TORONTO INJURY LAWYER BLOG

Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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In case you haven’t noticed, the white stuff we call snow is all around us. It’s causing some slippery conditions for motorists and pedestrians alike. Just getting around your respective city or town, whether it’s a booming metropolis like Toronto, or a small Town like Omemee (home of Neil Young, just outside of Peterborough), you have to be careful.

We get calls everyday from people seeking our assistance with their personal injury claim. In order to build a case from the start, we need evidence. Cases are built on evidence. Some evidence is not permanent; meaning that it can get lost or evaporate in to thin air.

Many people who are injured in an accident don’t understand this concept, and it’s very important to do so.

In a car accident case, the police are often called to the scene of the accident to investigate fault (liability). Fire and Ambulance may be called to the accident scene as well. All of these emergency personnel, in a perfect world, are supposed to take notes, interview witnesses to get their account of the story, take measurements of the accident scene, and take photos. All of that evidence gets preserved.
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We would all like to think that the law is the quest for the truth. It’s the pursuit of justice. It’s establishing before a Court of Law, what’s right, and what’s wrong.

In a perfect world, our courts should work that way. All cases should be heard quickly, before a Judge who knows and understands the issues; before a Jury who’s interested and doesn’t dose off; where witnesses don’t lie or fabricate the truth on the stand; where experts give their honest opinion instead of what somebody pays them to say.

Unfortunately, our Justice system doesn’t work that way. All too often we see cases which are built upon fabricated, flawed, inaccurate or faulty evidence. Often cases aren’t about the truth, it’s about what can, and can’t be prove in Court. Sometimes, proving the truth gets clouded because evidence has been tampered with, destroyed, or the credibility of witnesses has been destroyed.

I was recently directed to a case from a lawyer colleague of mine in Ottawa which was covered in the Toronto Star. This case was a perfect example of how flawed or faulty evidence gets in the way of the truth and has the potential to ruin a person’s life.
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Your case is NOTHING without evidence.

Just because you’ve been involved in a car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, or you’re in pain does NOT mean that you have a injury case which has merit.

In Ontario, we prove and establish cases through evidence. If you don’t have proper evidence, then you don’t have a case. You can be the nicest person. You can be the most credible and likeable person. You can be the most articulate person. You can have the most catastrophic injuries ever known. You can be experiencing the worst chronic pain EVER; but without the proper evidence, you don’t have a case.

This is exactly what happened to poor Ms. Nandal in her slip and fall case against the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). (Nandal v. TTC 2014 ONSC 4760 CanLii)

On or about the 18th day of November, Ms. Nandal was walking down the staircase at the TTC’s Kennedy Station in Scarborough, when she alleged to have “slipped and fell on slippery and debris strewn steps, falling down approximately 15 stairs, and suffering severe injuries“.

The gist of this is that Ms. Nandal alleges that she slipped and fell on some sort of debris or garbage, causing her to fall down a lot of stairs. The result was that Ms. Nandal fractured her clavicle.

Ms. Nandal sued the TTC under the Occupiers’ Liability Act, for failing to keep their property safe for public use. Ms. Nandal argued that the debris or the slippery stairs presented a hazard which the TTC knew, or ought to have known of, and failed to clean it up.
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The calls and queries continue to roll in following the ice storm. The anger and frustration around the GTA has been quite remarkable. People are upset for a variety of reasons: lack of power; lack of information; duplication of information; useless information; lack of timely repairs; a certain deputy mayor going to Florida and the list goes on.

A colleague of mine forwarded me his thoughts on the ice storm. His thoughts were spot on, and thought provoking. He’s allowed me to share these thoughts with you. I’m sure that you’ll find them interesting. Here you go:
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The first wave of calls have come in following Toronto’s Ice Storm of 2013. Lots of angry and frustrated people out there. But who can blame them?

The ice storm has been called the most devastating storm to hit the City of Toronto and the surronding area in decades. Some call it the worst storm EVER.

Our thoughts go out to the thousands of families who remain without heat or power around the GTA. Our Toronto Office at Yonge and Sheppard was without power for 3 days. Business came to a stand still. But having not power at our law firm pales in compairison to all those without heat or power in their homes for the holidays.

This is where COMMUNITY comes in to play. Be a good neighbour and check up on the elderly, disabled, or those who live alone. Don’t leave fires unattended. Don’t use a generator inside of your house. Make sure that the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector are working. 9V battery? put your tongue to it. If your tongue burns; then your battery is good. No burning? Then no power. That’s some caveman advice for you.

One of the biggest misconceptions during the storm were the reporting numbers of the amount of people left in the dark. The Hydro Authorities and Municipalities identified the number of “customers” without power. The term “customers” does NOT mean people. This means buildings, houses, businesses etc. Reporters in the media didn’t seem to understand that customers didn’t mean people. So, when they heard customers, they confused that number with people.

Toronto Hydro estimated that each customer represented around 2.5 people or so. Accordingly, 1 customer = 2.5 people according to their estimates. So, when Toronto Hydro indentified that approximately 315,000 “customers” were without power at one point in time; that meant that 787,500 people were without power (or MORE according to their estimates). This distinction between “customers” and people is SIGNIFICANT as the multiple increased by 2.5x.
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Yes. I know. Cute Game of Thrones reference. Which, by the way, season # 4 is scheduled to begin in early 2014 and…spoiler alert…the first episode will feature the death of an important character. Who you ask? You’ll have to wait and see.

In any event, the temperature is dropping across Ontario. I visited the Peterborough Regional Health Sciences Centre earlier this week and it was COLD. I was in Mississauga Friday for a discovery and it was COLD. I was in London this week and it was COLD. A client of mine from the Kitchener-Waterloo area told me that it had snowed 10cm overnight. I’m told that it was snowing in Barrie and in parts of Northern Ontario. Winter’s coming to the Province, if it’s not already here.

So, before the streets and sidewalks get too messy to drive on, here’s a friendly reminder of what you should do in order to be safe this winter on our roads.
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Happy Halloween from Goldfinger Personal Injury Law! Halloween’s a fun Hallmark Holiday which everyone can enjoy. I remember getting really excited to go out trick or treating and returning home with bags full of candy.

But, in my years of work, I’ve seen some nasty accidents which occurred on Halloween night. Trip and falls, pedestrian/car collisions, drunk driving accidents. Where I grew up, there was also a fatality where a driver lost control of his car and collided with a tree. The driver didn’t survive the crash.

Nasty things happen on Halloween night. Don’t believe me? Here’s an interesting assault case and social host liability case based around a young adult party at a parents’ home which got out of hand on Halloween night. The case was tried at the Superior Court in Ontario. The young adult hosts served 56 bottles of beer, 24 bottles of vodka coolers, along with 2 bottles of rum, one bottle of vodka and a bottle of peach schnapps. Guests also brought their own alcohol. An assault ensued at the party, and the young adult host, along with the parents who owned the house got sued by the victim. It’s an interesting read and just goes to show that some crazy stuff happens on Halloween night.
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There is a cost to justice when you pay your lawyer by the hour. And that cost doesn’t come cheap.

Personal Injury Lawyers are the only lawyers I know who routinely and without blinking, take on cases which last years and years on end, without getting paid on an interim basis. We don’t ask for any monetary retainers. Essentially, we take the case for free and then, through skill, wit, hard work, experience and determination; achieve a monetary settlement or secure a judgment for our clients.

I cannot think of any other business or industry which operates on such a model. Want to get your house painted? The painter will likely ask that you pay a deposit, or pay for some materials up front. It’s only after the painter receives that deposit that the painter will begin to work. The painter will then get paid the balance upon completion of the job.

When you visit the dentist, they invoice you or your insurer immediately after treatment. If you’re not happy with the dentist’s work, the invoice still comes. There’s never any real risk that the dentist won’t get paid.
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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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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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