Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal Cord Injuries: How To Fund Your Care And Understand The Legal Labyrinth

I am reminded on a daily basis just how precious a commodity is good health, how easy it is to take it for granted, and how devastating it can be once it is lost, but the talk I gave at Parkwood Hospital on October 15, 2018 – part of the Peer Connection series organized by Spinal Cord Injury – Ontario (SCIO) and sponsored by Lerners – was a particularly acute reminder to me.

The Peer Connection program pairs people who have recently suffered a spinal cord impairment with someone who has experienced many years of living with a spinal cord impairment. Often even when the most qualified medical and rehabilitation teams are available there is just no substitute for hearing directly from someone who has personally lived through the experience. The insights, tips, tricks, and personal anecdotes that can be shared by peer supports and the deeply personal understanding of the issues is what makes the SCIO Peer Connection program so valuable. Lerners is very proud to help support SCIO through our ongoing sponsorship of the monthly Peer Connection luncheon.

Some of the people I met at Parkwood Hospital included:

  • An 86 year old gentleman who fell in his own yard while gardening, leaving him with paraplegia
  • A woman who was diagnosed with a tumour in her spine after a long history of back pain and progressive leg weakness
  • A woman rendered paraplegic when her car struck a moose
  • A woman with permanent spinal cord compromise following an infection in her spine

I try to sit in on these meetings whenever possible because I always learn so much from the speakers that I am able to bring back to my own practice, but at the last meeting, it was my turn to do the speaking, imparting some of what I have learned. I gave a presentation that looked at the many different area of potential compensation available to assist with income continuation, funding of special needs, or otherwise coping with the financial burden that follows a disastrous change in health. My talk was entitled “ Spinal Cord Injuries: How to Fund Your Care and Understand the Legal Labyrinth”. If interested,  Download a copy of the slide show that accompanied my talk.

A number of the members of the audience had not considered the possible application of their disability mortgage insurance and were eager to explore its applicability to their individual situations. One member was going to look back at a critical injury insurance policy she had purchased. The lady who struck the moose reminded the group about the importance of purchasing the optional automobile insurance policy enhancements that are available for a relatively small additional cost (something I have blogged about myself….see Optional Statutory Accident Benefits – What You Need To Know.

We all spoke of the need to become good self-advocates when navigating “the system”. One lady concluded on her own that everyone should take the time to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer because the streams of potential compensation are so complicated and the criteria for entitlement so specific, no one should simply assume they must do without.

If you or a loved one have recently suffered a spinal cord injury, I highly commend SCIO to you as a very important resource. Check out the website at www.sciontario.org. I completely agree with the audience member who suggested there should always be a consult with a lawyer to review options and possibilities. At Lerners there is no fee for such a consult. My colleagues and I always hope we can be of assistance.

Andrew Murray

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