Amy was a single mom of 52 in excellent health. She was physically and socially active and enjoyed recreational activities such as travelling, camping, participating in arts events, and dancing. When Amy was not travelling for her work, she lived in Atlantic Canada, with her 13-year-old daughter. She had been involved in the performing arts for as long as she could remember, and was busy developing a successful career in theater, dance and film.
The accident happened while Amy was on a visit to Vancouver. She was walking in a designated crosswalk - the crosswalk light was on, when a vehicle, previously stopped at a red light, turned right as the light went green. The driver failed to see her, ran over her left foot trapping it under the vehicle, and collided with her right knee. Amy was knocked to the ground and immediately started to feel intense pain. As the pain worsened, she noticed her left foot become extremely swollen and discoloured.
She was transported to St. Paul’s Hospital right away and treated for fractures to the left foot and right tibia plateau. She had to undergo multiple surgeries and needed screws and wires to fix her fractured bone. Once she was able to be moved, she was transferred to a hospital near her home where she had to stay for a further month. Over time, her injuries became progressively worse and she required three additional surgeries, including a total knee replacement.
As a result of ongoing struggles with her injuries, Amy soon began to experience sleep disruption, depression, and anxiety. She expressed feelings of frustration, anger, and grief related to the accident. In addition, she developed a justified fear of crossing the street or riding in cars. These emotional impacts of the accident greatly affected her quality of life, as well as her relationship with her daughter.
HOW WE HELPED
One of the most unfortunate aspects of the accident was the timing – of course, there is no good time for an accident, but this one came at the worst possible time in Amy’s career. As an established performing artist working in a multitude of disciplines and roles, Amy had worked incredibly hard to build a strong reputation. She had gained accolades and awards in the arts and, importantly for her and her daughter, she was finally starting to become more financially stable.
By spending more energy focusing on her career to achieve her goals and to better provide for her daughter, Amy had decided to start her own business and had formed her private theatre company. In its first 5 years, the company allowed Amy to focus on her unique projects, and as a result, her income doubled between 2006 and 2007. Her company went on to develop sell-out plays and allowed Amy to pursue a number of other projects, including films, dance, theatre productions and a web series. At the time of the accident, Amy was in Vancouver to direct a theatre project. Her company had developed a strong following, with loyal supporters and a growing reputation and was well on its way to reaching a national audience. Its repertoire was expanding and most importantly for Amy and her daughter, its profits were increasing.
The accident brought Amy's career to an abrupt halt for Amy. She was unable to complete many ongoing projects due to her physical and psychological conditions and was forced to cancel tours, grant applications, and writing projects. At a time when the company’s revenues (and Amy’s income) should have been increasing, the accident resulted in a dramatic decline.
After the accident, we assisted Amy with many of the general difficulties that she experienced. When she was able to work again, we made sure she could take taxis to reduce the strain she would experience if she took public transit. When she got home at the end of the day exhausted and unable to complete her chores, we made sure she has the funds she needs to get help with them so that she could focus on her work and most importantly on recovering from her injuries.
The settlement that we negotiated for Amy included compensation for her lost income as well as for her reduced capacity to work in the future. Her awarded compensation took into account the potential growth that it was anticipated her company would have experienced had it not been for the accident. It also included a sum to pay for all of the psychological and physical treatment it was felt she would need in the future, as well as compensation for the efforts and care of her daughter who was 13 years old at the time of the accident. Amy's daughter had shouldered much of the burden of taking care of her mother, providing personal care, cooking, cleaning, and doing the shopping when her mom could not. Amy had felt quite guilty about the extent to which she was forced to rely on her daughter. We were pleased that we were able to obtain compensation for Amy, as well as for her daughter to compensate her for everything that she had gone through to support her mom during her recovery.
AFTER THE ACCIDENT
After the accident, Amy’s writing and performance was a therapeutic outlet for her. She still suffers from the physical and psychological effects of the accident, but having some financial security from a settlement has helped her to focus on the present and the future, rather than dwell on difficulties of the past.