March 28, 2011 Testimonial from pedestrian accident victims Marie and William M.

We are thrilled with the results of your commitment, legal knowledge and expertise. You worked for us, giving us feedback and up-to-date information. You responded immediately, thoughtfully, and concisely to our questions. Finding the right legal counsel to deal with insurance companies was of the utmost importance to us. No doubts,you were just what we were looking for. Thank you.

Ottawa Car Accident: The benefits of Decompression Therapy

The following article was kindly contributed by Dr. Joseph Lawrence, a certified non-surgical disc decompression practitioner.

Injuries secondary to motor vehicle accidents continue to plague modern society, despite technological advances in automobiles.  However, the way we deal with these injuries has seen some varying degree of advancement in the healthcare community.

In my opinion, one of the most significant advances in dealing with whiplash associated disorder injuries is the use of non-surgical disc decompression and the companion active therapeutic movement therapy.

Simply put, non-surgical disc decompression, utilizes long-axis traction to the spine.  However, before you jump to conclusions that your inversion table will do the same thing, the technique employs skill in determining patient positioning (ie. stomach, side or back), flexed or extended, time/force calculations and duration of treatment.  Like any tool, it is only as good as the operator.

Decompression therapy has shown tremendous results for whiplash patients, particularly for cervical (neck) pain complaints.  We have been referred the most difficult cases, and we find upwards of 90% of our cervical patients have been able to return to activities of daily living and pre-accident status.  There are two main reasons this may occur.  Firstly, unloading of the spine and hence the disc, promote healing in a very safe and painless fashion.  Secondly, long-axis traction to the spine delivered with this technique is very stimulating to, among other things, the cerebellum.  The cerebellum is generally involved in coordinating movement, balance and termination of eye movement.  Consequently, decompression therapy plays a pivotal role in rehabilitation.

As for muscle rehabilitation, there are a multitude of options for accident victims; however the use of active therapeutic movement is the one approach that is the most effective without excessive loading on the spine.

The remarkable thing about active therapeutic movement is that it takes literally 2 minutes to determine if an individual is a good candidate for care.  A test treatment is done, and ideal candidates will notice a significant decrease in pain and increase in range of motion on the spot.  However, extreme caution must be exercised with each and every patient.  Advanced examination will determine whether or not a patient can be fast-tracked to active therapeutic movement directly, or must undergo disc decompression therapy first.

We have had great success with this approach for patients with injury due to whiplash in particular.  One of the main reasons is it draws from the best of both passive and active forms of care.

Dr. Joseph Lawrence of Broadview Spine and Health Centre is a certified non-surgical disc decompression practitioner, introducing this form of care and active therapeutic movement to Eastern Ontario.  He is a board eligible  chiropractic neurologist. To learn more about Broadview Spine and Health Centre, visit http://stopmypain.info.

Occupational therapy and ergonomics in the workplace

The following article was kindly contributed by Smith Bradley & Associates, an Occupational Therapy firm based in Ottawa.

Returning to work following a motor vehicle accident can be difficult, regardless of the type of work that you do.  When you’ve had an injury, even relatively sedentary jobs can feel strenuous. It is important to recognize that an ergonomic evaluation of your workstation is available to you through your automobile insurance’s accident benefits, before or after your return to work.  The support of an Occupational Therapist (OT) can assist you in addressing and responding to these challenges resulting from a motor vehicle accident.

Ergonomics is most easily understood as the process of making a workplace accessible to you in order for you to perform your job. An ergonomic evaluation consists of the following:

  1. An interview with you, the employee, to understand your injuries and/or health-related concerns;
  2. Assessment through observation and measurement of the present workstation, and description of the job tasks performed at that workstation;
  3. Discussion of possible modifications to the work environment that would facilitate your performance of job tasks, taking injuries into consideration;
  4. Education with respect to work postures, pace, stretches/exercises recommended for injury management and prevention of symptom exacerbation;
  5. A comprehensive report with recommendations for changes or modifications, including ergonomic products, if needed.  A copy of the report is provided to you, with a summary of ergonomic recommendations that you can share with your employer.  The report is also issued to the automobile insurance company, particularly to explain expenses associated with the recommendations.

Ergonomics and OT: Occupational Therapists are licensed health care practitioners who understand the structure and function of the human body and the effects of illness and injury on performance of activities throughout day-to-day life. OTs specialize in assessing the person, their environment and the tasks performed within that environment, and problem solving to ensure that individuals can function in their environment, including in the workplace.   Ergonomics is therefore inherent in what occupational therapists do.

Ergonomic assessments can take place in many places, including offices, home offices, restaurants, schools, industrial plants, farms, high tech facilities and commercial vehicles.  If you feel that you would benefit from an ergonomic evaluation at your workstation to help you function at work following an accident, contact an occupational therapist, or ask your employer, insurance adjuster or your personal injury lawyer to assist you with this referral.

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Smith Bradley & Associates is an Ottawa-based Occupational Therapy firm with over 13 years of experience performing Ergonomic Evaluations for individuals recovering from injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.  For more information, please visit www.smithbradley.com

How personal training can be your final step to recovery

This article was kindly contributed by Pat Fleming. Pat Fleming played five years in the CFL with Ottawa, Hamilton and Winnipeg.  He is a Corrective Exercise Specialist, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Personal Trainer. His wife Marissa is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition and Wellness Specialist and Pre and Post Natal Specialist.   Pat and Marissa are owners of Fleming Fitness, a mobile personal training company that has experience working with injured clientele.

Often times, injuries lead to a deconditioning of the body.  A person may experience weight gain, a decrease in strength and low self-esteem.  After all this, the thought of going to a gym can be intimidating.  Someone who has gone through physiotherapy may be ready to start working out but is worried about re-injuring themselves.  This is where a personal trainer can help.

How the Right Personal Trainer Can Help

Not all trainers have the skills needed to work with injured clients.  No one person’s needs are exactly the same.  An experienced trainer should properly assess a person, look at limitations and create an exercise routine tailored for that client’s specific needs. The wrong fitness program can lead to further injuries, which will make it harder for any person to reach their goals. With the right training, clients should be given the tools to eventually work out safely on their own.

What you can expect from Personal Training

Personal training can work concurrently with chiropractic care, physiotherapy and massage therapy.  The focus of personal training is on many elements of health, including nutrition, strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.  Benefits include weight loss, increased energy, confidence and more.  A personal trainer should train the body as a whole unit rather than isolating parts of the body.  Workouts should incorporate exercises that use more than one muscle at the same time (functional movements) to help make your daily activities easier.  A trainer should also be able to provide up to date certifications and references from past clients.  All your health practitioners, including your personal trainer, should work together to help you get your life back on track.

Why Hire a Mobile Personal Trainer?

  • Save time
  • Workout in the comfort and convenience of your own home
  • See results faster
  • Train Safely
  • Stay Motivated

Motor Vehicle Accident Victims

Motor vehicle accident victims (MVA’s) can get personal training covered through their accident benefits.  The treatment plan must be signed off on by a regulated health care professional.  To learn more about what personal training can do for you, ask your health care professional or contact Fleming Fitness.

For more information visit www.flemingfitness.ca or call us at (613) 882-8434 or (613) 301-8168


Which insurance company pays your accident benefits if you do not have auto insurance?

If you have been injured in an Ontario car accident, but do not have your own car insurance, you can still file a claim for your injuries.  You may be entitled to accident benefits, but who pays for them will depend on the circumstances of the accident.  Contacting an Ontario personal injury lawyer should be one of the first things you do when trying to figure out how you can claim accident benefits.  They will be able to guide you and help you determine the best course of action in your situation.

Even if you don’t have car insurance, you will need to fill out an Accident Benefits Application Package, just as you would if you had your own car insurance.  The forms in this package are necessary for an insurance company to assess if you are entitled to accident benefits and if so, how much you will receive.  The particular circumstances of the accident will determine who you should send this package and who will cover any accident benefits you may be entitled to.

For example, if you were driving a vehicle owned by the company you work for, you should send your Accident Benefits Application Package to the insurance company that insures that vehicle.  If you were a passenger in a vehicle that was in an accident, you should contact the insurance company that covers the vehicle you were riding in.  If you were hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling, the insurance company for that vehicle should cover your accident benefits.  If you were a passenger in an uninsured vehicle, and the other car involved in the accident is insured, then the insurance company for that vehicle will deal with your application for accident benefits.  If the other vehicle was also not insured, you may be able to make a claim for accident benefits to Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF).

In the event that no other insurance company can be found to be responsible for any accident benefits you may be entitled to, the MVACF might be able to provide you with some coverage.  They are a last resort when no other recourse is available.

If you are trying to determine how you can make a claim for accident benefits after a car accident, contact the Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth for a free consultation.  If you are entitled to accident benefits, they will help you achieve a favourable outcome.

What do you do if you disagree with your insurance company’s decision about your accident benefits?

If you were injured in an Ontario car accident, you will likely be covered by your insurance company and may be able to receive accident benefits.  How much you are eligible for depends on your particular insurance policy, the circumstances of the accident, and the extent of your injuries.  Your insurance company will want to gather information in order to determine if you are entitled to accident benefits.  You will also have to fill out several forms in order to apply for accident benefits.  Once you have completed and submitted your application package to your insurance company, they will review it and notify you of which accident benefits you can expect to receive.

If you disagree about the accident benefits you will receive (for example, if you feel that you should receive more, or that you are entitled to accident benefits for injuries that your insurance company says they will not cover) there are steps you can take to dispute their decision.  The Financial Services Commission of Ontario has Dispute Resolution Services which will guide you through the process of contesting your insurance company’s decision about your accident benefits.  If you pursue this, you may want to consult an Ontario personal injury lawyer who can provide you with additional support and legal advice.  While this dispute resolution process keeps your case out of the courts, it is nonetheless a legal matter and the experience of an injury lawyer would be very beneficial.

The Dispute Resolution Services provides you with the opportunity to contest the decision of your insurance company through mediation and neutral evaluation.  A Dispute Resolution Practice Code outlines how these services are conducted and if you plan on using these services, you should familiarize yourself with this Code.  If you work with a personal injury lawyer, they will be able to explain the code to you and make sure that you and the other party abide by its rules.

If you disagree with your insurance company’s decision about the accident benefits you are entitled to, speak with an Ontario personal injury lawyer.  Services are in place for you to contest their decision and enlisting the help of an injury lawyer can help you receive the benefits you deserve.

Canadian hand-cyclist an inspiration to us all

Canadian Morgan Van Breda has completed a 3900 km, 49-day cycling tour across India.  Amazingly,  she peddled the whole way with her hands!

Van Breda, who lives in Victoria, B.C., suffered a spinal cord injury at 24 while on vacation in Cuba. Since then, she has been living with paraplegia. The lower part of her body, including her legs, is completely paralyzed.

Now, at 32, she has ridden her hand-cycle across varied terrain and incredible distances to raise funds for better access to therapies, a cure for spinal cord injuries, and for her own treatments.

Since her injury, Van Breda has used spinal cord injury therapy, a treatment that is not always covered by insurance companies in Canada. Raising money to make this treatment available to everyone who needs it is one of her main goals.

The grueling cross-India trip started on January 27, 2011 at the world-famous Taj Mahal. Van Breda finished on March 19, after nearly 50 days of exhausting hand-cycling.  She was in the race with 30 other cyclists, but Van Breda is the only athlete using a hand-cycle.

She travelled with a group called Tour d’Afrique, and her journey has had a meaningful influence on the group. At the half-way point of the race, she handed out 42 hand-cycles to paraplegics in Mumbai. The machines were donated by the tour company.

Van Breda’s documented her incredible journey on a blog called Morgan’s Ride (morgansride.com). The race is just one part of her broader organization called the Able Project (theableproject.com), which seeks to change the face of spinal cord injury, create awareness about these injuries and educate the public on all recovery possibilities.

Van Breda works with a documentary filmmaker named Erik Zaremba on the Able Project. In addition to regular written and video updates to the blog, Zaremba, who studied film at the University of Western Ontario, is making Morgan’s Ride into a full-length documentary film.

After finishing this particular journey, Van Breda expects there will be many more challenges and initiatives she can undertake to help improve the situation for people suffering with spinal cord injuries. Her commitment to finding a cure for herself and for others is truly remarkable.

Back to the polls we go

It’s election season! This April will be full of town hall meetings, campaign rallies, national debates, and a whole lot of hand-shaking. The nation’s landscape is dotted with lawn signs, eager volunteers are canvassing from door-to-door on behalf of their candidates, and dinner tables across the country are now venues for debating party platforms and predicting final results.

We would like to encourage all the readers of Recovery to make their voices heard by going out to vote on May 2. Although it is easy to sometimes feel apathetic about federal politics in this country – after all, this will be the fourth federal election in 7 years – we should take the time to recognize how fortunate we are to live in a country where we can hold free and fair elections with such relative ease.

Despite all the campaign blusters, attack ads, coalition talk, political clichés and empty promises, we should celebrate the fact that the people who will be sitting in Parliament in the coming months and years are the people that we choose to send there.  As evidenced by the recent revolts and continued bloodshed across the Middle East, having a real functioning democracy is no minor feat. No matter where you stand on the issues or which party you choose to support, be sure to get involved in the political process!

Good luck to all the candidates running in this year’s election, especially Scott Bradley (running in Ottawa Centre), the husband of occupational therapist Fiona Smith Bradley of Smith Bradley & Associates, and insurance lawyer David Bertchi (running in Orleans).  It takes tremendous courage to run for public office, and whether or not you agree with a candidate’s politics, we can all agree wanting to represent your community is a noble goal.

Suing after a fatal car accident in Ontario

While many Ottawa car accidents result in broken bones and other non-life-threatening injuries, some are fatal.  When an individual is killed due to a motor vehicle accident, their loved ones may be able to claim damages for their loss.  If you have lost a loved one in an Ontario car accident, consult a personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate the process of pursuing a legal claim.  You are likely dealing with a lot of stress and sadness over your loss and an Ottawa injury lawyer can be the help you need to start the healing process and begin to feel closure.

According to the law in Ontario, the deceased individual’s spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, and grandparents can claim damages for the accident.  Damages can be both pecuniary (financial) and non-pecuniary loss of care, guidance and companionship due to the loss of a loved one).  If you were financially dependent on the deceased, you will likely be able to put forth a claim for financial damages.  Regardless of whether or not you were financially dependent on the deceased, you may be able to receive damages for the loss you endured as a result of losing a loved one.  A personal injury lawyer will be able to assess your specific situation and determine whether or not you have a legal claim to pursue.

In determining any compensation to be awarded for loss of care guidance and companionship, a judge will take several factors into consideration.  They will consider the relationship between yourself and the deceased, including the kind of loss you may have experienced (for example, losing a parent would result in loss of care, and losing a spouse would result in loss of companionship).  A judge will also consider whether or not you lived with the deceased, your age, overall health, your ability to care for yourself in the absence of the deceased, and the extent/frequency of your contact with your lost family member.  All of these factors play a role in determining the nature of relationship between yourself and the deceased and the court’s ability to “measure” the extent of your pain and suffering.

If you have lost a loved one in a car accident enlist the services of an Ottawa personal injury lawyer and receive the legal care you need.  Contact the injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth to discuss your case.