Carrie Brousseau Carrie Brousseau R.N. CEO, Source Rehabilitation

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2 In an instant, a serious motor vehicle accident has changed your life, and the lives of your loved ones. When my 3 year old son was air lifted to Sick Kids in Toronto, I couldn't begin to understand how our lives would forever change. It's likely that insurance forms and legal paperwork are the last things on your mind right now. Yet they're sitting there, demanding your attention. Dealing with the details can feel overwhelming-but ignoring them could have painful consequences for you and your family. There is help available. You don't have to go through this experience alone. The tips in this booklet will help you get the legal, insurance, medical and personal support you need in these important first few weeks. Sincerely, Carrie Brousseau Carrie Brousseau R.N. CEO, Source Rehabilitation

3 In the first 7 days Auto insurance policies have strict deadlines for filing accident claims. If you don't make your claim right away, it could mean delays-or even denial-benefits you or your family would otherwise be entitled to. Alert the right People Notify your insurance company about the accident within seven days, no matter who was at fault. But remember: Make a statement to your own insurance company's representative only when you're medically able or after you've spoken with a lawyer. Know that you may be able to receive assistance from a case manager, a specialist whose job it is to ensure you receive the benefits and medical support you need. The case manager is your advocate, working with your insurance company, lawyer, medical staff and other parties on your behalf. You don't need money to hire a case manager. The case manager's fees are covered entirely by insurance if you are catastrophically injured. Retain a personal injury lawyer with experience in handling serious injury claims right away, even if you have no intention of suing anyone. A lawyer can help you navigate the extremely complex insurance claim process. You don't need money to retain a lawyer. The lawyer will usually work on contingency, which means he or she doesn't get paid until you get compensation from the accident. Appoint someone close to you-maybe a family member or good friend -who can be trusted to follow through on administrative details if you're not able to. In addition to helping with insurance and legal paperwork, this person can be given tasks such as calling extended family members with updated news.

4 Know Your Rights Track the Details Understand that if you or a loved one has been in a motor vehicle accident, you're entitled to accident benefits whether or not you own a car, have insurance and no natter who was at fault. Benefits will come to you through your insurance company, the other party's insurance company or the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. Motor vehicles include care, transports, motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles. Ask about the full spectrum of benefits available. Depending on your situation, you may have access to benefits for: loss of income loss of education medical and rehabilitation services private nursing child care housekeeping and home maintenance and more. Find a large envelope and label it EXPENSES. Use it to collect receipts for hotel rooms, meals, parking and transportation to and from the hospital in the time following the accident. All immediate family members may be able to claim expenses related to being at the hospital. Immediate family includes spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren. Keep an accurate log of any time you miss from work because you're at the hospital looking after a loved one. Compensation for this time may be available. Remember to call upon the help of a family member, friend or case manager to track these details if you're unable to do it yourself. Your case manager or lawyer can advise you.

5 In the first 30 days Sustain Yourself Be kind to yourself. Take breaks away from the hospital, eat regularly and get adequate sleep. Looking after yourself is not selfish-it ensures you stay strong for your loved ones. Ask your case manager or lawyer about hiring a relief worker, someone who can provide in-hospital supervision to the patient while you take much-needed breaks. There may be funding available to cover relief services. Complete all insurance and medical forms fully and promptly. The temptation to ignore them will be great-but don't put then off. Your application for benefits to the insurance company must be submitted within 30 days of the accident. Get help with completing the insurance forms from a case manager or lawyer because the way the forms are filled out can be just as important as the information you supply. What you do now affects the benefits you'll receive for years to come.

6 Reach Out Contact Understand that you and your family may be dealing with grief, anger, confusion and a whole host of other strong emotions. Arrange for private counseling for yourself or your family, if needed. The hospital social workers can often provide recommendations to counselors in your community. Speak to your case manager or lawyer before seeing a counselor. Reimbursement for counseling fees is usually available but arrangements must be made with the insurance company before counseling begins. Claims made afterwards could be denied. Talk to your children about what's going on. It's easy for them to feel lost when most of the focus is on the injured person. They need to hear from you. Share how you feel with the people who are close to you. You may not be the one in the hospital bed, but you need care and attention as well. It's OK to ask for support. Contact one or more of the many organizations in Canada that provide excellent information and support to those who have been in a motor vehicle accident. Here are a few links and numbers to get you started. Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) The Ontario Brain Injury Assoc. (OBIA) The War Amps March of Dimes Canada The Canadian Paraplegic Association of Ontario

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