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PERSONAL INJURY

Jan 26th, 2016 | By | Category: Personal Injury

Personal injury

Personal injury is the term that includes all the ways people can be physically hurt, impaired or killed, involving unintentional or intentional damage to the body. Examples of unintentional injuries are motor vehicle crashes, falls, sport injuries and unintentional poisoning. Examples of intentional injuries include those resulting from violence, self-harm and suicide.

CONTENT

  • Definition of “personal injury”
  • Personal injury classification
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Baby injuries
  • Children injury
  • Persona injury accidents claims
  • Motor vehicle accidents injuries claims
  • Ontario personal injuries statistics
  • Scarring, burns and disfigurement
  • Loss of limb / amputation
  • Depression, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and sleep disorders
  • Tort
  • Dog bite

DEFINITION OF “PERSONAL INJURY”

When we speak about legal aspects of an injury, “Personal Injury” is used as a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions. The term personal injury also refers to medical accidents (such as medical negligence, nursing home accidents, wrong diagnosis, dental accident, medical malpractice).  Some work conditions could be a cause for chest diseases (such as emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), occupational deafness, and occupational stress. Personal injury, or trauma, can be also defined as a shock, depression, chronic pain and sleep disorders produced by sudden physical or non-physical injury, as from traffic, crime or work accidents.

PERSONAL INJURY CLASSIFICATION

Personal injuries can be classified by activity, vehicle, most common causes, physical or non-physical effects on the human body or by the affected area of the body.

Personal injury by activity:

  • Work Injury
  • Leisure-Related Accidents
  • Sport Injury
  • Swimming Accidents
  • Travel Accident

Personal injury by vehicle:

  • Motor Vehicle Accident
  • Motorcycle Accident
  • Bicycle Accident
  • Pedestrian & Bus Accident
  • Public Transit Accident
  • Airplane Accidents
  • Travel Accident
  • Sailing ship accidents

Personal injury by physical or non-physical effects:

  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Brain Injury
  • Loss of Limbs
  • Dog Bites & Animal Attacks
  • Depression, Chronic Pain & Sleep Disorders
  • Scarring, Burns & Disfigurement

Personal injury by the affected area of the body:

  • Polytrauma
  • Head injury
  • Chest trauma
  • Abdominal trauma
  • Extremity trauma
  • Facial trauma
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Genitourinary system trauma
  • Pelvic trauma
  • Soft tissue injury

Most Common Personal Injuries

The most common examples of personal injury accidents for which the ministry recovers health care and treatment costs are :

  • slip and falls
  • boating, air and rail accidents
  • product liability or manufacturing defects
  • medical malpractice or professional negligence
  • dog bites
  • municipal liability
  • assaults
  • some motor vehicle accidents
  • class actions.

Most common causes for personal injuries

There might be lots of causes of personal injury but most widely spread types of personal injury claims are:

  • traffic accidents
  • accidents at work
  • slip & fall (tripping accidents)
  • Victim of Crime (assault claims)
  • accidents at home
  • product defect accidents (product liability)
  • holiday accidents
  • dog bites and animal attacks and others

SCARRING, BURNS AND DISFIGUREMENT

Scarring

Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal skin after injury. A scar results from the biologic process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process. With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound after accident or surgery results in some degree of scarring. Scar tissue is composed of the same protein (collagen) as the tissue that it replaces, but instead of a random basket-weave formation of the collagen fibers found in normal tissue, the collagen cross-links and forms a pronounced alignment in a single direction. This collagen scar tissue alignment is usually of inferior functional quality to the normal collagen randomized alignment. For example, scars in the skin are less resistant to ultraviolet radiation, and sweat glands and hair follicles do not grow back within scar tissue.

Burns

A burn is a type of injury to flesh caused by:

  • Heat
  • Electricity
  • Chemicals
  • Light
  • Radiation
  • Friction
  • Scalding

Large burns can be fatal. The majority of these fatalities occur either at the scene of accident or enroute to hospital. Complications such as shock, infection, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, electrolyte imbalance and respiratory distress may occur. Burns can be classified by mechanism of injury, depth, extent and associated injuries and comorbidities. Most burns only affect the skin (epidermal tissue and dermis). Rarely, deeper tissues, such as muscle, bone, and blood vessels can also be injured. Burns may be treated with first aid, in an out-of-hospital setting, or may require more specialized treatment such as those available at specialized burn centers. Managing burns is important because they are common, painful and can result in disfiguring and disabling scarring, amputation of affected parts or death in severe cases.

Disfigurement

Disfigurement, caused by an accident, often leads to severe psychosocial problems such as negative body image; depression; difficulties in social, sexual, and professional lives; prejudice; and intolerance. The extent of the disfigurement rarely correlates with the degree of distress the sufferer feels. An additional factor which affects sufferers of a disfigurement is the reaction they get from other people. Studies have shown that the general population respond to people with a disfigurement with less trust, less respect and often try to avoid making contact or having to look at the disfigurement. Disfigurements affecting visible areas such as the face, arms and hands are thought to present greater difficulty for sufferers to cope with than do other disfigurements.

LOSS OF LIMB / AMPUTATION

One of the most devastating types of severe accident injuries is loosing a limb or the limb was so badly damaged that an amputation was carried out. Loss of limb can result from:

  • Traumatic amputation
  • Medical negligence

Traumatic amputation usually occurs at the scene of accident, where the limb is partially or wholly severed. This would be the case of a trapped limb with no other way to extract without harm to other parts of the body. Loosing a limb is not only resulted in physical challenges. Often, people who lost a limb in an accident and suffering from disfigurement also experience psychological damage. The amputation of an arm or leg is devastating, forever altering the ways an injured person interacts with the world. Traumatic amputation of a limb can lead to the loss of work and expensive medical care, such as the need for a prosthetic device and rehabilitation. When these types of catastrophic injuries are caused by the negligence of others — the negligent parties should be held accountable for their actions. Medical or rehabilitation benefits shall pay for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by or on behalf of an insured person as a result of the accident.

SPINAL CORD INJURY

Spinal cord injury refers to an injury to the spinal cord. Spinal cord injury can cause paraplegia and quadriplegia. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are spinal cord injuries with no known cure. The spinal cord injuries are extreme in nature and have the potential to impede the future enjoyment of life of the unfortunate victim, particularly if the injury is accompanied by financial hardship. If you are suffering a paraplegic or quadriplegic injury because of someone else’s negligence or medical malpractice, you may be eligible for some benetits.

Spinal cord injury accidents in Canada

A spinal cord injury can lead to partial or complete paralysis of the arms or legs, as well as loss of sensation in certain areas of the body, muscle spasms, pain, and loss of bowel and bladder control. The degree of paralysis depends upon the level and the extent of injury to the spinal cord. Spinal cord injury accidents in Canada are quite high, with almost 35 people per million population becoming victims of it every year. Statistics reveal that approximately 900 Canadians sustain severe spinal cord accidents and injuries such as paraplegia and quadriplegia every year. On average, 80% of all clients referred to different spinal injury treatment centers every year, are male. Car accidents are the primary cause for a majority of the spinal cord injuries. They form the reason, directly or indirectly for 35% of the spinal cord injury cases. Collapsing and slipping cases cause 16.5% of the spinal cord injuries. Medical injuries, sport injuries and diving injuries each contribute 10.8%, 6.7% and 5.3% to the spinal cord injury cases, respectively.

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can cause myelopathy or damage to nerve roots or myelinated fiber tracts that carry signals to and from the brain. Depending on its classification and severity, this type of traumatic injury could also damage the grey matter in the central part of the cord, causing segmental losses of interneurons and motor neurons The effects of a spinal cord injury may vary depending on the type, level, and severity of injury, but can be classified into two general categories:

  • In a complete injury, function below the “neurological” level is lost. Absence of motor and sensory function below a specific spinal level is considered a “complete injury”. Recent evidence suggests that less than 5% of people with “complete” spinal cord injuries recover locomotion.
  • In an incomplete injury, some sensation and/or movement below the level of the injury is retained. The lowest spinal segment in humans is located at vertebral levels S4-5, corresponding to the anal sphincter and peri-anal sensation. The ability to contract the anal sphincter voluntarily or to feel peri-anal pinprick or touch, the injury is considered to be “incomplete”. Recent evidence suggests that over 95% of people with “incomplete” spinal cord injuries recover some locomotor function

In addition to loss of sensation and motor function below the level of injury, individuals with spinal cord injuries will also often experience other complications:

  • Bowel and bladder function is regulated by the sacral region of the spine. In that regard, it is very common to experience dysfunction of the bowel and bladder, including infections of the bladder and anal incontinence, after traumatic injury.
  • Sexual function is also associated with the sacral spinal segments, and is often affected after injury. During a psychogenic sexual experience, signals from the brain are sent to spinal levels and, in case of men, are then relayed to the penis where they trigger an erection. A reflex erection, on the other hand, occurs as a result of direct physical contact to the penis or other erotic areas such as the ears, nipples or neck. A reflex erection is involuntary and can occur without sexually stimulating thoughts. The nerves that control a man’s ability to have a reflex erection are located in the sacral nerves of the spinal cord and could be affected after a spinal cord injury.
  • Injuries at the C-1/C-2 levels will often result in loss of breathing, necessitating mechanical ventilators or phrenic nerve pacing.
  • Inability or reduced ability to regulate heart rate, blood pressure, sweating and hence body temperature.
  • Spasticity (increased reflexes and stiffness of the limbs)
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Autonomic dysreflexia or abnormal increases in blood pressure, sweating, and other autonomic responses to pain or sensory disturbances.
  • Atrophy of muscle
  • Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome
  • Osteoporosis (loss of calcium) and bone degeneration
  • Gallbladder and renal stones

There are many medical complications that follow a spinal cord injury.

  • Spastic muscles, where the muscles tighten up in abnormal positions, are quite common. Especially where the injury is incomplete, considerable pain can be associated with this condition. Massage and anti-spastic medications are used to relieve the symptoms.
  • The other opposite symptom involves muscles that are completely limp. Physical therapy can help to maintain muscle tone, and special equipment may be worn to support the joints.
  • Chronic pain
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction is a constant concern, especially for complete spinal injuries, but can also be an issue for those with partial spinal injuries.
  • Heart irregularities, low blood pressure, and other heart problems, including blood clots, are a serious concern in many cases.
  • Respiratory problems are especially common with quadriplegia.

DEPRESSION, CHRONIC PAIN, FIBROMYALGIA AND SLEEP DISORDERS

If you got involved into an accident and suffering depression, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and sleep disorders, probably you are eligible for financial compensation.

Depression

It is not uncommon that after serious accidents people who got involved and injured suffer depression. Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings and physical well-being. It may include feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, irritability, or restlessness. Depressed people may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions, and may contemplate or attempt suicide. The term “depression” is ambiguous. It may refer to any or all of the mood disorders. Major depressive disorder is a disabling condition which adversely affects a person’s family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health. The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is based on the patient’s self-reported experiences, behavior reported by relatives or friends, and a mental status examination. There is no laboratory test for major depression, although physicians generally request tests for physical conditions that may cause similar symptoms. If depressive disorder is not detected in the early stages it may result in a slow recovery and affect or worsen the person’s physical health. The most common time of onset is between the ages of 20 and 30 years, with a later peak between 30 and 40 years.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain has several different meanings in medicine. Traditionally, the distinction between acute and chronic pain has relied upon an arbitrary interval of time from onset. Acute pain usually lasts less than 30 days, chronic to pain of more than 3-4 months Chronic pain may be divided into: “nociceptive” (caused by activation of nociceptors), and “neuropathic” (caused by damage to or malfunction of the nervous system). Superficial somatic pain is initiated by activation of nociceptors in the skin or superficial tissues. Deep somatic pain is initiated by stimulation of nociceptors in ligaments, tendons, bones, blood vessels, fasciae and muscles, and is dull, aching, poorly-localized pain. Visceral pain originates in the viscera (organs). Visceral pain may be well-localized, but often it is extremely difficult to locate, and several visceral regions produce “referred” pain when injured, where the sensation is located in an area distant from the site of injury. Peripheral neuropathic pain is often described as “burning,” “tingling,” “electrical,” “stabbing,” or “pins and needles.”

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a medical term for chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure. However, pain may also be localized in areas such as the shoulders, neck, low back, hips, or other areas. Fibromyalgia symptoms are not restricted to pain but also include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, and joint stiffness. Fibromyalgia is frequently comorbid with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder. The actual cause of fibromyalgia is currently unknown but in majority of cases it follows severe accidents. It is noticed that stress may be an important precipitating factor in the development of fibromyalgia. It is proposed that, because exposure to stressful conditions can alter the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the development of fibromyalgia may stem from stress-induced disruption of the HPA axis

Sleep Disorders

A sleep disorder is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person. Some sleep disorders resulted an accident are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional life. There is a big difference between insomnia and sleep disorders: insomnia is when a person suffers from difficulty in sleeping with no obvious cause. In addition, sleep disorders may also cause sufferers to sleep excessively, a condition known as hypersomnia.

TORT

Tort law in Canada concerns the treatment of the law of torts, which is covered by the law of obligations. A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a wrong that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else.

The term “Personal Injury” is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit alleging that the plaintiff’s injury has been caused by the negligence of another, but also arises in defamation torts. A person who suffers a tortuous injury is entitled to receive “damages”, usually financial compensation, from the person or people responsible – or liable – for those injuries. Tort law defines what is a legal injury and, therefore, whether a person may be held liable for an injury they have caused. Legal injuries are not limited to physical injuries. Tort cases therefore comprise such varied topics as auto accidents, defamation, and product liability (for defective consumer products), among many others.

In much of the common law world, the most prominent tort liability is negligence. If the injured party can prove that the person believed to have caused the injury acted negligently – that is, without taking reasonable care to avoid injuring others – tort law will allow compensation. However, tort law also recognizes intentional torts, where a person has intentionally acted in a way that harms another, and “strict liability,” which allows recovery under certain circumstances without the need to demonstrate negligence. Torts may be categorized in a number of ways: one such way is to divide them into Negligence Torts, and Intentional Torts.

Negligence

The standard action in tort is negligence. The tort of negligence provides a cause of action leading to damages, or to relief, in each case designed to protect legal rights, including those of personal safety, property, and, in some cases, intangible economic interests. Negligence actions include claims coming primarily from car accidents and personal injury accidents of many kinds, including clinical negligence, worker’s negligence and so forth. Product liability cases, such as those involving warranties, may also be considered negligence actions, but there is frequently a significant overlay of additional lawful content.

Liability

“Liability” in tort law refers to the idea of one person being liable for the harm caused by another, because of some legally relevant relationship. An example might be a parent and a child, or an employer and an employee. You can sue an employer for the damage to you by their employee, which was caused “within the scope of employment.” This is called respondent superior. For example, if a shop employee spilled cleaning liquid on the supermarket floor, and you slipped and fell, suffering injuries, you could sue the employee who actually spilled the liquid, or sue the employers. In the aforementioned case, the latter option is more practical as they are more likely to have more money. The law replies “since your employee harmed the claimant in the course of his employment, you bear responsibility for it, because you have the control to hire and fire him, and reduce the risk of it happening again.”

Intentional Tort

Intentional torts are any intentional acts that are reasonably foreseeable to cause harm to an individual, and that do so. Intentional torts have several subcategories, including torts against the person, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and other. The common law intentional torts are applicable in Ontario and include battery.

Battery involves an actual unwanted physical contact that is intentional. The contact can be by one person (the tortfeasor) of another (the victim), or the contact may be by an object brought about by the tortfeasor. For example, the intentional contact by a car is a battery. Unlike criminal law, which recognizes degrees of various crimes involving physical contact, there is but a single tort of battery. Lightly flicking a person’s ear is battery, as is severely beating someone with a tire iron. Neither is there a separate tort for a battery of a sexual nature. However, a jury hearing a battery case is free to assess higher damages for a battery in which the contact was particularly offensive or harmful.

DOG BITE

In Ontario, according to the Dog Owner’s Liability Act, if a person is attacked by a dog it is not necessary to prove that the owner or custodian of the dog was negligent. It is important however to identify the persons responsible and to confirm the availability of insurance coverage to pay your claim. Each year, many people, especially, children and seniors, are seriously injured as a result of dog bites. Moreover, there might be even a reason for a wrongful death. No doubt, you’ve heard horrible stories or watched TV documentary about dog’s attack that caused a child’s death. If you or some of your friends or relatives has suffered a dog bite or attack and don’t know what to do, this information might be of help.

Dog Bites and Animal Attacks

We consider dogs our friends and helpers. However, dog’s attacks with injuries from very minor to fatal – are not so uncommon. For example, Wikipedia says that 2% of the US populations, 4.7 million people, are bitten each year and 50% of attacks occur on the dog owner’s property. Despite domestication, dogs, like their ancestors wolves, remain cunning, swift, agile, strong, territorial and voracious – even small ones have large, sharp teeth and claws and powerful muscles in their jaws and legs and can inflict serious injuries. There are some signs of an imminent attack: stiffened front legs and a raised ridge of hair along the spine or a tail held high over the back. Dogs also have far superior hearing and olfactory senses than humans, as well as having the advantage of reading the body language of other humans and animals, and so are able to pick up signs which we humans may miss were they to come from a dog, or may not have learned to read in dogs.

Possible reasons for a dog’s attack

  • Attacking a dog
  • Challenging for food or water. For example, removing food from a dog or intervening between a dog and its food.
  • Territoriality and possessions. Dogs are hunters. They have an instinct to defend themselves and those they consider their “pack”, and to defend their territory, which may include areas they consider “theirs” or belonging to their family. Any dog is unpredictable in the presence of an intruder, especially but not always a burglar.
  • Predatory instincts. Dogs retain many of their predatory instincts, including the chasing of prey. Running away from a dog or behaving in a manner suggesting weakness, may trigger predatory behaviors. For example, the instinct to jerk one’s hands upwards away from an inquisitive dog may elicit a strong impulse to grab and hold.
  • Pain or sickness. A sick or injured dog, or an older animal, like people, may become “cranky” or over-reactive, and may develop a tendency to become “snappish”.
  • Failure to recognize insecurity or fear. Like humans, dogs that feel insecure may ultimately turn and defend themselves against perceived threat. It is common for people to not recognize signs of fear or insecurity, and to approach, triggering a defensive reaction.
  • Intervention when dogs fight. When dogs fight, a human stepping in between, or seeking to restrain one of them without due care, may be badly bitten as well.
  • Threatening body language. For example, direct staring. It is especially dangerous when on the same visual level as the dog (such as small children.
  • Novice dog’s owners might not know how to properly socialize a dog.

Breed-specific characteristics

Dogs of all breeds and sizes could be dangerous, although large dogs are capable of inflicting more damage quickly. Certain breeds are more aggressive towards humans and potentially more dangerous. One of the most popular dog breed is the Labrador Retriever. Dogs with strong chase instincts, (e.g. collies, shepherds), may fail to recognize a person as a being not to be herded. They may fixate on a specific aspect of the person, such as a fast-moving, brightly colored shoe, as a prey object. This is probably the cause for the majority of non-aggressive dogs chasing cyclists and runners.

Ontario Legislation

The Ontario government is protecting Ontarians by legislation to ban pit bulls and toughen penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public. The legislation set up the fines up to a maximum of $10,000, and allow for jail sentences of up to six months for individuals who own dangerous dogs that bite, attack or pose a threat. The legislation also allows fines up to a maximum of $60,000 for corporations who own such dogs.

Ontario Breed-Specific Legislation

The Ontario government is protecting Ontarians by legislation to ban pit bulls and toughen penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public. Except as permitted by the Dog Owners’ Liability Act and Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, no person shall,

  • own a pit bull;
  • breed a pit bull;
  • transfer a pit bull, whether by sale, gift or otherwise;
  • abandon a pit bull other than to a pound operated by or on behalf of a municipality, Ontario or a designated body;
  • allow a pit bull in his or her possession to stray;
  • import a pit bull into Ontario; or
  • train a pit bull for fighting

Pit bulls are “grandfathered” if they were owned by an Ontario resident on August 29, 2005, or born in Ontario within 90 days after August 29, 2005. These dogs are subject to strict regulation and control, including the following:

  • They must be muzzled and kept on a leash no more than 1.8m long when in public or not on enclosed property
  • They must be spayed or neutered unless a veterinarian certifies the dog is physically unfit to be anesthetized
  • They are automatically euthanized if a court finds they have bitten, attacked, or posed a menace, or if their owners are found to be in violation of the law or a related court order.
  • Their owners are entirely liable for any and all damage caused by a bite or an attack

A document purporting to be signed by a member of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario stating that a dog is a pit bull within the meaning of this Act is receivable in evidence in a prosecution for an offence under this Act as proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the dog is a pit bull for the purposes of this Act, without proof of the signature and without proof that the signatory is a member of the College.

Vulnerable Population Group

Small children are especially prone to being misunderstood by dogs, in part because their size and movements can be similar to prey. Also, young children may unintentionally provoke a dog (approaching a chained dog, trying to hug or kiss an unfamiliar animal, pulling on ears or tails is common, surprising a sleeping dog etc.) because of their inexperience. To avoid potential conflicts, even reliably well-behaved children and dogs should never be allowed to interact in the absence of an adult who knows and understands the dog’s personality and trained cues.

The age group with the second-highest amount of fatalities due to a dog attack is 2-year-old children. Over 88% of these fatalities occurred when the 2-year-old child was left unsupervised with a dog(s) or the child wandered off to the location of the dog.

BABY INJURIES

Keeping Our Children Safe as They Grow

Our major responsibility is to keep our beloved little ones safe as they grow. Starting from about 6 month age babies learn to wiggle and roll over, kick and push, put things in their mouths and play in the water at bath time.

Major Risks:

Risk of falling

  • Never leave your baby alone on a change table, bed, sofa, chair or table. If you need to turn away, keep one hand on the child or take him / her with you.
  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs even before your child starts to crawl – you never know when a baby will try to crawl for the first time! At the top of the stairs use a safety gate that is anchored to the wall or banister. Children can push over a pressure gate. Do not use old-style safety gates that have V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings. Babies can get their heads caught in those openings and choke.
  • Keep the sides up on the crib when your child is in it and you are not beside him / her.
  • Never put a baby in a baby walker with wheels. They tip easily and the child might fall down stairs or reach and pull objects down on his / her head that he / she normally could not reach. In fact, walkers don’t help children learn to walk and if used for too long they may actually slow development. Instead, use an exersaucer or stationary activity centre.

Risk of injury in a car crash

  • Keep your baby in a car seat every time he / she is in a car. Never allow a baby to travel without using a car seat, no matter whose car it is — including cars driven by grandparents, aunts and uncles or babysitters.
  • The safest place for the car seat is in the back seat, and make sure that the car seat faces the back of the car.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a car seat.
  • Never place a car seat in front of, or beside an airbag.
  • Look for the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) sticker that tells you the car seat meets Transport Canada’s safety standards.
  • If the car seat is borrowed or bought second-hand, make sure that it is in good shape and has not been in a car crash.
  • If you have any questions about car seats, call your local public health unit, the Ministry of Transportation or Safe Kids Canada.

Risk of burns

  • Set the hot water heater temperature at 49oC so it isn’t too hot.
  • Check that the bath water is not too hot before putting the baby in the tub.
  • Always run the cold water first and last when filling the bath. This prevents hot water from dripping on the baby or the baby touching a hot faucet.
  • Do not eat or drink anything hot while you are holding your baby. It could be knocked out of your hand and it could scald or burn the baby. Or use a cup with a lid that snaps on tight when you drink hot liquids like coffee or tea.
  • Make sure formula and food for your baby are not too hot. Microwave ovens heat food and formula unevenly, leaving some parts very hot and others lukewarm – so if you use a microwave, stir or shake well and test the food before feeding your baby.
  • Don’t leave a baby alone while eating. He or she could choke — even on formula.

Risk of poisoning

  • Make sure that wherever your baby goes, there are no hazardous substances such as cleaning fluids or poisonous plants such as mistletoe, clematis or red philodendron — a baby will put everything within reach into his or her mouth.
  • Remember that babies are sometimes not bothered by tastes that adults find bitter and unpleasant.
  • If you are not sure about the safety of something your baby has put into his or her mouth – or even MAY have put into his or her mouth, call: The Ontario Regional Poison Information Centre, Hospital for Sick Children at 416-813-5900 or toll free 1-800-268-9017 or The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario at 613-737-1100 or toll free 1-800-267-1373

Risk of choking or suffocating

  • Make sure the crib has a firm, snug-fitting mattress (to prevent suffocating), and check the crib hardware from time to time to make sure it is secure.
  • Do not put stuffed animals, pillows, bumper pads or thick comforters in your baby’s bed. Babies have difficulty holding up their heads, but they can wiggle around, and there is a risk of suffocation. Bumper pads also prevent proper air circulation around your baby’s face.
  • Make sure toys and baby equipment meet Canadian government safety standards, e.g., car seats, high chairs and strollers.
  • Keep older children’s toys out of reach. Small parts can get caught in a baby’s throat.
  • Check clothing for loose buttons that might come off and end up in the baby’s mouth.
  • Check your baby’s pacifier regularly and throw it out if it is separating from the hard plastic, cracking or becoming sticky.
  • Never tie a string or cord to the pacifier because it can get caught around the baby’s neck.
  • Use a pacifier clip – the string on it is too short to be a problem.

Risk of drowning

  • Stay within arm’s reach at all times when the baby is in the bath or near any water.
  • Babies can drown in as little as two inches (five centimeters) of water, and they can’t call for help.
  • Children under five should never be put in a “hot tub” — not even with an adult. Hot tubs are too hot for young children, may have high bacteria, and the drain in the tub can trap children.

CHILDREN INJURY

In Ontario, children and youth have the best possible start in life and every opportunity to succeed and reach their full potential. And our major concern is to keep our children healthy and well protected when they grow. But accidents happen. And if it is the case, do not hesitate to contact us: we will do our best to provide your child with full and fair financial compensation.

The most common injuries

According to the Safe Kids Canada, major causes of unintentional injury deaths among Canadian children ages 0-14 years for the period 2000-2005 were the following:

  • Drowning (15%)
  • Motor vehicle passenger (14%)
  • Suffocation (13%)
  • Pedestrian (12%)
  • Fire/Burns (8%)
  • Cyclist (4%)
  • Fall (3%)
  • Poisoning (2%)
  • Struck by/against (2%)
  • Other causes (26%)

The three leading causes of injury-related deaths for children are drowning (pools, bathtubs, bath seats, boats, ponds, lakes and streams), motor vehicle collisions and suffocation.

According to the Safe Kids Canada, major causes of unintentional injury deaths among Canadian children ages 0-14 years for the period 2000-2005 were the following:

  • Fall (37%)
  • Playground falls (8%)
  • Struck by/against (9%)
  • Cyclist (7%)
  • Poisoning (6%)
  • Motor vehicle passenger (3%)
  • Fire/Burns (3%)
  • Cut/Pierce (2%)
  • Pedestrian (2%)
  • Suffocation (1%)
  • Drowning (1%)
  • Other causes (26%)

Child Fall-Related Injuries in Canada

Falls are the major cause of injury-related hospitalizations for children. Falls can take place at home, school and on the playground. Injuries from falls among children present a hard economic burden, for example, it cost Ontario $311 million in 1999.

There are some numbers:

  • Among children zero to five years, 66% of all injuries occur in the home.
  • Falls are the primary reason children are hospitalized, accounting for 37% of childhood injury admissions.
  • Approximately 1,700 children 14 years and under are hospitalized every year for a fall related to chairs, beds, stairs and steps.
  • Children can fall from adult chairs, high chairs, car seats and bouncy chairs. Falls from bouncy chairs or car seats can happen when they are placed on an elevated surface (kitchen counter).
  • Growth and development play a crucial role in the risk of falls in children (rolling over for the first time on a change table while diaper is being changed).
  • The majority (68%) of children hospitalized due to falls from beds or chairs are under five years.
  • 33% of falls involving stairs and steps were in children under 5 years, 23% for 5–9 years and 14% for children aged 10–14 years.
  • Approximately 2,500 children 14 years and under are hospitalized annually for playground injuries of which: 15% are head injuries, 81% are for fractures in other parts of the body and 5% for other injuries (dislocation, open wound, etc).
  • A fall down the stairs in a baby walker makes it twice as likely for a child to sustain a serious head injury.
  • Falls from windows are rare but can lead to serious injury or death when a child reaches an open window while climbing on furniture.
  • Babies fall off beds or from cribs while playing, sleeping or trying to get out of it. Between 1990 and 2007, there were 5,403 cases of injuries associated with the use of bunk beds. The most common circumstances cited were playing, sleeping/resting in and getting in or out of the top bunk.
  • Trampoline injuries are rising. In 1990–2007, there was an average annual per cent increase of 15.4% for these types of injuries.
  • The 2005 rate of fall-related deaths in children 0–19 years was 0.3 deaths/100,000 persons of which 80.9% were male.

Child Car Safety

Seat Belt

  • A properly worn seat belt greatly increases the chances of surviving a motor vehicle collision.
  • No doubling up – only one person per seat belt.
  • A typical seat belt assembly consists of a lap and shoulder belt. The shoulder belt should be worn closely against the body and over the shoulder and across the chest, never under the arm. The lap belt should be firm against the body and low across the hips.
  • Safe and proper use of child safety restraints includes keeping children in the rear seat.

Airbags

Children leaning on a side airbag or not properly restrained out of the path of a deployed side airbag are at risk of serious injury. Guidelines for restraining children are:

  • Children 12 years and under are safest in the back seat away from front airbags.
  • Never put a rear-facing car seat, forward-facing car seat or booster seat in the front seat when there is an airbag.
  • Children at least 13 years old riding in the front seat should sit up straight and not lean against the car’s door. Keep the space between a child and the door free of objects, like toys, blankets and pillows. In a crash, children could be hurt when the airbag is deployed.
  • Adults and older children who have outgrown the booster seat should be buckled in using the seat belt and, if in the front, move the seat as far back as possible to give the airbag as much room as possible in which to inflate.

Pedestrian

Preliminary research with 10-11-year-old children provides strong evidence that talking on a cell phone while crossing a street increases a child’s risk of being struck by a vehicle by up to one-third.

PERSONAL INJURY ACCIDENTS CLAIMS

If a person is injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, and makes a claim for damages or initiates a lawsuit, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care can recover its costs for health care and treatment. Each year, the ministry recovers over $12 million from insurance companies through subrogation. Subrogation is a legal term unique to Insurance Law. It means “the right to recover costs for an injury caused by the fault or negligence of another person.” The ministry is notified by the injured person, their legal counsel or by the at-fault party’s liability insurer. The ministry’s right of recovery applies to any incident regardless of the location. This includes other provinces, and foreign jurisdictions that allow subrogation or other reimbursement rights. The ministry can recover costs for:

OHIP insured services including:

    • physician services;
    • hospital services including in/out patient, acute and chronic care;
    • air ambulance; out-of-country/out-of-province medical and hospital services;

Extended care services typically arranged or provided through Community Care Access Centres in the home, school or community including:

  1. professional services such as nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, social work or nutritional services
  2. non-professional services:
  • personal support including assistance with personal hygiene and homemaking services such as house cleaning, laundry, banking, shopping, preparing meals;
  • attendant care services such as assistance with personal hygiene and activities for daily living;
  • long-term care accommodation and services in nursing homes, charitable homes and homes for the aged (accommodation costs cannot be claimed in other facilities such as supportive housing).
  • community support services such as meals and transportation, caregiver support, adult day programs, home maintenance and repair, social or recreational services.

The ministry recovers the cost from insurance companies (or at-fault parties) for all OHIP insured health services provided up to the time of settlement or judgment. It also claims the costs for future insured health care services that an injured person may need. Where an injured person has been assessed for long-term care services and benefits, funding is provided on a bridge or interim basis until settlement funds have been received. The ministry’s claim includes these costs, and the subrogation unit endeavours to contact the Community Care Access Centres or other funding agencies upon settlement.

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS INJURIES CLAIMS

When a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule (SABS) requires the automobile insurer to pay for non-professional health care services (such as personal support and homemaking services, attendant care services, and community support services). These services may be provided at home or in community settings such as supportive housing units, long-term care homes and complex continuing care hospitals.

Typically, non-professional services can be arranged or provided through local Community Care Access Centres, long-term care homes or other third-party agencies funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Clients who may require these services include those with serious or catastrophic physical injuries, closed head or acquired brain injuries and the elderly.

Automobile insurers should arrange non-professional health services for their clients and pay the service provider directly.

It is only after statutory accident benefits have been exhausted, or the level of service required exceeds specified maximums, that the ministry may consider funding these services, subject to assessment of the client and applicable ministry limits.

The ministry’s subrogation unit is responsible for monitoring compliance of payment responsibility for persons injured in motor vehicle accidents and who require health services. Up to specified maximum limits (e.g. $3000 – $6000 per month and $72,000 per year to a maximum of $1 million if a catastrophic injury for attendant care; $l00 per week for homemaking).

ONTARIO PERSONAL INJURIES STATISTICS

Personal injury takes the sixth place (about 10% of all mortalities) in the list of leading cause of death worldwide. No doubt, your health is your responsibility. But on the other hand, it is a serious social and economic problem and that is why your government is interested in your fastest recovery and has developed laws and legal procedures to cover the costs for you.

According to the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sports of Ontario, in 2004, injuries cost Canadians $19.8 billion and 13,667 lives. The direct costs of injury were $10.72 billion or 54% of total injury costs. Indirect costs were $9.06 billion or 46% of total injury costs. Unintentional injuries accounted for 81% of injury costs ($16 billion) while intentional injuries represented 17% ($3.3 billion) of injury costs. The remaining 2% (0.46 billion) were of undetermined intent. Suicide/self-harm was the number one cause of all injury deaths (3,616) in 2004 followed by transport incidents (3,067) and falls (2,225). Falls accounted for 50% of all injury-related hospitalizations and were the leading cause of total permanent disability (50%) and permanent partial disability (47%). Falls were the leading cause of overall injury costs in Canada, accounting for $6.2 billion or 31% of total costs.

Unintentional injuries account for approximately $5.5 billion or 81% of the total cost of injury.

Falls cost $2.1 billion in Ontario. Transport incidents were the second most costly at $1.1 billion. Slip and fall injuries were the leading cause of injury deaths per capita (8.6/100,000) and there were responsible for 51% of hospitalizations due to injury. It was the most frequently specified cause of emergency room visits to treat injury (29%) and the leading cause of permanent partial disability (47%) and permanent total disability (51%) from an injury.

Intentional injuries cost a total of about $1.1 billion or 16% of the total economic costs of injury. (19) Suicide/ self-harm-related injury cost $842 million in Ontario and violence-related injury cost Ontarians $266 million.

On July 30, 2009, the Canadian Institute for Health Information released the 2008 Report: Major Injury in Ontario. This report includes data from 11 lead trauma hospitals collected in the 2007–2008 period. According to that, acute injuries are the most common reason for emergency department visits in Ontario accounting for 25% (50% in 10–14 years) and are a common cause of hospitalization (1 from every 17). Every 30 seconds, an injury causes someone to visit an Emergency Department. Every ten minutes, someone is admitted to hospital for an injury. Injuries are the fourth leading cause of hospitalization overall.

 

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