As we’ve blogged about previously, a patient injured by medical error or malpractice is entitled to full compensation for their injury, including restitution for financial losses or expenses resulting from the injury. In addition to payment for lost earnings (past & future loss of income), injured patients can obtain compensation for vocational support or vocational rehabilitation.
Someone who was already working prior to their injury would be entitled to income loss based on their past and future earning potential. If a baby of child was injured, they are entitled to income loss based on their projected future earnings.
Family members who take off work or lose potential income due to someone else’s injury may also be entitled to an income loss claim in additional to a claim for vocational rehabilitation and vocational supports.
What is Vocational Rehabilitation?
The process of vocational rehabilitation can help an injured patient establish the existence of impairments that are the result of the medical malpractice and can ascertain whether (or when) they can return to work and how (or, in the case of children, whether they will ever work) given their medical impairments.
A vocational expert is often retained in medical malpractice cases where the patient’s injuries are significant or will result in life-long impairments. They are knowledgeable in relevant matters including job requirements, earning capacity, competitive employment, and similar. These experts will evaluate the patient for the purposes of the case and will assess their physical, psychological, and mental capacity, and any medical treatment associated with their injury. They can assess what type of work the injured patient may be suitable for based on their impairments, the type of modifications and supports they may need, and the rehabilitation that will be required to get them there.
Importantly a vocational expert will also assess what the injured patient would (or could) have earned prior to their accident, and what their potential earning may be following their accident. Based on this assessment, damages for future loss of income can be assessed. An injured patient’s damages will be based on evidence that they will have a lower income, or lose income, because they cannot return to the same type of work they had before their injury, cannot perform their job without modifications, or will not be able to work at all.
What Are Vocational Supports?
Vocational support services can help patients injured by medical malpractice who have functional, cognitive, psychological, developmental, or emotional impairments to overcome those impairments and become employable.
Vocational support services provide assistance with career exploration, skills assessment, continuing education, actual assistance and support and other relevant work-related matters. Vocational support services programs can help individuals with varying levels of ability to take part in training for potential employment.
Some services that are provided include:
- Assistance in preparing for employment;
- Assistance in finding an appropriate job;
- Job coaching;
- Training on how to use assistive devices, assistive software, and mobility devices; and
- Specialized training.
How Can We Help?
If you believe that you or a family member have been affected by medical malpractice, you may be eligible to receive compensation to provide financial security for your family going forward, including compensation for vocational assessments, vocational rehabilitation, and vocational supports.
At Sommers, Roth & Elmaleh our knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers can help. Our objective is to ensure that each of our clients has financial security and will not have to rely on government subsidies, sponsorship or external funding to afford the cost of the goods, services, therapies, attendant care, equipment, and programs they will need- and deserve- over their lifetime As one of the oldest medical malpractice firms in Toronto, we are well-established and highly respected in the medical malpractice field and have helped clients from across Canada, including Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Newfoundland.Contact us at 1-416-961-1212 or online.
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