How Definition of Catastrophic Impairment Can Affect Accident Victim

Authorities in Ontario, Canada have placed certain restrictions on the amount of money that can be awarded to the victim of an auto accident. Someone that has sustained impairment should not expect to receive more than $1 million. Yet an impaired motorist can get that award increased to $2 million by agreeing to pay an additional premium.

Victims that lack a catastrophic impairment can hope for no more than $86,000. The stark difference in the size of the award gives every victim the right to ask this question: What is the definition for a catastrophic impairment?

Examples of a catastrophic impairment

• Amputation
• Mental impairment
• Loss of vision
• Behavioral impairment
• Traumatic brain injury

Yet the mere mention of a catastrophic impairment on a patient’s medical record does not meet fully the standard by which authorities in Ontario judge the veracity of a claim from an accident victim, or even from the victim’s doctor. Instead, the record must include proof that at least one of the symptoms associated with such impairments has been observed during a scheduled examination.

Some of the proofs are really nothing more than an acknowledgement of some condition’s existence. Other proofs,submitted by the injury lawyer in Oakville demand the presence of specific symptoms and state the number of such symptoms that must be present.

Acceptable proofs that victim has sustained a catastrophic impairment

• Paraplegia: paralysis in the lower extremities
• Tetraplegia: paralysis in all four of the extremities
• A severe decrease in the mobility of the arm
• Amputation of a limb
• Loss of vision
Traumatic brain injury
• Physical impairment for 55% of victim’s body
• Impairment of 3 or more bodily functions

If some victim must deal with a medical condition that does not fit into any of those categories, then that victim’s chance to receive $1 million vanishes. The same person can collect only $86,000. That may not be enough to cover all the required rehabilitation services, along with the added medical equipment.

Example that showcases weakness of reliance on single definition

Suppose that a driver or passenger suffered a broken leg at the time of a given crash. An elderly patient with a broken leg would have a lengthy recovery. He or she might need to make use of rehabilitation services. He or she would probably want to get around on a wheelchair for at least a limited amount of time. A payment of only $86,000 would probably not cover all of those expenses.

The patient’s condition did not fall under the label of catastrophic impairment. Yet the absence of the necessary services and equipment forced the injured victim to deal with a lower quality of life. The existence of the resulting challenges would underscore the inadequacy of the limited benefits.

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