Disability Denied for Carpenter Brings Tragedy

On January 28, 2012, in Vancouver, by Rosalie McLachlin

Last week’s disheartening news of the North Shore carpenter, who died in a fire after being denied disability coverage from the Provincial Government, points to the need for individuals to have good legal representation.

Mr. Lalonde, a 53-year-old carpenter who worked in the Vancouver area for years, was known by the community as loyal, accomplished, and dedicated. Carpentry is dangerous work—and Lalonde suffered his share of injuries—so by his fifties the affects started to show up. As his mobility became reduced, his carpentry career starting winding down and with it, his ability to earn a living.

Reduced to living in a shipping container, the bad news that his disability claim was denied brought on a bout of drinking. His friends and family were shocked to hear that a fire from candles, (used to heat and light his make-shift home), asphyxiated him on January 3 as he lay unconscious. Lalonde never woke up.

Being disabled and out of work is bad enough, but one wonders whether seeking sound legal advice from a lawyer with comprehensive knowledge of local long-term disability claims could have avoided this tragedy. Mr. Lalonde had struggled with drinking, but it was the combination of a long-term disability, drinking, and claim denied that finally conspired to end his life prematurely.

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