Why You Need a Lawyer to Help Access Compensation After a Brain Injury
Motor vehicle accidents can result in serious physical injuries. Survivors of car accidents who sustain brain injuries could feel the adverse effects of their collision for weeks, months, or even years after their traumatic experience.
The human cost of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be profound, impacting all aspects of an accident survivor’s life. People who have sustained severe TBIs as the result of a collision could suffer long-lasting physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioural, and financial repercussions.
By working with an Ontario personal injury lawyer, accident survivors who have sustained TBIs might be able to fight for the compensation to which they are rightfully entitled. A lawyer may be able to help injured accident survivors in a number of ways. Whether submitting a claim for accident benefits to an auto insurance provider or filing a civil claim against the negligent driver responsible for the injury-causing collision, the survivors of motor vehicle accidents should feel confident relying on the assistance and advice of our personal injury lawyers.
Applying for Accident Benefits
In accordance with the province’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedules (SABS), all auto insurance plans in Ontario must include basic coverage, including no-fault accident benefits. These benefits are available regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Accident benefits may include medical and rehabilitation expenses, income replacement, caregiver benefits, and other expenses related to the injury.
The amount and types of benefits available to individual claimants depend on the severity of the injuries sustained. The injuries are categorized into three levels of severity: minor, non-catastrophic, and catastrophic.
The benefits available to an injured person vary according to the level of severity of their injury. The amounts included in basic auto insurance plans are as follows:
- For minor injuries, the benefits available are limited to $3,500 for medical and rehabilitation expenses.
- For non-minor, non-catastrophic injuries, the combined medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits available total $65,000 over 5 years.
- For catastrophic injuries, the benefits available are much more extensive and may include up to $1 million medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits for the remainder of the recipient’s life.
Therefore, in order to qualify for higher benefits amounts, an accident survivor’s injuries must meet the threshold of catastrophic impairment. Insurance providers will review the assessments and opinions of the claimant’s physician to determine whether they should be entitled to these higher benefits amounts. For people who have sustained brain injuries, receiving a catastrophic impairment designation may not be entirely straightforward.
The determination of whether a brain injury meets the threshold of catastrophic impairment is based on the Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOS-E). The GOS-E measures the degree of functional impairment resulting from an injury. The assessment is carried out by a health professional, and the score is based on the individual’s level of cognitive functioning, mobility, and capacity for daily living activities.
Based on the criteria defined by the SABS, a motor vehicle collision survivor’s brain injury might meet the threshold of catastrophic impairment if they have one of the following outcomes at the following points in their recovery processes:
- Vegetative state (assessed at least 1 month following the date of injury)
- Upper or lower severe disability (assessed between 6-12 months following the date of injury)
- Lower moderate disability (assessed 12+ months following the date of injury)
An qualifying assessment from a medical professional is not enough to secure a catastrophic impairment designation for a car accident survivor who has sustained a TBI. They must also show positive findings of the injury on a medically accepted brain imaging scan (CT scan, MRI, etc).
Unfortunately, even after submitting this proof, insurance providers might be reluctant to pay claimants the benefits they should be owed. Insurance companies often try to dispute the severity of brain injuries or claim that they do not meet the threshold for catastrophic impairment.
In such cases, an Ontario accident benefits lawyer may be able to help by providing legal representation to the injured individual and advocating on their behalf with the insurance company. If an insurance company has disputed the severity of your brain injury and offered you accident benefits lower than what you deserve, contact us today.
Pursuing a Civil Claim
Oftentimes, motor vehicle collisions that result in brain injuries are caused by negligent drivers who fail to uphold the duty of care they owe to other road-users. If another driver’s misconduct on the road caused you to sustain a TBI, you might be entitled to work with our Ontario car accident lawyers to file a civil claim against the responsible party. By doing so, you might be able to recover additional compensation. The damages to which you might be entitled could be economic or non-economic in nature.
Economic damages refer to the financial losses that an accident survivor has incurred as a result of the injuries they have sustained. These might include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket expenses that are directly related to the injury. Economic damages can be calculated with relative ease, as they are based on actual expenses and losses that the injured person has incurred or will incur in the future.
On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to the intangible losses that an injured person has experienced, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify, as they are subjective and vary from person to person. They are not based on actual expenses or financial losses, but rather the impact that the injury has had on the person’s life and well-being.
The effects of catastrophic brain injuries can adversely impact all areas of an accident survivor’s life. They may be unable to continue working, form and maintain interpersonal relationships, or carry out the daily functions of regular living independently.
If the actions of a negligent driver caused you to sustain catastrophic brain injuries that have had a negative impact on your overall quality of life, our Ontario car accident lawyers may be able to help you secure the maximum amount of damages available to you, including compensation for your emotional pain and suffering.
To learn more about working with Preszler Injury Lawyers after sustaining a TBI in a motor vehicle accident, schedule your free initial consultation with us today.