What is a catastrophic injury?
Catastrophic injuries, such as severe traumatic brain injury, quadriplegia or paraplegia, severe orthopedic injury, or amputation, are horrific, life-altering experiences for injured victims and their families. They are also very complex and challenging cases when dealing with ICBC. It is imperative for anyone with a catastrophic ICBC injury claim to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. The stakes are too high to try to do it alone.
How can a lawyer help with my catastrophic injury case?
To effectively handle a catastrophic injury case, the lawyer must fulfill multiple roles. The lawyer must liaise with the ICBC rehabilitation department to ensure that appropriate home care is in place, as well as the full complement of rehabilitation services that are needed to promote recovery. Early medical intervention and rehabilitation are essential to maximize recovery and adaptation to life post-injury. Depending on the injury, the rehabilitation team may include physiotherapists, kinesiologists, occupational therapists, psychologists or neuropsychologists, speech/language therapists, case managers, and vocational consultants.
In catastrophic injury cases, the lawyer usually has to sort out coverage and funding issues with other agencies or insurers, such as employment insurance, Canada Pension Plan disability, private extended health care insurers or private disability carriers, unions and their collective agreement provisions, human resource managers, and others. This is important because so often, additional funding sources are needed for medical treatment and income replacement prior to settlement or trial.
In all catastrophic injury cases, it is a must that the court action is commenced, preferably at a relatively early stage following the accident. To get the best compensation for the client, the lawyer must push the case towards trial, as this will usually force ICBC to pay more, knowing that the threat of a trial is looming. A skilled personal injury lawyer will handle all aspects of the litigation, including filing the Notice of Civil Claim, gathering evidence, disclosure of documents and obtaining ICBC’s documents, attending and conducting examinations, court applications and trial management conferences, and retaining highly qualified experts to provide opinions that are often key to a successful outcome. All this takes considerable resources and attention to detail to be done right.
Finally, as the catastrophic injury case develops and is ready to be settled or tried in court, it takes a skilled and seasoned injury lawyer to provide a realistic appraisal of the claim’s value, identify the strengths and weaknesses in the evidence, negotiate vigorously with ICBC for the best possible settlement, and if that fails, to be willing and prepared to go to trial.
At Simpson Thomas and Associates, we take great pride in doing our utmost to help our catastrophically injured clients, both with their rehab and benefits, and in pursuing maximum compensation in their tort claim. We have an enviable record of success handling major loss claims and aim to continue building on our reputation of providing quality service to our clients. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury in a motor vehicle accident, please call us at any time. We are always happy to help in any way possible.