Family Members Suffer Too When Loved Ones Are Injured

Last week Saturday, my Mom had a slip and fall and badly injured herself in Hamilton.  She shattered her tibia and fibula.  She tore her ACL & meniscus.  The surgeon told us that when he went in to repair the damage, her knee cap was just hanging there with nothing attached to it.  She now has two steel plates and months of recovery ahead of her.  In five years, she will need a total knee replacement.

I was with her when the accident happened.  To watch someone you love rolling on the ground in incredible pain is horrifying.  I can still hear her screams in my head when I try to sleep.  My Dad & I waited in the surgical waiting room while she had surgery.  We were told the surgery would be 2.5 hours.  One minute past 2.5 hours, I was convinced something horrible had gone wrong.  Panic set in and we waited anxiously for any news.  Five hours later, the surgeon came to talk to us.  Not only was her blood pressure through the roof but she was at a high risk of developing a life threatening surgical complication and needed to be monitored closely by hospital staff.

I don’t think Dad & I slept that night.  Our days are blurring together.  We barely left her side in the hospital.  She was discharged one week after her accident.  Now we spend our days coordinating meals, housecleaning, nurse visits, occupational therapists and eventually physiotherapy.  We had to rent a lot of medical equipment so she can manage at home.  She can’t be by herself yet so we have to coordinate that as well.  At night we go to bed wondering what the future holds.  She’s a farmer’s wife who is very active in her church community and on the farm.  When can she return to that?  Will she ever? Will she have a limp?  We are so tired and not just from the bustling around but we are emotionally tired.  The worry never stops.  My Mom does not leave my thoughts for one second.

Our community has rallied around our family.  They have put together a meal schedule and a housecleaning schedule.  She is getting a lot of visitors.  They have been fantastic and words cannot express how grateful we are.

I practice personal injury law.  I am very passionate about my clients and work very hard to obtain the best compensation I can for them.  I thought I understood what my clients’ families go through when a loved one is injured.  I understood nothing.  Now I do.  The feeling of helplessness because you can’t make the pain go away.  How it shreds your heart to see them in pain.  The exhaustion you feel because you are still wide awake at 4:00 in the morning worrying about what tomorrow will bring.  The quiet tears you shed away from your loved one so they don”t get scared.  And for me, the guilt of knowing my Mom got hurt helping me with a task I should have done on my own.

Under Ontario’s Family Law Act, family members may be able to sue for their financial losses related to care, guidance & companionship suffered as a result of the victim’s injuries.  Eligible family members are spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers & sisters of the victim.  If you have any questions regarding your rights as a family member, please contact Jansen Personal Injury Law.  I would be happy to answer all of your questions.