your case. When insurers try to give you a lowball offer, your lawyer will negotiate for more. When the defense lawyer tries to pin fault on you, your lawyer will argue otherwise. In other words, you will be able to rest at ease knowing that someone is fighting on your behalf, affording you the best chance of winning your claim.
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Questions to Ask a Lawyer about Your Toronto Brain Injury Claim
So, you’ve decided you should hire a lawyer for your Toronto brain injury claim. Because of special considerations with accident cases involving a brain injury, victims should carefully vet all potential lawyers before hiring.
Some of the questions that brain-injury victims should ask during an initial consultation include:
- How many brain injury cases do you try each year?
- Who in your firm has the most experience handling brain injury cases that are similar to my own?
- What is the typical financial recovery for someone with a brain injury like mine?
- What are the potential strengths and weaknesses of my brain injury claim?
- Will my claim take the cost of long-term cognitive therapy and treatment into account?
- Will my claim be able to compensate me for my lost wages and future income if my injury makes it impossible to work?
- Do you have any brain specialists with whom you consult on a regular basis?
- How will you calculate the potential value of my case?
- What results have you garnered for victims with injuries similar to my own?
It is important that a victim hire a Toronto brain injury lawyer with direct experience handling similar cases.