The Case of the $1,000,000 Ankle Fracture (Encyclopedia Brown Edition)

September 26, 2013,

I just wanted to begin this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post by first making quick reference to one of my previous entries. It's the one dealing with how the OPP's privacy legislation can impact your case, which was published on July 30, 2013. You can check it out in the Archives of the Blog here.

Our office received 2 OPP Motor Vehicle Accident reports last week; along with the police officer's notes, driver statements, witness statements etc. from 2 different accidents. We paid around $150 for each set of records. That's $300 for all you math majors out there.

The purpose really for requesting these records is to find out who's the bad guy, where they live, their license plate # and other information so that we can track these wrongdoers down, and conduct any criminal or offense investigations in relation to this particular accident, or previous accidents. You also want this information in order to get the address for service of the Statement of Claim. You can't serve a claim on a person without an address with an Order for the Court for Substituted Service.

What did we get from the OPP?

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6 dead in horrific Ottawa train/bus crash

September 19, 2013,

Yesterday, there was just a terrible crash between a double decker OC Transpo Bus and a Via Rail Train at Fallowfield Station in Ottawa, ON.

Dozens were injured. 6 were left dead. The majority of the injured were on the bus. But the psychological impact will likely be felt by all, including the friends/family of the injured and deceased, along with the community for years to come. The injured were taken to various hospitals around Ottawa. 10 are reported to have critical injuries.

The names of the 6 deceased have been released. Having the names of those who departed certainly humanizes the story. They are:

  • Connor Boyd, 21
  • Rob More, 35
  • Kyle Nash, 21
  • David Woodard, 45 (the bus driver and a 10 year veteran of OC Transpo)
  • Karen Krzyzewski, 53
  • Michael Bleakney, 57

All of the victims were on the bus. 5 were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

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Unpaid Intern Dies: Overworked, Long Hours & Drowsy Driving the culprits

September 12, 2013,

Full disclosure. I've seen first how working long hours can impair your judgment.

Doctors, Residents and Medical Students have ludicrous call demands/schedules at teaching hospitals. You should see them post call! Lawyers, Clerks and Articling Students have ridiculous deadlines to meet and pull all nights all too often. You should see them the morning after the all-niter. Taxi Drivers work LONG shifts day after day (and their job is to drive others). Police officers, paramedics and firemen also have some pretty crazy hours.

But the story about the unpaid intern, Andy Ferguson in Alberta is no joke and speaks to the dangers of working LONG LONG hours then driving home.

First, our thoughts of everyone here at our law office are with Andy Ferguson's family right now. In case you haven't heard, Andy was a 22 year old UNPAID intern with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. He was completing an internship in order to graduate. He needed to complete a certain amount of hours in order to get his degree. Andy's internship was at a radio station owned by Astral Media called "The Bear", a pop rock radio station in Edmonton.

Andy was asked to intern the overnight shift. He didn't want to. He had just completed 3 previous overnight nights, and was now asked to work a 4th. He was told that if he wanted to complete his practicum, he would just shut and do what he was told.

Andy was NOT happy, as evinced in a text messages to his girlfriend. He wrote to her "F*ck this place". In a draft email to his professor at the University, which never got sent, he wrote "it would be nice if the people I worked under showed a little more appreciation and respect for myself".

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NFL Agrees to pay $765 Million Settlement for Concussion Class Action Law Suit

September 5, 2013,

Over 4,500 former NFL players suffer from Alzheimer's disease or depression. 2 high profile suicides of NFL players in the past 4 years (Jovan Belcher & Junior Seau). Was it the sport they loved? Was it that the sport they loved attracted volatile personalities. Nobody can be certain.

But, what we do know is that the players launched a multi billion dollar class action lawsuit against the NFL for their brain injuries acquired while playing the game they loved or continue to love.

The argument: that the league knew or ought to have known of the frequency and propensity of brain injury while practicing or playing and did nothing about it.The league did nothing to protect its players, and put them in dangerous situations. Had the league done a better job protecting the safety of its players, then the likelihood of those players sustaining a brain injury or head trauma would be far less.

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Most dangerous intersections for cyclists in Toronto

August 29, 2013,

Kudos to University of Toronto PhD candiate, Adrian Verster for crunching the numbers and compiling a list of the 50 most dangerous intersections in Toronto for cyclists.

Haven't seen the list? Here's a link to Mr. Verster's website. Here's a link to a great article from the Toronto Star on the study.

Lakeshore and Carlaw is the most dangerous intersection according to these figures. Queen St. W at Niagara Street is #2 on the list.

His site starts off with a commentary stating that as a cyclist, it is "quite frightening at times with all the traffic". I agree 100% with that comment. It can get scary out there! And I'm not saying that because I'm a personal injury lawyer, recreational cyclist and I see the worst of the worst in my field. I'm saying that because it's dangerous out there for cyclists, regardless of the city.

A lot of our clients have been seriously injured in bike accidents. Some of the most serious injuries our law firm has seen have come as a result of bike accidents. But, it's important to note that not all of our clients are from Toronto. Bike accidents don't discriminate age, time of accident, city or intersection. Meaning, just because you avoid these intersections, or you don`t cycle in Toronto, or do so at quiet hours doesn't mean that your reducing the likelihood of getting involved in a bike accident.

All it takes is one driver not seeing a cyclist, not paying attention, or veering slightly to the curb and that's enought to cause a bike accident. The car doesn't even need to come in contact with the bike. If the car veering to the curb causes the bike to also veer to the curb, then the bike makes contact with the curb causing the cyclist to lost control: there you go; accident. Not pretty.

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Dog Bites so serious that Ontario has an entire Act devoted to it!

August 21, 2013,

We have laws for about everything in Ontario. Don't believe me?

Personal Injury lawyers need to deal with laws for car insurance (The Insurance Act). There's an act for motor vehicle accidents and traffic safety (The Highway Traffic Act). There's an act for slip and falls on private property (The Occupier's Liability Act). There's an act for slip and falls on public property (The Municipal Act). There's an act for simple negligence in Ontario (Negligence Act). There's even Art Gallery of Ontario Act! Seriously! Don't think we covered that one in law school, but if I worked at the AGO in any way, shape or form, I'd take a read at the act. Here's the link.

With these all encompassing, acts, it would seem normal that there be an act devoted stricty to dog owners, dog owner liability and dog bites. And here you have it, the Dog Owners Liability Act or "DOLA" as it's known by lawyers across Ontario.

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You snooze...you lose: How waiting too long can destroy your accident case

August 13, 2013,

I had tell 3 different people today that our law firm couldn't help them. I hate telling people that we can't help, but it happens sometimes.

The reason we couldn't help was the same in each case. Every single caller; all from different parts of Ontario, had been involved in an accident of some kind. And every single caller had waited too long to either investigate their claim, or had waited passed a limitation period.

While I like to think that our office is excellent and can work miracles, we can't go back in time to collect critical data, witness statements, photographs of the icy patch where you fell, surveillance footage which has been destroyed, or change the law with respect to how limitation periods and notice provisions work. I wish I had a time machine. But I don't. And without a time machine to remedy mistakes which had been made long ago (namely waiting too long to do anything), there was not much that the lawyers at my office could do to assist these people.

One of the most common things which I hear from injured accident victims in non car crash cases has to deal with surveillance. People always tell me that the cameras were on, and surely they must have caught my slip and fall accident on camera.

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What goes on behind the scenes in developing car insurance law in Ontario: a car accident case study

August 7, 2013,

Did you know that if you've been involved in a car accident, that there's a $30,000 deductible for your pain and suffering claim? That means the first $30,000 of your pain and suffering award essentially vanishes. NOTE: This deductible does NOT apply to claims over $100,000.

Also of note, before September 1, 2010, the $30,000 deductible was $15,000; meaning it doubled overnight. In the 1980's, there was NO DEDUCTIBLE whatsoever.

Some people call my office telling me they've been seriously injured in a car accident. When our law firm explains to them how the deductible works for car accident law in Ontario, you can hear their jaws drop to the floor. I mean literally, drop to the floor.

Who on earth would implement a law which says that the first $30,000 of your pain and suffering claim is essentially worthless. Our government; that's who. But who do you think suggested that our government bring in these laws. It's sure as not your neighbour who did; because your neighbour doesn't know and doesn't really care about how car insurance works.

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How the OPP's privacy policy can impact your car accident case

July 30, 2013,

Privacy is all the rage these days. It's a very "chic" topic amongst lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians alike.

Don't want to disclose a document? Tell the other side that you have privacy concerns. Lawyers will say that the document is privileged. Then the lawyers can wait a year to duke it out in Court before a Judge.

Government office doesn't want to disclose a document to a prodding newsie? Privacy.

In personal injury cases, we lawyers rely on police officers and government offices to get critical source data to help build, and better establish our clients' cases. In order to get to the bottom of the accident, we need to carefully examine to Motor Vehicle Accident Report, Photographs, Witness Statements, Accident Reconstruction Reports, Audio Tapes, Video Tapes and any hand written polices officers notes. Without this information, it would be very difficult, if not impossible for lawyers to make a case in your favour; better yet even understand who the at-fault party is and how the accident happened.

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The importance of suing the RIGHT party: How to achieve REAL Monetary Value for your damage award

July 24, 2013,

You slip and fall. Better yet, another person hits you really hard and you sustain some serious injuries.

You retain a lawyer.

You sue.

You go to Court. You win a Court..Hooray! The judge awards you $150,000 for a combination of your pain and suffering, loss of income, and future care costs. Sounds like a pretty sweet award; doesn't it.

Now, what's next? Just because you get a judgment doesn't mean that a great big cheque is magically going to appear out of nowhere.

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Goldfinger Law's Take on Zimmerman Case

July 18, 2013,

And now a letter from the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Newsbag. It's from James in London, Ontario. James asks:

"Hey Goldfinger. Love the Blog. Long time reader, first time inquirer. I gotta know your take on the Zimmerman case. Not guilty? Also, do you think the Toronto Blue Jays are gonna make the World Series? Let me know."

Thanks for your email James.

The George Zimmerman trial had legs. It was followed by all major news outlets. Even though the trial took place miles and miles away, it was headline news here in Ontario. The case had all sorts of undertones: race, human rights, the right to bear arms, the right to self defence, age, profiling, community safety, intent to harm vs. intent to protect.

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Suing an unlicensed day care: The questions arising after toddler dies at unlicensed Vaughan Daycare

July 12, 2013,

We had a few inquiries this week from concered parents who have their kids in daycare. The parents were concerned after a toddler unexpectedly died at an unlicensed daycare in the City of Vaughan, just north of Toronto.

If you haven't read about the story, here's a great article from the Toronto Star. The article shows a photo of the daycare; which, for all intents and purposes appears to be an ordinary, single family detatched suburban home.

Investigations have yet to reveal the cause of the child's death. We don't know if the child died on account of poor supervision, or on account of natural and sudden causes or otherwise. Either way, it's a tragic story which has raised a lot of concern from the community and the rest of the province of Ontario.

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Do you think a police crack down on traffic safety will reduce the number of car accidents on the road?

July 8, 2013,

This weekend I watched the re-airing of a CTV W5 special on police officers in major Canadian cities such as Toronto, London and Peterborough supposedly having quotas to hand out traffic tickets. No chief of police admitted that their force had quotas for their officers to hand out tickets. But, the chief of police from a large city on the West Coast put it like this. If an officer works a 10 hour shift, and doesn't hand out any tickets, you know that something is wrong, or that officer isn't properly doing their job.

One of the most interesting points of the broadcast was that traffic tickets were a major form of revenue for a City. And the more money which a City or Municipality raises via ticketing, the more money it will presumably have to spend for police resources. Or, conversely, the less likely that city or municipality will look at cutting police services because it's a major income generator via ticketing. Here is a link to that CTV W5 story if you're interested.

What upset motorists and the general public was that such a large degree of resources was being allocated towards ticketing, and not towards preventing violent crime, organized crime or drugs.

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York University v. Michael Markicevic: A Judge's Commentary on Access to Justice in Ontario

July 3, 2013,

I want my Court date NOW.

I want to my trial NOW.

I want my case settled NOW.

I want justice NOW.

But I don't want to pay a dime to my lawyer. Or, I've paid my lawyer lots of money, but I haven't seen my case progress whatsoever and I want to see some results already!

These are common demands of litigants in Ontario's civil justice system. Such demands don't only come out of car accident, brain injury, or motorcycle crash cases. All litigation lawyers see such demands from their clients in a wide array of civil disputes. Patience, persistence, a good contingency fee lawyer or very deep pockets have now become hallmarks of our legal system.

Our Courts are slow. Procedures are long and drawn out. Discoveries take years to schedule. Good luck getting a trial date in Toronto. Don't believe me? Read it for your self directly from a Judge sitting right here in the Toronto Superior Court of Justice.

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That nice lady from the insurance company probably isn't all that nice

June 26, 2013,

Let me preface this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post by stating that I have nothing against insurance adjusters. Really. I don't. It's a job. The work is steady. The hours are probably ok. The so called "work-life" balance is there. Pay is good. Benefits gotta be good if you're working for an insurer.

We get calls at our office from people who have recently been involved in all sorts of accidents. Car crashes, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, slip and falls. You name it. Our law firm hears about it.

People call us in a panic. Sometimes it's because their lives have been traumatized on account of the accident. Sometimes it's because they're in shock. But most times it's because they fell overwhelmed at what their next step is. The most common question we get is "WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NEXT!?!?!?!".

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