The devastation of a traumatic brain injury
All serious injuries cause a ripple effect which impacts family members and friends, but traumatic brain injuries are often particularly devastating.
Traumatic brain injury rights
The immediate period after you or someone you love suffers from a traumatic brain injury is often hectic, confusing, stressful, and frightening. You will be forced to make serious decisions regarding medical treatment, financial considerations, and personal matters very quickly. In most cases, a traumatic brain injury also results in serious grief as you and your family adjust to a new set of unfortunate circumstances.
It is important to try to stay calm, and most of all, to remember that you are entitled to certain rights:
- You always have the right to hire a personal injury lawyer for consultation, before, during and after any legal proceedings take place, including filling out any paperwork relating to the traumatic brain injury.
- You have the right to file a brain injury related lawsuit, and to apply for disability benefits.
- If you choose, you are also entitled to settle any disputes through arbitration to avoid going to court.
- You have a right of appeal. If you lose your court case then you have the right to pursue your case with the Supreme Court of Canada, but such an appeal should be made in consultation with your lawyer.
It is crucial to also keep in mind that if you choose to file a claim:
- You should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.
- You must file your claim within the statute of limitations (in Ontario the statute of limitations stipulates that you must make a claim within 2 years of your traumatic brain injury – barring mitigating circumstances).
- You are responsible for the burden of proof. This means that it is your job to provide evidence backing up your claims (unlike, for example, criminal cases when the government is responsible for proving guilt).
- Because you are responsible for the burden of proof you need to document everything as much as possible. Ask for copies of anything and everything, take photos, and begin combing through past records (especially regarding income and other financial information).
In Canada victims of traumatic brain injuries are entitled to compensation. This compensation takes into consideration the medical costs, lost income (including past, present and future income and lost opportunity costs), and expenses related to the traumatic brain injury. You are also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. Unfortunately, in Canada, compensation for pain and suffering is limited to $340,000. In practice it is very rare to receive the maximum level of compensation.
Receiving your compensation
In Canada most brain injury compensation comes in the form of structured long term arrangements. This is primarily to ensure that the recipient of the compensation can rely on a future source of income, rather than risk losing their compensation.
How to file a claim
If you, or someone you know or love has suffered from a traumatic brain injury you should consult a top law firm as soon as possible. You do not have to sign any paperwork or agree to a settlement without consulting a personal injury lawyer.