Injuries designated as catastrophic are generally those that will impact the rest of your life, such as an amputation, brain damage, or spinal cord damage. Catastrophic injuries often require months of recovery time, rehabilitation, and potentially even a lifetime of at-home care. Despite your trauma and the possibility of never leading a normal life again, insurance companies will often try to deny your catastrophic injury claim. They are focused on making a profit, and paying full catastrophic injury benefits is not in line with the goal of making money.
Here at Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to helping our clients recover the maximum benefits possible so that they can receive the best medical care and make the fullest recovery possible, without having to worry about lost wages or medical bills. Call us at 905-522-9799 to schedule your free legal consultation.
What Is a Catastrophic Injury?
In simplest terms, a catastrophic injury is an injury which significantly affects your ability to care for yourself or continue living your life in the same manner as before the accident. Most often, catastrophic injury designations are applied to physical injuries such as:
- Brain damage: Injury to the brain can be devastating. It can affect your ability to care for yourself, ability to move of your own volition, memory abilities, language abilities, and can even change your personality. Moderate to severe brain injuries may result in a need for in-home assistance for the rest of your life.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries may lead not only to chronic pain, but to full or partial paralysis. If you lose the use of any of your limbs, even partially, it can dramatically lower your ability to live on your own and your quality of life. In addition, paralysis can cause depression and other mental health issues.
- Amputation: Losing a limb is a catastrophic occurrence that can affect you physically and emotionally, and have long-term repercussions. Learning to live without a limb and learning how to function with a prosthesis can be difficult, and reintegrating into your social life may be hard as well.
In some cases, even if you do not have a single catastrophic injury, a combination of lesser injuries that nonetheless affect your life and well-being can be designated catastrophic. Mental conditions arising from your accident can also be combined with physical injuries and designated catastrophic.
The rules and regulations covering what can be designated as a catastrophic injury are very complex, and an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer is often necessary in order to navigate the law and deal with your insurance company or the party at fault in your injury successfully.
Catastrophic Brain Injury and the Glasgow Coma Scale
The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) has long been used as a primary tool for determining catastrophic brain injury. This scale tests eye, verbal, and motor response, assigning a numeric value to different responses. Scores can range from a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 15, and anything underneath a 9 is considered catastrophic.
The Glasgow Coma Scale is meant to be an objective observation of the state of the victim following an accident, but insurance companies will try to find loopholes and exceptions to deny a catastrophic injury designation.
In addition, the timing of the GCS tests is vital. One should be performed as soon as possible after the accident by qualified medical personnel, and more should be performed over the course of the day to determine progress. It’s important to note that even with steady progress up the scale, if the initial score was 9 or below, it is still possible to obtain a catastrophic designation.
Obtaining Compensation for Catastrophic Injury
Ontario auto insurance is “no-fault,” meaning that regardless of whether or not you were at fault in the accident, your insurance should pay out benefits to help with your recovery and lost wages. If your injuries are catastrophic, the amount you are entitled to is much higher than for non-catastrophic injuries, and covers ongoing medical care and assisted living as well.
However, insurance companies will do all they can in order to not pay out full accident benefits. With an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, you can make sure that you receive the maximum amount possible to help with your recovery, lost wages, and any other monetary concerns.
In some cases, benefits from your insurance may be all you need. In other cases, you may want to sue the at-fault driver for further compensation. Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers will help determine the best course of action in order to obtain enough compensation for a comfortable recovery, as well as ensuring that you will be able to continue living as normally as possible after leaving the hospital.
Schedule Your Catastrophic Injury Consultation
If you or a loved one has been catastrophically injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers for a free legal consultation. Call us at 905-522-9799 to get the help you need.
We serve Hamilton, Brantford, Burlington, Stoney Creek, Niagara Falls, and other nearby areas of Ontario.