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Adaptive Sports and Recreation for Spinal Injury Survivors: Opportunities and Legal Considerations

There are unique challenges that come with living with a spinal cord injury (“SCI”). With the right support and resources, a spinal injury survivor can regain independence and get back to participating in activities they enjoyed before. In fact, research shows that active living—including sports and recreation activities—is essential for both rehabilitation and well-being after sustaining a spinal cord injury.  

The difficulty is that adaptive sports and recreation for spinal injury survivors can be expensive. A spinal cord injury lawyer from our personal injury law firm can help you explore your legal options for obtaining financial compensation for your damages and expenses. We welcome you to reach out to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.  

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the benefits of active living post-injury and have a look at some of the legal considerations and opportunities to secure funding for physical activity and rehabilitation if your SCI was caused by someone else’s fault or negligence.  

Adaptive Sports and Recreation For SCI Survivors 

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Active living may be the last thing on your mind after sustaining an injury to your spinal cord. The reality is that being active offers many benefits for SCI survivors, including improving breathing, circulation, mobility, and strength. Being active can increase your overall capacity to do everyday tasks, such as transfers. It can also be great for your mental health, reducing depression and increasing self-confidence. Team sports and recreation can connect you with other people, both with and without SCIs.  

There are so many options for adaptive sports and recreation to get you active.

Examples include swimming, seated aerobics, canoeing or kayaking, cycling, and pretty much any sport you can think of (adaptive skiing or snowboarding; wheelchair tennis, basketball, or baseball; sled hockey, etc.). Parasport Ontario has a great list of options if you are looking for ideas or ways to get involved with a club near you.   

Opportunities to secure financial compensation  

If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else's fault or negligence, such as a car accident, defective product, or slip and fall, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the wrongdoer to recover damages. There are two main types of damages recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit:  

  1. Non-pecuniary damages are to compensate you for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of expectation of life; and 

  1. Pecuniary damages are to compensate you for financial losses including past and future wage loss, out of pocket medical expenses, and future care costs.  

The latter category can cover costs for items like an adaptive vehicle, home renovations to accommodate your current abilities, and full-time or part-time attendant care. It can also include costs for services of a rehabilitation professional, expenses to purchase adaptive sports and recreation equipment, and other related expenses.  

Moreover, if the SCI resulted from a car accident, you may be able to claim accident benefits. In high-stakes cases involving long-term or permanently disabling injuries such as a spinal cord injury, Statutory Accident Benefits claims can be deemed catastrophic and you could be entitled to $1 million worth of coverage for benefits including rehabilitation therapy, assistive devices, and adaptive sports equipment. If you purchased optional benefits, then you may be entitled to $2 million worth of coverage. 

Legal considerations relating to personal injury compensation 

A successful claim for personal injury compensation requires knowledge of complex laws and detailed procedural requirements. Two important legal considerations for any personal injury claim are limitation periods and fault.  

Notice requirements and limitation periods can make or break your claim. Failing to take the required steps within the appropriate timelines could leave you without legal remedy. For example:  

  • There are time limits for filing a lawsuit relating to a personal injury claim, set out in Ontario’s Limitations Act, 2002. The basic limitation period to pursue most claims is two years from the date of loss or injury. Other limitation periods may apply to other specific situations. For instance, if the accident victim is a minor, the limitation period does not begin to run until the accident victim turns 18.  

  • In some circumstances, there may also be notice provisions you must adhere to before you can bring a personal injury lawsuit. For instance, if you slip and fall on a municipal sidewalk, you only have 10 days from the date of the slip and fall to give notice to the municipality as required by Ontario’s Municipal Act.  

Now let’s talk about fault. In a personal injury lawsuit, financial recovery is based on the degree of liability of the at-fault party. After considering all the evidence and any applicable laws, liability for the accident is determined and fault is apportioned if multiple people are responsible. Fault is measured on a scale from 0% to 100% where 100% is completely at fault.   

Fault for an accident can also be apportioned to the person who was hurt. If an injured person was partially responsible for the accident or for the extent of their injuries, the injured person’s damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault apportioned to them. This is a legal concept known as “contributory negligence.” Of course, it is in your best interests to build the best case possible to push back against allegations of fault or contributory negligence—a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you with that.  

One last note: fault is not relevant to your accident benefits claim. So, if you sustained a SCI in a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to make a claim for SABS, regardless of fault for the accident, and even if you were 100% at fault for the crash.  

Talk To A Dedicated Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer In Oshawa 

If you suffered a spinal cord injury and want to claim compensation for your damages, a personal injury lawyer at Kelly Greenway Bruce can help. We understand that spinal cord injuries come with many physical, emotional, and financial consequences. At Kelly Greenway Bruce, we don't believe you should face these challenges alone. That's why we'll fight tirelessly to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.  

In addition to providing trusted advice and guidance in personal injury claims, we also represent clients with long term disability claims, including appeals of LTD claim denials. Reach out to a long term disability lawyer at Kelly Greenway Bruce if you’d like guidance with respect to your disability claim.   

To arrange a free case evaluation, contact us today at our Oshawa or Lindsay office.  


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