Regardless of one’s socio-economic position, everyone should be entitled to seek a remedy if they have been injured due to someone else’s negligent behaviour. A new report from the University of Alberta on the causes of injury-related hospital visits for people experiencing houselessness has shone a light on this issue.

This article looks at this research, along with some of the issues facing those of lower socio-economic means in seeking compensation to recover from their injuries

In conjunction with the Bissell Centre, the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta has undertaken a project to analyze the data on the injuries sustained by people experiencing houselessness in Alberta who received emergency department treatment in 2019 and 2020. 

The researchers wanted to identify the prevalence of emergency department visits by houseless people for the treatment of injuries and the causes of their injuries. The ultimate purpose of the research is to be able to develop injury prevention strategies that are tailored to this population. 

Given that preventable injury is the leading cause of death for Albertans between the ages of one and 49, places a considerable strain on the healthcare system, and there are estimated to be over 5,000 houseless individuals among the seven major Albertan cities, such prevention strategies are greatly needed. Furthermore, there is evidence that houselessness has increased in some parts of the province since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can find the Injury Prevention Centre’s report here.

The report found that unintentional poisoning, violence and falls were key causes of injuries

The report states a remarkable average of 5,814 injury-related hospital visits among Alberta’s houseless population in 2019 and 2020. The research breaks these visits down into the most significant causes – unintentional/undetermined poisoning, violence, falls, natural/environmental and suicide/self-inflicted injuries. 

It found that the most common cause of injury was unintentional/undetermined poisoning, with 25 per cent. This category includes the wrong drug being given, the wrong dosage being taken, and drugs being taken in combination with alcohol. 

The next most common cause of injury was violence, followed by falls (including slipping on ice and snow) and natural/environmental factors (including exposure to excessively cold weather).

What did the researchers say about the impact of being houseless?

The report states:

“One of the critical issues individuals may face while experiencing houselessness, is the increased risk of sustaining injuries because of one’s living conditions (i.e., emergency shelters, living in outside conditions) when experiencing houselessness.”

The researchers explain that the data analyzed is critical in creating specific and effective programs that can address the needs of houseless people, reducing the cost of injury on Alberta’s healthcare system.

Barriers to seeking compensation for personal injury

A range of factors can impact the ability of a person that has suffered an injury to access justice and claim compensation to allow them to recover and move past their injury. These include an inability to speak English, being located in a remote area away from services, being unable to access services due to physical mobility problems and having a lack of understanding of the legal system and the types of outcomes that might be available. 

These factors can be exacerbated when the injured person has lower socio-economic means to draw upon in their fight for compensation. For example, suppose an injured person is unable to pay court filing fees or for a medical report that proves the extent of their injuries, depending on the circumstances. In that case, it may not be possible or likely for that person to successfully pursue a claim against a person or organization that has caused their injury.

Regardless of your background or socio-economic circumstances, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP want to hear from you. Everyone should have access to justice and the means they need to recover from an injury caused by someone else.

Suppose you have been injured in an accident or due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, it is important to obtain advice from a knowledgeable lawyer who can advise you about your prospects of succeeding in a compensation claim. You might find that obtaining this service is more accessible than you thought.

How can I afford a lawyer to advocate for my rights in the event of injury?

Most personal injury law firms operate on a contingency fee basis. Cuming & Gillespie LLP is no exception. Under such an arrangement, our fee is contingent on your claim settling or succeeding, for example, in court. In other words, we only get paid for our services when and if you get compensation. This can be a win-win situation for both you and us. We are both invested in your outcome and can work together to achieve the best results. And if there is no settlement or successful outcome, you don’t owe us anything.

Under a contingency fee arrangement, you have the means to pursue a claim for compensation. This is because we will cover the cost of all disbursements, for example, medical reports, court filing fees, and expert assessments, for the duration of your file. These costs can be really expensive. Let our team of experienced personal injury lawyers guide you through the entire claim process and manage the legal situation so you can focus on recovering from your injury. 

Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP for Advice on Your Personal Injury Claim

The personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP in Calgary represent those that have suffered injuries where someone else is to blame. Let us work towards obtaining compensation so you can move past your injury. Please phone us at 403-571-0555 or contact us online to book a confidential appointment for a free consultation.