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TORONTO INJURY LAWYER BLOG
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Clients frequently believe that because a car accident happened, and they’re not at fault, that they’re automatically entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.

That might have been the case in the 1960’s or 1970’s during the “auto-lotto“, but that’s certainly not the case in Ontario anymore.

Lawyers refer to those times as the “auto-lotto” because just being involved in a car accident, no matter how minor, likely resulted in some form of recovery for the Plaintiff.

The laws have changed dramatically, and because of these changes, insurers are looking to different factors in their assessments to claims.

Having over a decade of experience representing accident victims in helping them get the compensation they deserve, our lawyers have observed several trends which insurers look to in assessing the value to car accident claims. These little things aren’t things which people normally think of; but which insurers place a lot of weight on.

With this latest edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, we will examine what those sometimes overlooked factors are which insurers place a lot of weight on; which people tend not to give much thought about.
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The term Fibromyalgia is becoming dated, although doctors, insurance companies and disability claimants still use it.

The preferred term according to the Arthritis Society of Canada is “Chronic Widespread Pain“.

Many of our clients deal with Fibromylagia/Chronic Widespread Pain. We often see it associated with many other symptoms including but not limited to depression, anxiety, fatigue, impaired memory, impaired concentration, shortness of breath, and irregular sleep patterns/habits.

Some doctors believe in Fibromyalgia. Other simply don’t.

Firbromyalgia and Chronic Widepread Pain have been recognized and National Guidelines have been endorsed by the Canadian Pain Society and the Canadian Rheumatology Association.

But for many large, deep pocketed insurance companies, those endorsements aren’t enough to prove an injury or a disability under a Long Term Disability Policy with an insurer like Manulife, Great West Life, SunLife, Desjardins, SSQ, RBC Insurance or Industrial Alliance just to name a few of the big ones.
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In Ontario, injured parties who are seeking for compensation generally have 2 years from the date of the accident, or the date of denial to sue. With the exception of minors and sexual assault claims, this is the general rule of thumb which it should not be taken lightly.

This two year period in which Plaintiffs have to sue is called a “Limitation Period“. And if you miss that limitation period to commence your claim, then you’re out of luck.

We have a specific Act in Ontario devoted specifically to limitation periods. It’s called the Limitations Act, 2002 and it sets out the time periods in which you can, and can’t commence a claim.

Determining when a limitation period begins to run in a car accident, or bike accident case is pretty easy. The time begins to run from the date of the accident itself. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or an elite personal injury lawyer to figure this out.

BUT: what happens when the triggering event from when time begins to run isn’t as clear as a car accident. What happens in cases not caused by torts or negligence on a identifiable date; such as in a long term disability case for benefits which have been wrongfully denied.

That’s when limitation periods can get tricky and when disability claimants and injured parties can get tricked. Keep reading so you don’t get tricked like countless others.
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More often than you could possibly imagine, we here at Goldfinger Personal Injury Law are courted by other lawyers, professional bloggers, advertisers and spam services to post content, links etc. on the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog.

We have never, and repeat NEVER caved. Only lawyers and other staff members of Goldfinger Law have ever posted on the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog. All of our content is original, and is 100% Goldfinger Law. Can’t you tell? We have a certain style and panache which people have come to love.

Today is a momentous day. We are honoured to have a very special guest blogger to add his two cents on the field of personal injury law. We have allowed this lawyer to have his say on our blog because we certainly respect this lawyer’s ability, legal wit, and passion for the law.

Stephen Offenheim is a Toronto lawyer who has been practising on in the field since lord knows when. He is a seasoned litigator to say the least. Stephen has been an inspiration and has given me plenty of guidance over the years. It’s an honour to have his as the first ever guest poster on the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog.

So, without further a due; here is the lawyer himself, Stephen Offenheim covering the topic why it’s important NOT TO LIE in your personal injury case. Enjoy!
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There are three elements to any personal injury case.

Element #1: Liability: How did the accident happen and who’s to blame? The concept of liability is straight forward in many cases. A drunk driver runs a stop sign resulting in catastrophic motor vehicle accident. Establishing liability against the drunk driver is easy to establish. The driver was drunk and on top of that, they ran a stop sign. The drunk driver is at fault of the car accident. Liability is established. Sometimes liability isn’t so clear and an engineer or another expert will need to be retained to look in to this issue. This expert will be able to tell us whether or not we have a case and whether or not we can place blame on another party of the event giving rise to the litigation.

Element #2: Damages/Injuries: What are the injuries from the car accident. Is it a simple bruise which goes away in a week, or are the injuries severe, like a brain injury along with multiple orthopedic injuries. Understanding this concept is somewhat straight forward as well for many accident victims because it’s easy to visualize and more tangible than other legal concepts. If Superman were involved in a car accident, chances are he wouldn’t have sustained any injuries or damages. Hence: he wouldn’t have much of a personal injury case if Superman weren’t injured. Sorry Superman.

Element #3: Causation: : There must be some form of connection between the Bad Guy Defendant’s conduct and the Accident Victim’s injuries. This term is sometimes called “remoteness of damage” or “proximate cause“. Either way, this third element is the most difficult for accident victims to understand.

Sometimes causation is easy to prove. Suzy broker her leg in a car accident. Suzy is seeking compensation for her broken leg from the car accident. Thomas slipped and fell and bumped his head. Thomas is seeking compensation for his head injury from the slip and fall accident.

But sometimes causation is not so simple/clear. Johnny was in a car accident and hurt his knee. Now Johnny complains of headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath. Alice was bit by a dog and sustained abrasions to her legs. Now Alice is deeply depressed and can’t sleep. Marvcus lived in a mouldy apartment building. Now Marvcus has a bad cough. Marvcus has since moved out of the apartment building but still has a bad cough and can’t sleep properly.

The focus of this edition of the Toronto Injury Blog Post will examine the concept of Causation, along with the pitfalls many of us encounter along the way. It’s dedicated to a fellow colleague of mine based out of Toronto who gave sage advice to me in my youth and was a mentor of sort in assisting me in getting in to law school, so where we go.
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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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Every injury case is different. That’s because every person is different; every accident is different, every injury is different; and everyone’s pre and POST accident health is different.

But, there are many similarities to personal injury cases.

For starters, all car accidents will involve some sort of motor vehicle. Liability; the legal term to describe whose fault is the accident will be examined. The severity of the injuries will be examined. And, the cause of those injuries (causation) will be examined. The concept of damages will also have to be examined.

In order for lawyers, judges and juries to get answers to the above noted topics, they will all ask very similar questions to get the information they need to assess your case.

In this respect, many lawyers can predict and prepare our clients for the questions their clients will be asked during the course of their personal injury case.

And, it’s for those very same reasons that we here at the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog will now provide you with a list of commonly asked questions of accident victims during the course of their case. We’ve picked some pretty obvious ones, and some not so obvious ones that you would never soon guess.
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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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Below is a fantastic write up of Goldfinger Personal Injury Law which will be featured in the “Legal Elite” issue of London’s Business Magazine to be released in February 2015.

After several years working a reliable factory job, Ken didn’t know where to turn.
He was off work with a repetitive strain injury, initially identified as something akin to tennis elbow. Eventually, he learned that was a misdiagnosis. What he really had was spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes intense pain, numbness and weakness in the arms.

I lost 70 per cent of the strength in my arms, and I couldn’t work,” he recalls. “I fell into depression about the whole situation.”

Because he had been misdiagnosed, his insurance company refused to pay benefits when his WSIB coverage ended. Unable to work, with no idea when or how he would ever recover, he and his family were on the verge of losing their home, outside of London.
“If I had kept doing what I was doing when I thought it was tennis elbow, I could have done even more damage. I could be paralyzed now,” he says. “We had virtually no money coming in. We were desperate.”

That was when they called Brian Goldfinger, a London lawyer who specializes in helping people fight back against insurance companies and other institutions.

“We just found his number and called,” Ken says. “We had never met him before, but he turned to be the best thing that could have happened to us.”

In December, the insurance company agreed to a lump sum payment that eased the financial burden Ken and has family had been feeling for the last four years. “It was a great Christmas,” he says. “We had food this year.”

Goldfinger personally helped Ken and his family throughout the process, negotiating with the insurance company and ensuring a fair settlement. “He kept us informed the whole way and really fought for us. He was on our side the whole way,” Ken says.

Goldfinger opened his office in London around 5 years ago when he moved to the area. He also has offices in Toronto and Peterborough, helping people across Southern Ontario deal with long term disability claims and the fall-out from car, motorcycle and bicycle injuries.

“We are there from the moment someone is injured, helping with decisions they must make at a time when they’re in crisis,” Goldfinger says. “We visit people in hospital, at home, wherever they need assistance.”

The firm never represents insurance companies and focuses entirely on accident law – everything from brain and spinal cord injuries to dog bites and drunk driver negligence.
“We’ve helped people in all kinds of situations,” he says. “Initially, it can look desperate, but we work with our clients to help them get the settlements they deserve so they can work to restore the lives they enjoyed previously.”

Consultations are always free, and the firm does not get paid until it wins a settlement for a client.

“I don’t know what we would have done without Brian,” Ken says. “What he did for us has given me a lot of hope to move forward. We can’t thank him enough.”

Flattering article which sums up our law firm along with our clients’ experiences rather well.

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One of the most important, exhausting and difficult part of any car accident or personal injury case prior to trial is the Examination for Discovery process.

An examination for discovery in Canada, is akin to a deposition in the United States. The reason I make the comparison is because with the popularity of American legal dramas such as Law & Order, Suits and Boston Legal (May you Rest in Peace), more Canadians are familiar with the term “deposition” rather than “discovery“.

Here in Canada, we use the term “discovery” to describe the process whereby one lawyer, asks a party to the legal action questions under oath which are recorded by a Court reporter.

Examinations for Discovery can take place at a variety of locations. There are professional reporting offices across Ontario. They can take place in hotel conference rooms, board rooms, even in a quiet large restaurant; provided that the parties agree to the location and there is a reporter on site to get down every word that’s said during the discovery process.

During the examination for discovery, the opposing lawyer may ask questions which you may not have the answer to immediately, but it might be at home in your records, or the information may likely become available if requested at a later date.

The lawyer representing the client being examined, can then “undertake” to provide an answer to that question at a later date (within 60 days), or undertake to request and or produce the information requested. This is called an “undertaking“. These undertakings are very important to the legal process.
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