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Kingston, Ottawa & Whitby Car Accidents - What is a Catastrophic Injury? (Part 2)

Part 1 of this article discussed when injured drivers may qualify for catastrophic accident benefits after being injured in car or truck accidents in Kingston, Ottawa or Whitby, Ontario. Some injuries are obvious as to why they are considered catastrophic, such as complete loss of vision or paraplegia; however, there are other injuries that may not at first seem to be catastrophic as defined by Ontario's Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). These types of injuries may severely impair injured drivers physically and/or mentally.

Part 2 of this article will discuss these other types of injuries and when they are considered catastrophic injuries pursuant to the SABS.

According to sections 3(2)(e) and 3(2)(f) of the SABS, the following are also catastrophic injuries, and injured drivers are entitled to receive catastrophic accident benefits if they have:

  • an impairment or combination of impairments that, in accordance with the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993, results in 55% or more impairment of the whole person; or
  • an impairment that, in accordance with the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993, results in a class 4 impairment (marked impairment) or class 5 impairment (extreme impairment) due to mental or behavioural disorder.

Impairment of the whole person essentially means the degree to which the person has been impaired. The degree of physical and mental impairment is decided in accordance with the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

Below is an example of a pedestrian injured in a car accident. The pedestrian's injuries may not be considered catastrophic at first, but with time they meet the catastrophic injury definition pursuant to the SABS.

The pedestrian is crossing a street in downtown Kingston, Ontario when suddenly and without warning, he is hit by a car that ran a red light. He loses consciousness for a couple of minutes. When he regains consciousness, he is in significant pain and cannot move his leg. He has a comminuted open fracture in his leg, i.e., his leg bone is protruding through the skin. He also has pain in his head, ribs and other parts of his body.

The pedestrian has surgery and hardware placed in his leg. He cannot bear weight on his leg for several months. He also cannot work or provide for his family. He is told he will always need a cane to walk. Because he was a roofer prior to the accident, he will likely not be able to return to his job due to his leg injury. He starts to become severely depressed.

In this case, even though the pedestrian's injuries from the car accident may not be catastrophic at first, how his leg injury affects him may result in 55% impairment of his whole person. This determination is made by a licensed physician.

Applying for accident benefits after sustaining a serious and catastrophic injury in a car or truck accident in Ontario can be a daunting experience. Talk to the car accident lawyers at Bergeron Clifford who have extensive experience in helping car accident victims obtain accident benefits. 1-866-384-5886

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“From my first meeting with Mr. Bergeron and Mr. Clifford I was reassured, made comfortable with the legal processes involved and well looked after. Mr. Bergeron and Law Clerk, Craig Cameron were always available to answer questions and guide me through the legal procedure. I was fortunate to be able to work with a wonderful lawyer, whose abilities I have extreme confidence in.” – S.M.

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