What does recovery from a traumatic injury cost? I bet you started crunching numbers in your head. What would you think if I said it costs many injured people everything, and I am not just referring to financial hardship, but their freedom, relationship, friends, career, home, future, and sense of self? For many, a traumatic injury leads to substance abuse and suicide. The actual recovery cost of an injury is not just financial, it is so much more than that.
This weekend I was chatting with a gentleman as I helped him load his tires into the back of his truck. He thanked me and then started to explain that he was in an accident a while ago and had a damaged shoulder. He continued to tell me that the injury was quite severe and that he was in a great deal of pain. After he had seen a few doctors and specialists, had an MRI, and got second opinions, he was told that he would require a complete shoulder replacement and would have to wait. I told him how sorry I was to hear that, and what a struggle it must be everyday to be living in pain. He looked at me and said you have no idea. The pain is one thing but its so much more than that.
As we continued to chat, he told me that he no longer could do his job that he loved. The financial stress that the injury caused had devastating effects. He had to sell his home and move to a rental because his disability cheque was significantly less than what he made at his former job. His relationship with his wife is very strained because of money, and the life changes they were forced to make. They were quite active before the accident but not anymore. Friends that they previously enjoyed activities with have moved on.
Sleeping is a nightmare for pain, so he sleeps in a recliner in the living room which means he is constantly tired. Because of the nature of his injury there is no physiotherapy or massage therapy that will help. Right now, he is playing the waiting game, but he has no idea for how long. It has been 18 months now since the accident and still no surgery date. After that there is the rehabilitation period. He said that he is on pain killers, antidepressants, anti inflammatory drugs, and then more medication to counter act the side effects from those pills. For a while he was drinking too much as a way of coping and that caused an even greater wedge in his relationship. Luckily, he was one of the people that could recognize he was developing a problem and was able to stop.
I asked him about insurance and if he had spoken with a lawyer. He said that he was covered but regrets his choice not to seek legal advice before agreeing to the insurance offer. He has been left in a bad place and still needing to work with his insurance company who appears to be in no hurry to help. His biggest concern was that their plans for their retired life are gone. After I loaded his truck, we said goodbye and he drove away, but I still can not help thinking about his story.
What if this was me?
I am a single parent. What if this was my story? How would I look after my two children? Would I lose my home? What does a traumatic injury cost? If this is “just a shoulder” what would it look like if this were a traumatic brain injury that impairs my cognitive function? Would I be able to even complete the paperwork or understand what is being offered as help? Because my brain can sometimes get away from me like a loaded runaway train, I had to stop myself. The mere thought became overwhelming and frightening and this was just that – a thought, not my reality, thankfully.
Sadly, his story is not the only one. I am one of those people that when I hear about problems, I try and find out why people who have insurance, and do all the right things to protect themselves and their family are now in situations like this gentleman. The answer is still unclear and I am left wondering what is the effect of a traumatic injury and why do people that are seemingly covered still have to fight for help?
What is a traumatic injury?
A traumatic injury is something that happens to you physically that requires immediate medical care and attention. Continued medical care is usually required for a prolonged period. The long term effects of this incident have a significant impact on a person’s physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological wellbeing.
Traumatic injuries occur typically in a motor vehicle accident, or slip and fall accidents in your home or on the street. They can also occur at work, or while participating in sporting activities. Injuries sustained from these types of accidents include,
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Facial Trauma
- Crush injuries
The Insurance Company
The role of the insurance adjuster is to mitigate the insurance companies’ loss. They are not there to represent you. Insurance policies are difficult to read and the “small print” is where people often experience delays and claim denials. Do not live knowing what a traumatic injury may cost you.
A Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer from Wishart Brain & Spine Law is here to help. Most people are worried about how much seeing a lawyer will cost, especially when they are already experiencing financial hardship. That is why your first consultation is always free. We will listen to your story and help you decide what the best course of action is for you and your family. Contact us today. Let us tell your story for you.