PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER WITH OFFICES IN WHITBY, OSHAWA, AJAX, PICKERING, DURHAM & TORONTO
Personal injury lawyers specializing in:
- car accident claim,
- insurance settlement and lawsuit pay out
- slip and fall,
- dog bite,
- disability denials,
- accidents resulting in personal injury.
Serving Oshawa, Whitby, Toronto, Southern Ontario
*Respect & Experienced Guidance
*Record for Success
*Knowledge of the Law
*Do not pay unless you win
- Issues to watch for Ontario Car Accident Injury Victims in November and December 2012, written by Ontario Personal Injury Lawyers Read more…
- Recent Car Accident & Slip and Fall Results from our Car Accident lawyers and injury lawyers in Oshawa, Whitby Toronto and Ontario, written by personal injury lawyers in Ontario Read more…
- How to Choose the Best Injury Lawyers and Best Car Accident Lawyers in Oshawa, Whitby, Toronto, Ontario, written by a lawyer at a personal injury law firm Toronto, Oshawa Read more..
- 10 questions to ask before hiring car accident or injury lawyers in Oshawa, Whitby Toronto and Ontario, written by an attorney working at a personal injury law firm Toronto, Oshawa Read more…
- Slip and Fall lawsuits – will your case be successful?, written by a personal injury lawyer Oshawa Read more…
- Injury Lawyers in Oshawa, Whitby Toronto and Ontario – What Should Clients Expect To Pay?, written by injury lawyers Oshawa Read more..
- What Is The Difference – Pro Bono, Contingency, Legal Aid & Only Pay If You Win Lawyer? Read more…
- How much is my car accident or slip and fall case or lawsuit worth?, written by an accident lawyer Oshawa Read more..
- Dog Bite Lawyers - Advice, written by a Dog Bite Lawyer Oshawa Read more…
- No-Fault Accident Benefits Lawyers guide, written by accident lawyers Oshawa Read more…
- Ski Hill Injury Accidents and Injuries Read more...
- Sex Abuse, Assault losses and damages Read more…
- How do I fire my paralegal/lawyer, hire a new lawyer? Read more…
Recent Car Accident & Slip and Fall Results
1) A young woman was traveling as a passenger in her husband’s car when they were involved in a car accident. The woman had worked in a service job for a number of months before taking maternity leave in advance of her pregnancy. She was on maternity leave at the time of the accident. The woman did not sustain any fractures, but did sustain whiplash, including neck and back pain, which developed into chronic back and neck pain. Her accident benefits insurer cut off her benefits and certain doctors who examined her did not acknowledge her injuries, noting that they were soft-tissue and not objective injuries. She hired our Best Whitby, Oshawa injury lawyers and the lawsuit settled for more than $450,000.
(2) A gentleman was walking in a parking lot when he slipped and fell on snow and ice. He sustained an ankle fracture (broke his ankle) and other pains. He hired our Toronto Injury Lawyers and the lawsuit resolved for over $225,000
(3) A young man was involved in a motor vehicle accident while travelling as a passenger in his friend’s car. The motor vehicle accident happened when his friend ran a stop sign. The young man sustained a fracture that healed, and chronic neck and back pain with headaches. There was a question about whether he was wearing his seat-belt at the time of the accident, questions about the extent of his injuries and his ability to do the work that he had been doing before the accident. The doctors hired by the insurance company said that he was capable of returning to work and doubted the extent of his limitations. After hiring our Whitby, Oshawa and Best Toronto Car Accident Lawyers, the lawsuit resolved for more than $600,000
Issues to watch for Ontario Car Accident Injury Victims in November and December 2012
1. How will the Courts/Financial Services Commission interpret the new minor injury guideline (MIG) under Ontario’s accident benefits system? Will the exceptions be granted a broad interpretation? What happens to those who do not recover, do they (similar to the old PAF system) become entitled to increased benefits? Does a chronic pain or psychological disorder fall under the MIG?
2. How will the Courts/FSCO interpret the requirement that services be “incurred”, ie: that the service provider sustained an economic loss? Will a liberal interpretation be granted?
3. Will the drastic reduction in available accident benefits lead to more lawsuits by injury victims for housekeeping, etc. and expenses incurred even if the injuries resolve?
4. Will insurers on the side of at-fault motorists now face increased pressure to make advance payments?
5. Will the lack of insurance funding for assessments mean that smaller law firms will now face a funding crisis in trying to obtain necessary and costly expert opinions? Will smaller centres outside of Toronto Ontario – ie: Whitby and Oshawa (where less large law firms and lawyers are located) now face an overall reduction in their awards?
How to Choose the Best Injury Lawyers and Best Car Accident Lawyers in Oshawa, Whitby, Toronto, Ontario
Making sure that you obtain the best suited injury lawyers and car accident lawyers is an important decision.
In our humble opinion, you should confirm the following before hiring a lawyer:
1. How has the lawyer been ranked and rated by Courts. Ask the lawyer to see decisions that he or she has argued. Ask them to show you what Judges have said about them. Ask them how their law firm ranks and whether it is ranked in lexpert or the best lawyers directory. Ask them how many lawyers are in their firm and how long the firm has been around.
2. How is the law firm perceived among other lawyers and the community in general? If the law firm has a bad reputation then you may not want that taint to possibly impact on your case. You may also want to know how insurance companies regard the law firm. Call lawyers in other practice areas and ask them about the reputation of the law firm that you are considering.
3. The last thing that you should do is consider whether the lawyer that you are speaking with gives you that “honest feeling”. You want a lawyer that is best suited to you and who understands what you are going through.
How do I fire my paralegal, lawyer or hire a new lawyer?
Just as weddings can lead to divorces, and new cars can lead to auto trader postings, your relationship with your lawyer or paralegal can sour and need to be ended. It is unfortunate when it happens, but it can happen.
The first thing that you should know in an injury case on contingency, is that you are unlikely to be required to pay any fees up front. The usual procedure is that your new lawyer may agree to “protect” a reasonable amount of the old paralegal or lawyer’s fees, as agreed upon or as assessed. Another important thing to remember is that consulting with another lawyer will likely be free and may provide you with some perspective.
In some past cases, our lawyers have seen people who believe that they are being treated unfairly, but are really just confused about the process. They have made efforts to explain the issues and encouraged the person to speak with their lawyers again.
When the relationship cannot be salvaged, lawyers will assess the situation and consider a fair and equitable fee arrangement and retainer. In some cases, such as if you are with a paralegal, no additional fees at all may be required. That is because paralegals typically cannot handle tort claims and so their work would have been restricted to accident benefits.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you have to fire your lawyer or paralegal or hire someone new, call us to assess the situation and to consider what further steps can be taken. The call is free.
When someone sustains an injury the first thing on their mind is their medical treatment. Legal representation by Ontario Injury Lawyers is often an after-thought that people stumble through without adequate knowledge of industry norms.
Some people will retain paralegals even when that option may not be in their best interests. Those within the industry speak about members of ethnic communities who hold themselves out as “agents”, gathering cases within the community and referring the cases to Toronto Injury lawyers, Toronto car accident Lawyers and/or paralegals in exchange for fees.
There are stories of others who agree to pay retainers to Ontario Injury lawyers/representatives and/or pay for expert reports when other Ontario car accident lawyers might have agreed to fund those things for them.
It is exceedingly important to gather information about injury law in Ontario no matter where you live. Whether you are seeking Toronto injury lawyers, Toronto Car accident lawyers, Oshawa injury lawyers, Whitby injury lawyers, Ajax injury lawyers, etc. the same principles generally apply and you should ensure that you obtain information about standards within the industry before retaining a lawyer. Most Ontario Injury lawyers and Ontario car accident lawyers will be willing to meet with you for free to discuss your options and to provide you with general information.
More information can always be obtained online, including on this website. This may provide some fast, easily obtained guidance about the fundamentals, or a second opinion, that might assist you in making the best decision on an issue that will be very important for you in the future. Given that most Ontario lawyers offer free consultations, it is generally advisable to contact more than one Injury or Car Accident lawyer to learn your options.
For more information and what fee is fair click here - Read more...
Ontario Injury Lawyers who practice car accident, slip and fall and disability law may offer a variety of different types of fee agreements to potential clients. One of the reasons that this is offered is because there is a realization that injury victims often simply cannot pay the hourly rates that lawyers charge. Not all Ontario Injury lawyers offer flexible fee arrangements and it is very important that you have a clear understanding of your fee agreement with your lawyer. There are some Whitby and Oshawa Injury Lawyers and Whitby and Oshawa car accident lawyers who require money up front in these cases. Toronto car accident lawyers and Toronto injury lawyers also sometimes request this.
In most cases, you will probably have a written agreement with your lawyer that will set out the terms of the agreement. Some people get confused by the term “retainer agreement” thinking that it means that they have to pay something up front. This may be true in some cases, but the term may also simply mean the agreement that you are signing to hire the lawyer.
Some injured victims indicate that they need a pro bono lawyer, since they canot pay for the services up front. A pro bono lawyer is normally a lawyer who does not charge you anything at all regardless of the outcome of your case – even if you win. This is normally not what injury victims mean when they say that they want a pro bono lawyer.
Many clients also indicate that they require legal aid. The reality is that they may not require that. Some lawyers will agree to take cases on with the agreement that they will simply be paid a percentage of the damages award at the end of the case, and they will receive nothing if they do not win. A “pay a percentage if you win” agreement can be referred to as a contingency fee agreement. There are a number of variations offered by Injury lawyers in Toronto, Oshawa, Whitby and Ontario.
That is a difficult question to answer. Ontario’s car accident system is a lot different than some others like Quebec’s. In Ontario there is no fixed amount for a particular injury.
There are cases that lawyers and others can look to in order to determine a case’s fair value. However, the exact amount that the case is worth is based on individual factors. For example, if Wayne Gretzky (former professional hockey player) sustained a serious wrist fracture during the height of his career, the case would probably be worth more than if most lawyers suffered the same injury. Other things that might have an influence on the amount would be the amount of pain and disability that the injury causes, the injured person’s age and any other factors that tend to make the injury and its effects worse.
It should also be remembered that, in Canada, there is a cap on the pain and suffering components of awards. The cap was subject to inflation when it was introduced by the Supreme Court in a trilogy of cases in the 1970′s. In 2011 it is between approximately $320,000 and $340,000. Remember that this means that a person that sustains the worst possible injuries is limited to claiming that amount for pain and suffering. One rationale for the cap could be that no amount of money can ever truly compensate someone for a severe injury.
Of course, that does not mean that is the maximum total amount that they can claim. An injured person can also claim, in many cases, for other types of damages, including loss of income/loss of competitive advantage, future care costs, etc. These are not subject to a cap in most cases.
In car accident cases, there are thresholds, deductibles and other limits. However, in car accident cases, there is also the possibility of obtaining compensation and settlement through the accident benefits system.
The winter of 2010 in Ontario, Canada has seen some harsh storms, heavy snowfalls and extremely cold weather. This sort of weather can lead to dangerous walking conditions. People often sustain injuries at this time of year because of icy and slippery conditions. It is expected that this will lead to many new cases being brought by slip and fall injury lawyers in Oshawa, Whitby, Toronto, and Ontario.
Every year, people sustain ankle fractures, broken arms and wrists, head injuries, whiplash, and pain after slipping or tripping and falling in Oshawa, Whitby Toronto and Ontario. Each and every winter, people hire lawyers and launch lawsuits seeking damage awards (money) from a settlement or judgment after slipping or tripping and falling.
It is important to understand that a private property owner is not responsible just because someone slips or falls on their property. A private property owner does not have to keep their property in perfect condition, or completely safe, but they do have to take “reasonable” steps to make sure that persons are reasonably safe while they are on the property. When someone slips and falls, it is usually important to determine whether the private property owner had a reasonable system of maintenance and inspection in place.
For instance, if you slipped and fell on ice while walking to your car in a parking lot, then it would be important, in many cases, to determine whether the property owner had a reasonable system in place to inspect the parking lot and a reasonable maintenance schedule, which might include plowing/shoveling, salting or sanding the parking lot.
What does “reasonable” mean. That is up for debate and it is something that personal injury lawyers argue about again and again. There are many factors to look at when considering that issue and each case is usually somewhat unique. For example, if someone slips and falls on a small patch of ice, in an otherwise clear, parking lot in a deserted area of Whitby, that is very different from the case where someone slips and falls in a completely snow and ice covered entrance, that has been left uncleaned for days, at the busiest restaurant at Yonge and Bloor in downtown Toronto.
Even if the owner of the deserted Whitby parking lot and the owner of the incredibly busy downtown Toronto restaurant had the exact same maintenance and inspection schedule, the busy downtown Toronto restaurant owner might be found not to have taken reasonable care, while the Whitby owner had. That is not because people are harder on Toronto restaurants, it’s just that safety might require a higher level of maintenance and inspection in the circumstances.
Other things that can sometimes be important in slip and fall cases, are how fast the injured person was walking, whether they were taking care for their own safety (ie: whether they were looking where they were going), whether they were wearing appropriate footwear and clothing, whether they should have known about the danger, whether they were carrying something that interfered with their safety, etc.
If you are injured, you should immediately consult with a lawyer about how long you have to notify the other party about your intention to sue and to start a lawsuit. In some cases, you may only have a matter of days to notify the other party. It is best to discuss these time-lines with injury lawyers in Toronto, Oshawa, Whitby and Ontario.
10 questions to ask be sure that you get top accident or injury lawyers (attorneys) in Oshawa, Whitby Toronto and Ontario, Canada.
If you are considering proceeding with a lawsuit in relation to an accident or injury (whether it is a car accident, a slip and fall or trip and fall), you will want to choose a lawyer and law firm that is competent to effectively handle the case. When speaking to a lawyer that you are considering hiring you may want to ask the following questions:
- Will you provide me with a comprehensive agreement with all of the charges that I will have to pay.
- Is the consultation completely free no matter what I decide to do?
- When do I have to pay (ie: can I pay all fees and charges out of the final award or settlement?)
- What experience and knowledge do you have in this area of the law?
- Does your law firm have the financial and other resources to fund the litigation and to go to trial if necessary?
- Do you focus your practice on litigation and lawsuits or do you practice in other areas too? (some lawyers carry on a general practice where they try to practice in a number of areas).
- Ask the lawyer to explain the legal tests involved in the case and what the game plan would be for meeting them?
- Ask whether the firm is well known and whether insurance companies will know the firm.
- Ask the lawyer to send you one or more decisions in cases that he/she has argued.
- Ask the lawyer what the challenges and problems are in your case and how they can be overcome.
905-409-2438 Our Ontario, Whitby, Oshawa and Toronto injury lawyers offer injured accident victims respect and experienced guidance based upon our record for success in obtaining fair compensation for injuries and losses in car accidents, slip and falls, disability claims and other injury lawsuits. Call 905-409-2438. Offering flexible payment structures (including contingency fee/do not pay unless you win). Providing injury Lawyers, slip and fall lawyers, disaility lawyers, car accident lawyers in Whitby, Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, Port Perry, Lindsay, Kitchener, Milton, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Markham, Toronto, GTA, Scarborough, GTA, Bradford, Port Perry, Bowmanville Newmarket, Vaughan, Aurora, Thornhill and beyond with Link Popularity Services. Find the best suited Ontario injury lawyers for your lawsuit – that is a top priority. Ask about how the lawyer or lawyers have been rated by past clients and judges to ensure that you work with a highly rated lawyer with a stellar reputation among attorneys as well.
Injury and Accident Lawyer services are available in English, Spanish, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Cantonese, Italian and other languages as well in Toronto, Oshawa, and the above noted areas of Ontario. Please also feel free to visit our Spanish language site, written entirely in Espanol – Spanish
You can be assured that Ontario Newmarket Whitby Oshawa Toronto injury lawyers with the right specialty will respond to your case. Lawyers with experience and knowledge in personal injury cases and insurance claims and who have been able to achieve very high insurance settlements/money awards. Many available lawyers are with some of the top personal injury law firms and who past clients have characterized as some of the best personal injury lawyers in the field. We can also assist in accessing and coordinating rehabilitation services to assist in recovery.
Car Accident Lawyers, Injury Lawyers, disability lawyers and slip and fall lawyers are available in Whitby, Oshawa, Ajax, Scarborough, London, Etobicoke, Hamilton, Ottawa, St. Catharines, Niagara, Welland, Markham, Thornhill, North York, Mississauga, Pickering, Oshawa, Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA),and beyond.
You may also request that an out of town appointment or an in-home or hospital consultation be arranged at no charge to you with:
• Car and motorcycle accidents lawyers
• Life or disability Insurance lawyers
• Slip and fall lawyers
• Personal Injury lawyers
• Sporting accident lawyers
• Airplane crash lawyers
• Boating and jet ski accident lawyers
• ATV or dirt bike accident lawyers
• Snow mobile accident lawyers
• Injury Lawyers
• Faulty products and Products Liability lawyers
• No-fault car insurance claims and accident benefit lawyers
• Dog bite lawyers
• Assaults, including sexual assault lawyers
Or any occurrence resulting in the need for:
• Personal injury lawyers
• Wrongful Death lawyers
• Brain injury lawyers
• Spinal cord injury lawyers
• Disability benefit denial lawyers
• Chronic pain lawyers
Find the best suited Ontario lawyers for your lawsuit – that is a top priority. Ask about how the lawyer or lawyers have been rated by past clients and judges to ensure that you work with a highly rated lawyer with a stellar reputation. Our main information page can be found at Ontario Injury Lawyers
City specific pages can be found at:
Personal injury lawyers specializing in car accident claim, insurance settlement and lawsuit pay out as well as other mishaps (e.g. slip and fall, dog bite, disability denials, injury, accidents) resulting in personal injury. Serving Oshawa, Whitby, Toronto, Southern Ontario
Fault for a car accident can mean different things, including any of the following:
(1) who the police officer gave a ticket to under the Highway Traffic Act, or
(2) who is at fault in a civil lawsuit for personal injury, or
(3) who the Insurance Companies deem to be at fault in terms of insurance record and vehicle damage/deductible.
This article will discuss the third category. I have addressed the other two categories in previous articles. This article is simply for general discussion and does not represent formal legal advice. You should consult the legislation or a lawyer for your particular situation.
It should be noted that a decision under category 3 does not really impact on categories 1 and 2 and probably wouldn’t even be admissible into evidence in a personal injury lawsuit.
After a car accident, the people involved will usually call their own insurance companies to report the accident. The first question that most people have is who the insurance company will say is at fault for the accident.
Some people assume that an insurance adjuster just uses their own judgment and makes a decision about who is at fault. However, insurance adjusters refer to something called the “Fault Determination Rules” when deciding who is at fault for an accident. The rules look at different accident scenarios and provide guidance. As of November 2013 when this article was written, the rules can be taken from the legislation and roughly be summarized as follows:
Rules for Automobiles Travelling in the Same Direction and Lane
This section applies when automobile “A” is struck from the rear by automobile “B”, and both automobiles are travelling in the same direction and in the same lane.
If automobile “A” is stopped or is in forward motion, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
If automobile “A” is turning, either to the right or to the left, in order to enter a side road, private road or driveway, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
If automobile “A” is in forward motion and is entering a parking place on either the right or the left side of the road, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
This section applies when automobile “A” collides with automobile “B” while automobile “B” is entering a road from a parking place, private road or driveway.
If the incident occurs when automobile “B” is leaving a parking place and automobile “A” is passing the parking place, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
If the incident occurs when automobile “B” is entering a road from a private road or a driveway and automobile “A” is passing the private road or driveway and, if there are no traffic signals or signs, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
If automobile “A” collides with automobile “B” on a controlled access road while automobile “B” is entering the road from an entrance lane, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
Chain Reaction Collisions
In an incident involving three or more automobiles that are travelling in the same direction and in the same lane (a “chain reaction”)
-The degree of fault for each collision between two automobiles involved in the chain reaction is determined without reference to any related collisions involving either of the automobiles and another automobile.
-If all automobiles involved in the incident are in motion and automobile “A” is the leading vehicle, automobile “B” is second and automobile “C” is the third vehicle,
-in the collision between automobiles “A” and “B”, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 50 per cent at fault for the incident;
-in the collision between automobiles “B” and “C”, the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “C” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
-If only automobile “C” is in motion when the incident occurs,
- in the collision between automobiles “A” and “B”, neither driver is at fault for the incident; and
- in the collision between automobiles “B” and “C”, the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “C” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
Rules for Automobiles Travelling in the Same Direction in Adjacent Lane
This section applies when automobile “A” collides with automobile “B”, and both automobiles are travelling in the same direction and in adjacent lanes.
If neither automobile “A” nor automobile “B” changes lanes, and both automobiles are on or over the centre line when the incident (a “sideswipe”) occurs, the driver of each automobile is 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
If the location on the road of automobiles “A” and “B” when the incident (a “sideswipe”) occurs cannot be determined, the driver of each automobile is 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
(4) If the incident occurs when automobile “B” is changing lanes, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
(5) If the incident occurs when automobile “A” is turning left at an intersection and automobile “B” is overtaking automobile “A” to pass it, the driver of automobile “A” is 25 per cent at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 75 per cent at fault for the incident.
(6) If the incident occurs when automobile “A” is turning left at a private road or a driveway and automobile “B” is overtaking automobile “A” to pass it, the driver of each automobile is 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
(7) If the incident occurs when automobile “A” is turning left at a private road or a driveway and automobile “B” is passing one or more automobiles stopped behind automobile “A”, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
This section applies with respect to an incident involving three or more automobiles that are travelling in the same direction and in adjacent lanes (a “pile-up”).
- For each collision between two automobiles involved in the pile-up, the driver of each automobile is 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
Rules for Automobiles Travelling in Opposite Directions
- This section applies when automobile “A” collides with automobile “B”, and the automobiles are travelling in opposite directions and in adjacent lanes.
-If neither automobile “A” nor automobile “B” changes lanes and both automobiles are on or over the centre lane when the incident (a “sideswipe”) occurs, the driver of each automobile is 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
-If the location on the road of automobiles “A” and “B” when the incident (a “sideswipe”) occurs cannot be determined, the driver of each automobile is 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If automobile “B” is over the centre line of the road when the incident occurs, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
-If automobile “B” turns left into the path of automobile “A”, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If automobile “B” is leaving a parking place or is entering the road from a private road or driveway, and if automobile “A” is overtaking to pass another automobile when the incident occurs, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
Rules for Automobiles in an Intersection
- This section applies with respect to an incident that occurs at an intersection that does not have traffic signals or traffic signs.
- If automobile “A” enters the intersection before automobile “B”, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If automobiles “A” and “B” enter the intersection at the same time and automobile “A” is to the right of automobile “B” when in the intersection, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If it cannot be established whether automobile “A” or “B” entered the intersection first, the driver of each automobile shall be deemed to be 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
- This section applies with respect to an incident that occurs at an intersection with traffic signs.
- If the incident occurs when the driver of automobile “B” fails to obey a stop sign, yield sign or a similar sign or flares or other signals on the ground, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If the driver of each automobile fails to obey a stop sign, the driver of each automobile is 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If it cannot be established who failed to obey a stop sign, the driver of each automobile shall be deemed to be 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If, at an all-way stop intersection, automobile “A” arrives at the intersection first and stops, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If, at an all-way stop intersection, both automobiles arrive at the intersection at the same time and stop, with automobile “A” to the right of automobile “B”, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
-If it cannot be established who arrived at the all-way stop intersection first, the driver of each automobile shall be deemed to be 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
- This section applies with respect to an incident that occurs at an intersection with traffic signals.
- If the driver of automobile “B” fails to obey a traffic signal, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If it cannot be established whether the driver of either automobile failed to obey a traffic signal, the driver of each automobile shall be deemed to be 50 per cent at fault for the incident.
- If the traffic signals at the intersection are inoperative, the degree of fault of the drivers shall be determined as if the intersection were an all-way stop intersection.
Rules for Automobiles in Parking Lots
- This section applies with respect to incidents in parking lots.
- The degree of fault of a driver involved in an incident on a thoroughfare shall be determined in accordance with this Regulation as if the thoroughfare were a road.
-If automobile “A” is leaving a feeder lane and fails to yield the right of way to automobile “B” on a thoroughfare, the driver of automobile “A” is 100 per cent at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault for the incident.
- If automobile “A” is leaving a parking space and fails to yield the right of way to automobile “B” on a feeder lane or a thoroughfare, the driver of automobile “A” is 100 per cent at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault for the incident.
- In this section,
“feeder lane” means a road in a parking lot other than a thoroughfare;
“thoroughfare” means a main road for passage into, through or out of a parking lot.
Rules for Other Circumstances
- If automobile “A” is parked when it is struck by automobile “B”, the driver of automobile “A” is not at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is 100 per cent at fault for the incident.
-If automobile “A” is illegally parked, stopped or standing when it is struck by automobile “B” and if the incident occurs outside a city, town or village, the driver of automobile “A” is 100 per cent at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault for the incident.
- The driver of automobile “A” is 100 per cent at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault for an incident in which automobile “A” collides with automobile “B” when the driver of automobile “A” fails to obey,
(a) a police officer’s direction;
(b) a do not enter sign;
(c) a prohibited passing sign; or
(d) a prohibited turn sign.
- The driver of automobile “A” is 100 per cent at fault and the driver of automobile “B” is not at fault for an incident that occurs,
(a) when automobile “A” is backing up;
(b) when automobile “A” is making a U-turn; or
(c) when the driver of, or a passenger in, automobile “A” opens the automobile door or leaves the door open.
Rules When a Driver is Charged with a Driving Offence
- For the purposes of this Regulation, a driver is considered to be charged with a driving offence,
(a) if, as a result of the incident, the driver is charged with operating the automobile while his or her ability to operate the automobile was impaired by alcohol or a drug;
(b) if, as a result of the incident, the driver is charged with driving while his or her blood alcohol level exceeded the limits permitted by law;
(c) if, as a result of the incident, the driver is charged with an indictable offence related to the operation of the automobile;
(d) if the driver, as a result of the incident, is asked to provide a breath sample and he or she is charged with failing or refusing to provide the sample;
(e) if, as a result of the incident, the driver is charged with exceeding the speed limit by sixteen or more kilometres per hour.
(2) The degree of fault of the insured shall be determined in accordance with the ordinary rules of law, and not in accordance with these rules,
(a) if the driver of automobile “A” involved in the incident is charged with a driving offence; and
(b) if the driver of automobile “B” is wholly or partly at fault, as otherwise determined under these rules, for the incident.
If you have been involved in an accident, your own car insurance company (or the other vehicle’s insurer) may ask to meet with you to obtain a statement. In most cases, there is nothing wrong with the insurer asking to meet with you. However, you usually are not required to agree.
Many people simply agree to the statement because they do not know that they are entitled to say no, or that they are entitled to have protections put in place. While most of these statements are not overly significant, they can sometimes come back to haunt you.
What will usually happen in one of these statements is that an adjuster will attend at your home and will ask you a series of questions. As you answer, the adjuster will write down the basic points of your answers. When the adjuster is finished, they will ask you to review it and then sign it. This may sound harmless enough, and people often think “what do I have to hide”. We are not suggesting that you hide anything, but a failure to protect yourself can cause issues.
Remember that an adjuster is not recording what you say word for word, remember that an adjuster may be writing things in the way that they interpret what you are saying, there could be errors as well, and all of the important information may not come out. It’s not to say that the adjuster is purposely acting against you, but not all of the points may be clear to you or recorded in such a way that speaks to all of the issues that could come up in the different parts of your claim.
I have one current case with a client who sustained catastrophic injuries and was cut off of most of her benefits as a result of what is included in her signed statement (taken before they retained a lawyer). The client notes that what is in the statement is being taken out of context. I think that she is right and we are fighting the insurer on it, but we now have to fight against what is contained in the statement.
In many cases that I work on the statement is brought up down the road in the lawsuit and defence lawyers poke holes in it or try to use it as evidence.
In my respectful opinion, you definitely should not meet with the other driver’s insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first. Remember that they are adverse in interest and are not looking out for you.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Ontario, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer before agreeing to meet with the insurance company for a statement.
In most personal injury cases, clients choose to pay for their legal services by way of a “percentage fee” at the end of the case. The main reason that clients typically choose to do this is because it is simply too expensive for them to pay their personal injury lawyer fees on an ongoing basis throughout the case. Paying a percentage fee allows them to pursue their case without worrying about how much time the lawyer is investing in the file.
A personal injury lawyer will usually ask a client to sign a “retainer agreement” confirming the relationship between the lawyer and client. The retainer agreement will spell out the percentage fee and the other costs (if any). This does not always happen in personal injury lawyer retainers in Whitby and Oshawa in my experience, but I always have the client sign a retainer so that the terms are clear to them.
Many clients believe that there is a standard rate or standard retainer agreement among personal injury lawyers for car accident cases or slip and falls or other accidents. That would not be correct.
There are certainly some differences that I have seen over the years. One of the differences is the actual percentage of course. I always encourage clients to call a few other lawyers and ask what they charge, because I believe that my personal injury lawyer fees are fair and reasonable and I want them to see that for themselves. I cannot say what my percentage is here, but you are welcome to call me at 905-409-2438 and ask me.
Another difference is the question of “disbursements” – those are expenses that are payable throughout the case (ie: court filing fee, medical record and report fees etc.). Does your agreement with your lawyer say that you will be responsible for those costs at the end if the other side does not pay them? It is a good thing to check. If the defence does not contribute enough to the fees and disbursements, does that affect the amount you pay in some other way?
I try to give my clients a very easy to understand explanation of these issues so that there are absolutely no surprises at the end. My goal is to have clients who are pleased with the results, know that they have been treated fairly and will say good things – Durham is not such a big place and I am always proud of receiving referrals from past clients. Approximately 40% of my case-load is now in Durham and is being managed out of my personal injury lawyer office in Whitby Ontario.
Another thing that you will want to look for is whether you are being charged a percentage of the benefits that you are receiving from the accident benefits carrier. Do you have to pay the lawyer a part of those benefits? You want to be clear about that when reviewing the retainer.
Those are some of the issues that you want to consider. I typically ask my clients if they want to take the retainer home and look at it before signing – it’s an important document, so don’t feel pressured to agree to personal injury lawyer fees unless you are clear on the terms.
Do I need a Lawyer for my car accident injury claim? After someone is injured in a car accident in Ontario, Canada, they often think about whether or not they need a lawyer. Some insurance companies may tell you that you don’t need a lawyer and that you can deal with them directly and, in some cases, that may be true. However, you should consider that question carefully, and early, as you will want to ensure that your rights are protected from the beginning. Since most reputable personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, there shouldn’t be much harm in calling and obtaining an opinion about your case.
Some people believe that Ontario’s car accident law is “no fault” and because of that they don’t need a lawyer. That is not a correct statement. There are no-fault benefits (called accident benefits) that most injured people can apply for in Ontario even if they were at fault for the accident. However, payment of those benefits is not automatic and often leads to disputes with insurance companies. If you need any indication of how many disputes there are, you can call the Financial Services Commission (the body that oversees insurance companies in Ontario) and ask them. There are a series of forms, technicalities and rules that are difficult to navigate and understand and a wrong step can cost you dearly down the road.
For instance, you may have to “elect” between different available benefits (for instance: income replacement and non-earner) and once you make that election it is extremely difficult to change your mind. The decision can have significant consequences on what you receive, and you may wish to consult with a lawyer before making that decision. You must dispute denials of benefits within a set time-period or face consequences as well. I have also seen clients who meet with the insurer and sign a statement that contains information that may not be entirely accurate, but the claimant doesn’t understand the nuance or importance and just signs the document not knowing that they could then be stuck with that evidence down the road.
For drivers who are “not at fault”, or not completely at fault, there is also the opportunity to commence a lawsuit as part of their personal injury claim. There are a whole host of factors that go into the consideration of whether or not someone has a valid claim and it is best to speak with a car accident lawyer about this (my office can be reached at 905-409-2438 for a free consultation). There are a number of protections for insurance companies that are built into the law to make it very confusing (and many people would say unfair) for victims of car accidents who sustain a personal injury. For instance, pain and suffering is restricted to those who, generally, suffer an ongoing injury that interferes with their job, a job they are training for or most of their daily activities (there is a more specific test, but that is a general summary – I can speak with you and explain further). Claims for income loss, loss of competitive employ-ability, housekeeping etc. are not covered by that protection. There are other protections and deductibles that can also apply.
There are time-lines that play into matters as well. For instance, you generally have 2 years to sue as a result of a car accident injury (but you should speak with a car accident lawyer for more specifics). There can also be notice periods that apply – for example a 120 notice period to the other driver, 30 days to your own insurer for benefits, etc. (there can be some very short limitation periods for claims against municipalities and others – potentially just days).
When you are injured you should make it a priority to protect your rights and ensure that you understand what those rights are. Call us for a free consultation and we would be happy to explain further (905-409-2438). I restrict my practice to car accident injury and personal injury law, only acting for plaintiffs – injured people. I have 12 years of litigation experience and the law firm that I am with (Lerners LLP) has been around since the 1920’s and has over 100 lawyers and the resources necessary to assist you. We have acted for plaintiffs in record setting judgements and decisions and have a strong reputation in the community.
“This past week, Ontario’s Court of Appeal released its unanimous decision in Henry v. Gore Mutual Insurance. The decision dealt with an insurer’s requirement to pay attendant care benefits under the accident benefits system (no fault benefit system for car accident victims).
The Henry v. Gore Mutual Insurance decision is important because, as of September 2010, an insurer is not required to pay attendant care benefits unless (1) the service provider was providing attendant care in the course of their employment or (2) they incurred an economic loss in providing the service.
The second category (#2) has been the most contentious since people often have family members assisting with their care (one of the reasons is that it may well be hard to find someone to provide the amount of attendant care services needed with the money that is available-the other reason is comfort level of the patient and family – especially in the initial period).
Under the second category, there has been a question about what qualifies as an “economic loss” and how much of an economic loss is needed to qualify for payment of attendant care. As a for instance, if a cousin pays for a bus ride or spends gas to get to the injured party to provide attendant care – does that qualify?
In Henry v. Gore Mutual Insurance, a family member had taken an unpaid leave of absence from her 40 hour per week job in order to provide full time attendant care to a catastrophically injured family member. The insurer took the position that the family member was only entitled to be paid for 40 hours of attendant care per week, because of the definition of incurred and economic loss. The Court disagreed with the insurer.
The Court commented that “economic loss” was clear in this case given that the family member had taken an unpaid leave of absence from work. The more difficult scenarios (such as the family member taking the bus) are not entirely clear following the decision (although the court did make it clear that an “equivalent” economic loss is not necessary and as long as an economic loss has been sustained, that is enough). The Court declined to more broadly define economic loss, seeming to leave that to be decided on a case by case basis in the future (but the noted comments are helpful).
Accidents caused by drivers who are Driving in a vehicle without consent are especially difficult to deal with. They pose legal challenges and can have restrictions on the types of benefits available to be applied for.
In one such recent example, the Globe and Mail reported that, on June 9, 2013, a group of teens allegedly stole a truck and took it on a joyride in Oshawa Ontario. One of the teens (a 13 year old from Whitby Ontario) apparently provided this explanation to police: “Yo bro, I had a really bad day. My girlfriend broke up with me — you don’t even know.”
The Globe reported the allegations that, around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, three teenage boys, two 13 and one 15, were trying to get into parked cars at Just Brakes Plus, a garage in Whitby. The trio found an unlocked Ford pickup truck and, inside, the keys.
According to the Globe’s report, a police officer spotted the truck driving the wrong way on several streets as it weaved through Whitby into neighbouring Oshawa. The officer thought the driver was impaired. After the cruiser’s siren was turned on, a short chase ensued as other police vehicles converged on the truck. The pursuit was called off as the truck drove the wrong way on King St. E. in Oshawa. Then the driver lost control and barrelled onto the sidewalk in front of Out Lounge and Bar, striking three pedestrians.
The article in the Globe noted that one man ended up in serious condition at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Another man and woman were taken to Lakeridge, also in serious condition.
As an example of the legal issues that may apply in cases where a person is injured in a vehicle that is knowingly used without the owner’s consent, section 30 of the statutory accident benefit schedule says that an insurer is not required to pay income replacement benefits/visitor expenses, housekeeping expenses or certain other benefits in those cases (if insurance applies at all).
In most lawsuits for personal injury from a car accident the defendant’s lawyers will request that the trial be decided by a jury instead of a judge alone. In most cases the defendant has the right to request that.
Why do defendants request a jury in a car accident injury trial? Some of the possible reasons that i personally believe play a role are:
1. A jury is not allowed to be told that the defendant has car insurance that will pay damages awarded.
2. A jury is not allowed to be told that a secret “deductible” of $30,000 will be subtracted from their pain and suffering award to the plaintiff unless the award is more than $100,000.
3. A jury can be unpredictable and the risks are much higher for the plaintiff (who has one case) as opposed to the insurance company (which has many)
4. A jury will not know that if the plaintiff does not get more than what the defendant offed then insurance company can pursue the plaintiff for its costs
5. A jury may not be as familiar with medical concepts and may not be able to deal as easily with a claim for injuries that are not “objective”-and pain is rarely objective.
6. A jury may not know that the doctors hired by the defence are working for an insurance company that provides, potentially, a considerable part of their yearly income and some are alleged to have biases.
While all of these things are true, you should not be discouraged from pursuing your claim if you have an honest and valid claim. Our jury system is, i believe, meant to provide a democratic check on the role of the courts in deciding cases and to keep the courts informed of the view of society.
My very firm belief is that juries are made up of good people who have a real desire to do the right thing and take the role seriously. While there is certainly risk, there is also no other means of compensation.
*Steven Polak is a personal injury lawyer practicing in the GTA, York Region, Durham and also sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Mental Health Association-York Region.
A driver is tired, upset, drunk or in a hurry and does not take proper care on the roadway. Too many car accident injury stories begin this way and the end of the story can be tragic. This may soon be a thing of the past. Google has been testing a new “driverless car” where you can sit back and let a computer drive the car for you. Google’s car is still in the testing phase, but it has the potential to fundamentally change our society. It was recently reported that other car companies are now following suit and working to introduce selfdriving cars.
The cars work with a combination of computers, sensors and cameras. The cars do still require humans to drive in certain conditions and in certain circumstances, but by and large they take over the task of driving the car. As time goes on and the technology is refined, the cars may well become completely driverless.
Think about the effects of this: car accidents should become a rarity, car accident injury should all but disappear, car accident insurance should almost disappear, the need for police monitoring of the roads would be curtailed, taxi cabs should also become driverless eliminating that job, truck driving and transport drivers will no longer be needed in the same numbers, hospitals and injury treatment providers would not be needed in the same numbers, courts would note a reduction in the number of cases, and yes, personal injury lawyers specializing in car accident injury lawsuit cases would have to focus on other areas of law.
This new technology has the very real potential to change our society for the better. Given how central the car is to our society, it is difficult to think of anything that will have a greater impact on our society.
On April 8, 2013, The Globe and Mail reported on a ground-breaking recent decision in Saskatchewan where a judge awarded 3 million dollars in punitive damages against two insurance companies for failing to pay disability benefits to a 52 year old welder (Mr. Branco).
In that case, it was reported that the insurance companies denied the plaintiff long term disability benefits and made inappropriate demands in terms of retraining and steps that the plaintiff was required to take. It was reported that the insurers went to great lengths to thwart the plaintiff’s claim and convince him to accept low settlement offers.
The judge seemed to express the hope that this would send a chill through the insurance industry. The decision is almost certain to be appealed by the insurer and it will be interesting to see what the higher court does with the decision. The fact that the plaintiff will have to now wait even longer through an appeal for this to end is unfortunate – he has already spent ten years of his life in litigation.
Punitive damages are not awarded as compensation for any particular loss by the plaintiff; the damages can be awarded in cases that are deemed to have shown shocking and outrageous conduct and breaches of the duty of good faith that an insurer has towards its insureds.
The previous ceiling for punitive damages had been approximately one million dollars awarded to an Ontario plaintiff in the case of whiten and pilot. That case had been appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada (the highest court in Canada).
In the whiten and pilot case, the court did not say, with certainty, that one million dollars was the absolute ceiling, although that is how it has been interpreted by some people. That being said, an award of 3 million dollars is so far outside of the usual range that it would set a new standard if it was affirmed on appeal.
In my experience, disability insurers in Ontario seem to know that a great number of people will not appeal disability denials, and those who do will settle for lower amounts than what they are entitled to. The math still seems to work for the insurers statistically, even when they have to pay. A large punitive damage “stick” is something that, in my respectful opinion, the court needs, in order to deal with these very large and powerful corporations (in Ontario, we often find ourselves dealing with denials by insurers like Manulife, Desjardins, Great West Life and others). I often find myself shaking my head with anger when I hear the stories that my clients tell me about how their insurer denied their benefits (usually because the insurer says that they do not meet the “total disability” test) and how their life has been after that.
What makes the award in Branco very unusual is that the award was made by a judge, not a jury. Juries are known and recognized to be more prone to high awards that are outside of the usual scope when they are repulsed by an insurer’s conduct. It cannot be ignored that the decision was made by a learned judge
with years of legal knowledge and training. If nothing else, it is a reminder that Judges are not always the cold detached figures people make them out to be by some people – they are human beings with hearts beating inside of them and a sense of morality that can be outraged.
While it may not be obvious to those who do not deal with these cases often, the one word that best describes his Honour’s judgement is “courage”. This case may be picked apart by appeal courts, it will be attacked by defence lawyers and criticized in many boardrooms of billion dollar corporations as an inappropriate departure from the usual range. The Judge must have known that, must have known the criticism he would face but he did it anyway – which is something that he can always look back on and be proud of, and something that we all owe him a debt of gratitude for. He has reminded the insurers they do not tread unattended, there are rules and that our courts will safe-guard its people. We should all remember that an accident or a disability can happen to any one of us, and this plaintiff’s 10 years without income, without respect and with unreasonable treatment, ruining his life, could just as easily be any one of us – there but for the grace of god go I.
In the March 27, 2013 decision of Scarlett v. Belair Insurance, Arbitrator John Wilson essentially confirmed the common sense inference that the minor injury guideline (“MIG”) is meant for people who have sustained minor injuries.
This may not sound like much of a land-mark decision or much reason to write anything at all. The reason that it is, is because insurers have been trying to force many square pegs (people with more serious personal injury) into the round holes of the MIG. There have been a number of interpretations and policies that have been adopted by insurers that have expanded the use of the minor injury guideline beyond what it was arguably intended to do. Scarlett v. Belair is the first known reported decision that interprets the minor injury guideline.
For those who don’t know, the MIG is a treatment guideline that is found within the statutory accident benefit system (the system that governs no-fault benefits for car accident victims). The MIG restricts a injured person’s treatment to a total of $3,500 (broken down into blocks) and restricts their ability to claim for other benefits. If someone is outside of the MIG (if their injuries are more significant) then they are entitled to up to $50,000 in benefits for treatment, as well as other benefits, including attendant care.
One of the important points made in this decision is that it is the insurer’s burden to prove that the insured’s claim is restricted to the MIG (not the other way around as the insurer argued). The arbitrator found that the claimant’s TMJ, chronic pain diagnosis, and psychological impairments were separate and distinct from the soft tissue injuries and that the totality of the injuries fell outside of the minor injury guideline.
Many injury claimants often complain that they were being lumped into a particular category just because they had no fractures. Indeed, I had one car accident client near Oshawa with a head injury who was being regularly followed by a treating neuro-psychologist and educational support aide who was put in the MIG and was only removed as we approached arbitration.
The arbitrator in the Scarlett case, made it clear that insurers cannot simply lump people into one category, and explicitly stated as follows:
“What it [the MIG] is not is the cookie cutter application of an expense limit in every case where there is a soft tissue injury present. Such does not respond to the spirit of the accident benefits system or the policy enunciated in the Guideline of getting treatment to those in need early in the claims process. While it is quite possible that the majority of claimants can be accommodated within the MIG, averages are misleading when applied to individual cases. Each case merits an open-minded assessment, and an acceptance that some injuries can be complex even where there are soft tissue injuries present amongst the constellation of injuries arising from an accident”.
This decision is apparently being appealed by the insurer. There will certainly be further decisions that will consider the provision further. The hope is that the decision will make it clear to the insurers that the minor injury guideline should be reserved for those people with minor injuries. Where the problems are more significant (either initially or if they become worse over time) an insurer must review and respond to that and fairly consider their insured’s needs. Most of the personal injury law cases that I handle are in York Region (Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Newmarket), the GTA or in Durham (Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax) and claimants are typically fair and most interested in getting back to as much as they can do. For these types of claimants, this is a good and important decision