Caring for Family | Will Davidson LLP Personal Injury Lawyer
The impacts of a serious personal injury are never felt in isolation. When a person sustains a brain injury, spinal injury, or other form of catastrophic injury, their friends, family members, and even personal injury lawyer share the burden of their recovery. Below, we’ll discuss how personal injuries affect victims’ family members, the responsibilities that family members are asked to take on, the legal options that are available, and how Will Davidson LLP can help.
How are family members affected by serious personal injuries?
Every personal injury lawyer has witnessed first-hand how the catastrophic injury or death of a loved one can impact a family. The consequences are felt on multiple levels. First, there is the emotional shock and burden of adjusting to a new way of life. Next, there is the mental impact of knowing that life has changed forever, that new responsibilities and challenges are on the horizon.
Many families also face financial challenges. As of 2015, most Canadian families (69 per cent) were dual income; losing one of those incomes creates a raft of monetary constraints, especially in situations where the injury victim requires long-term or ongoing care, which can be extremely expensive. The impact can be even more profound in single-income homes.
In other words, when a person is catastrophically injured or killed in an accident, the impacts are felt by every member of their immediate family, and often their extended family and network of friends, as well.
What responsibilities do family members take on?
Families of catastrophically injured accident victims are often forced to accept a range of new responsibilities, some of which they may be ill-prepared for. For example, CBC News Ottawa recently published a story about a woman who suffered a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident and her mother, who has been her primary caretaker for over a decade.
“I can remember the first few years – I don’t think Cheryl ever slept the full night because she was always on the alert for a noise from Jodi’s room,” one family friend told the CBC.
“There’s no end in sight [to the help Jodi needs], which is hard. It’s a nightmare,” added Cheryl, the mother. “It’s hard to sit here and say, ‘This is going to be the rest of my life, trying to help Jodi get her life back.’ And there are no other options.”
Even in situations where family members do not take on primary caretaker responsibilities, they are generally responsible for coordinating care, for providing transportation, and, of course, for covering costs.
Family members are also responsible for managing any legal claims that arise from the injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer can mitigate this responsibility by assuming control of the legal process, but the burden of making key decisions will continue to rest with the family.
What are the legal options for the families of seriously injured accident victims?
Under Ontario’s Family Law Act, close family members of an injured person are able to pursue compensation for damages they have incurred. Close family members include the injury victim’s spouse, children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents, and siblings.
The damages for which close family members may pursue compensation include:
- Expenses incurred for the injury victim’s benefit
- Funeral expenses, in the case of wrongful death claims
- Travel expenses incurred in visiting the injured person in hospital, in rehabilitation, or in long-term care facilities
- The cost of nursing, housekeeping, other long-term or attendant care services
- Lost income of family members that assume responsibility for attendant, long-term care services
- Loss of guidance, care, and companionship
Although no amount of money can compensate a family for the loss or serious injury of a loved one, the above damages can help reduce stress and address urgent financial needs.
How can Will Davidson LLP Help?
If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured in an accident, contact Will Davidson LLP today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our team will assess your claim, explain your legal options, and provide guidance, advice and support throughout the recovery process.
At Will Davidson LLP, we understand that serious personal injuries have a profound impact on the families and friends of the victims. For this reason, our personal injury lawyers are proud to work on a contingency basis. This means that in lieu of accepting hourly legal fees, our team will accept a pre-approved percentage of the eventual settlement. Contingency fees ensure that our clients have access to the funds they need to address emergency expenses and finance their or their family member’s recovery. They also ensure that clients receive fair value for their fees – if we are unable to secure compensation, we do not get paid.
Contact Will Davidson LLP today to learn more about how we can help.
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