In most cases, victims who have been severely injured in an accident will suffer the effects of their injuries into the future. They may require ongoing care in the form of future surgeries, treatments and medications even after reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI is when a victim has recovered as much as he or she ever will from his or her injuries.
The high expenses of future care can create a tremendous financial burden for injured victims and their families. This is why we encourage working with an experienced lawyer who can determine eligibility to pursue compensation for these expenses in a lawsuit.
Below, our legal team discusses the different factors that go into calculating future care expenses in Ontario.
Examples of Future Care Expenses
Future care expenses are generally the amount required to treat and restore an injured victim to the position he or she was in prior to the accident. Aside from surgical procedures, future care expenses from an injury due to negligence may also include:
- Assisted living costs
- Modifications for a home or vehicle
- Caregiver or home maintenance services
- Special transportation needs
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Prescription medications
- Health care services (chiropractor, massage, etc.)
Calculating Future Care Expenses
The amount awarded for future care expenses will depend on the extent and severity of a victim’s injuries and the amount of care required to meet his or her needs.
Sometimes the injured victim’s care may include additions and modifications to his or her current lifestyle. Other times, the victim’s injuries may be deemed so severe that it requires a complete lifestyle change. This could mean modifying a home to be handicap accessible or to allow for 24/7 in-home care.
A lawyer could help calculate future care expenses in one of two ways:
The Additional Expense Approach
This approach may be used for victims severely injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, but who are able to maintain their previous lifestyle.
The compensation received from a lawsuit may cover future medical equipment, massage care, counselling, chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, attendant care, or similar services.
Total Lifestyle Change Approach
This approach may be used for victims who suffer catastrophic injuries, such as paralysis or a traumatic brain injury, that will affect the rest of their lives.
The compensation received from a lawsuit may cover rehabilitation treatments on a regular basis, physiotherapy, massage therapy, full-time care, extensive medical services and travel expenses to and from doctor visits.
Non-medical expenses may also be pursued to redesign or renovate a home, modify a car or vehicle, install lifts for wheelchairs and other medical equipment as well as housekeeping and other home maintenance services.
Being Able to Prove Future Care Expenses
To take legal action, an injured victim and his or her lawyer must be able to show that there is a reasonable chance that he or she will suffer a future loss or damage. The Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Schrump v. Koot is commonly cited when it comes to proving future care expenses.
The case was an appeal by the defendants after a judge had previously awarded the plaintiff $20,000 for a severe back injury from a crash. The reason for the appeal was to determine whether the judge had failed to inform the jury to disregard the potential of the plaintiff needing additional back surgery.
At trial, an expert for the plaintiff testified that the chance of needing additional surgery was between 20 to 50 percent. The expert for the defendants testified that the need for future surgery was remote. The appeal to exclude the possibility of future care expenses was eventually dismissed.
Due to this decision, injured victims do not necessarily have to prove that future care expenses will happen, only that there is a reasonable chance of such expenses happening.
How Our Firm May Be Able to Help
If you have suffered serious injuries that may require future ongoing care, we recommend getting in touch with a reputable Windsor personal injury lawyer from our firm. We know what it takes to assess an injured victim’s anticipated future needs. We have obtained millions in compensation for our clients.
Let us review your situation in a free consultation. You are not obligated to hire us after this initial meeting, but if you do, we charge no upfront fees and no fees while we work on your case. We only receive payment for our services if we help obtain compensation on your behalf.
Contact us today at (866) 320-4770 to get started.