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Spinal Cord Injury, Neurological Disorders, and Long-Term Disability

Spinal cord injury (“SCI”) and related neurological disorders associated with SCI can significantly affect your quality of life.

Spinal cord injuries often require lifelong medical care and can present numerous physical, emotional, and financial complications. Let’s have a look at SCI, neurological disorders, and options for getting the financial support you need.

Examining X-ray

Overview of SCI and neurological disorders

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that carries messages between your brain and the rest of your body. Damage to the spinal cord can result in loss of movement, sensation, and/or muscle function. There are several ways that damage can be caused to the spinal cord, but the two main causes of SCI are:

  1. Trauma, such as a fall, motor vehicle accident, sports injury, surgical complication, or workplace accident; and

  2. Diseases, disorders, or other medical conditions such as tumors, abscesses, infections, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), poliomyelitis, and Syringomyelia.

A spinal cord injury can result in temporary or permanent neurological problems. Many people who sustain an SCI have permanent and profound neurologic deficits and accompanying disability. Common symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:

  • paralysis;

  • muscle weakness or loss of voluntary muscle control;

  • loss of feeling in chest, arms, and/or legs;

  • breathing difficulties;

  • loss of bowel and bladder control; and

  • loss of sexual function.

The location or level of the spinal cord injury and the severity of the injury are the biggest predictors of ongoing function.

People with a SCI are at an increased risk of developing other neurological conditions such as stroke, dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, restless leg syndrome, and seizures.

Long-term disability and other options after a spinal injury

Oshawa lawyers at Kelly Greenway Bruce can help you explore your options to get the financial security you need following a SCI. Your spinal cord injury may be preventing you from performing the job you did before the SCI, causing you to lose income. You may need to retrain for a different career that is manageable in light of your current abilities. Your SCI may be so severe that it renders you unable to work in any capacity. You almost certainly have a mountain of medical bills and realize that the cost of caring for your spinal cord injury is likely to increase in the future.

There are several options for securing financial support or compensation. You may be entitled to payment from one or more sources. Your entitlement depends on factors such as the cause of your SCI, your prognosis, and the types of insurance coverage available to you. The primary options are discussed below.

Disability claims.

Disability insurance pays you a portion of your income loss if you’re unable to work due to disability. You may have disability insurance coverage through your employment, or you may have purchased your own disability insurance coverage. You must look at your policy to see if you’re covered by a short-term disability plan, a long-term disability plan, or both.

Short-term disability (“STD”) provides disability payments following a short waiting period. The length of time the payments will continue is set out in the policy, but normally they’re for a limited time only, often three to six months. Once your STD coverage is completed, you may be entitled to long-term disability benefits.

Long-term disability (“LTD”) entitlement is a whole different ballgame. To initially qualify for LTD benefits, the general test is that you must be unable to perform the essential duties of your own occupation. The “own-occupation” test usually applies for the first two years. To qualify beyond that time, you must prove to the insurance company that you are not able to perform the essential duties of any occupation you’d be suited for by reason of education, training, or experience. The time limits for which benefits are payable, as well as the applicable tests and when they apply, are detailed your policy, so it is essential to carefully review these documents.

You should be aware that insurance companies use a variety of tricks and tactics—including gaslighting—to deny legitimate claims. An experienced disability claims lawyer can guide you through the disability claims application process and deal with the insurance company on your behalf. If you have already applied and received a disability claim denial, you should not take no for an answer. An Oshawa spinal injury lawyer at our law firm can advise you of your options, which may include appealing the denial or suing for wrongful denial of disability benefits.

Personal injury lawsuit.

If you suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to sue for damages. There are two main types of damages recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit: non-pecuniary and pecuniary damages. Non-pecuniary damages are to compensate you for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of expectation of life. 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.

Accident benefits claim.

If you suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident, you may be able to claim accident benefits—regardless of who was at fault. In high-stake cases involving long-term or permanently disabling injuries such as a spinal cord injury, accident benefits claims can be deemed catastrophic and the injured party could be entitled to $1 million worth of medical and attendant care coverage.

Talk to an Experienced Spinal Injury Lawyer

Oshawa lawyers at Kelly Greenway Bruce can help if you suffered a spinal cord injury and want to obtain financial compensation.

We understand that spinal cord injuries come with many physical, emotional, and financial consequences. That's why we'll fight tirelessly to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

We welcome you to reach out to us at our offices in Lindsay or Oshawa. Spinal injury lawyers at Kelly Greenway Bruce can analyze your case, explain your rights and options, and help you navigate the process to get fair compensation. Contact us at today to book a free case evaluation.


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