Brain injury & law

In some instances, an acquired brain injury may be the result of an accident. Examples of this can include motor vehicle collisions or workplace accidents. If you acquired your brain injury through an accident, you may consider hiring a lawyer to represent you in any legal proceedings. This can include representation in court cases, negotiating settlements, and more. They can also help you understand the legal process related to accident-based claims with insurance companies.

Topics in this section include:

Brain injury because of a motor vehicle collision?

If you have a brain injury because of an automobile accident, your automobile insurance policy entitles you to “Accident Benefits” that can assist with your treatment and recovery. Depending on the severity of your injury and its impact on your daily life, you may be entitled to additional benefits such as private medical care, rehabilitation and attendant care, that may not be available under the provincial medical insurance plan.

Even if you do not have your own automobile insurance policy, you are entitled to these benefits if you are in an accident involving an automobile.

The insurance system can be confusing and difficult to navigate on your own, so you may choose to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim. Free initial consultations with lawyers are often available.

Provincial auto insurance regulators
Each province and territory has an automobile insurance regulator. You can find yours from the list below.

Brain injury because of a workplace accident?

Some people are injured at their workplace or on the job. Legal action may be possible if the employer did not follow proper safety procedures, did not take care of the workplace, or in other ways contributed to the cause of the accident. Workplace accident claims can be a challenging process to navigate on your own. Much like with other accidents, you may want to consult a lawyer.  Free consultations with lawyers are often available.

Human Rights

As a Canadian, your human rights are protected by federal, provincial and territorial laws.  Human rights laws are in place to protect against discrimination in protected areas such as gender, citizenship, age, place of origin and disability, as well as protections in services, facilities housing and employment. Learn more about human rights laws in Canada.

Finding a lawyer

There are many personal injury lawyers across every province and territory.  Finding the right lawyer for you and your family is important.  There are a few things to consider when selecting your legal council.

Word of mouth
One great way to find a lawyer is to obtain the first-hand testimony of a past client, particularly if the recommendation comes from someone you know and trust. This past client should be able to tell you about the lawyer’s qualifications, performance, and give you an accurate picture of what it was like to work with them and the law firm in question.
The internet
Many people do search the internet to look for and compare the values of goods or services.  This is true for lawyers or law firms too. You can search and compare the lawyers or law firms to see who best suits your needs or the needs of the injured person.

“Brain injury” and “personal injury” are keywords that are often used in the search. Be aware that many companies, including law firms, will spend money to be at the top of the list on internet search pages. Most of us that search the internet for products or services know that, it is not necessarily the firm at the top of list, which will best suit your needs. Here is a little hint: When you look at a search page, check the listings for the word “ad” next to the website’s URL. An ad means the company has paid to be at the top of the search page.

Remember – The ranking on Google doesn’t rank the quality of services or past case history, so be sure to visit their website, read about the lawyers, past cases and client testimonials. These are important steps when looking for a lawyer on the internet.

Legal directories
There are a variety of legal directories available that rate lawyers as the “top” in their field. These must be viewed with caution, as many of these classifications are done by an annual peer survey. The classification most often means that they are popular and well regarded amongst their peers and others who participated in the survey. Their ranking does not necessarily mean they win the most cases, provide the best customer service or will be right for you. While these rankings may be meaningful to some, you would be well advised to look at the services that the law firm provides, past cases and client testimonials.

Find a lawyer with expertise in your area

You will want to be sure the lawyer or law firm you are contacting has expertise in the areas of law for which you are seeking advice (for example, person injury, motor vehicle collisions, or insurance cases).  Make sure to ask for specific recommendations or tailor your search using terms like ‘person injury lawyer’ and the name of your province/territory.

The legal consultation

Most law firms offer a free initial consultation. Once you have narrowed your choices to a few names, you should set out to meet with them by calling or emailing the office.  Please note that it may not be necessary to go to the office location for a meeting.  Most lawyers will meet with you and your family in the hospital or at your home or some other alternate place that is convenient for you.

It is advisable to meet with as many as three lawyers (or more if necessary) to get a sense of the lawyer’s priorities and to learn about the services that their firm provides.

Prepping for your consultation

To make the most of this initial visit and to ensure the lawyers have enough information to discuss your case, you should bring a few things with you:

  • Liability information: officer details, the other driver’s contact details (if applicable), the accident location, names and phone numbers of witnesses, photos taken at the accident scene or afterwards;
  • Your insurance information: insurer, policy number, claim number and adjuster information (if claim has already been started);
  • Other insurance information: Workplace insurance, short-term disability, long-term disability, health benefits, employment insurance;
  • Employment information: employer, wage info, how you are paid, how often, other sources such as provincial disability funds;
  • Details of family members: names, birth dates and ages;
  • Health card, driver’s license, Social Insurance Number of injured person;
  • Medical information: family doctor and contact information, list of hospitals visited, summary of pre-accident medical issues, list of service providers.

To make the best of your time with the lawyer, it may be helpful to have prepared some questions.

Questions to ask during your consultation
  • Do you believe I have valid claims?
  • Have you previously represented clients in similar cases?
  • What were the outcomes?
  • How many years have you been practicing law?
  • What can I expect from you in terms of communication?
  • Will I be dealing with you (the lawyer) directly or will it be your legal team?
  • What can I expect from the legal process?
  • How many other cases are you handling?
  • Have you ever faced disciplinary action or been suspended from practice?
  • What is your fee? Do you work on a contingency fee basis?
  • Can I speak to past clients to get a reference?
  • Is there any way to predict what the compensation might be?
  • How long will my case take from start to finish?
  • What will be expected of me during the case?

Options for (free) legal services

The legal process can be a barrier for someone with a cognitive impairment.  There are timelines, deadlines, and immense amounts of paperwork. It can be frustrating and overwhelming. You may have to hire a lawyer out of pocket, but this can be expensive and not an option for everyone.

There are “pro bono” or free legal services you can explore.