Catastrophic injuries are generally defined as severe injury to the brain, spine, or spinal cord, and may also involve fractures of the skull or spinal column.
These injuries often result from violent trauma in an accident, or indirectly from complications associated with the original injury. Individuals who experience catastrophic injuries are often faced with a devastating loss of freedom and independence, while families struggle to carry the financial burden of medical and rehabilitative care.
As leaders in the field of severe and life-threatening accidents, we handle each case with utmost compassion and understanding while we work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Our team ensures your concerns are kept top priority while we navigate the complex legal processes and insurance policies associated with your case. Our mission is to alleviate any legal-related stress so that you and your family can focus on what matters most - your recovery.
Under Ontario law, catastrophically injured individuals are entitled to substantially more accident benefits and damages than a victim of a minor accident. To be entitled to these enhanced benefits, your impairment must meet the legal definition of catastrophic
The following injuries are designated ‘catastrophic’ by the Ontario Financial Services Commission:
- Severe spinal injury as defined by the American Spinal Injury Association, which includes paraplegia or quadriplegia.
- Impairment that results in a permanent loss in the ability to walk independently, which may result from amputation or partial amputation, crushing of a limb, burns or another severe injury.
- Permanent loss of use of both arms (note: loss of one arm would be a partial impairment).
- Blindness or a loss of vision in both eyes.
- Traumatic Brain Injury in adults as constituted by: a comma for one month; severe upper or lower disability for six months; or moderate lower disability after one year of an assessed brain impairment. The Glasgow Coma Scale is referenced to determine whether a brain injury is catastrophic.
- A combination of physical injuries resulting in 55 per cent whole person impairment (WPI). Symptoms that may be included in this impairment are chronic pain syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
- Extreme impairment due to a mental or behavioural disorder, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a psychotic disorder or depression. Psychiatric catastrophic impairment is defined by a number of specific criteria such as severely impaired psychosocial functioning and independence, and a requirement for substantial mental health care.
- Traumatic brain injury in children:
One of the changes proposed in the 2011 report was to give children under 18 who were admitted to a trauma center with serious traumatic brain injury an immediate designation of ‘catastrophic impairment’ and correspondingly, prompt access to the higher tier of benefits under SABS (bypassing the two year waiting period). A second directive is to provide interim benefits of up to $50,000 to injured persons who indisputably require intensive and lengthy rehabilitation, in order to optimize their potential for recovery through access to needed treatments.
For accidents on or before June 1, 2016, you are entitled to receive medical and rehabilitation benefits to a maximum of $1,000,000 without any time limit. You are entitled to receive attendant care benefits to a maximum of $1,000,000 without any time limit. These expenses must be incurred. For accidents on or after June 1, 2016, entitlement to medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits are now a combined $1,000,000.
The path to determining if an injury is deemed catastrophic is highly complex. Our team of expert personal injury lawyers are equipped with the skills and expertise to ensure you and your family receive the most possible compensation for your losses.
Our long list of satisfied clients is a testament to our ability to deliver results. Our firm will ensure that all aspects of the claim are pursued fully in order for the victim and family to receive full compensation. While our focus is to settle your case without going to trial, your representation at Fox Vanounou Porcelli LLP will also advocate for your rights in court should the need arise.