Catastrophic Accidents | Catastrophic Injury Lawyer

Often, people involved in serious accidents end up with catastrophic injuries that change the course of their lives. This could mean a significant decline in the quality of life they were living as it confines their abilities to function in daily activities. Not only these injuries affect the victim, but they also result in severe repercussions for the victim’s family. Apart from witnessing their loved one suffering, they might have to take care of him/her for a long time. As a result, the family could come under severe financial strain. As the pain and suffering are considerably higher in catastrophic injuries, the victim is entitled to receive much higher compensation compared to the ones who suffer minor injuries.

We at Diamond and Diamond have vast experience when it comes to dealing with catastrophic personal injury cases, especially in the state of Ontario. In the times of despair, you need a lawyer who can get the compensation you deserve. Our team of lawyers is ready to fight for you!

What is a Catastrophic Injury?

In layman’s terms, an injury is termed as a “catastrophic” injury if it significantly reduces your ability to live the life you had been living before the accident. Typically, six conditions are considered to be “catastrophic.” The conditions are paralysis, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, that leaves a person unable to use some or all of his limbs or torso; amputation that results in complete loss of function of an arm or leg; total loss of vision in both eyes; severe brain impairment, such as suffering from a vegetative state; a combination of impairments that results in a 55 percent impairment of an entire person; or, any marked or extreme impairment caused by a mental or behavioural disorder.

The catastrophic injury requires proof of at least one from the following:

  • Paraplegia
  • Tetraplegia
  • Severely impaired ambulatory mobility of use of an arm
  • Amputation
  • Loss of vision in both eyes
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Physical impairment resulting in 55 percent of the whole person
  • Mental or behavioural disability of 55 percent of the whole person
  • Impairment of three or more functional areas

A thing that you must keep in mind is that the laws determining if it is a catastrophic injury or not are highly complex in nature. Therefore, you must seek the legal advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer to have the best chances of recovering your losses in the form of compensation.

Tell the difference between catastrophic and non-catastrophic injuries by reading our guide now.

Know More About Catastrophic & Non-Catastrophic Injuries

Recent Changes to Ontario Catastrophic Impairment Law

In 2016, new laws for catastrophic impairment came into effect. There were three main changes made to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). The most notable of them was the decision to reduce maximum medical and rehabilitation benefits to $1 million from $2 million. However, there’s a provision under which motorists can increase their benefits to $2 million by agreeing to pay an additional premium.

Another noteworthy change introduced to standard accident benefits schedule was the introduction of new definitions for the Amputations, Loss of vision, Traumatic brain injury, Mental impairment, and Behavioural impairment.

The last and perhaps the most critical change was made to the non-earner benefits. Earlier, non-earners (students, stay at home moms and dads, and retired individuals) benefits were payable for life. Now, the non-earners are entitled to benefits only for two years with weekly payments of $185 for the catastrophically injured. However, the victim will no longer have to wait for 26 weeks to start receiving non-earner benefit. Under the new law, this waiting period is capped at four weeks.

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Pro Tip

Take note that if you successfully file for a catastrophic injury claim, you will also be entitled to a case manager or a healthcare professional (occupational therapist or nurse).

Consult an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer whom you can trust

Catastrophic injury cases are no joke; catastrophic injuries are no joke, insurance companies are no joke. They will try to make the case as hard as they can. Therefore, you need a lawyer who has faced these uphill battles and came out on the winning side. Diamond and Diamond’s Ontario catastrophic injury attorneys have ample amount of experience fighting these cases. We well and truly understand what compensation means to you and your family. We will fight for you at every turn of the road, trying to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.

Consulting the right lawyer is not enough, consulting at the right time is as important if not more. One should try consulting a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. That’s because it’s the time when the details of the accident are fresh in your mind. Remember, a single detail could swing the case in your favour. Therefore, contact our injury lawyers as soon as you possibly can and schedule a free consultation.

You can contact 1-800-567-HURT (4878) or use our CASE EVALUATION TOOL to schedule a FREE consultation.

Important Things to Know About Catastrophic Accidents

Ontario law provides six definitions of what can be considered a catastrophic injury. The definitions are paralysis, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, that leaves a person unable to use some or all of his limbs or torso; amputation that results in complete loss of function of an arm or leg; complete loss of vision in both eyes; severe brain impairment, such as suffering from a vegetative state; a combination of impairments that results in a 55 percent impairment of an entire person; or, any marked or extreme impairment caused by a mental or behavioural disorder.
While some catastrophic injuries, such as amputation, may appear fairly straightforward to diagnose, other injuries will require a much more thorough medical process to determine if they qualify as catastrophic. Brain impairments and impairments due to mental and behavioural disorders are classified according to legally accepted scales. If a person suffering a catastrophic impairment is misdiagnosed then the implications for the victim, including available financial compensation, could be devastating. Victims of catastrophic injuries should seek legal advice as quickly as possible as a personal injury lawyer will often be able to see to it that the victim gets a proper diagnosis and, if need be, a second opinion from another qualified medical professional.
Sufferers of catastrophic industries are entitled to benefits that are much higher than what most other car crash victims are entitled to. Medical and rehabilitation benefits are capped at $1,000,000, as are claims for attendant care. Additionally, suffering from a catastrophic injury can often extend the period of receiving other claims, such as income replacement benefits and caregiver benefits, especially if the injury means that finding employment after a certain period of time is unlikely. Finally, while catastrophic injury benefits may seem high, the associated cost of treating and dealing with such injuries means that for many sufferers this money may not be enough. In motor vehicle accidents, issues of liability may arise if the other driver, or even the vehicle’s manufacturer, were at least partially at fault for the crash. Dealing with a catastrophic injury is both emotionally and financially draining, and it is important to hold any at-fault parties responsible in order to help ease this burden. Fighting for compensation after a catastrophic injury, however, cannot be done alone, and one of the first steps victims should take is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer about what options are available.


"Liked the service I received from the staff at Diamond and Diamond. Very happy with the outcome of my claim!"
Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
"Liked the service I received from the staff at Diamond and Diamond. Very happy with the outcome of my claim!"
Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

FAQ About Catastrophic Accidents

What is considered a catasgrophic injury?

Catastrophic injury are types of injury that substantially reduces the quality of life. There are six conditions that can be termed as catastrophic. They include: paralysis (paraplegia or quadriplegia), amputation, total loss of vision in both eyes, severe brain impairment, impairment of atleast three or more functional areas, Physical impairment-55% of the whole person and mental or behavioral disability-55% of the whole person.

What is a non-catastrophic injury?

A non-catastrophic injury is essentially less severe than catastrophic injury. It also doesn’t fit the description of a minor injury or that of a catastrophic impairment. Individuals that have suffered non- catastrophic injuries are awarded less medical and rehabilitation benefits as well as attendant care benefits.

What is a catastrophic impairment?

The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (“Schedule 1”) defines catastrophic impairment as a long-term impairment that meets the statutory criteria for “catastrophic impairment”. The complete criteria for catastrophic impairment is found at section 3.1(1) of the SABS.

What medical treatments are there for catastrophic injuries?

Healthcare professionals will prescribe several different treatment options for catastrophic injury victims depending on the nature and severity of their accident and injury including surgery, medications, and physical therapy.

What are the long-term effects of catastrophic injuries?

A catastrophic injury can impact your movement, result in chronic pain, and often prevents people from enjoying the activities that they once regularly were able to partake in. This can be very difficult and often leads to hopelessness and depression.

What is the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS)?

The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, also referred to as SABS, is a form of no-fault insurance. It is mandatory and included as standard automobile coverage. Certain benefits are available to anyone injured in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. They are regulated under the Ontario Insurance Act.

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An elderly woman was struck exiting her vehicle resulting in serious leg injuries. Our team was able to obtain a settlement for $1.6 million from the insurance companies.


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Our client was involved in a head on collision that broke both of her legs. Our car accident lawyers obtained a $1.25 million settlement from the insurance company.


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A 21-year-old male was injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident. As a result he received a fractured neck. Our accident lawyers were able to settle the case prior to trial for $1.3 million.


Free consults and contingency fee arrangements apply to all personal injury cases only and to select wrongful dismissal cases, but do not apply to other types of commercial and civil litigation.

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