What May Qualify as a Catastrophic Injury?

woman with a catastrophic injuryWhile many Ontario accidents only result in minor injuries, some can result in serious injuries that affect the rest of a victim’s life. Catastrophic injuries can cause significant physical, emotional and financial suffering. To further complicate matters, recent changes in Ontario law have made it more difficult for catastrophic injury victims to obtain compensation.

Filing a catastrophic injury claim is often a long and complicated process. If you sustained a catastrophic injury, it is important that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible. A lawyer can help manage your claim while you focus on your recovery. Contact an experienced Windsor personal injury lawyer at our firm to review your claim and discuss your legal options during a free consultation.

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries

Ontario law specifically defines catastrophic injuries as one of the following:

  • Paraplegia or tetraplegia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Blindness or a loss of vision of both eyes
  • Amputation or severe impairment of the ability to move or use one arm or to walk independently
  • Physical impairment or a combination of physical impairment that results in 55 percent whole person impairment
  • Extreme impairment due to a mental or behavioral disorder, such as depression, psychotic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder

Each of these injuries requires specific criteria be met in order to be classified as “catastrophic.” Additionally, an injury that is similar to one of those listed above may also be considered catastrophic.

Causes of Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic injuries can be caused by a variety of factors. If a limb is crushed, a person is hit suddenly in the head or an object penetrates the eye, a catastrophic injury may result.

Some of the most common causes of catastrophic injuries are:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian-motorist collisions
  • Cycling-motorist collisions
  • Boating accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice

Changes to Ontario Law that May Affect Your Claim

The definitions of catastrophic injury noted above were part of many other recent changes to Ontario law regarding catastrophic injuries.

The most significant change was that the damages cap for catastrophic injury was cut in half. Before the changes, victims could receive medical and rehabilitation benefits up to $1 million and attendant care benefits up to $1 million for a total of $2 million. Under the new law, victims can only receive up to $1 million for medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits. 

Benefits for non-earners have also been dramatically reduced. Non-earners include stay-at-home parents, students, retired individuals and individuals who were not employed for half of the year leading up to the accident. Individuals who suffered a catastrophic injury were eligible for benefits for life. The new law limits benefits to the amount of $185 per week for up to two years even though the waiting period is now substantially shorter (from 26 weeks to four weeks).

These changes are making it more difficult for Ontario injury victims to recover compensation after sustaining a catastrophic injury.

Obtaining Compensation for a Catastrophic Injury

Ontario is a no-fault insurance state for auto accidents, so your own insurance should pay benefits if you are injured in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. However, insurance companies will try to minimize the amount of compensation they provide in order to protect their profit margin.

If you suffered a catastrophic injury, the amount of benefits you may be able to recover is much larger than it is for non-catastrophic injury cases, in order to help pay for your ongoing medical care and other expected expenses.

It is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who can fight for your maximum recovery. In some situations, you may be able to sue the at-fault party. You can talk to your lawyer about what the best course of action may be to recover compensation for your injuries.

Contact a Lawyer at Our Firm Today

If you suffered a catastrophic injury, the personal injury team at Greg Monforton and Partners is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We can discuss your legal rights and learn more about the options that may be available to you to pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered.

Call (866) 320-4770 to see how we might be able to help you.