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Articles Posted in Brain Injury

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Brain injury is right up there with the most serious injury one can get in a bad motor vehicle collision, or accident not caused by motor vehicle collision.

The thing about brain injury is that it can often be overlooked, or misunderstood by the general public, or even doctors.

The notion that you aren’t in a wheelchair, without any visible injuries so therefore you’re “ok” is wrong; yet still fairly popular. Even with increased public awareness campaigns along with concussion recognition protocols that we see in sport (football, hockey); there remains a pervasive attitude that one must “suck it up” and deal. This is particularly popular in an old school Canadian hockey culture that a few bumps or knocks to the head should not keep you on the sidelines.

Not only is brain injury invisible to the naked eye, there is still a lot we don’t know about the brain along with how brain injuries impact one’s body, mind and soul.

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Many people don’t understand what concussions are, and how serious they can be. There are common misconceptions about concussions which need to be discussed.

The purpose of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog post from Brian Goldfinger is to better understand what concussions are, how they arise, how to deal with them, and how a concussion can impact ones life.

Please keep in mind that this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog post is prepared by a personal injury lawyer in Brian Goldfinger. Brian Goldfinger is NOT a medical doctor. This entry is NOT intended to provide medical or legal advice for that matter. If you need medical advice, please consult with your doctor, attend at hospital or your local walk in clinic.

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This is Part 1, of our 2 part series on getting to know your Rehab Team following a serious accident in Ontario. We have to do this feature in two parts on account of its length and we didn’t want to miss anybody. The second part will be released next week.

After a serious accident (car or otherwise), you will be exposed to a variety of medical and rehabilitation professionals. Some you will see in hospital or rehab facility. Some you will see at home. Others you will see at their office.

Either way, understand who these medical professionals are, and what their role is will help you better understand the rehabilitation process.

This installment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog will introduce you to your rehabilitation team following a serious accident (catastrophic accident, brain injury, orthopaedic injury etc.).

The reality is that money is often the main driver of most anything in our society. These doctors and rehab professionals do not work for free. Some are paid through the OHIP system. Some are paid by a private health insurer. Some are paid directly by car insurers. Some get funded through crowd sourcing! Some will defer payment and get paid upon settlement. Understanding how these doctors and rehab professionals are financed will help innocent accident victims better understand some of the finer financial aspects of their case. Continue reading →

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The stereotypical image of an injured accident victim in a personal injury case involves a person in a wheelchair, wearing a neck collar, with multiple casts on their legs and arms. Their lawyer is pushing the wheelchair from behind, in to a Court room, parading them before a Judge and Jury so that they can get an appreciation of their injuries.

Some paraplegia and quadriplegia accident victims are certainly like this. These case are no joke. But not every case is a involves paraplegia or quadriplegia.

In most cases, broken bones mend such that the injured accident victim is no longer in a cast at the time of their trial, hearing or mediation; which can take up to 5+ years to get to following a serious accident if things get delayed.

Most injuries are invisible to the judge, jury and insurance company. These might be scars under concealed clothing. Or they might be injuries to the brain, mind, psyche, emotions and cognitive abilities of the injured party. These injuries cannot be seen at first blush. But with some probing and some digging in to the medical evidence, they will come out with the assistance of a skilled lawyer by your side.

Following a serious accident, one of the first things which a lay person first notices are the physical injuries like the broken bones. What can get missed are those other invisible injuries I’ve just eluded to. Unlike broken bones, which can get better over time; these invisible psychological and cognitive injuries get worse and become more pronounced as time passes.

These invisible injuries often come on when somebody bumps their head, losses consciousness or sustains a concussion following a traumatic accident. The accident can be severe such that an MRI picks up spotting on the brain. Or it can be light such that the head simply whips back against the head rest causing a bad knock to the head whereby your mood and cognitive symptoms get worse over time. When these sort of injuries occur, lawyers are able to categorize them as brain injuries. All brain injuries are severe; although some are more pronounced than others. There is no magic pill to make a brain injury go away. There is no cast for the brain. No magical cream, balm, application or band aid to make the brain better. It’s a delicate organ in your body that can’t be replaced.

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Eugenie Bouchard is the greatest female tennis player in Canadian history. She has made international headlines for her amazing tennis skills. But these days, her press isn’t about success on the tennis court. Rather, it’s about her battling her head injury and concussion symptoms off the court. Those symptoms have become so serious, that Genie has needed to retain a personal injury lawyer to make sure that she gets the compensation she deserves. I imagine she didn’t want to go this route, but that just goes to show the severity of her injuries.

This week, lawyers in the US Federal Court-Brooklyn, filed a  law suit against the United States Tennis Association (USTA). The USTA is the body which organizes and runs the US Open; one of the four grand slam tennis tournaments held in a season. The US Open is held in Queens, New York, and is arguably the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. Others would argue the most prestigious tennis tournament is Wimbeldon; but I’m a big US Open fan. I like it when players get to wear something other than white on the Court, and get to show off their personalities without being penalized for it. I also LOVE US Open night matches that stretch in long in to the evening. There’s also nothing better than all of the celebrities that come out to watch US OPEN games. There’s no better beacon or stage for tennis than the US Open.

At this year’s US Open, on around September 4, 2015, Genie had just finished a mixed doubles match. She returned to the women’s locker room, and entered the treatment/physiotherapy area. It might have been dark, and the lights may have been off. As Genie was walking in the training/physio area, she slipped and fell; thereby slamming her head and sustained a concussion/brain injury.

If it could happen to Genie; it can happen to you!

Genie tried playing in her singles match the following day, but she was not able to compete. If you will recall, she attended the US Open grounds wearing dark sunglasses, with a hoodie draped over her head. This wasn’t a good sign. As a result of failing to compete in the Open, she lost out on significant prize money, and international exposure. In a subsequent tournament, she was also forced to withdraw as a result of head injury symptoms.

The filing of this law suit has drawn international attention. Let’s face it; this is a big story. It’s possibly the highest profile slip and fall case I’ve ever seen because of the parties involved, the place the fell occurred (the US OPEN), along with the potential damages at stake as a consequence of the fall.

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I was at our Peterborough Office at 380 Armour Rd in the East City today. En-route, it began to snow. Like real, hard core snow.

Confession: I had my snow tires removed 3 weeks ago. With temperatures below freezing in Peterborough and the Kawarthas, I could have benefited from keeping those snow tires on just a bit longer.

In any event, I will make a Goldfinger Guarantee that the weather will get warmer, and we will all finally have an opportunity to get outside and feel a bit more active.

The “activity” part of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post segues (pronounced seg-ways) nicely in to this week’s topic; top bicycling safety tips for Ontario cyclists. We usually publish some bike safety tips when Spring is around the corner because we know know much people love to get out there and be active. Whether you cycle everyday for your commute to work in a big city like Toronto or London; or you enjoy a weekend ride on the country roads outside of Peterborough and the Kawarthas, these tips will ensure that you’ve done everything you can to stay safe.

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99% of all car accident and injury cases settle out of Court.

1% (or less) of car accident and injury cases do in fact go to trial.

Civil Trials happen in 2 ways in Ontario. They’re either Judge alone; or, they’re Judge and Jury trials.

I just read a very interesting case that was recently released to the public. It was a brain injury trial/psych injury case which the lawyers estimated would take 3 weeks to hear. Instead, the trial took over 6 weeks to be heard. A link to the case can be found here.

Also, interesting to note that in this case, the car accident took place on August 3, 2001. The trial concluded on June 27, 2013, although cost submissions are not due until the end of September 2014. For you stats guys out there who love reading the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, that’s 12 years, 10 months and 26 days between the time of the car accident, and the conclusion of the trial (not including cost submissions).

To make matters even more complicated, I believe that the lawyer for the insurance company/defendant in this case may be appealing this decision. That means that the accident victim won’t get ANY money until the appeal is heard, which could take a number of more years.
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Cycling is cool. It’s not expensive. It’s fast. It’s healthy. You don’t need a license or insurance to ride. It’s better for the environment. It’s “on trend” in today’s global urban market. And if you’re smart, you can accessorize with a flashy (yet safe) helmet and make all of your peers jealous.

But cycling accidents aren’t cool. They hurt. In an accident involving car vs. bike, it doesn’t take a forensic engineer to understand why the cyclist will usually come out with the most serious injuries. 600lb car vs. 20lb bike? Brain Injury, broken bones, fractured ribs, road rash aren’t uncommon. Some of the most catastrophic accidents we see at our law firm involve cyclists.

Space to operate cars and bikes on urban Canadian streets is coming at a premium. With so many commuters operating in close quarters, accidents are bound to happen.

We’ve seen a new phenomenon of late. The term “dooring” is entering the personal injury lexicon. Never heard of dooring? That’s ok. It’s a relatively new word.

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Johnny Careless was an interesting fellow. To say that he went against the grain is an under statement. Johnny rode his bike without a helmet. He drove his car without wearing a seat belt. He crossed busy intersections against red lights and don’t walk signals. He texted while driving. He wasn’t one to follow rules. Whether it would be the rules of sport, the public library, or the rules of the road provided under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. He was, quite simply, a careless individual.

Johnny was going nowhere fast. But all that changed one fine autumn day when Johnny was a passenger in his buddy Ricki Rhodes Chevy Camaro. Ricki was just like Johnny, a careless guy who didn’t much care for rules. Ricki was driving at excessive speeds along Highway 401, West of Mississauga, and lost control of his car causing it to strike head on into the side rail. Johnny didn’t remember what happened. He lost consciousness in the accident. All he remembers is waking up with blood on his face, on a stretcher with flashing ambulance lights glaring at him. Doctors told Johnny that he sustained a traumatic brain injury, along with a fractured ankle and 4 broken ribs. Ouch is right.
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I had tell 3 different people today that our law firm couldn’t help them. I hate telling people that we can’t help, but it happens sometimes.

The reason we couldn’t help was the same in each case. Every single caller; all from different parts of Ontario, had been involved in an accident of some kind. And every single caller had waited too long to either investigate their claim, or had waited passed a limitation period.

While I like to think that our office is excellent and can work miracles, we can’t go back in time to collect critical data, witness statements, photographs of the icy patch where you fell, surveillance footage which has been destroyed, or change the law with respect to how limitation periods and notice provisions work. I wish I had a time machine. But I don’t. And without a time machine to remedy mistakes which had been made long ago (namely waiting too long to do anything), there was not much that the lawyers at my office could do to assist these people.

One of the most common things which I hear from injured accident victims in non car crash cases has to deal with surveillance. People always tell me that the cameras were on, and surely they must have caught my slip and fall accident on camera.
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