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Long Term Disability insurance isn’t easy to understand. It’s not a common tort or a common cause of action.

It’s not an intentional act which causes harm, or a negligent act by an individual defendant which causes harm. That means it’s not easy for many people to understand.

Here’s a concept that’s easy for people to understand:

A Red Honda Civic runs a red light and t-bones a Blue Cadillac. The driver of the Red Honda Civic which ran the red light is charged and convicted for his bad driving. The passengers in the Blue Cadillac are all seriously injured in the car accident. The innocent accident victims in the Blue Cadillac sue the at fault driver of the Red Honda Civic.

In this very brief fact pattern, we have liability (the driver of the Red Honda Civic is at fault), and we also have damages and causation (the passengers of the Blue Cadillac got injured; and those injuries were a direct result of the negligence of the Red Honda Civic driver). The personal injury case against the at fault driver of the Red Honda Civic is clear and easy to understand.  This case is built in tort and based on negligence.

These concepts are relatively easy (in comparison to other causes of action) to understand.

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This deep freeze, thaw, cold, warm, snow, rain, back to snow, then to ice weather cycle we have seen across Ontario this winter hasn’t been good for anyone. We’re not sure if it’s snowing, raining, or ice is falling from the sky.

All of the fluctuations in temperature have lead to slippery walking conditions on sidewalks, parking lots, entrance ways, walk ways and other paths.

Over the past week,  personal injury lawyer Brian Goldfinger has been asked for comment by the CBC, CityTV and quoted by Canadian Underwrite Magazine for commentary from a knowledgable lawyer regarding slip and fall cases in Ontario. You can find links to these articles here:

Canadians nurse winter wounds as cities grapple with icy sidewalks

 Latest Canadian statistics on slips and falls on ice

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/sidewalk-clearing-law-london-ontario-1.5046917

Over the months of February and well in to the beginning of March 2019, our law firm has seen a spike from the usual norm with respect to winter slip and fall cases resulting in serious injury. Injuries like broken ankles, broken wrists, broken arms, broken hips; even fractured skulls. We have been seeing some pretty significant injury cases of late.

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Every car accident case in Ontario has three major components:

  1. Liability
  2. Causation
  3. Damages

Without a personal injury lawyer establishing all of these components, the personal injury case will fail. Meaning, that if  Defendant successfully refutes, or creates sufficient doubt to surpass a balance of probabilities, the Defendant will win the case. As a plaintiff personal injury lawyer, you don’t want to see that happen.

In addition to these three pillars of personal injury law, your Ontario personal injury lawyer also must overcome the following rules at trial which CANNOT be shared with the jury:

  1. The Threshold for General Damages (did the injured accident victim sustain a serious and permanent impairment of an important bodily function)
  2. The Deductible aka the secret credit. The current deductible stands at $38,818.97 for any award for general damages below $129,395.49. The effect of the secret credit is that the Defendant insurance company does NOT NEED TO PAY THE FIRST $38,818.97  of any award below $129,395.49. We here at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers refer to the deductible as the secret credit because plaintiff lawyers are NOT ALLOWED TO MENTION THE DEDUCTIBLE AT TRIAL. So if a Jury intends to award a Plaintiff $50,000 in general damages for pain and suffering, that award automatically gets reduced to just $11,181.38 which is a 76% reduction in value from what the jury originally intended to award! On what planet do we automatically strip the will of the jury by such a large proportion?!?!? One final note on the secret credit. How many jurors to you think earn $38,818.97/year after tax. The median individual income in Ontario sits just $27,600.

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We would like to take the time to thank all of you who rocked the vote in support of Goldfinger Injury Lawyers and Brian Goldfinger’s nomination in Canadian Lawyers’ Magazine for Top Law Firms in Plaintiff Side Personal Injury Law. Your support and well wishes have been overwhelming. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We would like to use this instalment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog to talk about the concept of mediation in the context of a personal injury case.

Many people have heard of the word mediation, but have never participated in a mediation before. That’s perfectly normal; especially for injured accident victims who are new to civil litigation and to the complicated world of personal injury law.

When boiled down to its core, a mediation is a confidential, without prejudice, settlement meeting. The word without prejudice means that anything that’s said in mediation, along with any offers which are exchanged won’t be held against any of the parties.

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Friendly reminder that Brian Goldfinger and Goldfinger Injury Lawyers have been nominated by Canadian Lawyers Magazine as a Top Boutique in Personal Injury Law for 2019. In their own words, Canadian Lawyers Magazine is “looking for your input on the best firms specializing in personal injury law as well as the best arbitration chambers. 

Please choose the top ten firms from the list provided. If you do not rank at least five firms, your votes will not be counted.

The results will appear in our May 2019 issue. The survey will close on February 25.”

The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and you need not be a personal injury lawyer to do so. Brian Goldfinger and the team at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers would really appreciate your support. Here is the link to vote.

Now that the public service announcement is out of the way, we can begin this week’s installment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog. This week Brian Goldfinger would like to focus on privacy and personal injury law in Ontario. Believe it or not, these two areas of the law intersect more that you would think.

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Goldfinger Injury Lawyers had the privilege of attending an advance sneak peak at the upcoming Canadian International Auto Show 2019 from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. In case you’re interested in attending, the show is being held from February 15-24, 2019 and features some of the largest collections of production and concept vehicles under one roof in Canada.

One of the things we keep an eye on at each show are the auto manufacturer’s commitments to vehicle and pedestrian safety; along with any innovations which really jumped out at us.

Here are some of the highlights from our trip to the show:

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Recently, Goldfinger Injury Lawyers was nominated for “Top Boutiques for Personal Injury” by Canadian Lawyer Magazine for 2019. The post from Canadian Lawyer Magazine indicates “we’re looking for your input on the best firms specializing in personal injury law”.

This is a huge honour for my law firm, which I began 10 years ago with just one person. Since that time we have expanded both in personnel and in breadth.

If you haven’t voted, please do. Here’s the link .Your vote for our law firm would be a very big deal; and here’s why::

If you have been following Goldfinger Injury Lawyers in the news, the irony of this nomination does not escape us. Our advertising saga with the Law Society of Ontario has been well publicized in the Toronto Star and other media sources. We have appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star 3 times(both published and digital). When Tom Brady won Superbowl LI on February 5, 2017, my picture and story was right under Tom Brady’s where he was raising the Vince Lombardi Championship Trophy.

Why the media picked up on the story is a source of another debate. The demonization of the personal injury lawyer? Everyone loves to hate on lawyers? A debate about the Law Society regulating its own? A debate on lawyer advertising? People hate lawyer advertising? Or people just hate lawyers and hate sells newspapers….

The complaint against my law firm was leaked to the Toronto Star before we even had a chance to respond to the allegations, when the complaint was in the very early confidential investigatory stages. All of the complainant law firms deny leaking the story to the Toronto Star. Maybe it was someone on the inside at the Law Society who wanted my story to get out. The Law Society denies the leak as well.

It’s also important to note that the complaint against my firm was not brought by a member of the general public, a former client, or a prospective client. It was brought by seven competitor law firms in London Ontario. These seven competitor law firms are all much larger than my law firm. Instead of reaching out to my law firm and telling me that they didn’t like my advertising, they went straight to Law Society. Talk about camaraderie and respect for your peers. The Law Society never reached out to my law firm either. They went straight to a formal discipline proceeding never affording my law firm an opportunity to rectify any wrongs. No invitation to correct any wrongs was ever extended. The wrongs against my law firm can be seen on virtually every lawyer or paralegal website in the business, but I don’t make it my place to issue a formal complaint against my peers for advertising issues. If I have a problem with someone’s marketing or a message that I truly find offensive, I’ll just give that person a call and let them know.  In my experience, a little bit of dialogue can go a long way towards getting problems solved. This is what we’re taught as lawyers.

What could have been dealt with by way of simple phone call or email has been a part of my life for well over 2 years, with no end in sight. The Law Society has spent countless hours and dollars litigating my case. Four Pre-Hearing Conferences; One Hearing; One Appeal; One Motion; with written submissions to come. They hired an investigator to attend at my meeting locations in Peterborough, Kitchener and London to look around. A total of 9 different Benchers have now heard my case, with likely more to come.

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Being a Plaintiff who is not familiar with the civil justice system is very frustrating.

For starters, you’ve needed to retain a lawyer and sue in Court to get the results you need. Because you’ve commenced a legal action, then we can presume that you’ve exhausted every other recourse and Court is your last option. It would have been far easier and less expensive to keep the lawyers out of your dispute and work things out between the parties. The nice thing about working things out without lawyers and without the Court is that you get to control the process and you don’t have to jump through the hoops which the Court sets down. These hoops can an tricky for lawyers and for self represented litigants alike. All of these points are blown out the door if you can’t find a lawyer to take on your case. In that situation, you’re on your own; left alone to navigate the legal system on your own. The great abyss lies ahead. You can expect countless hours in your local library in the future, along with many sleepless nights.

One of the most frustrating things for the clients at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers is coming to the realization that the legal process isn’t anywhere near as fast as we see on TV.

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A few recent headlines caught my attention over the past 48 hours:

From Toronto/the GTA:

There were 350 Car Accidents in the past 24 hours in the Toronto area due to snowy and slippery conditions. OPP responded to 350 car accidents in the GTA due to slippery weather conditions in the past 24 hours.

From Kitchener/Waterloo:

Police to respond to fewer collisions. Under a new partnership with Accident Support Services Ltd., police will decide if they will attend collisions depending on the severity of the crash, injuries, and whether the collision is suspicious. 

What does this mean? It means that right now, there are a lot of accidents happening on roads across Ontario on account of winter weather and slippery conditions.

It also means that police will respond to fewer of those car accidents regardless of the conditions. Police can arbitrarily tell callers that if there doesn’t appear to be any injuries, and/or if the collision does not appear to be severe, that they won’t attend on the scene to investigate. This has significant consequences for a personal injury case. Here’s why.

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For the 1% of personal injury cases which go to trial, the majority of those cases are tried by a Judge with a Jury.

Insurance companies automatically file Jury Notices to accompany their Statements of Defence because they know that jurors don’t like sitting through long personal injury cases. A disengaged and disgruntled juror will be less likely to side with the Plaintiff. A Judge sitting alone is trained, well versed and PAID to listen carefully to the facts. Jurors are not trained, not well versed and certainly not well paid to sit around for weeks listening to evidence. In some cases, the cost of parking, snacks and meals will outweigh the cost of the Juror’s daily stipend. Compounding the anger of a juror is the fact that many of them are employed and have to miss time from work without getting paid themselves to engage in jury duty. Nobody wins.

Jurors want to sit in on “cool trials“. What’s a “cool trial“. Think of a high profile murder case. That would be “cool” to sit in on. Or how about a violent assault, drug trafficking charge, or something involving organized crime? Anything out of a TV or movie plot would satisfy a juror’s appetite. Unfortunately, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and long term disability disputes don’t make very interesting screen plays.

Plaintiff personal injury lawyers know this. Plaintiffs themselves often do not. It’s hard for a Plaintiff to put him or herself in the position of a Judge or Jury hearing their own case. In the Plaintiff’s own mind: What else could be more important or more interesting than sitting through a 2-4 week trial to hear all about my injuries, disability and how the insurance company screwed me?

What really goes on in a juror’s mind is “who cares about this person; and; get me outta here so I can go back to my normal daily routine.Continue reading →

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