Moving On After A Serious Injury
By Anu Malhotra | December 6, 2013
A serious injury affects the injured as well as their loved ones. Whether the injury is caused as a result of a car accident or any other accident, it is hard to accept that your life will never be the same again. However, with proper support from the rehabilitation team and the legal team, injured people and their families can learn to cope with their new situation and move on.
The right legal team will help you recover appropriate compensation through a lawsuit or a settlement. In addition, it will help you co-ordinate the rehabilitation through case managers, occupational therapists, psychologists, and other health professionals. Your lawyer will ensure that funding is available to take care of your needs. Where the injured person needs lifelong care, the lawyer will ensure that sufficient funds are available to take care of all future care costs of the injured person. This is especially true in cases where people have sustained catastrophic injuries.
For example, one of my catastrophically injured clients was unable to give us instructions due to accident related mental incapacity. In that case, we obtained a court order to appoint her adult children as litigation guardians and guardians for property. The case settled at a mediation for sufficient money to allow for lifelong care of my client. Further, with approval of the court, the money was structured in a way that monthly payments are made to ensure that all of her future needs will be met for life.
Injured people often depend on their family and friends for support. However, many times that support is not sufficient.
In some cases it is possible to find a way to help injured people with an alternate career plan and give them the right tools to move on. One of my very young clients was studying to be an engineer at the time of his accident. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures and organ damage in the car accident.
My client was devastated because he could not pursue his dream and had to learn to live a very different life than he had envisioned for himself. However, we worked very closely with the rehabilitation team and his family to encourage him to find something else he would enjoy. We worked to get funds from the insurance company to provide him with the support he needed to succeed, such as someone to attend the lectures with him and take notes, career counsellor, special computer programs to help him improve focus and concentration.
We also ensured payments of weekly disability benefits, which was very important for his self esteem and self respect. Through support from the university, he was allowed extra time and a separate room to write his exams. With hard work and perseverance, combined with support from his legal and rehabilitation team, he eventually graduated from university, albeit in a different program. With the money that he received from his lawsuit, he started a small business. It was very rewarding to see him succeed and move on after a serious car accident.
Injured people often depend on their family and friends for support. However, many times that support is not sufficient. For instance, if a wife looks after her injured husband, and takes care of the children and her job, she will likely exhaust herself within a short period of time. It is the responsibility of the legal team to ensure that she gets proper help to cope with her situation.
Hiring someone to clean the house, or to provide help with grocery shopping and care for her injured husband a few nights a week, will ensure that the entire family can cope with the stressful situation. Similarly, sometimes it is important for the entire family, including the children of the injured person, to obtain psychological counseling. This will help them to understand how to deal with their changed circumstances.
It is important to remember that no matter how difficult the situation is, team effort will provide a way to rehabilitate the injured person and reintegrate them into the society.
Anu Malhotra is a personal injury lawyer with Pace Law Firm in Toronto. Pace’s personal injury lawyers have been helping accident victims since 1980.