If you are the victim of a tragic car accident, and are permanently injured, how do you make sure that your medical, day-to-day housekeeping and future care after a car accident is going to be taken care of? Paul Warnett of Warnett Hallen LLP was part of a panel of experts presenting on this very question at the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC’s latest course, Damages in Personal Injury, held at Vancouver’s Pan Pacific Hotel on February 3. In the absence of a crystal ball, the courts weigh the evidence, your lifestyle, and the experts’ opinions. Understanding the process is key to making sure that you are properly compensated by ICBC and taken care of down the line.
Determining today what care you will need in the far-off future seems like it would be a grey zone, but in fact it is one of the few areas in personal injury litigation that is relatively clear.
Catastrophic Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
In the law, there are two types of injuries: catastrophic, and non-catastrophic. Catastrophic refers to severe injuries where a person’s abilities have been radically and permanently altered. These include injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), paraplegia or quadriplegia. In these cases, the focus is on how much it will cost to keep you in your new environment, minus the cost of day to day living expenses that would have been incurred if the accident did not occur.
Non-Catastrophic Car Accident Injuries
In non-catastrophic cases such as injury involving chronic pain, whiplash, fractures or post traumatic stress disorder, evidence to determine future care needs comes from a group of experts, including:
- Medical Doctor reports
- Occupational Therapist report
- Vocational Assessment report
- Economist report
- Plaintiff’s testimony
- Lay witness testimony
Each of these sources of evidence come together to create a strong case for an ICBC claim, and when presented in order, build credibility. Evidence from a spouse or family member can help show the court what you are struggling with in your day-to-day activities. Most important is the future care cost assessment, provided by the occupational therapist, who comes to your home in order to understand your particular circumstances and living needs.
The timing and order of these reports is important too. There should first be a doctor’s report detailing the injuries sustained from a car accident and medical needs before an occupational therapist can assess future care costs. The final piece is always the economist report, which shows in present day values what the future care costs will be.
Despite all the involvement of various experts, at the end of the day, your credibility plays the most important role in garnering the highest award and what the worth of an ICBC claim will be. Stay truthful and clear about your needs, and an experienced, compassionate lawyer will be able to use your credibility and your team of experts to garner the financial means for you to be taken care of in the future.
If you have been injured in a car accident call the Vancouver personal injury lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP at 604 737 3300 to find out how much your ICBC claim is worth with one of Vancouver’s most experienced car accident lawyers – Mr. Paul Warnett.