When it comes to severe accidents and brain injuries, the spectrum of impairment and brain damage can range from mild to severe. The consequences can range from a minor headache to cognitive impairment or even death. Brain injuries can influence someone's personality, even if the effects don't show up right away.
Brain injuries can have life-altering impacts on the victim as well as their family members and friends. A person who is generally happy and productive may become irritated, tired, and depressed. It can become impossible to maintain employment or relationships and require around-the-clock care and support.
Our team has represented numerous brain-injured individuals which include both adults and children. Depending on the degree of the injury, numerous healthcare professionals located both within the District of Algoma and outside of the District of Algoma come together to truly bring a team approach with the law firm being but one part of a much larger team to assist in the recovery of the victim and to integrate that individual to the greatest extent possible into society. One of our goals is to provide a lifetime of financial security in order for the survivor to have lifelong support with all possible resources that may be available.
We at Feifel Gualazzi recognize that our paramount consideration and goal is to assist in formulating a team of specialists from a wide spectrum of disciplines and professions so that the maximum recovery and quality of life can be achieved for our client and their family.
Visible injuries are easy for others to notice; however, in the case of a brain injury, this is not always the case. The “invisible” injury can be the most devastating injury for the victim and the family.
Brain injuries, sometimes referred to as the “invisible injury,” are often characterized as mild, moderate or severe. They are perhaps the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed injuries but often have a devastating impact on not only the survivor but as well the survivor’s family and friends.
Even a so-called “mild” brain injury, which is a misnomer, is a totally inadequate description of an injury that can prove to be life-altering for the injured person.
Numerous professionals, depending on the unique situation of each case, will be considered which would include catastrophic case management, individual rehabilitation plans, transferable skills analysis, job coach with vocational evaluations and labour market surveys, future care costs analysis, exercise program, anger management, independent living assessments, speech-language pathologist, speech therapist, full-time tutor & assistance at both the elementary & high school level, attendant care, parenting courses, assessments with an audiologist, sleep clinic assessments, assistive devices & home modifications for possibly a new home, recreational therapy, assistance of a personal support worker & rehabilitation support worker and counselling with a social worker or psychologist with expertise in acquired brain injuries.
Children who have sustained an acquired brain injury could be attended by pediatric neurologist, pediatric psychiatrist, assessment by a neuropsychologist with expertise in dealing with infants & children, life skills assistance, assistive equipment for learning along with occupational therapy, development of an individual education program (IEP), the assistance of an educational assistant, vocational assistance, cognitive aids and financial planner to provide money management.
The resolution of a claim involving an individual who has an acquired brain injury, and especially when dealing with children, is an extremely lengthy process. Our team strongly believes that a claim should never be resolved until our client has made the best possible recovery. When dealing with children, very often significant changes occur when the child enters the teenage years and becomes a young adult, which can result at that time in a severe change in personality, anger and other issues as a result of the brain injury.
It may be many years before a claim involving an individual who has sustained an acquired brain injury is resolved and indeed there may be situations where it is in the best interest of the survivor not to resolve the claim at all. Our goal is that once maximum recovery has been achieved through the assistance of the numerous healthcare professionals and other team members involved in the rehabilitation and integration of the injured person into society, final assessments will be obtained such as a future care cost and reports from an accountant/actuary and economist in order to properly quantify the injured person’s needs for the rest of his or her lifetime.
At that time, most often a structured settlement is obtained, which will provide an annuity for the lifetime of the injured person by paying monthly tax-free monies to the injured person or their representative to cover that individual’s potential losses for loss of income, pain and suffering, attendant care, ongoing treatments and medications, counselling, case management, and all other expenses that may occur during the lifetime of the injured person. With children or with an individual who is under a disability, there may be involvement by the office of the children’s lawyer through the public guardian/trustee. Court approval must be obtained to make sure that the settlement and resolution of the claim is truly in the best interest of the injured child or person under disability.
The District of Algoma is fortunate to have excellent resources available for individuals who have sustained an acquired brain injury. Information can be obtained from the Brain Injury Association of Sault Ste. Marie and District at 127-31 Old Garden River Road, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, P6B 5Y7, telephone number 705-946-0172; fax number 705-946-0594. Assistance can also be obtained from Karen McKinley, BSW, RSW/social worker/case coordinator of the Trauma Program with the Sault Area Hospital, 969 Queen Street East, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, P6A 2C4, telephone number 705-759-3434, ext. #5536.