By Matt Lalande in Articles on November 07, 2020
When or whether you hire a car accident lawyer is entirely up to you. But if you decide to get an attorney for your car accident case, it’s usually best to hire one quickly – preferably the day of the accident, or soon afterward.
The immediate aftermath of a car accident often comes with a variety of feelings: shock, anger, fear, and possibly confusion. For most people, the first thought that comes to mind is not always contacting a lawyer, especially when they are dealing spinal cord injuries, amputation injuries, fractures and bone breaks or disabling syndromes consisting of head, neck, and back pain, impaired short-term memory and concentration, fatigue and a loss of stamina.
However, working with a car accident lawyer before or immediately upon discharge from a hospital or rehabilitation center can allow you to retain your own team – not only your own legal team, but your own hospital discharge team. Accident victims that suffer serious injuries require proper discharge planning which is a multidisciplinary collaboration so that an appropriate plan can be developed based on each clinician’s input in order to address your needs. Normally the people involved would be medical doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nursing and social services if required. Other disciplines such as nutrition and speech therapy may also be involved depending on your needs. The most important – immediately (besides your doctors) are occupational therapists.
You have the right to hire your own occupational therapy team who will work with the hospital to assist in discharge planning and ensure that you return to your home environment safely. During their hospital stay, many victims do not realize that discharge preparation is a large focus of both in-hospital and out-hospital occupational therapy for people diagnosed with serious injuries. Even more important is that most accident victims do not know they can hire their own occupational therapists – they DO NOT have to use the insurance company appointed occupational therapist, despite what they tell you.
It is vital that you retain a Hamilton car accident lawyer that has an established long-term relationship with an occupational therapy team who are experienced in assisting motor vehicle accident victims so that that lawyer can ensure their immediate involvement in your case and make sure that OT team is paid for. It is nearly impossible to deravel progress and appoint your own O.T. after an insurance company appoints their own people to your case.
Also, it is important that you hire a car accident lawyer early in your case, so that proper funding can be put into place. If you have suffered a serious injury, you will need to pay the costs of your occupational therapy discharge team, and any immediate assistive devices and/or home renovations or modifications that you need.
For example, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident, you will probably be returning home after 4 months in rehab – and you and your family will ne
There are certain no-fault benefits that need to be put into place without delay if you have suffered a spinal cord injury. Most people do not know, but their own insurance company will provide extensive medical and rehabilitation benefits to policyholders in the event of motor vehicle injury. With spinal cord injury victims, they are entitled to enhanced catastrophic injury benefits for life. It is very important that we discuss these benefits with your and ensure that these enhanced benefits are applied for immediately given that it is reasonable to expect that there will be extensive immediate costs in assisting your return home. Our car accident lawyers, along with our occupational therapy team, will ensure that you return home to a safe environment and achieve the best level of independence you can.
There are important things that your occupational therapists will assist with immediately, including such things as:
Skin management – there is often a high risk of developing pressure injury. Education about skin care management, creating a daily routine including how functional activities are performed and how that relates to pressure injury is a vital discussion to have.
Bedroom equipment – your car accident lawyer and occupational therapist will ensure that your insurance company funds proper bedroom equipment including an electronically operated bed and other things such as an elevated had raise, knee break, vascular leg raise, proper under bed clearance for hoist access etc.
Lifting equipment – some spinal cord injury victims require an electric hoist if they are unable to transfer. Hoists can be mobile, or ceiling mounted.
Transfer boards – may be required to help a spinal cord injury victim transfer with or without assistance to and from a wheelchair, shower commode, vehicle or bed.
Mobility equipment – choosing the right wheelchair is very important. You will work with your occupational therapist to find just the right fit. This can take some time, but it’s worth putting in the effort to understand which wheelchair, either manual or power wheelchair, is suited for you. Take a look at this post that we wrote some time ago concerning how to choose a wheelchair. You will also need other equipment such as proper cushions, extra batteries etc. A paraplegic wheelchair will require special cushions to help avoid pressure sores.
Assistive technology – your occupational therapist could also ensure that you are provided with adaptive technology with voice activation such as an iPad or other tools for communication, study, reading ect.
Housing and transportation – if your home requires modification to accommodate your return, your occupational therapy team, with the assistance of your car accident lawyer, will hire the appropriate construction team that specialize in adaptation and disability – and ensure all is funded and paid for. Similarly, you may need an adaptable vehicle or modifications done to a vehicle.
Other rehabilitative needs – your occupational therapy team will also ensure that such thing as splints, wheelchair push mitts or gloves, domestic assistance, PSW’s, medication, therapies – such as psychological or physical therapy are provided for you.
The sudden and dramatic death of a loved one, at any age is a profound, difficult and very painful experience. Bereavement is incredibly stressful, whether it is of a person who loses a child, parent, sibling or grandparent unexpectedly. Often times, the immediate subsequent adjustments following the death of a loved one does not include contacting a car accident lawyer – but it should.
In Ontario, you are entitled to death and funeral benefits from your own insurance company. During the grieving process our car accident lawyers work in the background, without bother to you or your family, and ensure that all of these costs are paid without delay. Even more important is that a lawsuit should be filed immediately in a wrongful death case if the deceased was a breadwinner and contributed to shared family costs. His or her survivors will be left without that income to help the family unit – which can be a financially disastrous.
Don’t Fight your Claim Alone
Always remember that personal injury in Ontario is not an even playing field between accident victims and insurance companies. Insurance companies are not in the business of paying full compensation on claims to make a person or family whole after their losses. They will hire defence lawyers that will find reason to limit or lessen the compensation paid to you. They will hire people to follow you, interview your neighbors, accident witnesses or work collegues. They will hire people to film you and try to obtain video surveillance that will discredit your claims. It’s important that if you have suffered serious injuries or you have lost a loved one that you hire an experience car accident lawyer that can not only be your advocate, but ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve either by jury verdict or settlement.
Matt Lalande is a car accident lawyer in Hamilton who has been assisting victims of collisions since 2003. He has his own occupational therapy team, and has represented victims with brutal life-changing injuries caused by car accidents – whether vehicle or pedestrian related. Call us today for your free consultation province-wide at 1-888-LALANDE or local in the Hamilton / GTA at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can fill in a contact form or chat with our live operator.