Winter Weather Returns on April 15, 2014

Winter Weather Returns on April 15, 2014

Just as some people removed their snow tires and smiled at the prospect of smooth and clean summer driving, winter has returned and it may be the coldest April 15 on record accordi ...

Appealing long term disability benefits insurance denials vs suing

Appealing long term disability benefits insurance denials vs suing

If you are reading this, you have probably been denied long term disability benefits by your LTD insurance carrier.  Whether the denial was made by one of the well known disability ...

How do injury claims work when you slip and fall on ice in Ontario

How do injury claims work when you slip and fall on ice in Ontario

Slip and fall accidents frequently occur on ice in Ontario Canada.  The Eastern region (Oshawa, Whitby, Bowmanville, Ajax) are often hit harder by winter weather than Toronto prope ...

Injured while a passenger in a car accident in Ontario Canada

Injured while a passenger in a car accident in Ontario Canada

Many people call me after being involved in a car accident where they were the passenger in a car that was being driven by their husband, wife, family member or friend.  They are u ...

Ontario Car Accident? Who is at fault?

Ontario Car Accident? Who is at fault?

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 fa ...

Judge Awards 3 Million in punitive damages against Disability Insurers in disability denial lawsuit

Judge Awards 3 Million in punitive damages against Disability Insurers in disability denial lawsuit

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 ...

Arbitrator confirms that the car accident Minor Injury Guideline is for injury victims with Minor Injuries

Arbitrator confirms that the car accident Minor Injury Guideline is for injury victims with Minor Injuries

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 m ...

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, 
  • injury, 
  • 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
*Free Consultations

Articles

  • 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…

Contact us today for a free consultation with car accident and injury lawyers in Oshawa, Whitby, Toronto and Ontario.


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.


Ontario Injury Lawyers - What Should Clients Expect To Pay?

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...


What Is The Difference – Pro Bono, Contingency, Legal Aid & Only Pay If You Win Lawyer?

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.

Contact us today for a free consultation.


How much is my car accident or slip and fall case worth?

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.

Contact us today for a free consultation.


Slip and Fall injuries – will you win your case?

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:

  1. Will you provide me with a comprehensive agreement with all of the charges that I will have to pay.
  2. Is the consultation completely free no matter what I decide to do?
  3. When do I have to pay (ie: can I pay all fees and charges out of the final award or settlement?)
  4. What experience and knowledge do you have in this area of the law?
  5. Does your law firm have the financial and other resources to fund the litigation and to go to trial if necessary?
  6. 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).
  7. Ask the lawyer to explain the legal tests involved in the case and what the game plan would be for meeting them?
  8. Ask whether the firm is well known and whether insurance companies will know the firm.
  9. Ask the lawyer to send you one or more decisions in cases that he/she has argued.
  10. 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

Contact us today for a free injury law consultation with an injury lawyer.

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:

Oshawa    Whitby    Ajax    Bowmanville   Toronto   Kawartha Lakes  Newmarket  Bradford  Cobourg  Pickering  Lindsay

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

 

Just as some people removed their snow tires and smiled at the prospect of smooth and clean summer driving, winter has returned and it may be the coldest April 15 on record according to the City News Storm Centre.  We can blame an arctic cold front that is passing through the GTA area that has plunged temperatures below the freezing mark.

We have seen rain, freezing rain, ice pellets and snow.  There are reports of icy conditions on the roads, a tractor-trailer flipped over on the 427 and cancellations on flights.  An increased number of car accidents and slip and fall injuries have also been reported.

The snowfall comes on top of a difficult winter for Whitby, Oshawa and Ajax, filled with snow, ice and unusually cold temperatures.

Drivers must remember that bad weather does not excuse them from taking responsibility on the roads, it just means that they have to be even more careful on the roads.  If a driver determines that with their specific car and their specific driving experience, it is not safe to be on the road, then they need to get off of the road.  The weather in Canada should not be relied upon as an excuse for an accident.

It is true that police sometimes exercise their discretion not to charge a driver under the Highway Traffic Act if the weather is bad.  But that does not mean that the driver can necessarily escape responsibility in a lawsuit for personal injury.  The test in a personal injury lawsuit for car accident injuries is different than the test for charges under the Highway Traffic Act.

We offer free consultations to injury victims in car accidents, slip and falls, other accidents, and long term disability/insurance denial cases.  We can be reached in Whitby at 905-409-2438.

Some of the most gut-wrenching moments in my life have been witnessing injury clients coming to accept the awful realization they will never walk again.

That is a big reason why I have been closely following the recent innovations at Ekso Bionics (http://eksobionics.com/ourstory) and similar companies.  These types of companies offer “ekso skeletons” that allow paraplegics (and others with similar problems) to walk and perform other functions.

This technology appears to have been born out of military applications that allowed soldiers to carry large loads through the use of a light-weight “ekso skeleton”.  It is exciting that these applications have been adapted to assist those with paralysis.

Even more exciting  is that the technology is now in the consumer marketplace and is available to consumers for between $75,000 and $100,000.  That price range is obviously high, and the first generation of these suits have limits as well (ie: a 3 hour battery life, etc.), but this first step forwards brings the future to the present and provides accident victims with real progress.  These are items that will certainly form part of future care costs reports in personal injury lawsuits going forwards.

The Globe and Mail set out the story of a man with paraplegia using the suit here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/technology-video/video-ctv-bc-the-bionic-man-paraplegic-man-walks-again/article16624184/

For those who have other limitations such as a loss of use of a hand or loss of strength, the technology appears adaptable to provide benefits as well.

If you are reading this, you have probably been denied long term disability benefits by your LTD insurance carrier.  Whether the denial was made by one of the well known disability companies like Manulife, Great West Life, Desjardins, or others, there is normally an opportunity to “appeal” or dispute the initial denial.

However, despite the ability to appeal, for the purposes of the limitation period to sue the insurance company you should treat the initial denial as the date when the clock starts ticking.  That means that you should usually consider that the clock starts no later than the first denial.  If you do not file the claim by the expiry of the limitation period then your right to sue may be taken away.  If a client calls me and wants to try the appeal before suing, I normally discuss the limitation period with them and we set a date by which to hear from the insurer or sue.

Some people have a union that can assist them in appealing their disability denial.  Unfortunately, I am often confronted with unions that are non-responsive to their union members.  The most tragic cases that I have seen are ones where the claimant has been denied, their union has negotiated away their right to sue and they are required to go to arbitration with their union and the union is not assisting their member.  The cases that I have had like that have posed very serious challenges.

Many people do not want to hire a lawyer or start a lawsuit unless they have no other options left.  That is understandable – very few of my clients want to be in litigation – they just have no other choice.  But you do not want the appeal process to drag on and it prejudices your ability to sue.  I normally recommend that clients at least open a “wait and see” file with us so that we can monitor what occurs (I typically do not charge for that).

In some cases, I simply give clients the opinion that the insurer is not going to change their mind and they should just sue.  That is not because their case is without merit, it’s just because I have a pretty good sense of which insurers are going to hold firm in certain types of cases.  Some of the insurers take very firm positions in cases where the disability is “not objective” – ie: a chronic pain case, a psychological case, or a “level of pain” case.

My perspective is that, if a case is likely to go the litigation route and eventually result in a trial or settlement (pre-trial resolution), then there isn’t much point in delaying that.  Fighting with an insurance company is stressful enough and the time spent doing that is best minimized.

In one recent case that I had, we sent a letter to the insurance company advising of the fact that we were issuing our lawsuit with the Court and the insurer responded by immediately re-instating the claimant and paying all of the benefits owing from the date of termination.  Obviously, that was not the norm, but it does show that the insurers are sometimes taking notice of a lawyer coming on board and moving to litigation and perhaps there is a supervisor reviewing the matter.  In that particular case, I had just concluded a successful claim against the exact same insurer with the exact same employer about a month before.

Snow, blowing snow and adverse weather conditions are contributing to deteriorating driving conditions.  The OPP is reportedly dealing with one car accident per minute at present and numerous injuries have been reported.  Constable Clint Stibbe of the Toronto police traffic services division tweeted around 11 a.m. that drivers should consider staying off of the roads if possible.

The snowfall comes on top of a difficult winter for Toronto and Southern Ontario, filled with snow, ice and unusually cold temperatures.

Drivers must remember that bad weather does not excuse them from taking responsibility on the roads, it just means that they have to be even more careful on the roads.  If a driver determines that with their specific car and their specific driving experience, it is not safe to be on the road, then they need to get off of the road.  The weather in Canada should not be relied upon as an excuse for an accident.

It is true that police sometimes exercise their discretion not to charge a driver under the Highway Traffic Act if the weather is bad.  But that does not mean that the driver can necessarily escape responsibility in a lawsuit for personal injury.  The test in a personal injury lawsuit for car accident injuries is different than the test for charges under the Highway Traffic Act.

An article from the Toronto Star about the snowfall can be found here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/flight-delays-commuter-chaos-as-snowfall-hits-southern-ontario/article16705588/

Potential clients often ask me what the “usual” percentage legal fee is for personal injury cases and lawsuits involving slip and falls or car accidents.  There is no “set” legal fee or “usual” legal fee – it’s all subject to agreement.

My own personal practice is to charge a percentage fee based on four factors: (1) the time expended on your case, (2) the complexity of the matters in issue, (3) the degree of responsibility assumed by the lawyer, and (4) the monetary value of the matters in issue.  The fee is based on the damages awarded in a judgement, or negotiated resolution/settlement.

I generally agree that, in the normal course, the legal fee will not be more than 1/5th, 20% of the damages awarded to you, and in more severe cases I will typically agree that the legal fee will not be more than 15% of the damages awarded (there are sometimes exceptions to these typical scenarios).  HST would typically apply on the fee.  The defence would typically make a contribution to fees and disbursements, in addition to a damages payment.  I am happy to discuss all of this in relation to a specific case scenario.

There are a number of other considerations that I recommend that you look at closely when reviewing a retainer agreement.  One is whether the law firm is going to charge you any percentage of ongoing accident benefits being received by you from the insurer (ie: income replacement or attendant care etc).  I do not charge for those amounts.  We will still assist with the forms and benefit applications as a client service.  If there is a dispute/lawsuit, then we will assist you on a similar percentage based model.

My understanding is that this is typical of most of the plaintiff personal injury lawyers practising at large downtown Toronto firms, but I have no actual personal knowledge one way or the other, because I do not call other lawyers to ask for quotes.

The law firm that I work at, Lerners LLP, has been around since 1929, has over 100 lawyers, the capital to invest in cases and a long and solid reputation.  Lerners LLP has been noted to be Canada’s largest group of personal injury lawyers.  We offer in home and hospital consultations across the Province.

I have heard second hand stories about law firms charging more than that, but I cannot confirm that it is true or false and have no specific examples to offer.

The amount of the fee is usually agreed to at the beginning of the case, in the retainer agreement with your lawyer.  In certain cases, the amount of the fee can be reviewed and over-turned later.  If you are concerned about the fee that you are paying, it is better to look into this sooner than later.  This is especially true if you want to switch lawyers, since the old lawyer will want to be paid for some portion of the time that they have spent and it is better to do this earlier.

Consultations are always free, you do not pay unless you win and we fund all up-front costs.

If you want to do your research and really consider whether a quoted legal fee is fair you are free to contact us at www.personalinjurylawlawyer.ca  in the Toronto area at 416-710-3268 or in Oshawa/Whitby/Ajax/Durham at 905-409-2438.   Feel free to call and ask “what legal fee is fair with my injury lawyer?”

We look forward to your call at 905-409-2438.

Steven Polak is a personal injury lawyer in Toronto and Whitby Ontario representing victims of injury and death in car accidents, slip and falls, other mishaps, as well as long term disability denials.

Slip and fall accidents frequently occur on ice in Ontario Canada.  The Eastern region (Oshawa, Whitby, Bowmanville, Ajax) are often hit harder by winter weather than Toronto proper.  The recent ice storms and winter weather have increased the number of injuries.  There is case-law and legislation that helps to determine whether someone is entitled to compensation for a slip and fall injury

This is a brief description of the questions that are important to ask when considering a lawsuit or claim after being injured while slipping and falling on ice in Ontario:

1.  Did you provide notice of the slip and fall to the potential defendant?  In some circumstances, defendants have to be put on notice of a potential claim in as little as 10 days.  Some defendants don’t require any notice and simply must be sued within two years.

2.  What proof do you have of the icy/snowy condition?  Your evidence of what you saw and felt is the first piece of evidence.  Do you also have photos?  Do you have witnesses and contact information for those witnesses?

3.  What caused the icy/snowy condition?  Was it a failure to monitor a property and a failure to do ice and snow maintenance such as salting and sanding?  Was it an unsafe condition like a sloped parking lot that pooled water in one spot or an overhang that was dripping into one place continually?  We can usually assist in figuring it out.

4.  Is there proof of where you fell?  Did you let the property owner know about the fall?  Did they see it?  Are there video cameras in that area?

5.  What are your injuries?  What has been diagnosed and what are the risks for the future, the potential care needs for the future and the potential impact on employment?  Are there fractures that can be shown on imaging, or tears or damage that can be seen on imaging?

All of the above things are issues that we would need to look into when considering the viability of an action.  Most land-owners and property maintenance companies have insurance available to respond to theses losses.  Some claims can be settled directly with insurance companies, while others require a lawsuit and litigation to get to the point where compensation is paid.

As personal injury lawyers handling slip and falls, we are pleased to provide free no obligation initial consultations and only pay when you win fee structure options.  We can be reached at 905-409-2438.

Many people call me after being involved in a car accident where they were the passenger in a car that was being driven by their husband, wife, family member or friend.  They are usually not sure about whether they are allowed to make a claim for their injuries and damages.  The answer is that they usually are (there are only very limited exceptions to this).

An immediate concern that people have is whether making a claim will require their friend or family member to spend money to defend it.  The reality is that, in almost all circumstances, your friend or family member’s insurance company would pay the entire judgement/settlement of the claim without any deductible or payments being made by your family or friend.  The insurer would also almost always pay the cost of hiring a lawyer to defend the claim if it could not be settled before being assigned to a defence lawyer.  The exceptions to these rules are very limited provided that the car insurance policy is in good standing.

As well, even before any lawsuit is brought, there would be the ability to make a “Part 1″ application for accident benefits, to cover immediate needs and a portion of your losses.  This is made directly to the insurance company and does not require any claim to be made against a driver.  The benefits are “no fault” and so you do not have to even prove fault to obtain accident benefit payments for things like medical and rehabilitation needs, income replacement, possibly attendant care or otherwise.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation.

A massive ice storm has turned roads and drive-ways into skating rinks and has downed trees and branches across Ontario.  Driving through Bowmanville I saw trees literally split in half, and some tied together with heavy rope to prevent them from falling.  In Oshawa and Whitby, a considerable number of car accidents and slip and falls have been reported.  The OPP responded to over 1,000 car accidents this past Saturday night alone and five deaths are reported in accidents as well.

 

As a car accident lawyer, I have spoken with a number of people who were injured in car accidents due to another vehicle that failed to properly exercise caution in these Canadian winter conditions.  Many are driving too fast, failing to respect the rules of the road at intersections where the traffic lights are not working, and are not leaving enough distance between themselves and the vehicles around them.  Others are driving on bare tires in these conditions, which is simply asking for your car to go out of control.  There has been a renewed debate on the radio about whether drivers in Ontario should be required to have snow tires on their vehicles.  Currently, Ontario drivers are not required to do so, but Quebec drivers are.  Regardless of whether it is formally required, every driver has to exercise common sense before going out on the roads – if you have old tires and no ABS, then you don’t go out driving in slippery and snowy conditions.  It’s about reasonableness.

 

Also, I have heard of a number of slip and fall accidents on properties where maintenance had not been done to deal with the snow and ice on the premises.  I am hearing a consistent theme of “the maintenance guy was away on holidays” and no replacement was secured or protocol was not followed.  This led to overly slippery and icy/snowy conditions that caused slip and fall accidents to occur.

 

The wintery weather is unfortunately bringing with it some very real and serious injuries that others have to deal with.  This is unfortunate, but to simply say “it’s not my fault – it’s the weather” – is no excuse.  We live in Canada, and drivers and maintenance people must exercise due diligence and reasonableness to prevent injury.  As a personal injury lawyer in Whitby and Oshawa Ontario, I work hard to try to obtain fair and balanced compensation for victims of injury in Ontario.

On December 17, 2013, the government announced new changes to the auto insurance benefits regime.  They appear to have made these changes without any consultation with the public.  It is unclear whether there was consultation with insurance companies and their lobby groups.

The government set up new and significant barriers to the already vastly reduced accident benefits (AB) system.  People may recall that the accident benefit system was set up many years ago as a “generous” source of benefits that justified significant restrictions on a car accident victim’s right to sue (including adding a now $30,000 deductible and a threshold test to qualify for pain and suffering etc.).

The accident benefit system has now been so severely hacked apart and minimized that one wonders how the above noted logic still makes any sense at all.  Car accident victims have had their rights under the AB system stripped, but no corresponding increases in their right to sue.  As a personal injury and car accident lawyer, I find it very difficult to explain to clients how this is fair.  I have spoken with members of the public in Whitby, Ajax, Oshawa and Durham Ontario and very few believe all of the secret protections that are afforded to the insurance companies under the insurance act.

The current changes will affect attendant care, pre-existing conditions under the Minor Injury Guideline, and the election of benefits.

The new attendant care provisions effectively do away with the law as established by the Court of Appeal in Henry v. Gore.  In that case the Court held that “economic loss” is a threshold requirement for payment of an attendant care benefit.  The Court noted that “economic loss” was not a defined term and it declined to provide an explanation.  The concern of the defendant insurer in that case was that insurers risk facing claims for attendant care based on minimal monetary loss.  The Regulation’s new subsection 19(3) addresses this concern.  It clarifies that if an attendant care provider is not acting in the  course of his or her ordinary employment, the attendant care benefit payable shall not exceed the amount of the economic loss sustained while, and as a direct result, of providing the attendant care.

The new rules also make the minor injury guideline even stronger (at a time when many in the industry are admitting that the MIG went too far to begin with).  Previously, the MIG did not apply if there was compelling evidence that the insured person has a pre-existing medical condition that will prevent the insured person from achieving maximum recovery, under the MIG.  Now, the pre-existing medical condition has to be documented by a health practitioner before the accident.  What does that mean for people who didn’t have a doctor, or didn’t see one for the condition before the accident?

Right now, an insured person’s election of income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits or caregiver benefits is final, except if the insured person is designated catastrophic, he or she can re-elect caregiver benefits within 30 days.  The new subsection 35(3) clarifies that the election of benefits is final regardless of any change in circumstances.

The link to the new Regulation is found at: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/source/regs/english/2013/elaws_src_regs_r13347_e.htm

accident

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.

Diagram

 image001

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.

Diagram

 image002

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.

Diagram

 image003

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.

Diagram

 image004

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.

Diagram

 image005

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.

Diagram

 image006

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.

Diagram

 image007

-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.

Diagram

 image008

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.

Diagram

 image009

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.

Diagram

 image010

(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.

Diagram

 image011

(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.

Diagram

 image012

(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.

Diagram

 image013

(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.

Diagram

 image014

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.

Diagram

 image015

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.

Diagram

 image016

-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.

Diagram

 image017

- 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.

Diagram

 image018

-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.

Diagram

 image019

- 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.

Diagram

 image020

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.

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