Nearly a decade ago, I suffered a significant knee injury during a rugby practice in Halifax. During a drill, I stepped laterally while being tackled by another player at the same time. My metal cleats held firm in the muddy ground, preventing my knee from moving properly as I fell to the ground. I remember the excruciating pain from that injury. I laid on the ground while a teammate, an emergency physician, looked me over on the field. It was clear that I had damaged my knee, but the extent was unclear.
After being transported to the hospital, I received various scans. The results were grim. I had sustained a complete anterior cruciate ligament tear, a complex tear involving the
Mid third and posterior horn of the lateral meniscus, and a full-thickness cartilage tear involving the weight-bearing portion of the lateral femoral condyle.
Impact of Injury
I was not able to put weight on my leg. My time playing sport was replaced with sitting in a chair with my leg up waiting for surgery. I worked hard at physiotherapy. I attempted to limit muscle loss as much as possible.
I was fortunate to have surgery within a reasonable timeframe. The operation involved implanting a donor’s ligament into my leg. I hoped that my body would not reject the ligament and that the screws would hold it properly in place.
My night as an in-patient following surgery was awful. I recall needing more and more pain medication as my leg was extended and retracted in a machine for hours. When morning came, I was keen to go home. Before being discharged, I had to prove I was able to descend a flight of stairs. I was motivated primarily by the realization that I would injure the kind nurse at the bottom of the stairs if I failed the test. After sparing the nurse from injury, I was discharged home in a cast.
It would be some time before I was able to graduate to a large brace which allowed for limited bending of my knee. After more physiotherapy, I was able to use a custom-made knee brace for daily activities. It was at least another month before I was able to walk comfortably without using a brace, though I still needed the brace for any moderate activity for some time.
Focus on rehabilitation
No matter whether my clients sustain their injury because of a sports mishap, car accident, or slip and fall, rehabilitation is a critical step towards regaining function. For car accident victims, Accident Benefits are available to provide access to physiotherapy, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other healthcare professionals to provide treatment for accident-related injuries. For those who are injured in slip and fall accidents, a voluntary medical expense policy may be available to provide the necessary assistance. For the individual who is disabled and unable to work, an employer-provided health plan and long-term disability return-to-work program should be accessed.
The two key ingredients to a successful recovery are motivation and access to care. All injuries come with setbacks, which makes keeping a positive outlook difficult at times. Nonetheless, staying positive and committed to treatment is just as important as the care received from treatment providers. Access to treatment, beyond what our public health care system provides, depends largely on what insurance benefits are available.
Those involved in a car accident and those who are receiving long-term disability benefits will have systems operating around them to aid their recovery. No matter what systems the insurance company has in place, there is no guarantee that they will operate properly or make fair and reasonable decisions in your specific case. In my practice, I am routinely required to assist my clients in accessing necessary medical or insurance benefits because an insurance company wrongfully withheld or restricted benefits. An experienced personal injury lawyer should be able to break down barriers which limit your access to care.
Injuries often leave people unable to work. Depending on your job, you may have access to short-term disability benefits and even a long-term disability benefits plan. Many workers, however, (especially those who are contractors, work entry-level jobs, or work less than full time) are left without any benefits other than government-provided Employment Insurance benefits. Government benefits provide inadequate financial relief following an injury. For those who are injured while working at a Workers Compensation Board covered employer, access to other benefits should be available.
When I damaged my knee, I was in university and working part-time. I was unable to weight-bear and was forced to take unpaid leave from work. After recovering from surgery, I was able to return to work in a modified capacity because there was a desk job available where I could sit with my leg up for the duration of the shift. Most workers cannot switch to a sedentary position or a role that fully accommodates their injury. I am often contacted by disabled workers who work long hours (long haul truckers, shift workers etc.) and those who work heavy labour jobs (continuing care assistants, nurses, assembly line workers, automotive repair, etc.). For these workers, if they cannot work their regular job, they don’t have a job to come back to.
My injury left me out of work and with no ability to obtain compensation for lost wages through work. I quickly realized the value of a disability insurance policy – which would have provided coverage after my injury even though no one was legally liable for it.
Working as a Personal Injury Lawyer
My own injury experience exposed me to the fallout that surrounds an injury. No matter whether the injury was because of sports, a car accident, a workplace injury, or some other type of traumatic experience, the same issues arise:
- Who will pay medical bills?
- What happens if I can’t work?
- How long will I be injured?
- What treatment do I need?
- What quality of life will I have once treatment has ended?
I help my clients navigate these questions every day. It’s rewarding work because I have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in my clients’ lives.
Are you struggling with an injury and an insurance claim? Feel free to contact me to arrange a free consultation. Call 1.800.262.8104 or emial [email protected] You’ll leave with honest advice about your legal rights and various options. While each injury is different, you can have confidence that I appreciate the challenges that come with injury and recovery.