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Paediatric injuries

Overview

Every parent/caregiver wants to protect and care for their child. So when your child is injured, you and your family are overwhelmed with worry, treatment decisions and the cost of immediate care. Children will often be frightened and unable to understand what is going on. 

Outwardly, a paediatric injury may originate as a head injury, broken bones, cuts and bruises, sprains, burns or scarring. But the true impact of an injury may not surface for years, making the decisions made in the aftermath of an injury even more stressful. 

Every child’s development is complex and layered. A trauma to your child’s system can have a multitude of effects on physical growth, emotional coping skills, and cognitive processes. The effect of a few years of disability can have lifelong consequences and inhibit normal development.

Juggling the needs of your injured child, the caring of other family members and the management of your own mental and physical health are top priorities. 

We are here to help.

We know from experience that it can be exhausting taking care of your injured child as well as the rest of your family. We will connect you and your family with the in-hospital services for psychological counseling and social work support that will help ease your burden. And, we’ll share with you what we’ve learned working with families like yours in the past, such as the importance of seeking assistance from your extended family and close friends; including the whole family (i.e. siblings) in the injured child’s healing and rehabilitation; and maintaining as much of a sense of routine in the home as possible. 

Unique legal considerations for paediatric cases

In order to ensure that your child’s legal rights are protected and that they receive the very best representation, we will conduct a thorough inquiry into the unique circumstances of your child’s case. Our inquiry will include a careful consideration of important questions, including: 

  • Has your loss of income been taken into account for the time you have missed work and will continue to miss work in the future due to your child’s treatment needs?
  • What will your child’s likely future loss of earning capacity be? Your own work, education and work experience as well as the education of your other children will be analyzed.
  • Will the future cost of care needs of your child encompass all likely developmental milestones and will your child’s longer life expectancy be considered? 
  • Will the cost of respite care for you and supervision for your child be quantified appropriately?
  • What financial structures and arrangements should be put into place in the event that your child outlives you?
  • Will the court approve the settlement you agree to on your child’s behalf?

It is important to note that insurance companies will generally only pay for any treatment or expense after you apply for the corresponding benefit, so it is important that you apply, on behalf of your child, for all the benefits they will need as soon as possible. With children, you have up until your child’s twentieth birthday to commence a lawsuit against the at-fault driver so long as your child was injured when he or she was under 18 (see Time limits for more information).

We will meet these deadlines for you, so you can focus on your child’s recovery.

How we can help

Families are often surprised and overwhelmed by how much an injury can impact their lives and their financial situation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand your current situation better and explain your legal entitlements.

Our involvement begins the moment we meet you. We start to work immediately to maximize your personal recovery by ensuring you get the treatment and assistance you require to return to as many social, family, and leisure activities as soon as possible. At the same time, we gather evidence to quantify every aspect of your losses to maximize your financial recovery.

After an accident, we will:

  • Meet with you to understand your life situation, the accident, and your injuries
  • Assist you while you are in the hospital, arranging for parking passes and food vouchers for your family and ensuring a TV and phone are available for the duration of your stay
  • Assist in bringing immediate family to visit you – even from outside Canada
  • Determine which insurance company is responsible for paying your accident benefits
  • Complete your accident benefits claims forms, explain the process, and follow up with the insurance company to ensure your benefits are paid as quickly as possible
  • Open claims for any of your immediate family members who need treatment even though they were not in the accident—this protects your medical rehab limits
  • Obtain police records about the accident and, if necessary, seek out and interview witnesses
  • Put the at-fault party on notice that a lawsuit is likely.

Your options for compensation

If you are involved in a vehicle accident there is help available. 

You are entitled to:

  • Accident benefits: Whether or not you were at fault for the accident, all Ontario auto insurance policies provide compulsory benefits outlined in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).Your family members and dependents may also be entitled to some benefits even though they were not involved in the accident. Accident Benefits can be claimed no matter what your legal residence status is in this country.
  • Disability insurance: Short-term or long-term disability benefits available from your job or a private policy must be applied for immediately. These benefits are always primary. Your car insurance will only cover what your private disability policy will not cover.

Fault-based lawsuits

In addition to the accident benefits claim, you may also sue the person or people responsible for the accident. This type of claim (also called a tort claim) seeks compensation for: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Economic losses (e.g. present and future income losses) 
  • Loss of earning capacity 
  • The cost of future medical treatment and care
  • The cost of future attendant care 
  • The cost of housekeeping and care giving needs
  • Out of pocket expenses 
  • Loss of shared family income 
  • Loss of care, guidance and companionship suffered by your immediate family
  • Economic losses of family members incurred due to the accident.

With significant changes made to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule as of June 1st, 2016, it is imperative that you consult one of our lawyers to find out what you may be entitled to.

Please see Your compensation for more information.

Time limits

Insurance companies will generally only pay for any treatment or expense after you apply for the corresponding benefit, so it is important that you apply for all the benefits you will need as soon as possible. Strict time limits apply. We will meet these deadlines for you, so you can focus on your recovery.

Some of the key limits to keep in mind:

  • 7 Days – you must inform the Accident Benefits insurance company of the accident and that you were hurt;
  • 30 Days – you must complete and send the Accident Benefits application within 30 days of it being provided to you by the insurance company. If you take longer, the insurance company can delay your benefits 45 days and may be able to deny you benefits altogether;
  • 120 Days – you need to give written notice of your intention to sue the at-fault parties;
  • 2 Years – from the day of the minor's 18th birthday, to commence a lawsuit against an at-fault driver or your own insurance company if your benefits are denied.

You must provide the insurance company all the information it needs to determine your entitlement. You have 10 business days after it requests such information to provide it, or it can suspend or deny your benefits.

Disclaimer

This website is meant as a general reference for injured persons and their families. The medical and legal information contained in this manual is not intended to offer legal or medical advice. The content of this website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the professional judgment of a legal and/or healthcare professional, and you should not rely upon any material or statements made on this website for legal or medical advice. It is not intended to create a solicitor-client relationship.

It is recommended that you review any medical information carefully with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any decisions regarding your health or recommended medical treatment. While reasonable attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website, our firm cannot make express or implied representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information. Each person's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Please contact an Ontario Personal Injury lawyer for a consultation on your particular personal injury matter.

Resources

The following websites offer valuable information for injured children and their families:

Carranza

Carranza LLP represents clients in Toronto and the greater Toronto area (GTA), Niagara, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, Markham, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Belleville, Kingston, Ottawa, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, London, Barrie, North Bay, Sudbury.