• FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education
  • FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education
  • FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education
  • FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education

Brain Injury with Tammy Kirkwood

‘FAIR – supporting auto accident victims through advocacy and education’

Most people live their lives not giving a thought about what they have accomplished.  We plug along with day to day events or situations.

UNTIL …. Life stops the way you’re use to!   Your abilities change, for example…..physical movement, memory, concentration, motivation, determination, planning (even hourly), mood/behaviour, you change.  This can happen with a motor vehicle accident, or blows to the head, or a fall, to name a few.

After my car accident, the first 6 months involved three different hospitals, for intensive rehabilation.  When my glascow scale reached 8 out of 15, I was discharged and then able to go home from the hospital to the care of my brother Mike.  He gave me 24 hour care for the next 6 months.  He was my rock.  He  rode the roller coaster of recovery with me!

After the accident I had to relearn many things people take for granted.  Learning the skills of sitting up in bed or chair unsupported, being in a wheelchair for mobility, using a walker to re learn how to walk, learning how to use the cane for stability were uphill challenges for me. The basic skills of eating, drinking and  thinking all had to be relearned.  I was a 40 year old woman with the functions of a toddler.

When this unfortunate experience occurs, we are required to work harder, mind & body, than we ever have before just to try and “regain” our abilities.  I looked at my head injury in the beginning, with disbelief, anger, and resentment. I couldn’t believe that this had happened to me.

Through a lot of support from family, friends, and therapists, I was guided in how I could move forward. Do I miss my abilities I no longer have?  ABSOLUTELY YES!  But, I like me and I’m grateful for what I have.  My positive thought has always been, IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE!

I’m trying to share what worked for me with the hope that the ideas, might work or help you.

I took my experience as an opportunity to revise me.  Through working with and through my deficits, I also learned how to adapt, so I could LIVE.

I’ve come a long way since that day in 2008. Today I am the Vice-Chair of FAIR Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform. Now I find myself fighting for other MVA victims so they too can have access to the resources they so desperately need for recovery.



Restarting Your Life – Tammy Kirkwood – beginning my story post accident


Human books share their stories            Tammy Kirkwood, who incurred an acquired brain injury after she was involved in a horrific car accident four years ago, chats with Miss Petite Simcoe County Jessica Katie Foster during the Get a Life Festival at the Orillia Public Library Saturday. Both Kirkwood and Foster volunteered to share their stories as human books.


Hundreds rally against cuts to auto insurance benefits             TORONTO – Changes to auto insurance benefits for motor vehicle accident victims passed in the Ontario legislature Wednesday as part of the provincial budget.“God help us all,” Tammy Kirkwood said upon hearing the news. “We’re getting a lot less coverage for a lot more money and I’m not sure why.” Kirkwood was one of hundreds of protesters at Queen’s Park rallying against reductions in auto insurance benefits which they say will have the most effect on victims with catastrophic injuries. The 47-year-old Orillia woman said protesters were “flabbergasted” that the provincial government “was trying to disable our resources and our funding to recover.”


Orillia woman involved in serious collision slams province’s planned changes to insurance industry          An Orillia woman who was in a car crash seven years ago that left her in a coma worries changes to the auto-insurance industry will have devastating effects. Tammy Kirkwood said the province’s plan to reduce auto-insurance benefits that was passed as part of the budget earlier this year will severely hurt crash victims requiring extensive care.


The Brain’s Way of Healing

The Brain’s Way of Healing is about neuroplasticity’s next step — healing the brain using totally non-invasive methods, including patterns of energy to resynchronize the brain’s neurons when illness or injury causes them to fire improperly. It’s revolutionary and in some instances shocking — we’ll see people’s lifelong afflictions improved, or, in some cases cured almost miraculously. But these are not miracles, and Dr. Doidge explains the science behind these improvements.  http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/the-brains-way-of-healing

FIVE INCREDIBLE NEW WAYS TO HELP THE BRAIN HEAL ITSELF  http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/features/five-incredible-new-ways-to-help-the-brain-heal-itself

Advocate named Orillia’s Woman of the Year (10 photos)

Tammy Kirkwood wins award at Orillia Business Women’s Association event; Julia Felgner named Young Woman of the Year

Kirkwood, vice-chair of the FAIR Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform, was surprised to hear her name called.

That surprise was evident in the first two words of her speech, only one of which can be repeated here: “holy.”

Kirkwood used to take care of and counsel people with disabilities.

She was critically injured after her vehicle was hit by a dump truck in 2008.

“And then I became my client,” she said.


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Interview with Tammy Kirkwood, Nominee for Woman of the Year 2019 OBWA

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Orillia Business Women’s Association – Women of Distinction 2019 Nominees Tammy Kirkwood

Orillia Business Women’s Association – Women of Distinction 2019 Nominees
Tammy Kirkwood
FAIR (Fair Association of Victims for Accident Insurance Reform) 

To understand how Tammy has and is continually achieving excellence and is an innovator for the work that she does, I would like to say a bit about what happened to Tammy to bring her to the point she is at today. On October 24th 2008 Tammy was T-Boned by a dump truck on her way to work. The injuries she sustained were catastrophic including a severe brain injury and many permanent physical injuries. The crash changed her life completely and her recovery was nothing short of a miracle as the doctors did not give much hope to her family for her recovery. However, Tammy, being the determined and amazingly strong willed person she is, did recover. Over time, and with much rehabilitation and determination on Tammy’s part, she has accomplished so much. She continues to live with the injuries she sustained, both physical and mental and has thrived in her ‘new’ life giving back to all who come not only come in contact with her but the community and all those that can’t speak for themselves.

She currently works for FAIR which is the Association for Accident Victims and Accident Insurance Reform. In her role she does many administrative duties, but where she really shines is her advocating with government bodies and the public at large for fair treatment and access to benefits that survivors of serious injury so desperately need. Since her accident, insurance companies and the government have cut settlement monies for rehabilitation and on- going life management and Tammy has been vocal about what is needed and necessary for individuals to recover, flourish and in many cases such as hers, create a new life while dealing with permanent life changes. She attends budget meetings, speaks at government committees, writes numerous letters to MPP’s and anyone who will listen including the press about survivors’ plights and rights, and tries to make the insurance companies and the government accountable to some of the most vulnerable members of society. Ail of this she does without expecting a thing. She does not look for accolades or pats on the back. She does this because she believes that everyone is entitled to a good life.

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FSRA speech – Tammy Kirkwood Feb 7 2019

FSRA speech – Tammy Kirkwood Feb 7 2019

Since 2010 our coverage has been slashed and reduced by the insurers lobbying for changes that increases their profits on the backs of MVA survivors and their families and ultimately us, the tax payer. With every cut to coverage we move closer to public auto insurance. With every ‘threshold’ insurers create, there is a new barrier to access recovery tools. 

Our premiums keep rising and now the standard or basic coverage is not enough to provide necessary resources or funding for seriously injured people. 

This has led to an enormous number of auto insurance related cases in our courts and a lack of faith in the industry overall……read more

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Tammy Kirkwood- Pre-Budget 3 minute speech in Orillia Jan 25, 2019

Since 2010 our coverage has been slashed and reduced by insurers lobbying for a changes that increases their profits on the backs of MVA survivors and their families and us, the people.

We’ve gone from millions in coverage to over 80% of claims now capped at $3500 for medical and rehabilitation in less than a decade.

Our premiums keep rising and now the standard or basic coverage is not enough to provide necessary resources or funding for seriously injured people. 

10 years ago I survived a very serious car accident just outside of Orillia. I wouldn’t be here without those necessary resources & the funding that was available to Ontario drivers back then.

Everyone deserves a chance to recover but in Ontario that isn’t possible anymore.

We pay big dollars to be covered so we expect that if somebody gets injured, like I was, there would be resources for them to get back to their lives.

We don’t expect to pay high premiums and end up being dumped by our insurer on OW, ODSP and welfare. Now accident survivors are expected to lean on others and one of those ‘others’ is you and I, the taxpayers. 

We need to remember that when Insurers fail us, they are taking away the ability recover and the possibility of becoming a productive member of society again.

The amount insurers have paid doesn’t come close to the real costs of recovery. According to the Attorney General of Ontario the previous government failed to hold insurers financially accountable for the agreed transfer of funds to the province to cover some of these medical costs..

The last government never went after those funds – and it is well over a billion dollars lost. Will you make them pay?

It’s time we hold insurers accountable and make them pay the real costs of recovery and support. It’s not time to lower premiums or slash coverage. It’s time for insurers to come clean about where all the premium dollars have gone and why they continue to fail Ontario MVA survivors.

In my written submission you’ll find the links and more information on the financial loss to our healthcare and social services.

2016 HSPRN report estimate of the healthcare cost to taxpayers was $383,099,805 for MVAs in 2013/14. http://www.fairassociation.ca/2016/03/hsprn-report-cost-of-public-health-services-for-ontario-residents-injured-as-a-result-of-a-motor-vehicle-accident-3/

The Auditor General pointed out failure to index medical costs from insurers in 2005 and 2011. The transfer payment was last increased from $80 million to $142 million dollars in 2006 so in the past 13 years over $1 billion has fallen through the cracks.  See page 65 2011 Annual Report of the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/annualreports/arreports/en11/301en11.pdf

Insurers routinely download the costs of accident victims onto social services such as OW, ODSP. Social Assistance Summaries https://maytree.com/wp-content/uploads/Social_Assistance_Summaries_ON.pdf

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