Paying for a Personal Support Worker and Attendant Care After an Injury
Recovering from a serious injury can be a challenging experience. Injured accident victims often find themselves fighting uphill battles, physically, emotionally, and financially. Accident survivors who have sustained severe or catastrophic injuries may be required to make difficult adjustments to their normal routines and activities. If injured accident survivors are no longer able to perform regular daily functions, they may benefit from the care of a personal support worker.
However, as with many medical expenses, the cost of care from a personal support aide can be expensive. Even though families want their injured loved ones to receive the highest level of support available to them, the cost of attendant care may simply be too expensive to afford. Often, this means family members are forced to make difficult decisions along with personal and financial sacrifices. Family members of injured accident victims may find themselves either struggling to pay for the services of an in-home support worker or performing the duties of a support aide themselves.
When people are no longer able to function independently because of the injuries they have sustained in an accident, social isolation coupled with the anxiety of financial precarity can lead to secondary disabilities in the form of serious mental health issues, like depression. Accident victims may worry about being a burden to their loved ones, either because they have been forced into debt to pay for attendant care, or because they have taken on the difficult responsibility of personally supporting their injured relative.
In Ontario, the cost of a personal support worker typically ranges between $28-$35 per hour. The cost of care may double if the support aide is a registered nurse. If an injured accident victim requires live-in support, the cost could vary between $1,900-$3,500 per month, plus room and board. Additionally, if twenty-four hour care is needed, in order to comply with provincial labour laws, two or three support workers may be required to balance the work schedule.
To offset the high costs of attendant care, injured car accident victims and their families may be able to access attendant care benefits. Additionally, depending on the nature of the accident that caused their injuries, accident victims may be eligible to recover compensation through legal action. To learn more about options that may be available to you, speak with an Ontario personal injury lawyer today.
Attendant Care Benefits in Ontario
In accordance with Ontario’s Insurance Act, all drivers are required to carry insurance policies that cover the province’s Statutory Accident Benefits schedule. This means that, after a motor vehicle collision, regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident, insured drivers should be able to access benefits to cover certain costs stemming from injuries they have sustained.
If an injured car accident victim is able to prove that their injuries fall outside of the Minor Injury Guideline and that their requirement for the attendant care services are medically supported, they may be eligible to receive Attendant Care Benefits. These benefits can be used towards the costs associated with convalescence in a long-term care facility. They can also allow the injured victim to hire an in-home personal support worker to attend to their daily needs. These may include:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Administering medication
- Transportation to medical appointments and social events
- And possibly more
However, Attendant Care Benefits are not available indefinitely and the total cost of available payments are subject to a price cap. The amount of benefits payments issued to each eligible claimant and their duration of availability is determined according to the injured party’s needs. Standard insurance policies have provisions for the following Attendant Care Benefits:
- Non-minor injuries: Claimants can receive a maximum of $3,000 per month from the date of their injury, up to a total of $36,000.
- Catastrophic Injuries: The total amount of Attendant Care Benefits a claimant can receive is up to $1 million (shared with the Med/Rehab benefit), paid monthly in increments of up to $6,000.
Attendant Care Benefits are not available for accident victims who have suffered minor injuries. Insurance policyholders may decide to purchase additional coverage and pay higher monthly premiums to access more attendant care benefits in the event of a disabling accident.
Before an eligible policyholder will be able to receive Attendant Care Benefits payments, their medical condition must first be assessed by a registered nurse or occupational therapist who will be able to assess the appropriate level of care the injured accident victim will require. Their assessment form must then be sent to the injured party’s insurance provider. Insurance providers have ten business days to respond to the assessment.
For a number of different reasons, even if the assessment of a registered nurse or occupational therapist determines that the injured accident survivor should receive in-home care, insurance companies may decide to deny an eligible claimant’s request for Attendant Care Benefits.
If your claim for Attendant Care Benefits was disputed or denied, an Ontario lawyer may be able to review your situation and advise you of options available to you. With the assistance of a lawyer, you may be able to appeal the insurance company’s initial determination.
While the cost of standard Attendant Care Benefits can certainly help families struggling financially in the wake of a disabling injury in their household, depending on the severity of the injuries sustained, they may not be enough to cover the required costs of attendant care. For example, according to research available through the National Library of Medicine, a single Canadian’s estimated lifetime expenses resulting from a severe spinal cord injury can range from $1.5 million to $3 million. Considering a total of only $1 million worth of Attendant Care Benefits is available to those who have sustained catastrophic injuries, to fully cover the costs resulting from their injuries, accident victims may need to pursue financial compensation from other sources as well.
Filing a Lawsuit for Injuries Caused by Negligence
Whether your injury was sustained behind the wheel of a car, on another party’s property, or in another scenario, if someone else’s negligence was the primary cause of your accident, an Ontario personal injury lawyer may be able to help you pursue financial compensation from them by filing a tort claim, also known as a lawsuit.
With the assistance of a lawyer, accident victims who were injured because of another party’s negligence may be able to recover the costs of damages they have incurred or will incur in the future. These damages could include the costs of in-home attendant care, ongoing live-in assistance, or convalescence in a long-term care facility. Some other examples of damages an accident victim may be able to recover in a lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- Pain and suffering
- And possibly more
By compiling and presenting a thorough collection of evidence, an Ontario personal injury lawyer may be able to prove the following:
- The at-fault party owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The at-fault party failed to fulfill their duty of care.
- The failure to fulfill their duty of care caused an accident to occur.
- The resulting accident was the primary cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Additionally, a lawyer may also present evidence to illustrate the degree to which the at-fault party’s negligence negatively impacted their client’s quality of life. If the lawsuit is resolved in their client’s favour, they may be able to recover financial compensation from the people responsible for causing their accident.
Support for Canadian Families
When close relatives sustain disabling injuries that make it impossible for them to live independently, family members are often forced to leave their jobs, relocate, commute long distances, help renovate or refurbish their relative’s living space to accommodate their accessibility needs, and even act as their primary caregiver. Their commitment to their family member’s care can be overwhelming, both emotionally and financially.
If you need to take time away from work to provide care for a critically injured or ill family member, you may be eligible to receive Caregiving Benefits, available through the federal government’s Employment Insurance (EI) program. Eligible caregivers may be able to receive 55% of their regular wages up to a maximum of $595 per week, for a predetermined length of time dependent on the care recipient’s age. These payments are designed to help alleviate the personal sacrifice of caregivers who choose to take time away from their work to provide necessary support to their injured or ill loved one.
To claim these benefits, caregivers do not necessarily need to be related to the accident victim by blood, but the injured party must consider them to be a part of their family.
How Preszler Injury Lawyers May Be Able to Help
If you’ve been seriously injured as the result of an accident and are having trouble coping with the new financial realities of your situation, Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to review your circumstances and provide you with useful legal assistance and advice.
To discuss your case in a free, initial, no-obligation consultation, contact us today, or call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 1-800-JUSTICE.