COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

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Let’s break things down in really easy to understand terms.

If you have been involved in a car accident, you are entitled to accident benefits from your own car insurance company.

If you didn’t have car insurance at the time of the accident because you were a passenger, cyclist or pedestrian; then don’t worry. The law has thought of that. Under the priority rules of the Insurance Act, the other motorist’s car insurance needs to cover your accident benefits.

If the other driver didn’t have any car insurance; and you didn’t have any car insurance; and nobody can find a car insurer to claim from in relation to the subject car accident: don’t worry! The law has thought of that as well. Under the priority rules of the Insurance Act, the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) steps in to the shoes of where the auto insurer should be and pays out of the claim. Basically, the government steps in to the shoes of the hole left by the lack of private insurance for the case.

Once we have established insurance, it’s time for the injured accident victim to make a claim for benefits.

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Goldfinger Injury Lawyers is seeking a Plaintiff Personal Injury Lawyer (New Call to 2 Years Experience) for our busy practice. We handle all sorts of car accident (tort + AB), long term disability, slip and fall, dog bite and professional negligence cases. Our clients come from all across Ontario; with our central office located at Yonge & Sheppard in North York. Job duties have changed dramatically on account of COVID as most hearings, discoveries, mediations, and meetings have been taking place by way of video conference. If these trends continue, this will mean a reduction in travel time for our associates. We offer a competitive compensation package commensurate with market rates and experience. We also offer a collegial work environment with great mentorship. If you want to become a great personal injury lawyer, this is the place for you.

Job Type: Fixed term contract

Contract length: 12 months

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The front page story of today’s Globe & Mail (print) newspaper read “Woman at centre of scandal breaks silence“; referring to the complainant who stepped forward in the sexual assault lawsuit against Hockey Canada and some players.

More interesting were the comments from the personal injury lawyer who says “in watching the coverage of his client’s complaint it has been frustrating to see misinformation circulate that she did not cooperate with police.

It’s really hard to read about stories in the print media, when they don’t have access to all of the information and yet they report on it as if they do. It’s not in the best interest of any lawyer to litigate a case through the media. In fact, if sensitive information about a case gets out into the public before the case has resolved, it will likely jeopardize and tarnish the outcome of the case entirely.

Assaults, and sexual assault cases often get reported in the media. We hear it all the time, and tend to cast judgment based on the reporting itself, or based on our own predisposed beliefs.

Unfortunately, the reporters and their news outlets often get things wrong.  Or perhaps its the Twitter Trolls or amateur internet commentators in the comment sections who just don’t get it.

It happened to our office and to one of our client’s. In a highly publicized case out of Peterborough, our client was assaulted at Riley’s Pub downtown. The bouncers were so aggressive that they broke our client’s leg/ankle. Our client sought medical assistance from the police.

Instead, the three officers referred to the man as a “pussy,” a “douche,” a “drunk idiot,” told him to “walk it off” and told him to take a cab to the hospital where he was eventually treated for the serious leg injury, investigators found. An independent police review has found “evidence of misconduct” involving two Peterborough-Lakefield police officers and a department sergeant.

The complaint against the officers eventually settled outside of the formal Tribunal.

When this story first broke, members of the community thought it to be a sham, or a charade to catch attention. It couldn’t possibly be true. But it was.

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News of sexual assaults involving Hockey Canada have shocked and appalled Canadians. Hockey is religion in Canada; so when the news broke; it broke hard and fast.

In May 2022, Hockey Canada settled a $3.55-million lawsuit filed in April by a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by eight former Canadian Hockey League players following a Hockey Canada Foundation event in London, ON in June 2018. The allegations were never tested or tried in Court. The London Police Service did not press any charges in relation to these allegations; but they will be re-opening their investigation.

Another alleged sexual assault took place in 2003 at the World Juniors tournament in Halifax. Hockey Canada “heard a rumour about ‘something bad’ at the 2003 World Juniors. In order to learn more, Hockey Canada hired a third-party investigator to try to find more information.” The allegations have not been tried or tested in Court and remain allegations. But Halifax Police is opening an investigation in to this case as well. Players have come forward and denied any knowledge of the allegations.

Here is why these cases are so interesting to personal injury lawyers, and to the public at large:

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A few weeks ago I was in conversation with a person who asked what I did for a living. I told him that I was a lawyer. He thought that was really cool. When he asked what kind of law I practiced; I told him I was a personal injury lawyer and he looked at me with distain. I wasn’t quite sure why.

Practicing personal injury law is the very essence of civil litigation. At the route of it; personal injury lawyers get innocent accident victims fair compensation for their injuries. We Get People Paid. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. I cannot think of a more noble and pure pursuit when it comes to civil litigation.

Every time I hand someone over their settlement cheque, I am helping to stimulate the economy at a grass route level.

Don’t believe me?

A personal injury lawyer is quite literally re-distributing wealth from large, multi-billion dollar insurance companies; trickling down to injured accident victims; many of whom were struggling to make ends meet before the litigation even got started. The money is going from super rich corporations to regular, everyday individuals. Very Robin Hood-esque!

When my law firm hands someone a settlement cheque; they will spend that cheque in so many different ways. You remember when Oprah handed out gifts (like free cars) on her TV show. You Get a Car! And You Get a Car! And You Get a Car! It’s kinda the same thing!

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The title of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post, “Brian Goldfinger and the Case of the Bad Delivery” sounds like it could be a young adult mystery novel. I mean; who wouldn’t want to read a book about middle age personal injury lawyer Brian Goldfinger cracking the case on a delivery gone bad? Sound exciting enough; right?!?!?

Let me share a story with you. During the early stage of the Pandemic, my law firm, Goldfinger Injury Lawyers moved from a large office building at 45 Sheppard Ave East in Toronto; to a self contained unit at 167 Sheppard Avenue West, also in Toronto. The move was under a kilometer in distance, but it was still a hard move.

The rationale for the move was quite simple. At the large office building all of our staff and visiting clients had to pay for parking; and parking was quite limited. More importantly, we weren’t too keen during the pandemic to sharing space with strangers. We had to share the elevators, share the bathrooms, share the boardrooms, hallways, reception area, lobby and hallways with the other tenants on our floor. It wasn’t ideal during a global pandemic. Mind you this was pre-vaccines and also when we believed that COVID was not only airborne, but could also be spread on surfaces.

Needless to say, my staff nor my clients were thrilled by the idea of sharing space or common areas with others. The fewer exposures, the better.

So we decided to move down the street.

The new office gave our clients and staff free parking. We no longer had to share any common areas such as washrooms, boardrooms, elevators, hallways, reception area etc. We had to space all to ourselves. It was much more comfortable, and safe from a COVID perspective (keep in mind this is early on in the Pandemic before vaccines were readily available).

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Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada released a decision which upheld key protections for sexual assault victims. The decision is R. v. J. J.

In the wake of the Me Too Revolution, Canadian parliament changed the Criminal Code to establish more protections for sexual assault victims.

Let’s say an accused has text messages, or emails, or some other form of communication directly from the complainant. Those messages may impact the dignity of the complainant. Instead of simply being used at trial in their defence, an accused must disclose these records and a pretrial must be held in order to determine what records, can, or cannot be used at trial. It’s entirely in the Judge’s hands. If the Judge determines that the records are not relevant and will hurt the complainant’s dignity, they cannot be used.

The second major change was to give the complainants the right to argue at a hearing (outside of the course of the trial) that their privacy outweighs the importance of the records. Again, it’s up to a Judge to make the final determination of the privacy rights of the complainant outweigh the rights to a defendant using all evidence at his/her disposal in order to defend the charges.

This is a very difficult balancing act. The rights, dignity and privacy of the complainant are important. A complainant should not be humiliated on the stand or hurt twice as a result of stepping forward and testifying at trial. Complainants should not be intimidated to step forward and have their voices heard. I think we can all agree with that.

At the same time, a Defendant has the right to a fair defence. If an accused cannot use all of the evidentiary tools at his/her disposal in order to combat the charges, then are we giving that Defendant a fair and meaningful opportunity to a defense a trial. Or are we just giving them a perceived fair shake while limiting the tools at their disposal?

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Sounds like a typical law school fact pattern for a tort case.

A property owner retains an arborist to do a routine pruning job on a set of Norwich Maple Trees in his yard.

The arborist advertises that he is both “licensed” and insured.

Upon attending at the job site, the arborist begins to unload his equipment from his van. It includes all of the normal stuff which any arborist would carry: spikes for climbing trees, ropes, counter weights, pylons and chain saws etc. But is also includes something which you shouldn’t find on any job site; an open container of alcohol; in this case a tall boy of beer.

Having an open can of beer may not seem like a big deal. The general labourers there to help the arborist tell the property owner that having a beer on the job site isn’t a problem; and that they do it all the time. They tell the property owner that this is just the way that the licensed arborist works. He needs beer to concentrate and do his job. They are trying to pass this off like it’s all normal.

The notion that a man climbing 20+ feet in the air; with a large gas powered chainsaw; needs to be fueled by alcohol isn’t normal whatsoever.

Yet, this is what the arborist and his friends tried to convey to the property owner.

In case you are wondering, that property owner was me. And I’m a personal injury lawyer. And I wasn’t having anything of it.

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Warmer weather means more people out and about. We see more people out for walks both with and without dogs.

Some dog owners are very responsible. They curb their dog, keep them on a leash and keep the under control. Some dog owners are not. But even the most responsible dog owner may run in to a situation whereby their dog losses control.

What happens when a dog attacks someone? How does one go about making a claim for damages.

It goes without saying that you cannot sue the dog itself. But you can sue the dog owner and claim damages against him/her.

It helps if the dog owner has asset or home owners or renter’s insurance.

A dead beat dog owner without any assets and without any form of insurance will result in an fruitless case. That’s not to say that a Plaintiff won’t “win” the case. In fact, there is a very strong likelihood on a dog bite or dog attack case that the Plaintiff will “win“; and a Court will order that the Defendant dog owner pay damages.

But the Judgment will be an empty one. A Plaintiff cannot recover blood from a stone in the event that the Defendant is without any assets, and without any insurance coverage. A Judgment-Debtor Examination may reveal that the Defendant Dog Owner owns no property, no vehicles, has no money in the bank, and is currently on ODSP or Ontario Works (both of which cannot be garnished).

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There is a black eye on Canada’s Military; and it’s not due to lack of funding or purchase orders of military helicopters or planes gone bad.

In a Government Census, approximately 25% of women serving in the Canadian Military reported being sexually assaulted during their military careers.

Pause and think about that stat long and hard.

Nearly 1 out of every 4 women serving in Canada’s military has been sexually assaulted in their military career.

That statistic is mind blowing! Any other industry would be completely shut down if that’s how women are treated in the workplace. You would have police, government officials and activist groups swarming the employer to the point they would not be able to function. It would be a business and PR nightmare. In the age of cancel culture; this employer would be ruined beyond the point of no return.

But what happens when that delinquent workplace is a public institution; like the Canadian Military?

We can’t stop shopping or boycott the Canadian military.

I suppose that people can withdraw for service, or simply not enlist to serve in the Canadian Military because the work environment appears to be less than optimal; particularly for women. There are other noble ways to serve and to protect one’s country. But the Canadian Military needs people so so many things. The Canadian armed forces does not run on robots or cheap migrant labour. How does the Canadian Military attract Canadians to enlist and serve the country with such bad PR? More importantly, how does the Canadian Military attract women to fill the ranks?

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