Across Canada, brain injuries usher in a new reality for survivors

Brain injuries can change lives. When a person suffers a serious brain injury in a motor vehicle collision, slip and fall accident, sporting event, or any other scenario, they and their family will be forced to confront a new reality. Unfortunately, despite the fact that brain injuries are quite common across Canada, many survivors are unable to access the resources they need to guarantee a successful recovery. While an experienced brain injury lawyer can provide access to financial compensation, many Canadian communities do not provide adequate support for survivors and their families.

This February, Leona Burkey, executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia, wrote an opinion piece for the Halifax Chronicle Herald that illustrated in jarring terms the struggles faced by the province’s brain injury survivors. After reaching out to members of Nova Scotia’s brain injury community, Burkey reported feedback that “can be themed as despair and a sense that the system has abandoned us.”

In particular, Burkey lamented the “staggering and appalling waste of potential” of the province’s 60,000 to 70,000 brain injury survivors, many of whom are under 40 and have fallen “through the cracks in an already overwhelmed system” due to their unique needs. Of the 3,000 Nova Scotians who suffer brain injuries each year, Burkey believes that very few have the option to return to their community and feel safe and supported.

Any brain injury lawyer in Ontario can tell you that the situation is similar in this province. In January, spoke to Melissa Jirovec about the challenges of caring for her husband Jason, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was struck by an impaired dirt biker while riding an ATV in 2014.

Melissa was a registered nurse in Cochrane, Ontario, at the time; today, she is Jason’s full-time caregiver as he continues a demanding regimen of rehabilitation therapy.

According to Melissa, Jason’s injury “changed everything.” Jason struggles with impulsivity and speech issues that create false assumptions about his level of awareness and engagement.

“You can see that he is disabled, but they don’t know his cognitive issues because you can’t see it,” Melissa said.

One way in which Ontario differs from Nova Scotia is the sheer volume of injuries. There are currently close to 500,000 people living with brain injuries in Ontario, and about 43,000 new cases occur each year. Groups like the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) and the Brain Injury Society of Toronto (BIST) work tirelessly to improve conditions for these individuals. Accident lawyers also play an important role by helping injury victims access financial compensation to pay for rehabilitation, therapy, and care.

If you or a member of your family has suffered a serious head injury, contact Will Davidson LLP today to speak with an experienced brain injury lawyer. Our team can help you understand your path to a successful recovery.

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