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Back pain, sprains, herniated disks and spinal cord injuries.
Back pain affects people from all over the world. Whether they work at a desk, travel for business, or work on construction sites, the risk of back pain is high. Injuries are common in car accidents or slip and fall injuries, and can range from strains and sprains, to herniated disks, to serious spinal cord injuries.
Back pain statistics in Canada
Approximately 80% of all Canadians will experience back pain at some point in their lives. An estimated 34 to 59% of Canadians will experience an acute or subacute pain episode. In Canada, chronic lower back pain is one of the most likely reasons for a trip to the doctor for people under the age of 60. Twenty-five per cent of the population is living with chronic back pain at any given time.
Unfortunately, many people with pain are not getting the appropriate help. They are either living with pain or they live with it until it becomes unbearable. This can result in damage that cannot be repaired or that takes a long time to recover from.
For those living with back pain as a result of a workplace injury, slips and falls or car accidents the costs are sometimes unseen. In addition to the pain and suffering, victims may also have to deal with loss of income for time taken off work, medical expenses, prescription medicine, physio therapy, transportation costs and attendant care among other things.
Often times, people are forced to apply for long-term disability in order to spend adequate time recovering and healing from pain and to pay for the associated costs.
Sadly, those suffering often find their claims denied. This makes the situation more difficult and leads them to spend longer periods of time living with back pain, without medical attention.
If you are suffering from back pain and your claim has been denied, our lawyers offer free advice on making a claim for compensation. We have experience in successfully settling back injury claims for all types of injuries and all types of clients. We are happy to offer you a free consultation to discuss your back injury compensation claim with you, answer your questions and be able to tell you where you may be entitled to back injury or spinal injury compensation. Call us today at (613) 978-9549.
These days, it seems very foreign to see someone talking on a cell phone while driving. Since 2009, Ontario drivers have been banned from using hand-held devices that create distracted driving behind the wheel.
Since then, the use of cell phones and other personal electronics has risen and driver distraction has increased with the introduction of smart watches, GPS systems and on-board information screens.
Sadly, in Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000 with distracted driving being the number one cause of road deaths in Ontario.
Currently, if a driver is caught using a hand-held device, they can expect a $490 fine and three demerit points.
On January 1, 2019, new laws will take effect in Ontario with escalating sanctions, increased fines and license suspension. At the same time, the list of activities that count as distracted driving has also expanded.
Effective January 1, a distracted driver will receive a summons with a court date where fines for a first offence can be high as $1,000.
- First offence: 3 days suspension and $1,000 fine
- Second offence: 7 days suspension and $2,000 fine
- Three or more offences: 30 days suspension, $3,000 fine and six demerit points
New Distracted Driving laws
Under the new law, anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road constitutes distracted driving, this includes:
- Simply holding an electronic device in your hands (hand-held communication during driving is against the law)
- Using a cellular phone to talk, text, check maps or switch playlists
- Eating (there may not be a licence suspension, but the RCMP warn you could be fined or given six demerits depending on the food)
- Reading books or documents
- Typing a destination into the GPS
As we head into the new year, we can all resolve to end distracted driving and to keep our roadways safe for all. Turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. If you need to, put the phone in the glove compartment or in a bag on the back seat. Consider using an app that blocks incoming calls and text while you are driving. If you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area.
If you, or a loved one, has been involved in an accident or injured due to distracted driving call us today. We understand, we care and we are here to help.
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.
Many employers provide group benefits packages to their employees, including long-term disability (LTD) benefits. In addition, some employers also have an additional LTD policy to cover workplace injuries and illnesses caused at/by the workplace, called an occupational long-term disability policy. Some Ontario industries (eg. construction) are required by law to participate in a provincial workers’ compensation plan, such as WSIB. Some other companies have an occupational long-term policy in place to cover workplace illnesses and injuries that would be covered under the provincial workers’ compensation plan, if they had one. Mental and physical illnesses and injuries that are specifically related to the workplace are covered by occupational policies.
There are many differences between a group LTD policy and an occupational policy. For example, the definition of disability under an occupational policy differs from a group LTD policy. Under an occupational policy, you must be unable to work due to an illness or injury arising out of and because of your employment. Under some occupational policies, you must be unable to do any occupation within the company you work for, that you are or may be qualified for that would be at a minimum of the same pay-rate as your pre-disability income. With group LTD policies, however, you may be unable to work due to an illness or injury sustained outside of the workplace.
To be eligible for benefits under a group policy, you are required to provide evidence that you became totally disabled due to an occupational illness or injury while covered under the group policy, You must show that your disability continued past the waiting period stated in the group policy and you have sought appropriate treatment.
The payout under an occupational policy is generally a higher percentage of your monthly income than through a group policy. To be eligible for benefits under this policy, you must prove that you became totally disabled due to an occupational illness while covered under the group policy. As with a group policy, you have to show that your disability continued past the waiting period and you are seeking appropriate treatment.
Although the two types of policies have differences, they also share some similarities. Both types of policies require that you be an active employee when your disability started. You must meet specific criteria as stated in both types of policies in order to qualify for disability benefits. As well, both policies usually have two different definitions of disability one involving your ability to continue working in your own occupation and the other being your ability to work in any occupation, even if you were to be provided education or training in another occupation. With both types of policies, other types of benefits – such as Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits – can be used to reduce your LTD benefit amounts. LTD policies have a waiting period before benefits are paid out, and benefits can end for a variety of reasons, such as not following the recommended treatments, returning to work and are therefore gainfully employed, or turning 65.
If you were injured at work or developed an illness, such as anxiety or depression, and you decide to submit a claim, you will need to show when the illness/injury began or happened and how it relates to your workplace. It is best to include as much detail as possible, and attach an incident report (if there is one) and any other written evidence, doctor’s notes or reports regarding your illness or injury and treatments, prognosis and progression. The more information you provide, the better able your insurer will be able to assess what benefits you are entitled to.