Do I need an Occupational Therapist to help me after my car accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident – particularly if it was a major accident that caused significant personal injuries – your lawyer may refer you for an assessment by an occupational therapist. Many victims of major accidents are unsure of what an occupational therapist (“OT”) does or how an OT can help them with their personal injury claim. Essentially, an OT is a health care provider whose role is to help an injured individual resume or maintain participation in normal pre-accident activities (work, school, caring for themselves and their home, leisure pursuits, etc.) and maximize day-to-day function despite limitations caused by accident injuries. This post will provide general information about occupational therapy and the ways an OT can help after a car accident. If you have been injured in a collision and have specific questions about OT services or funding, contact one of our team of major accident lawyers.  Abbotsford, Vancouver, Surrey/Delta and Burnaby office appointments are available, though we serve accident victims throughout the Lower Mainland and all of BC.

How can an occupational therapist help me recover after a major accident?

In the context of ICBC personal injury claims, occupational therapists conduct assessments and provide treatment recommendations to those who are recovering from major car accidents, pedestrian accidents, or bicycle accidents. Depending on the nature and severity of the injuries sustained (which may include brain injury, quadriplegia, paraplegia, amputation, or chronic pain), an accident victim may face physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. The OT will conduct a thorough evaluation of the individual’s current functioning and create a detailed written report containing recommendations aimed at returning the individual to their pre-accident level of function. The OT will make recommendations for assistive devices, adaptive strategies, and treatment to maximize function and help the accident victim cope with activities of daily living (“ADLs”), all of which can be of particular importance where the accident has caused permanent disability or loss of function.

How else can an occupational therapist help with my personal injury claim?

Reasonable expenses for necessary OT services are payable under a Part 7 claim for ICBC accident benefits. Reasonable expenses for medically necessary treatments and assistive devices recommended by the OT should also be covered under the Part 7 claim. As such, recommendations from an occupational therapist are key to arranging funding from ICBC and to coordinating treatment providers during the recovery process. The report of an occupational therapist is used not only to guide the rehabilitation process, but also to support the accident victim’s claim for compensation. In the context of a tort claim for personal injury compensation, OT reports are frequently entered as opinion evidence in support of claims for costs of future care and/or future wage loss. In some ICBC actions, those heads of damage form the most significant components of the claim, with awards that can range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for catastrophic injury cases.

Questions about occupational therapy? Contact an experienced major accident lawyer

Abbotsford, Surrey/Delta, Burnaby and Vancouver office appointments are available for accident victims who need legal advice with respect to obtaining compensation for personal injury. Our team of top injury lawyers have an enviable record of success handling major loss claims and aim to continue building on our reputation of providing quality service to our clients, including guidance on whether OT services are needed and referrals to qualified occupational therapists. Use our e-Form to request a free consultation or call (604) 689-8888 to find out how our experienced personal injury lawyers can guide you through the ICBC claims process and maximize your compensation.


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