The big story around the NHL and sporting news these days all focuses on the health of Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sid The Kid is arguably the greatest hockey player on the planet. Crosby hasn’t played on a regular basis since he was injured in the Winter Classic on January 1, 2011. He was diagnosed with a concussion. He has since been diagnosed with a soft tissue injury in his neck. He’s been kept out of the line up for basically the entire season (except for a handful of games).
Sidney’s health has been covered by sports fans, the national media and personal injury lawyers across Canada. It’s a compelling story on so many levels. From a personal injury stand point, Sidney, sustained a concussion. A concussion is a head injury.
Sidney’s concussion did not register on any sort of x-ray, MRI or CT scan. He sustained a knock to the head. Basically, his brain knocked against the inside of his skull. This has resulted in headaches, fogginess, dizziness, balance issues and other cognitive issues for Sid which have kept him away from playing again at the NHL level.
When accident victims sustain trauma to the head, they can suffer from concussions just like Sidney. The concussion will not likely show up on any medical imaging reports. Because of this, insurance companies try to paint accident victims as lyers, fakers or malingerers. They allege that the post accident symptoms like headaches, nausea, vertigo, memory loss, dizziness, depression, and anxiety are all made up. If these symptoms are not made up, then an insurer will likely insist that these damages are easily overcome. If the world’s greatest hockey player still to this day cannot overcome his post concussion problems, then why are we not more sympathetic to the average Joe who lost consciousness following a traumatic car accident? I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that SIdney Crosby is in slightly better physical shape than your average Joe, and has access to the best doctors, therapists, rehabilitation and medical professionals/facilities. Your average Joe would be lucky if he saw a neurologist more than once after waiting 6 months for an appointment.
Now it’s been discovered that Sidney Crosby is suffering from a soft tissue injury in his neck. If this soft tissue injury occurred as a result of a car accident, then Sidney Crosby’s injury would fall under the Minor Injury Guideline and entitle him to only $3,500 of insurance benefits for his rehabilitation. Insurance companies will automatically place soft tissue injuries into the Minor Injury Guideline (“MIG”). The MIG was introduced November 1, 2011. It was introduced at urging of insurance companies. No group of accident victims got together at a pub and said “you know what’s wrong iwth insurance….there needs to be some sort of guideline to limit the recovery of accident victims“. Insurance companies got together, and lobbied the Ontario government in order to keep their costs down and maximize their profits. This is all under the guise of keeping your car insurance rates down. But you tell me: have your rates increased this year or declined dramatically? My is on the former and not the later.
Often in personal injury cases, lawyers for insurance companies insist that soft tissue injuries are not significant and that they won’t prevent an accident victim from returning to work, or participating in the activities they enjoyed prior to the accident. Do you think they will reconsider that position after the ordeal which Sidney Crosby has been going through? Probably not.
At Goldfinger Personal Injury Law we represent thousands of hard working accident victims with similar injuries to Sidney Crosby. But the sad thing is that not everyone gets the same access to the best medical experts, medical attention or sympathy from the public as Sydney Crosby gets. There are countless people in Ontario who are suffering from accident related injuries which don’t show up on x-rays or scans. It’s my hope that Sydney Crosby’s battle with injury sheds some much needed light on the topics of brain injury, concussions, soft tissue injury, chronic pain and cognitive dysfunction.