Ontario Superior Court Improves Protections for Brain Injury Victims
As any experienced brain injury lawyer can attest, each traumatic brain injury (TBI) is unique, and the symptoms of TBIs vary widely from case to case. Brain injuries can cause severe physical effects, such as comas, loss of consciousness, loss of sensation in the body’s extremities, increased risk of stroke and seizure, loss of balance, and full or partial paralysis, as well as devastating mental health issues than can affect a person’s personality and relationships. These may include memory loss, mood swings, impaired language skills, impaired cognitive function, and a higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other degenerative conditions.
Many of these mental health conditions have been revealed in the growing public discourse around concussions in professional sports. Football players have admitted to lifelong side effects from repeated blows to the head, while a number of former NHL enforcers have battled depression leading to substance abuse and suicide.
A brain injury lawyer can help an injury victim access compensation that pays for medical care, rehabilitation, and ongoing support. However, people living with brain injuries sometimes encounter challenges that, until recently, the legal system was powerless to fight.
Take Will Davidson LLP client* Kim Kevin Hunt, for example. Mr. Hunt, a Muskoka landscaper, horse enthusiast, and avid outdoorsmen, suffered a catastrophic brain injury in an ATV accident. After 18 days in a coma and four months of treatment, he left hospital in October 2011 at the age of 50. Medical experts who testified at his trial ‘described him as intellectually devastated, with serious physical issues,’ the Toronto Star reports.
“Much or most of Mr. Hunt’s brain had lost tissue and shrank,” a psychiatrist testified at the trial, while a doctor said Mr. Hunt was “increasingly malleable and easily influenced using cuing and emotional simulation, including sexual relations.”
Mr. Hunt’s ex-girlfriend, Kathleen Anne Worrod, took advantage of his vulnerable state by stealing him away for a secret wedding ceremony that gave her access to his wealth, including his successful and growing landscape business, his home, and his approximately $1-million settlement. The couple never lived together following the marriage.
Recently, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward J. Koke voided the marriage in a decision that lawyers say ‘will give fragile or elderly people increased protections from predatory marriage,’ according to the Star.
The actions of Ms. Worrod highlight how challenging life following a brain injury can be. Living with TBI sometimes requires near-constant aid in the form of medical, rehabilitative, or live-in home care. If you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury, contact a Will Davidson LLP brain injury lawyer to arrange a no-obligation consultation.
* Will Davidson LLP represented Mr. Hunt for his tort and accident benefits claims, but not in the case that went before The Hon. Justice Edward J. Koke.