If you have suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury (or “SCI”) as a result of a major car accident, you may be wondering whether you will be able to return to work. The ability to work is important for many reasons. Employment provides not just an income and the potential for access to health insurance benefits through your employer; it also promotes self-esteem and life satisfaction. Studies have shown a link between better health and longevity for those who are employed after a spinal cord injury than for people who do not return to work post-injury.
Factors that influence employment after spinal cord injury
People with SCI can and do go on to work and have successful careers after injury. However, they have more barriers to overcome than those without disabilities and there are several factors that will influence employment after SCI. Return to work after a spinal cord injury is influenced by factors including:
- Age at the time of injury. Return to work is more likely for people injured at a younger age.
- Severity of the injury. Employability will be more challenging for those who suffer catastrophic injury as a result of a major car accident that causes paralysis and partial or total loss of use of the limbs (known as quadriplegia or paraplegia) or other injuries in addition to the SCI, such as a brain injury. Pre-accident work requirements. Ability to return to one’s pre-accident career depends on how the effects of the SCI interact with the requirements of that job. It may be necessary to retrain for a new career that is better suited to post-accident abilities.
Return to work and overcome barriers to employment following spinal cord injury
In addition to health and physical limitations caused by the SCI, other common reported barriers to return to work include problems with transportation, physical or architectural barriers in the workplace, lack of work experience, and the need for re-education or retraining. It may be that the injured person was young and had not yet embarked on a career when the injury occurred, or it may be the case that the injured person needs to retrain for a new post-accident career. In some cases, the person who suffered the spinal cord injury is able to return to their pre-accident job with accommodation or assistive devices. Our top Vancouver personal injury lawyers help our clients arrange access to services and secure funding for expenses such as occupational therapy (e.g., to identify assistive devices or necessary work accommodations) and vocational rehabilitation programs (e.g. to identify career interests and skills, acquire relevant education or training; and to help find and apply for work). It is also significant to mention that on average, people with SCI also discontinue working at a younger age. For that reason, it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side to ensure that your personal injury ICBC claim provides full compensation for loss of earning capacity over your lifetime.
Get legal advice from a top Vancouver personal injury lawyer
If you suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, contact Simpson, Thomas & Associates at (604) 689-8888 to request a free consultation. We have considerable experience handling ICBC claims involving spinal cord injuries, including complex personal injury claims involving quadriplegia and paraplegia. Our highly experienced Vancouver spinal cord injury lawyers will assist you in getting the help you need to return to productive work and develop your claim against ICBC to get the compensation you deserve for any loss of income or reduction in your employability caused by the motor vehicle accident injuries.