Ontario Brain Injury Victims Face Countless Challenges

For decades, Will Davidson LLP has helped accident victims with acquired brain injuries access compensation to help fund their recoveries. During this time, our brain injury lawyers have come to understand the many challenges faced by these seriously injured individuals.

Every brain injury survivor experiences a unique combination of symptoms and challenges. Brain injury Canada, and Ottawa-based advocacy group with a mission to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families living with brain injuries, lists the following potential impacts:

Physical Changes

  • Sleep issues, including fatigue and insomnia
  • Challenges with walking, sitting, moving, bathing, and common household tasks
  • Speech issues, including slurred speech
  • Chronic pain and chronic headaches
  • Issues with vision
  • Seizures, infections, vertigo, damaged blood vessels in the brain and fluid in the brain
  • Sensory changes, including ringing in the ears, trouble with hand-eye coordination, unpleasant tastes or smells, and more

Cognitive Changes, including changes in thinking, learning, and decision-making

  • Needing more time to process information
  • Difficulty making plans, organizing, and starting tasks
  • Prone to distraction/difficulty concentrating
  • Communication challenges, including difficulty understanding conversations, difficulty finding the right words, difficulty understanding cues, etc.
  • Difficulty writing
  • Difficulty with memory, learning, and judgement
  • Decision-making issues

Emotional Changes

  • Increased irritability, quick temper, prone to anger
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Sudden and extreme emotions, or limited emotional response
  • Lost identity

Behavioural Changes

  • Tendency toward risky or impulsive behaviour
  • Lack of filter or tendency to say inappropriate things
  • Self-imposed isolation
  • Difficulty maintaining friendships or relationships with family
  • Changing role in life, often from provider to dependant

Each of these symptoms is serious in its own right and, as brain injury lawyers understand, can be compounded by healthcare or environmental issues. Last year, CBC News Ottawa reported on the case of Ken Rekowski, a resident of Renfrew, Ontario, who was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2009. Rekowski’s life was permanently changed as a result of the crash: he experienced serious physical and cognitive changes, including memory issues, trouble forming words, and a ‘right-side deficit’ causing limited mobility in his right leg and very little mobility in his right arm. He is confined to a wheelchair.

Rekowski lives at Renfrew Victoria Hospital in his hometown. His family would prefer for him to live at a residential facility with expertise in complex brain injury cases, but these are scarce in Ontario. According to his sister, the province informed the family that the wait for a space “would be a lifetime.”

To make matters more complicated, the nearest facilities with brain injury expertise are located in Ottawa, more than an hour away. Even if Rekowski was granted a spot, his family would have to uproot their lives to accommodate him.

Rekowski’s case is far from unique – survivors of traumatic brain injuries often face challenges after initial care. The CBC reports that there are ‘dozens, potentially hundreds of patients in Ontario with traumatic brain injuries who can’t find a spot in a residential facility.’

“We sort of patch [brain injury patients] up and we do some rehab with them, and then we send them to their communities, where there just really isn’t that support,” Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) executive director Ruth Wilcock told CBC Ottawa. “If they go back to the community and they don’t have those same supports, then many of those gains that have been made start to turn into losses.”

Wilcock stressed that the challenges are particularly acute outside large urban centres: “We know that the need is great in rural communities,” she said.

While brain injury lawyers can help survivors mitigate these challenges through access to compensation, real relief can only come through improved public services. The Ontario government pledged $86.5 million in 2019-2020 for patients with acquired brain injuries, including a certain amount designated for remote and under-served areas. It also offers incentives for healthcare providers to set up shop in small communities.

The gap between needed brain injury resources and the reality on the ground is immense; a personal injury lawsuit guided by an experienced brain injury lawyer can help bridge that gap through access to fair and reasonable financial compensation.

If you or someone you love has experienced a serious brain injury in a car accident, medical accident, or otherwise, contact Will Davidson LLP today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. During our decades in business, our team of personal injury and brain injury lawyers has helped hundreds of clients access compensation for serious injuries.

Will Davidson LLP is proud to work on a contingency basis, meaning rather than accepting hourly legal fees, our lawyers will receive an agreed-upon percentage of your settlement as payment. In other words: if are unable to secure a favourable resolution to your case, we won’t be paid for our services.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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