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Catastrophic Injury Lawyers in Toronto

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Salvatore Grillo | Over 35 Years of Experience

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What is Catastrophic Injury?

Catastrophic injuries describe those injuries which are classified as a catastrophic, and therefore deserve extra compensation to the victim for their injuries and ongoing care. Injuries which severely affect brain function, spinal functions, or motor impairments (such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputation of limbs, or loss of vision) can qualify under this categorization. According to the law, they have an element of serious debilitation and impairment which meets the legal criteria under the Ontario Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS insurance framework) . However, injuries that also result in severe psychological impairments can also qualify as catastrophic injuries. It can occur from any activity but often can often result from a violent motor vehicle accident. The injury will often involve serious physical injury such as a spinal cord or brain injury as well as serious emotional harm. In this article we provide an overview of catastrophic injury, its types and average compensation provided for catastrophic injuries.  

At Grillo Law, our catastrophic injury lawyers understand that when you or someone you care about has sustained a severe injury, recovery should be your only concern. Our team of catastrophic injury lawyers work with leading medical health providers, surgeons, life care planners and economists whose expertise lies in helping victims of catastrophic injuries including brain and spinal cord injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered severe physical, cognitive, neurological, mental and behavioral impairments, we will work hard to ensure you are provided with the best use of attendant care and support services to ensure you have access to around the clock care to maintain your safety and well-being.

Catastrophic Injury Lawyers in Toronto

It is important to know your rights.  Unfortunately, when it comes to motor vehicle accidents, your right to fair compensation has been compromised due to legislative changes to make significant reductions in medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits available through your accident benefits carrier. This makes it all the more important for you to work with an experienced team of lawyers and medical professionals to ensure your benefits are protected.

We realize the legal process can be complicated and at times overwhelming. Our goal is to relieve some of the stress you are feeling by coordinating tasks and providing you with a team of medical specialists to help you navigate through the process step by step. Our lawyers understand the legal, financial and personal hardships you and your family are facing and will protect you and your family to ensure you are provided with the medical and rehabilitation treatment necessary to help with your recovery. We will protect your rights and pursue the compensation you need to rebuild your life after a catastrophic injury.

The catastrophic injury lawyers of Grill Law can help you and your family receive compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, future healthcare costs, loss of income, home and vehicle modifications.  We will fight vigorously to help you secure the maximum benefits and compensation that you and your family are entitled to.

Types and Level of Catastrophic Injury

We often assist clients with a particular type and level of accident injury that is classified as a “catastrophic injury”. Whether an injury can be classified as “catastrophic” involves mixed tests of law and medical evidence along prescribed thresholds. For example, under the Ontario SABS a catastrophic injury that results in a “Physical Impairment” must pass a 55% impairment threshold of the person’s whole body, as decided by a medical professional.

Here at Grillo Law, we understand that the average claimant is often unsure about the legal tests to be met or otherwise preoccupied with their immediate financial situation and recovery needs, to fully appreciate the challenges of dealing with their insurer, the law and the schemes of legal classification. Therefore, we offer our services as we have over 30 years of litigating catastrophic injury cases and have the resources and expertise to devote ourselves to assisting catastrophically injured clients in developing a legal plan of action that is both mindful of their situation and helps expedite their path to recovery.

This classification of injury status is particularly important for two reasons. For one, if a client has a catastrophic injury, we make sure to exercise due and special care in working with the individual in developing a sympathetic, expeditious, and efficient plan of action in order to allow him or her to focus on recovery. Secondly, catastrophic injuries will allow individuals to access further and more substantial insurance compensation for future treatment and attendant care under the Ontario Accident Benefit statutes by triggering access to their insurance policy limits. As a result, there is much at stake for a catastrophically injured claimant, both from a personal and legal standpoint.

Examples of Catastrophic Injuries 

Traumatic Brain Injury

Involves injuries to the brain that results in cognitive decline, assessed by a medical professional on a scale known as the “Glasgow Coma Scale”.

Burns and Scar Injury

Victims who have suffered extensive burns and scars may have considerable cosmetic and rehabilitation costs as well as long term traumas.

Traumatic Injuries to Children

Special categories under the SABS allow for additional compensation and longer terms of care awarded for children under 18 who have been traumatically injured.

Fractures or Broken Bone Injury

Fractures and broken bones of high frequency and severity may qualify.

Back, Spinal Cord, and Vertebrae Injuries

Some of the most traumatic and difficult for medical science to deal with, and can result in permeant and lifelong injuries requiring care and rehabilitation.

Amputation and Disfigurement Injury

Injuries that result in the amputation and loss of limbs or other bodily organs.

Paraplegic, Quadriplegic and Paralysis Injury

Impairments that lead to permanent or long term losses of motor function and the ability to walk.

Wrongful Death and Fatal Accidents

In certain situations, the loss of life may merit additional claims under wrongful death lawsuits.

Call Grillo Law for a FREE consultation.

Remember, you will not pay any fee until your case is won or settled.

What Is A Catastrophic Impairment?

Catastrophic impairment (CAT) covers exceptional cases of grave and serious injury to claimants and helps ensure that they are adequately covered under their insurance policy. Qualifying for a CAT classification can mean a large difference in the quantum of insurance damages available and awarded. Under the revised provisions of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule after June 1, 2016, some changes have occurred with regard to the classification of “catastrophic impairment”.

What Happens If I Suffer Catastrophic impairment (CAT)

The assessment of this section is a primarily medical one. The statutory language now sets out specific medical tests that must be met in order to qualify under the new revised definition of a “catastrophic impairment”. Furthermore, there are several case law examples of how the courts and tribunals have interpreted these medical judgement. We highly recommend speaking with legal professionals such as Grillo Law, as we understand the case law and have well established relationships with designated catastrophic assessment medical experts who can work in tandem to help you understand where your injuries may fall on the assessment scale to help you prove your case.

  1. Paraplegia or tetraplegia.
  2. Amputation or severe impairment of ambulatory mobility.
  3. Loss of vision.
  4. Traumatic brain injury.
  5. 55% whole person impairment.
  6. 55% whole person impairment (physical and mental or behavioral impairments combined).
  7. Class 4 marked impairment in three or more areas of function that preclude useful functioning or class 5 extreme impairment in one or more areas of function that precludes useful functioning, due to mental or behavioral disorder.

Compensation for Catastrophic Impairment (CAT)

Monthly attendant care benefits for a catastrophic impairment are $6000 versus $3000 for a non- CAT injury. On average catastrophic impairment compensation for your medical and rehabilitation benefits could be up to $1,000,000 versus a non- CAT maximum of $65,000. This amount is subject to the changes after June 1, 2016. If you or a loved one falls under the CAT designation, the scope of damages awarded could be significantly greater than a non- catastrophic injury. Additional benefits under transportation, home maintenance, and caregiver benefits are also available for catastrophic injuries exclusively. Unfortunately, auto insurance laws are quite complex for most people. It can be difficult to know and understand how much you are entitled to when a catastrophic injury occurs. Some victims do not know what benefit options are available for them. Sometimes drivers select insufficient coverage due to changes in personal circumstances.

We here at Grillo Law will work with your insurers and treatment providers to ensure that anyone with severe injuries receive the best level of treatment that can be afforded to them. If you feel that your injuries or that of a loved one are severe and catastrophic, call us for FREE CONSULTATION at +1-855-225-5725

Catastrophic Impairment Benefit Limit

The catastrophic impairment benefit coverage in Ontario was introduced in 1996. In that year, the benefit limit was set at $2 million and was split into two. Up to 1 million was paid for medical and rehabilitation expenses and the other 1 million limits were set for attendant care benefits. However, this later changed as the sub-limits were combined into a single benefit and the total coverage was reduced to $1 million. When the change was effected, the Ontario government introduced an optional coverage that individuals could buy to qualify for more benefits. The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) stipulates the definition of being catastrophically injured. These are life-altering impairments such as loss of a limb or paraplegia. The amount of medical and rehabilitation costs that will be covered under an auto insurance policy for catastrophic injury cases is also clearly stipulated in the law. Individuals who purchase additional coverage may be entitled to higher monetary limits if they sustain a catastrophic injury.

$2 Million Default Benefit Limit for CAT

There’s an amendment proposed by the government that will offer every policyholder by default a benefit limit of $2 million to cater for rehabilitation, medical and attendant care benefits. This benefit will only apply to those who are catastrophically injured in a car accident. For those who want to obtain less coverage, they may have the option to reduce the default to a minimum of $1 million. Some of the reasons to obtain less coverage may include when a driver has benefits available in other insurance policies such as a health care policy that’s offered at the workplace. The decision to combine medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits into a single benefit was made to help accident victims have the flexibility to access the kind of care they needed and in the way that they wanted it. Furthermore, there have been no proposed changes so far to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule in regard to the payment rules. By implementing the $2 million catastrophic impairment default benefit, more Ontarians will have access to coverage. Accident victims can now get the treatment and care they need more quickly without having to follow lengthy legal processes. This new law is also expected to give drivers more choices about their coverage and the flexibility to apply for catastrophic impairment benefit limits to all kinds of care depending on their individual needs.

Catastrophic impairment has significant impacts on the victim and the affected families. While there’s an option to sue in order to get compensated above and beyond what the accident benefit limits stipulate, these lawsuits often take time and may delay the victim’s access to treatment. There’s a lot that still needs to be done to enhance consumer protection and knowledge of auto insurance benefits.

The team at Grillo Law is well prepared to seek out medical opinions and expertise for our clients who have been involved in catastrophic accidents, in order to determine if we can proceed under a “catastrophic injury” claim.
Over our 30 years of experience in the field, we have developed invaluable networks that can truly benefit our clients in their fight for their rights.

Do not hesitate to contact us today!

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