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You have the RIGHT to remain silent: Even in a car accident case!


August 7, 2014,

When a police officer asks us a question, we're taught to do our very best to co-operate. Why wouldn't we want to co-operate with the authorities and help them do their jobs.

When I was young, we were taught in school to answer questions as best as we can. We weren't very concerned with issues of fraud or breach of privacy as we are today.

Those hard and fast principals go out the door in a legal context.

In a legal setting, when you're asked a question, you had better make sure that your answers aren't going to hurt your case, or stop your case from proceeding before it's even had a chance of getting off the ground.

These warnings don't apply as much with authorities such as the police, as they would with insurance adjusters.

You would be amazed at the amount of personal and confidential information which accident victims freely give up to insurance companies over a simple phone call or during a simple statement.

After you've been involved in a serious car or motorcycle accident, it's pretty safe to say that either one of the parties or the police will report the accident to the parties' respective insurance companies.

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Police begin 6 Week Distracted Driving Blitz


July 30, 2014,

Recently, police forces from across Ontario began a 6 week distracted driving blitz. They've been handing out tickets left right and centre to crack down on offences like texting while driving, operating a cell phone while driving etc.

With the increase popularity and availability of smart phones, distracted driving has become a "hot button" safety issue. I remember when drunk driving was the "hot button" safe driving issue. Not that drunk driving offences are out of the public's eye. They are now just sharing a bit of that spot light with distracted driving offences.

I remember when cell phones were are big a bricks. It was a status symbol to have one of these large cell phones. It was even a bigger status symbol to be seen chatting on that cell phone, during day time hours (when the minutes cost lost of $$$), and driving a car. That image gave off an impression of wealth, power, elevated status and success. You looked like a real shooter chatting on the cell phone while driving.

Who can forget the large centre console car phones (Cantel). They had a proper speaker feature, or you could also pull them up to your ear. The buttons were small, and you had to look down away from the windshield to make a call, or pick up the phone. These car phones were death traps; but they were also a status symbol.

Technology and times have changed significantly. With that, so has the etiquette and safety protocols of driving with a cell phone or mobile device in your car.

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Some thoughts on a recent Child's Fatal Car Accident


July 23, 2014,

Received a few calls wanting commentary on the recent fatal accident involving a 7 year old. The accident took place at intersection of Millwood Road and McRae Drive, south of Eglinton Avenue in Toronto in an affluent area of the City known as Leaside. The intersection has a baseball diamond nearby, a park and a children's summer camp as well. Kids play in that area.

The facts of the case are still rather murky. All we know for certainty is that the child was struck by a van trying to make a right hand turn. No charges have been laid. Police continue to investigate this matter. Speed may or may not be an issue in this case. We're still not certain.

Dignitaries and politicians attended at the child's funeral including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Kathleen Wynne. Any funeral attended both by the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Ontario is going to be a big story.

A fund raiser for Sick Kids in memory of the child raised well over $55K.

To say that the accident was a big deal and a big news story is an understatement. This car accident received national media attention.

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Mediation in personal injury actions (Ontario)


July 15, 2014,

If you've consulted with a personal injury lawyer, then you've likely heard, or found out that 99% of these sort of claims settle BEFORE trial.

One of the tools which lawyers use to foster settlement is called mediation.

Mediation is an important step in any legal case. In fact, mediation is so important, that in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor, mediation is actually required BEFORE a matter can be set down for trial. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) requires that all accident benefit disputes get mediated BEFORE they can proceed to Arbitration or to litigation. if you fail to mediate, then you can't proceed.

Many clients want to know what they can expect at mediation. It's a very good question considering that it's such an important step in your case, and at the end of the day, the case might get settled if the mediation is successful. Mediation can be particularly nerve wracking for many because accident victims have never been through the process before.

The purpose of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog post is to get you more familiar with the mediation process; what to expect; and how it works.

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Child safety and protecting your little one in the context of a personal injury claim (Ontario)


July 8, 2014,

Today I purchased a new car seat for my young one. The amount of safety technology they put in to car seats for little ones is astonishing. I think that an army of engineers and crash collision experts spent years developing the safety technology in the car seat. The safety features of the car seat, combined the the safety features of modern automobiles such as front and side airbags, ABS breaks, re-enforced steel etc. can really give you a sense of security.

Did I mention the sheer selection of car seats on the market? The amount of brands, combined with the amount of options makes your task as a parent a difficult one. If the sales person doesn't know anything about the brand or safety features, then you'd better hit the internet and hit it hard. The safety of your child isn't something you want to take for granted.

Which got me thinking. If child car seat and auto manufacturers are putting in so much thought in to child safety; what are the Courts doing to protect the interests of children and minors?

Great question!

Rule 7.08 protects the rights of minors, which are, for the purposes of the Rules of Civil Procedure; "parties under disability" under the law of Ontario. Any person under the age of 18 is a "party under disability" and will need to be represented by an adult for the purposes of the law suit.

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Understanding your Critical Illness Policy & Litigating Critical Illness Claims


July 1, 2014,

The idea behind Critical Illness Insurance sounds great.

If you suffer from a particular critical illness, then the insurance company will pay you a lump sum.

What sort of critical illnesses are covered are defined by the policy.

It all sounds great, and sounds like a very lucrative proposition. For many, this sort of insurance bets AGAINST your very own health. People think that if they sustain a heart attack, then they'll be entitled to a lump sum under the policy. So, eating that hamburger and skipping that workout might actually pay out in the long term if your critical illness policy works the way you think it works.

Unfortunately, many of these policies don't work they way that you think they work, or the way that the broker who sold you the policy explained it to you.

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A few tips to avoid trouble this Canada Day Long Weekend (Accident Lawyer Toronto)


June 25, 2014,

Yesterday, there was a fatal crash on Highway 401 just outside of Whitby. The accident involved 4 vehicles (a Toyota Corolla, a transport truck, a tour bus, and a Pontiac motor vehicle).

The transport truck hit the Corolla at around 10:30AM, so visibility was likely not an issue around that time of day. Police are still uncertain about how the accident happened, but they suspect that the transport truck rear ended the Corolla.

There were 3 passengers in the Corolla. The driver (47 years old) and front seat passenger (29 years old) was taken by ambulance to the hospital with very serious injuries. The third passenger was seated in the back seat. He passed away at the accident scene. At law, this is what we call a fatality claim. Those claims, contrary to popular belief, do not attract as big as settlement as you would think. The pain and suffering for such claims is limited from the time of the accident, to the time of the death. If the death is instantaneous, the damages for pain and suffering will not be significant.

Where the damages can get significant are where there are Family Law Act Claims, along with claims for loss of income to the family.

Continue reading "A few tips to avoid trouble this Canada Day Long Weekend (Accident Lawyer Toronto)" »

How Insurers use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) against you


June 18, 2014,

You know what's fun?

Posting status updates on Facebook.

Posting pictures on Instagram.

Posting videos on Vine.

Posting your day to day thoughts on Twitter.

Posting your new job on LinkedIn.

Social media is FUN.

But just because something is fun or popular, doesn't mean that it's right for you, particularly when you're in the middle of a litigation battle against a large, deep pocketed insurance company.

The purpose of this Toronto Injury Blog Post is to show you how insurers can and WILL use social media against you to defeat your credibility and to defeat your personal injury case.

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Why does it take so long for personal injury cases to settle or finish?


June 11, 2014,

When will my case settle?

When will I get compensation for my injuries?

When will my case close?

These are just a few of the most common questions that our lawyers are asked at our firm. They are very good questions to say the least. It's entirely understandable when an inncocent, injured accident victim would want to know when their case will close and when they will receive compensation for their injuries. Living with a looming legal case over your head; having to worry about surveillance, medical appointments with insurance doctors; attending at discovery; attending at Court is all very worrying and taxing to one's psyche.

For you and the insurance company, a closed file is a good file. And for innocent accident victims, settling their case helps bring a sense of closure and finality to the case; so that they can close that chapter of their lives; and move on the next. Our lawyers often see a catharsis and sense of relief; light a large weight/burden is being taken off a client's shoulders once a case is closed and settled.

So, if there are so many positive elements to closing or settling one's file; then WHY DOES IT TAKE SO DARN LONG TO DO SO?!?!?!

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Medical Treatment after a Car Accident (Ontario)


June 5, 2014,

So; you've been involved in a serious car accident. You were taken by ambulance to hosptial. They did a few x-rays, scans, gave you some pills, and told you to follow up with your family doctor.

Or, the injuries were more serious, and you were an in-patient at the hospital for a few days or weeks, and discharged home or to a long term health car facility (and then home afterwards).

Many people ask me where is the BEST place to recieve treatment following their respective car accident.

The right answer is that there is no single BEST place for treatment. At the end of the day, it's important that you attend a doctor or rehabiliation facilty that's right for you; and that you're most comfortable with.

Rule of thumb: much like going to the gym to excercise; the closer the rehabiliation facility, the greater the likelihood that you will be diligent with your treatment. The longer the commute, the great chance tha you will miss out on appointments. That's not good for your treatment, and certainly not good for your case.

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How to place a dollar figure on your Long Term Disability Claim: The Mediation Process Explained


May 29, 2014,

Our law firm sees some very seriously injured accident victims and disability claimants. Many of our long term disability clients who have cases against large multi national insurers such as Manulife, SunLife, Great West Life, Standard Life, Desjardins, Industrial Alliance, SSQ, Equitable Life etc; want to know how an insurer can place a dollar figure on their disability and inability to work for the rest of their lives.

For a disability claimant, the answer to this question can be very simple. If I can't work for the rest of my life, then naturally, I should be entitled to MILLIONS of dollars worth of compensation. Afterall, my pain and suffering is immeasurable.

One of the most common misconceptions in long term disability cases is that claimants are entitled to damages to compensate them for their pain and suffering. This is NOT true. At our Law Firm, we refer to LTD cases as "four corner" cases. That means that your damages, or benefits, are limited to what the four corners of the policy provide for. If you have a bad policy, which, based on the wording of the policy will not properly compensate you in disability benefits; then your award will reflect that.

There are some situations where awards in long term disability cases can fall outside of the four corners of the policy.

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Chronic Pain: Subjective vs. Objective Disability (Long Term Disability Claims)


May 21, 2014,

How does an insurer, judge or jury assess one's pain level? If their pain is not showing up on any x-ray, scan, or test result, then how does a Court truly know that the claimant is in pain; and in fact telling the truth?

What's stopping somebody from simply making a claim that they're disabled, and lying to their doctor and to the Court alike?

How do we know that somebody is telling the truth about their subjective pain, fatigue or other cognitive difficulties (loss of memory, sadness, fatigue, loss of concentration etc.)?

These are all very good questions. Believe it or not, our the way that personal injury claims and long term disability claims work in Ontario make it pretty clear who's faking, and who's not.

First, we have to draw a distinction between an objective injury vs a subjective injury. An objective injury is one that will show up on an xray, scan or test. A factured ankle. A broken femur. A cranial facture. A hematoma on the brain. All of these are injuries which will show up on a test, which any doctor, or non-medical person can likely see. It's pretty hard for an insurer to refute an ankle fracture injury when the x-ray clearly shows that the ankle is fractured.

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The most commonly asked questions of a personal injury lawyer


May 15, 2014,

Hey Brian! As a lawyer, you must hear some crazy stories. (TRUE).

You probably have lots of strangers calling you every day, wanting to discuss their legal problems (TRUE).

What are some of the most commonly asked questions of you (GOOD QUESTION).

As an injury lawyer, we hear of, and see lots of crazy things; lots of sad things; and lots of things that you just can't make up. Some of these stories, I'm not at liberty to share with the general public.

Regardless of the severity of the injury, one thing that ties most clients together are their questions and concerns for their respective cases. From Toronto to London to Peterborough, client questions are generally the same. Just shows you that geography, race, culture, creed; it doesn't really matter. People are people, and they share many commonalities regardless of your background, upbringing, or the mechanism and nature of the injury.

So, without further a due, here are some of the most commonly asked questions we here from inquiries to Goldfinger Personal Injury Law.

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What does Incurred Expense for claiming Attendant Care Benefits mean?


May 7, 2014,

The laws continue to get tougher and tougher on accident victims in Ontario for no apparent reason.

Why?

It's not like the victim of a drunk driving accident did anything wrong. So why is it then that innocent accident victims are being treated like criminals at every turn when dealing with large insurance companies? Is this the new reality?

It seems this way because it really is this way.

When No Fault Accident Benefits were introduced in Ontario circa the 1980's, it was introduced as "consumer protection legislation" intended at helping accident victims recover from their injuires. In plain English, the laws were created and intended to PROTECT and ASSIST the CONSUMER (that's you), in your time of need.

There was a contract in place between insured and insurer. The driver would pay premiums to the insurer. In return, should the driver need the insurer's assistance, the insurer would step in and provide benefits to their insured so they could get back on their feet to business as usual.

So where did things go wrong?

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Assessing Damages in Catastrophic Injury Claims (Ontario)


May 1, 2014,

Catastrophic Injury claims, by their very nature, are the most serious car accident claims which a personal injury lawyer will face during their legal career.

The term "catastrophic" has a special meaning at law for car accident claims in Ontario. At law, we were refer to "castastrophic" as a term of art. This means that it has a special legal significance, and means something very specific which is defined in the Insurance Act.

If you meet the definition of "catastrophic", you will be eligible for a greater amount of accident benefits. In particular,, you will be eligible for:

$1,000,000 in medical and rehabilitative benefits, instead of just $50,000 or $3,500 under the Minor Injury Guideline

Up to $1,000,000 in attendant care benefits, instead of just $36,000 for non-catastrophic car accidents

Up to $100/week in housekeeping and home maintenance, instead of ZERO for non-catastrophic claims

Up tp $250/week for a caregiver claim, plus $50 for each dependant, instead of ZERO for non-catastrophic injuries

These differences are signficant, and dramatically increase the amount of value to any car accident claim. But, how do one's injuries meet the definition of "catastrophic" in the first place? Read on and I'll fill you in.

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