N.S. government confirms deal reached in case of brain-injured woman
The Nova Scotia government confirms it has reached an agreement in a legal battle over a woman’s insurance settlement.
CTV News learned Tuesday that the province had reached an agreement with the family of 34-year-old Joellan Huntley, after filing papers last spring indicating it was going after the money she received following a car crash in 1996.
The government confirmed Wednesday morning that an agreement had been reached, but that the details of that agreement are confidential.
"This case has weighed heavily on my mind and the minds of staff," said Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard in a statement. "We are pleased to have a settlement, and we'll continue to partner with the family in caring for their daughter's long-term needs."
Huntley's lawyer, Raymond Wagner, says the agreement takes into account his client's long-term care concerns and the fiscal interests of the province.
Huntley received an insurance settlement worth nearly $1 million following a car crash in the Annapolis Valley that killed two people and left her with a serious brain injury.
Since then, she has lived in a provincial rehabilitation centre, with her daily care paid for by the province.
In 2003, the province passed legislation allowing it to try to recover money from settlements in these situations.
The family hasn’t disputed that the province should get some money to help pay for Huntley’s care, but they say they need the funds to afford “extra” treatments not covered by the government.
The agreement ends years of legal proceedings for the family, who went to court in December.
In those hearings the court heard the province was aware of the settlement for 10 years before acting on it.
The judge indicated this caused a practical concern for him.
A decision was expected sometime this year, but in January the two sides agreed to meet to see whether an out-of-court settlement could be reached.
The government says the agreement is the result of ongoing discussion with the woman’s family, legal representatives and Community Services.
The department is now reviewing policies to provide more clarity for similar cases.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jacqueline Foster