Changes to Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule and Catastrophic Injury
Automobile insurance is constantly changing . It seems that the government continues to strip away at some of the most vital services required for injured people, especially those who are severely injured and need it most, those with a catastrophic injury. The new definition will apply to all accidents in Ontario on or after June 1, 2016. The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (“SABS”) provides accident benefits for people who are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario. Regardless of whether or not they were at fault, or whether or not they were a driver, passenger or a pedestrian.
Definition of Catastrophic Injury Impairment
Many of the changes are in the area of Catastrophic Injuries. The most significant of the reductions in Accident Benefits are in the Medical and Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits for individuals with catastrophic and non-catastrophic injuries.
There are also new measures used to assess whether or not someone is deemed “catastrophic”.
1- Paraplegia or Tetraplegia
The two scales or measures that are the primary source for the catastrophic determination for spinal cord injuries are the The ASIA -International Standards for Neurological Classification for Spinal Cord Injury as well as the SCIM Spinal Cord Independence Measure Version III The definition of “catastrophic impairment” has been revised to reflect current medical studies.
2-Residual Neuro-Urological Impairment or Urological Impairment
3-Loss of vision of both eyes
4-Traumatic Brain Injury
When assessing whether or not a patient has sustained a catastrophic brain injury, the appropriate health professional must conduct, among other things, the following clinical interview: a Structured Interview for the Glasgow Outcome Scale.
5-Traumatic Brain Injuries for person under the age of 18 at the time of the accident
The scale is dependent upon imaging of the brain, extent of admission to a rehabilitative facility and the King’s Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury, as published in Crouchman, M. et al
And where 2 or more years have elapsed since the accident, or where, after 3 months, a physician is of the belief that the patient’s condition is unlikely to improve and,
6- Physical Impairment
55% or more physical impairment of the whole person pursuant to the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th Edition (1993)
7-Mental or Behavioural Impairment Combined with Physical Impairment
A mental or behavioural impairment, excluding traumatic brain injury, that, when the impairment score is combined with a physical impairment described in paragraph 6, results in 55 percent or more impairment of the whole person.
8. Mental or Behavioural Impairment
An impairment that, in accordance with the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993 results in a class 4 impairment (marked impairment) in three or more areas of function that precludes useful functioning or a class 5 impairment (extreme impairment) in one or more areas of function that precludes useful functioning, due to mental or behavioural disorder.
Along with these tests, a patient must also undergo a neuropsychological assessment and must meet the following criteria to obtain what is deemed “catastrophic status”. The patient must have positive MRI findings, vegetative or disability rating on the Glasgow Outcome Scale (as mentioned above) , significant decreased activities of daily living via client interview, interview of treating practitioners (mentioned above) and/or a file review of collateral medical documents.
The definition and criteria for a catastrophic injury can be confusing and complex. We have provided a quick snapshot here. Our personal injury lawyers are happy to speak with you to go over any specific questions you may have.
Ontario Spinal Cord Injuries Lawyers, Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth
An increase in spinal cord injuries
Sadly spinal cord injuries occur every day. Every day, someone in Canada suffers a spinal cord injury (“SCI”). This is the sad but real reality of spinal cord injuries. They are happening all the time. More than 80,000 Canadians currently live with some form of Spinal Cord Injury. Sadly, this number is expected to climb. A report by the Urban Futures Institute estimates that roughly 86,000 individuals currently have spinal cord injuries in Canada. Tragically, this number is set to increase to 121,000 by 2030. That’s an increase of 35,000 in less than 19 years. Too high a number, in my opinion because we should be learning how to better prevent such injuries from occurring. The statistics are grim.
Do all spinal cord injuries result in paralysis?
Roughly 48,243 people with SCI’s are fully paralyzed, while 30,324 can still make use of their arms. Individuals with SCI will spend an average 140 days in hospital, and will die 15 to 30 years earlier than the average person with an average life expectancy. That’s because victims of SCI are more susceptible to medical complications like urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, pneumonia and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Christopher Reeve, for example, is a tragic and iconic example of a SCI victim dying of the enumerated causes – namely, depression and pressure ulcers. It is ironic that even the invincible and iconic superman of our generation was not invincible enough to avoid a spinal cord injury. These injuries are serious and can happen to anyone. So please take care and exercise caution in situations where you or your loved ones could be at risk.
Ottawa, Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer Shares Information that relates to Spinal Cord Injury
The Danger of Spinal Cord Injuries
If you or your loved ones have been experienced an accident or injury, please remember that your spinal cord is sensitive and your injuries (even if they seem minor) could pose a serious threat to your health and wellbeing. It is important to have your injury assessed by a qualified health care professional such as a medical doctor, chiropractor, and physiotherapist to ensure that you are in a position to move forward after your accident. Also, it is important to see a top Ottawa personal injury lawyer who understands the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the spinal cord injury process. Top Ottawa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth will help you to ensure that you do not lose out on what you deserve to help you and your loved ones following your accident.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A Spinal Cord Injury, often abbreviated simply as “SCI”, is any traumatic injury to the spinal cord that can result in a loss or impaired function or reduced mobility or feeling. Types of SCI include Paraplegic and Quadriplegic (Tetraplegic), used to describe the medical condition of a person who has become paralyzed. These classifications depend on the level and severity of a persons paralysis, and how it affects their limbs.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
Your spine is extremely fragile. It can be hurt in an injury or even slowly over the course of time. Typical common causes of damage to the spinal cord include traumatic activities such as Ottawa automobile accidents, Ontario gunshot injuries, Ontario slip and falls injuries, Ottawa sports injuries such as hockey, and so on. Damage to the spine is known as a lesion, and the paralysis is known as Quadriplegia (or sometimes “Quadraplegia” or “Tetraplegia” if the injury is in the Cervical region, or as Paraplegia if the injury is in the Thoracic, Lumbar or Sacral region.)
Contrary to popular belief, someone can suffer a Broken Neck or Back without becoming paralysed. This occurs when there is a fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae, but the spinal cord has not been damaged. However, neck and back injuries are extremely serious and tragedy can often result from these types of injuries. Please, ensure that you are taking as much care as possible in situations and contexts where injury could occur. I always recommend that the best way to deal with a SCI is to prevent it from evening happening, as it seems that a proactive approach about the process is the best way to ensure for your well-being and the health of your spine.
Types of Spinal Cord Injury
Basically, there are two broad classifications of SCI with respect to the lesions associated with the SCI, typically referred to as a complete or incomplete SCI. A complete SCI means the victim is now completely paralyzed below their point of lesion. On the other hand, an incomplete SCI means that only the specific part of the spine has become damaged. Victims of incomplete SCI may have sensation below their lesion but no movement, and visa versa. These classifications are broad and not all-encompassing, since the range and variety of spinal cord injuries is limitless … if an injury has occurred, I can help you to deal with it, but please remember that a proactive approach to your activities such as sports activities and driving on the roads is the key to ensuring for your safety!
What is Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation ?
If your spinal cord has become injured, please remember that tragedy does occur but that there is always hope. You will likely face a long road of rehabilitation, often at a Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Unit and Rehabilitation Centre or Spinal Injury Unit, and it is important for you to keep your sense of humor (especially on your unavoidable ‘bad’ days to help you to maintain a positive attitude that will help you to get through your injuries – I know you can do it).
In terms of timelines, a paraplegic will often stay in a hospital or rehabilitation facility for about five months, whereas a quadriplegic will require an additional few months on average (for a total length of approximately six to eight months). Both will under-go various forms of rehabilitation and physiotherapy before ultimate discharge from the hospital in order to help maximize recovery and familiarity with adaptive measures such as a wheelchair and general techniques to cope with their “new” lives. I want to stress that countless happiness studies have shown that people consistently demonstrate their ability to overcome adversity to lead even more fulfilled and happier lives – a spinal cord injury is tragic but you can choose to overcome it to lead an even more fulfilling life. I am here to help you in this process and to fight for you to ensure that you do not lose out on what you deserve in this difficult process.
With over 11 years experience as an Ottawa, Ontario personal injury lawyer, David Hollingsworth has been helping Ottawa spinal cord injury accident victims and Ontario quadriplegic and paraplegic accident victims get the help they need following an accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a Ottawa accident or a Ontario accident and have suffered a spinal cord injury you are likely entitled to compensation you are not receiving. You will need an experienced and highly qualified Ontario personal injury lawyer in Ottawa to fight for you. Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for free consultation. Cases are taken on a contingency basis.
David Hollingsworth, Ottawa Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer
mobile (613) 978-9549