A motor vehicle accident can lead to serious injuries and sometimes these serious injuries can be so disabling that the injured individual is no longer capable of making their own decisions. An example of this is when an individual is bed ridden or put on life support.
There are many decisions that have to be made in such situations and a question that frequently arises under such a circumstance is, who can make these decisions on behalf of the injured individual.
The answer depends on what has or has not been done prior to the accident.
Although none of us can predict when we will be involved in a motor vehicle accident, life is unpredictable and we should be as prepared as possible. People should have legal documents, such as Wills, Power of Attorneys (POAs) and Representation Agreements prepared in advance, while they are capable of doing so.
Capability is specifically discussed in each of the respective and applicable Acts, but generally it is based on whether or not an individual is competent or has the required mental capacity to make decisions.
A Will appoints an individual as an Executor and instructs them on how to execute the Will, such as how they would like their assets and debts to be dealt with after their death.
There are two types of POAs: General and Enduring. A General POA appoints an individual as the Attorney to handle all financial and legal decisions on their behalf for only as long as the POA maker himself is capable. An Enduring POA appoints an individual as the Attorney to handle all financial and legal decisions on their behalf only once the POA maker himself is declared incapable.
A Representation Agreement appoints an individual as a Representative to have authority to makes decisions related to health care matters once the Representation Agreement maker himself loses capacity.
If an individual becomes incapable of decision making but they do not have an Enduring POA or a Representation Agreement prepared in advance, then it is possible to obtain a court appointed Committee. A Committee is a person appointed by the court to make financial decisions and handle legal affairs, or to handle health and personal care matters on behalf of the mentally incapable individual. However, this is a costly and lengthy legal process to be dealing with at a time of emergency.
Therefore, everyone should consider preparing such legal documents as soon as possible. You do not know when you will be involved in a motor vehicle accident and what type of injuries you will sustain. Serious injuries can impact your life significantly so be as prepared as possible in advance.
Our legal team at Simpson, Thomas & Associates is here to help you find the answers to your questions and to help you better navigate such difficult situations.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please contact us or call us at (604) 262-0457 to schedule a complimentary consultation.