It is a lonely and isolating existence to be a child with a devastating injury. Pediatric injury thrusts your child into a world of dependence at a time when they are struggling to achieve their own independence from you.
Outwardly, a pediatric injury may originate as a head injury, broken bones, cuts and bruises, sprains, burns or scarring. Children will often be frightened without understanding how to express it in a healthy manner.
Families can become overwhelmed with worry, treatment decisions and the cost of immediate care. 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. After an accident, you, the caregiver, are often faced with a variety of difficult and stressful decisions. 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. It is important that you acknowledge the pressures of the situation and seek help wherever possible.
Your Emotional Health
From a parental standpoint, the experience of having your child injured can provoke a variety of emotions.
Initially, denial may help you deal with the shock of your child’s injury. As you come to terms with the reality and severity of the situation, feelings of sadness
and frustration are common. Denial may serve as an important mental state to help you adjust to the initial shock of your child’s injury. However, ongoing denial may
be harmful as it will prevent you from coming to terms with your child’s injuries and readjusting to a new way of living.
Enduring feelings of shock, confusion, sadness and guilt may later manifest as depression, anxiety and social withdrawal. There is no one “correct” way to cope.
These feelings are generally difficult to work out and may be even worse for those that have difficulty expressing their emotions.
Your Physical Health
No matter how much you love your child and want to impart on them all of your positive energy, the trauma of the situation may impact you physically.
You may experience headaches, stomachaches, bowel complaints, sleep disturbance and fatigue. Your body is telling you that you are experiencing burn out and need
Long hospital stays can wreak havoc on your body’s nutritional balance as well. Selecting healthy meals from cafeterias and avoiding caffeine will help minimize
your physical symptoms.
You should also try to exercise as much as possible and avoid the instinct to maintain a constant bedside vigil. Move around and try to stay active. Your child
needs you healthy and rested.
Having an injured child will have an impact on your immediate and extended family units.
Siblings, young or old, may not have the emotional maturity to understand the severity and circumstances of your child’s injury. It is natural for them to feel
confused, resentful and even angry at the sudden disruption to their daily lives and the added responsibilities and expectations of them at this time. It is helpful to
have frequent age-appropriate discussions with your other child(ren) so they will feel more included and less isolated by the changes in routine.
It is very important that parents ensure that siblings are included in the injured child’s healing and rehabilitation. It is equally important that your family
maintain a sense of routine in the home.
This should include the following:
- Spend some personal time with your other child(ren) at a regular time each night to let them know how you are and how their injured sibling is doing
- Have your other child(ren) share the highlights of their day with you
- Try to ensure that you spend individual time with each of your children
- Keep your other child(ren) involved by having them make pictures, cards or videos to send to the hospital for their sibling
Ensuring that the needs of your injured child and the rest of your family are met can be exhausting. To avoid over-extending yourself, ask for assistance from your
extended family and close friends. They can be a great resource in helping you coordinate activities, meals and household chores. They can also take turns visiting the
hospital in order to give you some needed rest and time for yourself.
It is important to communicate with your parents, siblings and other close relatives as to the nature of your child’s injury, the support you seek and any other
medical information that will help them better understand the situation.
Paediatric Legal Considerations
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
- 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 tab for more information).
We will meet these deadlines for you, so you can focus on your child’s recovery.
What Happens Next
We appreciate that serious paediatric injuries may result in a lifetime of rehabilitation. A child may experience a significant disruption in his or her ability to
live, learn, play, and work as he or she matures. Each child follows a different path to recovery and we can help you navigate each and every challenge ahead.
We retain highly specialized experts to represent your claim so that your child is fully compensated. These experts inform us of your child’s immediate and future
medical and rehabilitation needs, as well as the impact that accident-related impairments may have on future educational and vocational goals.
We offer effective, comprehensive legal services, and we have a team of dedicated employees who are committed to the advancement of your Accident Benefits claims.
Moreover, our experience in advancing access to justice for new Canadians and their children have made us attuned to the nuances of each particular claim, allowing for
more comprehensive representation.
Not only can the personal injury lawyers and staff members at Carranza help overcome the language barrier, we can also assist with any cultural issues that may arise, including:
- Traditional versus modern medicine and conflicts about medications
- Informing loved ones of medical issues and facilitating discussions between rehab teams and key decision makers in the family
- Explaining body language and how its interpretation might affect your care
- The impact of religion on care, treatment and recovery
- Cultural stigmas surrounding shame, depression and isolation
- The importance of nutrition, diet and the use of herbal remedies
- How brain injuries affect the family, their social status and future possibilities
- Bridging the gap between a family’s beliefs and the Canadian healthcare system
real examples of cultural issues in a case
At Carranza, we understand how difficult it can be when English is not your first language. Cultural differences can often affect your case. Having the right representation can make a big difference.
views of authority
One of our clients grew up in a country where the police were corrupt and violent. He learned early in life to fear and obey the police without question.
In Canada, he was involved in a car accident. He was issued a traffic ticket at the scene for making an improper turn, even though the other vehicle had run a red light. The officer told him to pay the ticket, and the client obeyed even though he did not believe the accident was his fault.
In the resulting civil action for damages, the insurance lawyer argued that our client’s payment of the ticket meant that our client admitted responsibility for making an improper turn and causing the accident. Since we were aware of our client’s previous experience with police in his home country, we were able to demonstrate his deference to police and were able to settle the claim on the basis that the other driver was 100% at fault.
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.
At Carranza, our involvement begins the moment we meet you. Through every interaction, we strive to make you feel comfortable, safe and supported to the best of our abilities.
We are so committed to ensuring we consistently meet you and your family’s needs, Carranza has become the only ISO certified personal injury law firm in Canada.
This ISO certification ensures that our firm is held to the highest standard of client service, that we continually improve our communication, our training and our procedures. We did this, because you are the focus of all we do. We did this, because you are important.
At Carranza, our job is more than helping you through litigation; it is also our responsibility to ensure you have the right resources for your rehabilitation. Your medical and rehab teams work hard to help you recover. They will address your physical, emotional, mental and social needs. We will work closely with them, so you and your family do not have to worry about the additional costs of rehab treatments and assistive devices.
Take care of you.
We'll take care of the rest.
Your options for compensation
If you are involved in a vehicle accident there is help available.
You are entitled to:
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.
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.
In addition to the Accident Benefits claim, you may also sue the person or people responsible for the accident.
This type of claim, 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
Once we have a firm understanding of the particulars of your case, we can provide you with an estimate of what you can expect to recover. We look at every means of compensation available to you. We know how important every dollar recovered is to you and your family.
With significant changes made to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule as of September 1st, 2010, it is imperative that you consult a lawyer to find out what you may be entitled to. For a printable overview of what you may be entitled to, click here.
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 – 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.
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.