Most accidents like car accidents in Ontario result in a few minor injuries, if there are any at all. But in the worst cases, accidents are so serious that victims may suffer a catastrophic injury.
Catastrophic injuries can stay with a person for their entire life, and can cause them great emotional and financial suffering. To make matters worse, in Ontario, getting compensation for those injuries can be difficult.
Filing a catastrophic injury claim is generally a long process, and it is a difficult one. Victims that have suffered a catastrophic injury should not file a claim on their own. They need the help of an experienced Toronto catastrophic injury lawyer to fight for them. A skilled injury lawyer will work hard to get their client compensation.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
Under Ontario law, there are six injuries that constitute catastrophic injuries in the province:
- Amputation resulting in loss of entire function of one arm or leg
- Blindness in both eyes
- Severe brain trauma
- A combination of injuries that results in 55% impairment of the victim’s entire person
- Any severe impairment or three marked impairments that was caused by a mental or behavioural disorder
These six definitions of catastrophic injury were part of several changes made to Ontario’s law surrounding catastrophic injuries. Injured parties that are unsure as to whether or not their injury constitutes a “catastrophic” injury should speak to a catastrophic injury lawyer in Toronto that can help.
Changes to Ontario Law
The new laws went into effect in June 2016, and have been causing controversy in the province since they were first proposed. The changes were made to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), and the three main changes made were to the definition of a catastrophic injury, as outlined above, non-earner benefits, and catastrophic benefits limits.
The changes to non-earner benefits include benefits to those that were non-earners or those that were not employed in any capacity at the time of the accident or for a period of 26 weeks out of the last 52 weeks prior to the accident.
Under past Ontario law, injured parties were required to wait for 26 weeks before receiving a non-earner benefit after their accident. With the new changes, however, victims will only have to wait four weeks.
However, it is not all good news for victims under the changes. Previously, SABS provided the potential for a lifetime non-earner benefit, so long as they met the test for the specified benefit. However, under the new law, insurance companies are no longer required to pay benefits once two years of time have passed after the accident.
Insurance companies are also not required to pay benefits to those enrolled in school at the time of the accident, something they were once required to do.
Perhaps the biggest controversy surrounding the changes to SABS is the catastrophic benefits limit. Under old law, victims of a catastrophic injury were entitled to medical and rehab benefits up to $1,000,000, and attendant care benefits up to $1,000,000 for a combined total of $2,000,000.00
However, stringent rules have tightened those limits so now victims are only entitled to $1,000,000 – less than half what was previously offered – for both medical and attendant care benefits.
Unfortunately, these changes have been making it even more difficult for Torontonians that have suffered a catastrophic injury. While proving these cases was never easy, the new changes can make it even more difficult, and provide victims with even less for their injuries.
Contacting an Injury Lawyer
If you have been involved in an accident, and now have catastrophic injuries because of it, do not try to fight the insurance companies on your own. Get the help of a Toronto catastrophic injury lawyer who knows the law, and that can help you get the full benefits available.