You or a person close to you has been involved in a motor vehicle collision and sustained severe injuries. At what point can these injuries be qualified as catastrophic?
The definition of catastrophic injuries
In recent years, the definition of catastrophic impairment has evolved and became more complex. This definition is found in section 3.1 of the Statutory Accidents Benefits Schedule (SABS). In a nutshell, a catastrophic impairment is where the injured person:
For the last category, the injuries and impairments can be physical, psychological or a combination of both. For example, a person who was in a motor vehicle collision and as a result of this collision, they suffered:
In an evaluation to determine if the person has catastrophic injuries, both the fracture and the depression should be considered.
How is the 55% calculated? The SABS provides that medical experts must use the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale in their assessment, which is a standardized neurological examination to determine how much the injuries affected the sensory and motor functions of a person. This scale divides the results in five different grades of impairments.
While physical impairments are rated by percentage and then in different grades, psychological injuries are divided in five classes. For a psychological injury to be considered catastrophic, it must meet the criteria of class 4 or class 5, which are the most severe levels of impairment. The SABS also provides that the assessment of all injuries and impairments must be done by a physician and not a psychologist.
Five grades of physical injury, five classes of psychological impairments… These calculations are very technical. What you need to remember is that only the most severe injuries will be considered catastrophic, and that the government has put in place several criteria to determine how injuries are evaluated when determining whether they are catastrophic or not.
What does a catastrophic determination do?
A determination of catastrophic impairment will give the injured person access to more funds for their rehabilitation from their Accident Benefits insurer.
Here is a table to help you compare between the different categories of injury :
|Minor Injury Guideline*||Non-catastrophic*||Catastrophic impairment|
|Attendant care||$3,000 / month||$6,000/month|
|Medical and rehabilitation benefits||$100,000 over 5 years||$1,000,000 for life|
|Any medical and rehabilitation expense||$3,500|
*To learn more about these categories, see my colleague Dani’s blogs about the Minor Injury Guideline and the non-catastrophic injuries!
A collision and the resulting injuries can have a catastrophic effect on someone’s life, no matter the category they fall in. If you have been injured in a collision and you are not sure if you are accessing all of the accident benefits that apply to your type of injuries, contact us today for a free consultation so we can discuss how we can help you.
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