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Evidence matters [emphasis added] for your personal injury case!

August 27, 2014,

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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Additional Insight/Thoughts on the Ice Storm

December 28, 2013,

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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Toronto's Ice Storm: I want to sue everyone and I want to sue everyone NOW!

December 26, 2013,

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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Winter's Coming: Game of Thrones? No. Seriously. It's getting cold outside. Top Winter Safety Tips

November 9, 2013,

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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Tips for safe Trick or Treating this Halloween

October 31, 2013,

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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Hourly rate vs. Contingency Fees in an accident case: What's best for you?

October 23, 2013,

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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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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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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Tips on avoiding a winter slip and fall from a Toronto Personal Injury Lawyer

February 15, 2013,

Calls resulting in injury from winter time trips, slips and falls are very common at our law firm. We see an increased amount of calls as a result of slipping on snow, ice, black ice, cracked pavement, slush and general wet conditions around the winter time. And for good reason. The weather in such places as Toronto, London and Peterborough is frankly quite bad, and puts everyone at greater risk of injury. If you were living in a warm climate, you wouldn't have to worry about any of the winter hazards which Ontarians encouter every day having to endure our harsh winters. My parents would tell me that we have it good compared to the cold, ice and snow which they experienced in early Toronto. It's a fact that our winters are less harsh then the winters which we presently experience; but I will have to leave that explanation to a climatologist from Environment Canada.

Quick injury lawyer factoid: Did you know that you can check the amount of snow fall/precipiation using the Environment Canada website? This is a handy tool for any winter time slip and fall claim in order to establish how much snow was on the ground the day of; or the days leading up to the accident. If one of our clients slipped and fell on a large patch of ice, we can tell from the Environment Canada website whether or not the property had been maintained based on the weather and precipitation/snow patterns.

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Cover ups in Toronto wrongful death cases: Yes it happens

September 13, 2012,

Let me set the record straight. I'm no conspiracy theorist. But some things make me wonder. The recent release of the confidential Hillsborough Disaster papers is one of those things that makes me mad, and re-inforces my passion as a personal injury lawyer.

Let me give you some background.

In the 60's hippies and protesters used to have a slogan "Don't trust anyone over 30". The slogan highlighted the generational gap, and the ideological differences between parents, grandparents and their children. For me, this sort of slogan drove home the point not top trust our leaders, or those who control the reigns of power. At that time, the younger hippies and protesters weren't in any sort of positon of power or great wealth. Rather, they felt that their elders (those over 30) held those positons of power, authority and wealth. They felt the socio-political system in which they were operating was tilted to serve the interests of the older generation and not the new generation. This reached its climax with the Vietnam War.

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Gathering evidence in a personal injury case: Lawyer as Detective

August 29, 2012,

One of Goldfinger Personal Injury Law's clients was recently profiled in the Peterborough News x3 for a bar assault claim. You can read all about our client's story in the Peterborough Examiner's article; the Peterborough This Week's article; you can watch the footage on CHEX-TV in Peterborough below:

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Dog Bite Damages vs. Animal Control Sanctions in Ontario: Your Dog Bite Case

August 15, 2012,

One of my first high profile personal injury cases was a dog bite case. A Toronto woman, walking her American Eskimo therapy dog was attacked by three off leash pit bulls in the park of an apartment complex. The American Eskimo named Simba was bitten relentlessly by its attackers and then torn to pieces. Its pure white as snow coat was stained red in its own blood. The owner of the dog witnessed the three pitbulls tearing her poor Simba to pieces. She tried to stop the attack and shelter Simba from the two attacking dogs. Smelling blood, the pitbulls continued their attack on the woman, tearing into her arms, legs, back, neck and abdomen. Simba died and the owner was injured both mentally and physically.

The case garnered media attention in the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail. Here's a link to the excerpt from the Globe and Mail article.

Continue reading "Dog Bite Damages vs. Animal Control Sanctions in Ontario: Your Dog Bite Case" »

Things to remember after your slip and fall accident

February 23, 2012,

It's that time of year when we get a lot of calls regarding slip and fall cases. The calls come from all over. Toronto, London, Peterborough, Oshawa, Richmond Hill. You name the place in Ontario; one of our Personal Injury Lawyers has probably fielded a call over the past month from that locale.

Why so many slip and fall personal injury inquiries to Goldfinger Personal Injury Law around this time of year? Well, for starters, we're pretty darn good at what we do. Every day, we help Ontario accident victims get the compensation they deserve for their personal injury claims. Having law offices in Toronto, London and Peterborough doesn't hurt either.

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Supermarkets and Department Stores..Your biggest personal injury nightmare?

July 22, 2011,

First and foremost, I was shocked to learn that there are so many closet Goldfinger Personal Injury Law Blog fans out there?!?!?! Apparently, there are lots of you. This is kinda like me telling you; the reader; that "I'm big in Japan"; but apparently I AM! I'm to weird law seeking people what David Hasselhoff is to Germans; an obscure Uber Shtar. Even my near and dear cousin Sharky in Malibu is a fan of the blog. He's a Hollywood writer, so he knows good writing when he sees it. Next stop, Düsseldorf. Can you believe I managed to dot the "u" on Düsseldorf?

With my new found celebrity, has come large responsibility. An obligation to my adoring public. People want to know WHERE they should be most careful in order to avoid accident; so they don't become Goldfinger Personal Injury Law's newest client.

What do you want me to tell you? Seriously? You should drive your car in full body armour because there are so many bad drivers on the road? You should walk your weiner dog Buttons while wearing a helmet because you never know when one can slip and fall on an uneven sidewalk? You should pad the walls of your condo like an insane asylum to avoid traumatic injury? You should never leave your house except in the event your house spontaneously bursts to flames? The answer to all of these questions is of course, YES.

While most of the cases we see at our office involve serious car accidents, I would be pleased to share a secret with you about an overlooked place where many accidents happen.

The next time you go to the Supermarket or Department Store, BEWARE. You wouldn't believe the amount of calls we get each week from people wanting to sue their local supermarket or department store for personal injury. People slip and fall on wet spots near the produce, collide into other shoppers with their grocery carts, trip over displays protruding into the aisles, slip on the floor mats near the entrance, or simply have goods improperly stacked on high shelves avalanche down on them. I can't make this stuff up. It happens and it happens frequently. Take a good look around the next time you go grocery shopping or to a department store/big box store at all of the commotion and all of the people bustling around in close quarters. Recipe for disaster.

If one of these supermarket or department store accidents happen, the first thing to do is to report it to the store. They should take an accident report and help you in contacting an ambulance. The biggest mistake which people make following these accidents is they forget to take pictures of the hazard which caused the accident to happen. If you slipped on your own shoe laces, then I don't want a picture of that. But, if it was a wet spot on the ground, get a picture of it with your cell phone camera. If you don't have a camera, borrow someone's cell phone camera. That photo of the hazard will be the difference between a winning case, and a losing case.

Also get the names and contact information of all the witnesses who saw the accident. Because police rarely if ever, get involved in accidents at private retail chains, it's necessary for you to preserve the evidence and conduct your own investigations into what caused the accident.

Many people sue grocery stores and department stores in relation to accident claims. Accidents happen frequently at these locations. The injuries in these cases is often not the issue. The issue in these cases is HOW the accident happened, whose fault was the accident, and whether or not the accident victim is partially responsible for the accident for failing to pay attention to their surroundings.

So next time you go shopping, be alert and stay safe. You never know when the Supermarket Monster will strike.

Top 5 Winter Accident Questions posed by clients at Goldfinger Personal Injury Law

January 15, 2011,

As you may know, Goldfinger Personal Injury Law recently expanded our territory, by opening a new office in London, ON. We are located in the heart of downtown London, at 341 Talbot Street, right next to the John Labatt Centre (Go Knights!) and the Farmer's Market. If you're ever in town, come by and check out our London office. Some say it's nicer than our Toronto office, but I'll let you be the judge of that. By opening our London office, we hope to better serve our clients in Southwestern Ontario. We've seen lots of new clients from London, Saint Thomas, Rodney, Bleheim, Oxford, Embro, Thurold, Arva, Drumbo, Blenheim, Chatham, Woodstock, Thames Centre, Ingersoll, Kintore, Thorndale and Tillsonburg. We are proud to serve these under-represented communities and provide these individuals with access to Ontario's courts and access to justice.

What can I tell you about about practicing in Southwestern Ontario? It snows snows snows out here. And with snow comes slush, ice, poor road conditions and poor visibility. With poor road conditions and poor visibility comes more accidents.

Here are some of the top 5 questions/scenarios we've seen or been asked this winter:

1) Another driver lost control of his car on the ice and hit my car. The police says that the offending driver did NOT have snow tires on his car. Does that mean I have a better case?

In Quebec, you are at law required to have snow tires on your car. This is not the law in Ontario, although there has been some discussion about making snow tires mandatory for the winter months. There are two aspects to any case: 1 Liability and 2 Damages. Liabilty asks the question whose fault was the car accident. Damages goes to the issue of what your damages/injuries are as a result of the car accident. The fact that the other driver did not have snow tires may be a contributing factor towards pinning liability on that driver, but it does not tell the whole story. We also need to factor in the speed the other driver was travelling, whether or not the other driver broke any rules of the road, whether or not he could have avoided the accident by driving more carerfully, along with a proper breakdown of how the accident happened. Now, just because the other driver may be liable for the car accident does NOT guarantee that you have a case. In order to sue for damages in Ontario, your injuries must meet the threshold and surpass the deductible. The threshold in Ontario to sue for pain and suffering is that your injuries must be present a "serious and permanent impairment of an important bodily function" and those injuries must exceed a value of $30,000 in Court. If your damages do not meet the threshold or exceed the deductible, unfortunately, you have do not have a case. Please refer to my previous blog entry about Superman being involved in a car accident for more information on the threshold and the deductible. I hate being the bearer of bad news about the threshold and the deductible, but it's the law and I can't change it alone.

2) A guest slipped and fell on some ice on my walkway while trying to get in my house for a dinner party. Can I be sued?

There is a reason the City of Toronto tells its residents to "Be Nice, Clear your Ice". It's the law. As a property owner, or as an occupier of a premises, you are responsible for the safety of the premises for your invitees. So, if you've invited somebody over for dinner and they slip and fall on your walkway because you failed to clear your ice, they can certainly sue you. If that happens, report the accident to your property insurer. There are usually provisions under property insurance policies for coverage in the event of accident or injury of invitees on your premises. If you don't have property insurance, then you'd better make sure you have a good lawyer....Or just clear your ice and keep your fingers crossed nobody gets hurt on your property.

3) Is the hood on my jacket dangerous or a safety hazzard?

Is this a serious question? How could the hood on my jacket been dangerous? It's so pretty and it keeps me warm! The answer is "yes". Beware the hood! You wouldn't believe the amount of cases we see where pedestrians crossing the street on a cold winter day get hit by a car beacuse they lose their peripheral vision while their hood is up. Go ahead. Try it. Put your coat on and put the hood up. Now try looking out for obtacles from your side. Your vision is likely impaired because all you see it what's in front of you; not what's coming from either side. All we have to say to you pedestrians out there is BE CAREFUL while wearing those hoods.

4) I was driving on the highway/roadway and lost control of my car and hit the barrier and hurt myself. Can I sue? If so, then who?

Single car accidents are more frequent during the winter on account of poor road conditions. But who can you sue for a single car accident? I can't sue myself. If you are involved in a single car accident, you have the right to make an accident benefit claim through your own car insurance company for such things as medical/rehabilitative benefits, income replacement benefits, attendant care benefits, housekeeping/home maintenance benefits etc. These accident benefit claims can lead to a mediation, arbitration or a full out law suit. See my blog entry which explains accident benefits for more information on this topic. But these accident benefits do not cover your pain and suffering. In order to recover damages for pain and suffering, you may be entitled to sue the Municipality/Government if the roadway was not properly maintained. If we are able to prove that the road was not salted, sanded or properly maintained and this led to the accident, then we may be able to sue for pain and suffering. In order to do this, we have experts examine the municipal road maintenance records, accident patterns in the area, roadway safety studies, and we may even have an accident reconstructionist attend at the scene of the accident. It all depends on the case.

5) I slipped and fell on an icey sidewalk. I was wearing high heels at the time of the fall. Can I still sue? How will this impact my case?

One of the things which jurors, judges and insurance companies look at in all slip and fall cases is what footwear you were wearing at the time of the slip and fall accident; and was the footwear you were wearing weather appropriate. In the event that your footwear was not weather appropriate, then a judge may reduce your damages by a certain percentage to reflect your level of contribution which led to the slip and fall accident. At law, this is called "contributory negligence". So, if your damages are valued at $100,000; but a judge believes that because you were wearing high heels at the time of the accident, you were 50% responsible for the slip and fall accident, then your award will be reduced by 50% to reflect this apportionment of liability ($50,000). Our advice, wear weather appropriate footwear outside and keep those heels in a separate bag. Have your significant other carry those heels around for you.