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What To Do After a Catastrophic Injury

The unthinkable happens. You get the phone call no one wants to get. The police are calling you to let you know one of your family members has been catastrophically injured in a car crash and are in the hospital. You drive to the hospital and are confronted with the feeling of helplessness while your loved one is in the acute stages of their injury.

Rather than feel helpless, we want you to know the three things you can do in those early days to protect your loved ones and their interests.

Collect Insurance Documents

The first thing you can do is to collect all insurance documents. Your family member may have private disability insurance, extended health care benefits through their employer, short-term disability or long-term disability benefits. It is essential to collect the relevant insurance documents in the early days. This is essential because hospitals will discharge patients very quickly and you can help get the insurance benefits in place for when your loved one returns home.

Keep a Journal

The second thing you can do is to keep notes in a journal about what is happening with your family member on a day to day basis. Each day they are in hospital and when they return home, it is important to keep track of everything to help trigger your memory for the purpose of potential future litigation. These early days are understandably emotional for your family, and in hindsight, the days will blur together.

It will be extremely helpful to have ongoing notes of medications, surgeries, how your family member is feeling and what kinds of challenges they are facing each day. Bring your journal to medical appointments and make notes of what doctors and nurses have said about your family member. These notes will be essential when your memories fade in a few years.

Take Photographs

Finally, and most importantly, take photos of the injuries while your family member is in the hospital. Photos of incisions, casts, bruising or lacerations may be helpful. You will be collecting some of the most powerful and telling evidence available for any potential future litigation that may arise. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

From Trauma to Trial Book Cover

Would you like to learn more about personal injury law in Ontario? Visit our website and request your free copy of Bill Teggart’s best selling book “From Trauma to Trial: A Step-by-Step Guide to Ontario Personal Injury Law”. Alternatively, you can purchase a copy on

All proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to charity.

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