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Living with spinal cord injuries can be extremely expensive

Most people who are exposed to the media in Ontario have at some point heard about someone being awarded a large settlement after suffering injuries in an accident. What few people probably realize is that the money, though it seems more than ample, may in fact be just enough to pay for ongoing care. A rare glimpse into the breakdown of a court-ordered payment was given recently after a woman won a lawsuit over an accident that left her with major spinal cord injuries.

The accident occurred in British Columbia on March 1, 2009. Four people were travelling home from a ski vacation when a tractor-trailer crossed into their lane and collided with their vehicle. Three of the four occupants of the car, including the plaintiff's husband, were killed in the crash. The woman who survived suffered numerous serious injuries that required multiple surgeries. Additionally, damage to her spine paralyzed her below the waist.

Since the accident, the woman has endured a greatly reduced quality of life: she cannot work, has difficulty eating, sleeping and eliminating, suffers from mood disorders, has chronic pain and has trouble taking care of herself. She could no longer live in her family home, and her daughter has had to alter her life to take care of her mother. Professional care is required to help her on a daily basis.

In a B.C. Supreme Court ruling, the woman was awarded an amount for a personal injury claim. Additionally, after a trial over ongoing care, a judge awarded her $4.5 million dollars. The funds are to be allocated in the following manner: $120,000 toward medication, $134,000 for mobility aids, $148,000 for housekeeping, $159,000 for assistance with incontinence and the balance of about $3.1 million for in-home care.

As can be seen, the cost of living for a person with spinal cord injuries can be staggering. These are figures the average person would have a nearly impossible time generating. Though settlements are never guaranteed, the best chance for a successful outcome after a life-altering accident may be through a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer's experience with Ontario liability law could prove to be very valuable.

Source: Edmonton Journal, "Edmonton woman awarded $4.5 million in damages for Kamloops crash", Jan. 23, 2017

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