By
Pace Law

Brain injury victims battle to receive the treatment they deserve

November 4, 2019

Brain and spinal cord injuries can be amongst the most traumatic and catastrophic injuries that an individual may sustain. So, it is both surprising and alarming to learn that victims of traumatic brain injuries sometimes have to wait months, sometimes years, for treatment in Canada.

The CBC reports that Shawn Hill, a devoted father, partner, and brain injury victim will have to wait ‘anywhere from three months to three years’ to receive specialized care and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, stories such as Shawn’s are more common than one might imagine.

 

Ontario increasing benefit limit to $2 million

Adequate compensation is essential for brain injury patients to have the best chance of recovery. In 2016, Ontario reduced the benefits available to catastrophically injured victims from $2 million to $1 million. As the loved ones of victims of serious traumatic brain injuries know all-too-well, the medical expenses associated with neurosurgery, full-time care, and rehabilitation therapies can exhaust even $1 million all too quickly.

In 2019, Ontario proposed adopting the ‘Driver Care Plan’, which would bring back the $2 million default limit. That proposal is still under consideration. Speak to a brain injury accident lawyer to find out how you can maximize your compensation.

 

What happens if a person has a brain injury?

Brain injuries can cause both temporary and permanent disability. Injury to the brain can cause physical symptoms such as disorientation and headaches; dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Experiencing trouble speaking, word-finding difficulties, and problems forming sentences are other indications of a traumatic brain injury.

Brain injuries can also affect the senses, leading to a loss of smell, blurred vision, or ringing in the ears. In the case of a moderate brain injury, an individual can also experience mood swings or may have trouble focusing.

Finally, severe brain injuries can lead to seizures, loss of control of one’s limbs, paralysis, permanent memory loss, coma, and death.

 

Did you know one of the largest personal injury awards in Canada of $24 million was made to two spinal injury victims?

 

More about brain and spinal injury

Spinal cord injury suffering laid bare

Getting justice for your brain injury

Calculate pain and suffering compensation

 

Recovering from their brain injury

Victims of traumatic brain injuries often make amazing recoveries. However, the extent to which you may regain your physical functions and mental capacities will depend on the extent of your injuries and the physiotherapy/rehabilitation support and treatment you receive. The extent to which you may recover from a brain injury and the length of time involved depends on the severity and type of your brain injury.

Generally, it is said that the first six months are the fastest period of recovery, with patients recovering and regaining functional capacities rapidly. However, it can take many more years of physiotherapy and other treatments to regain maximum function. In some cases, patients may need to enrol in experimental treatments or participate in drug trials to further their recovery. Research and medical breakthroughs in this field are helping people walk again, move their hands, and regain bladder control.

 

Mixed messages from the courts

In July 2019, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a brain injury victim about deductions to the compensation a court had awarded. The case of Cadieux v. Cloutier has established a precedent for reducing the actual damages a brain injury victim can hope to receive after a car accident. It did so by deducting the accident benefits and attendant care benefits paid out by the insurer from the compensation the court awarded the victim.

However, since brain injury compensation far exceeds the $38,818 deductible (in 2019) for auto claims, a brain injury victim should discuss a personal injury lawsuit.

 

What are the different types of brain injuries?

There are two types of brain injuries: acquired and traumatic. An acquired brain injury occurs at or before birth; traumatic brain injuries are caused due to trauma to the skull. Trauma can result from a sudden impact and/or a skull fracture. The following is a list of some of the different types of brain injuries:

  • Hematoma – Collection of blood outside blood vessels which can cause an increase in the pressure in the skull
  • Haemorrhage – Uncontrolled bleeding around the brain or inside the brain
  • Concussion – Strong impact that causes the brain to hit the hard walls of the skull, or be subjected to a very sudden acceleration/deceleration
  • Oedema – Swelling in or around the skull which pushes the brain into the skull wall
  • Fracture – Bone fragments piercing the brain in the event of a skull fracture
  • Diffuse axonal – Injury that causes brain cells to stop functioning

 

Non-profits picking up once insurance runs out

It speaks volumes that a not-for-profit centre in North Bay, Ontario offers care for traumatic brain injury victims whose insurance has run out. Unlike the ‘plateaued’ diagnosis most patients receive after a few months, these caregivers understand that victims continue to improve for years.

 

What is the most common brain injury?

Concussions are the most common type of brain injury. A person can suffer a mild concussion when playing sports or even as a result of banging his or her head against an open cupboard. In most cases, the symptoms will be limited to headache and dizziness, and they will dissipate after a short amount of time. However, strong impacts can lead to unconsciousness, coma, permanent disability, and even death. The potential dangers posed by head injuries are the reason why football and hockey players, as well as motorsport drivers, are required to wear helmets.

 

The role of a brain injury lawyer – much more than just compensation

At Pace Law Firm we help brain injury victims and their families by guiding and supporting them to navigate the confusing aftermath of an accident. Our lawyers will fight for the long term treatment and rehabilitation you deserve. Contact a personal injury lawyer and discuss your case free of charge.

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Toronto, ON M9C 5K8
Phone: 1-877-236-3060
Fax: 416-236-1809

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