In the context of a motor vehicle accident, including a car-pedestrian, car-bicycle, motorcycle or truck accident, the term “catastrophic injury” has a very specific meaning.
When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario, you are entitled to statutory accident benefits. These benefits are usually paid by your own auto insurance company. Since 2010, there have been three levels of benefits. One of those levels of benefits is for people who have been deemed or found to have suffered a catastrophic injury.
Some injured victims are automatically in the catastrophic category because of the injury they have suffered. Those injuries include: paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputation, blindness and certain types of traumatic brain injuries.
Other accident victims will qualify for catastrophic benefits if a specially trained medical practitioner (or more often a team of medical practioners) assigns an impairment rating of 55% or more. This impairment rating is typically completed after 2 years, although in some cases it can be completed earlier.
If the injured person is “catastrophic”, either because he or she has one of the listed injuries, or meets the impairment rating test, he or she qualifies for a higher level of accident benefits. Most notably, the “medical- rehabibilitation benefit” jumps from $50,000 to $1,000,000.00 and there is an increase in the attendant care benefit. Certain benefits also last longer.
Sometimes there is a dispute between the injured victim and the insurance company as to whether or not the injured person has been catastrophically injured. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate that dispute through the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and / or the Ontario Court system. If you would like to speak to Auger Hollingsworth about your claim and whether or not you qualify for catastrophic benefits, call us at 613 233-4529.