Three words that can get any Ontarian excited are “August Long Weekend“!
Our personal injury law firm has seen a pattern over the past 8 years of a spike in new client calls after the long weekend in the following areas:
- Drunk Driving & Drunk Boating cases
- Fatality Claims (they happen nearly every long weekend)
- Car Accident claims related to speed
- Violent Assault claims (alcohol related)
So what happens over the long weekend that we see an increase in personal injury claims? Does everyone lose their mind or is it just bad luck? Are many of these accidents preventable? All good questions.
For starters, lots of people get excited for a summer long weekend. Why not? Fun in the sun after a long, cold Canadian winter. It’s perfectly reasonable to get excited.
Lots of people travel over the long weekend. They get out of town and go visit friends, go to a cottage, go camping etc. That means more people on the roads with places to go and destinations in mind. And those people travelling on the road want to arrive at their respective destinations as soon as possible so their long weekend can begin. For most, the long weekend doesn’t officially begin until you’ve arrived at your destination.
This means a greater likelihood of speeding. We all know that speeding increased the chance of car accidents, and car accidents at higher speeds normally equate to more severe damages and injuries. That’s not to say that car accidents at lower speeds cannot result in serious damages or serious injuries either.
One of the common threads we see with our new client queries after the August long weekend has been the association with personal injury claims and the consumption, or over consumption of alcohol.
No matter how many times we beat the drum to re-enforce the message that drunk driving is a killer, it never ceased to amaze how many reported incidents we see at our law firm. If you take anything from this Pre-Long Weekend Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post, please take this:
- Arrive Alive! Don’t drink and drive!
- Take a Taxi
- Call an Uber!
- Have a designated driver
- Sleep over
- Friends don’t let friends drink and drive
- Serve non-alcoholic beverages if you’re hosting so that drivers have safe beverage options
But, it’s not just drinking and driving accidents we see. We see a lot of people drinking too much, then getting aggressive with others. This happens both in public settings (bars, streets, restaurants), and in private settings (a backyard, dock, private beach, inside at home). Police often have to get involved. If police don’t get involved after these violent assaults, then it makes our job as injury lawyers more difficult. Gather facts and evidence after the fact can prove tricky. In addition, contrary to popular belief, personal injury lawyers don’t have the same investigatory powers as police officers. A police officer can get a search warrant. Police have the power to search a person, search property, seize evidence, administer a breathalyzer test, collect DNA evidence. Personal Injury lawyers don’t have any of these powers. So, if you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer to conduct a CSI type of investigation, just remember that injury lawyers don’t have the same powers as the police to investigate a violent assault or accident scene.
What gets confusing and where messages get crossed is when a personal injury lawyer retains a forensic engineer to conduct an accident reconstruction or a human factors report. These reports are confused with police investigations because they appear to be the same thing, but they aren’t. A police investigation is exactly that. They have all of the tools and resources of the state to conduct their investigation to get a better understand of the accident or the assault. The purpose of the police investigation is to assist the province in getting to the bottom of the accident or assault so that charges can eventually be laid on the accused.
A personal injury lawyer on the other hand will retain a forensic engineer to conduct their own private investigation to assist their client in pursuing their personal injury claim. The purpose is to bolster the claimant’s position and to establish liability against the at fault party on a balance of probabilities so that the case will succeed in Court.
The final point I would like to explore is boating accidents over the August Long Weekend. I was at my Peterborough Office yesterday and the City was gearing up with cottagers eager to hit the lake on their boats. Be a responsible boater. Make sure that your boat or recreational water craft is insured. These are highly powerful motorized vehicles. Just because the lake doesn’t have any stop lights or signs, doesn’t mean that you can operate a boat without a proper license or insurance. Both are very important towards being a responsible boater, and in the event of a serious collision on the water, getting the benefits you need following an accident. The same rules to drinking and driving a car also apply to drinking and driving a boat. Don’t do it. You’re putting the lives of your passengers and others on the water at risk. Make sure that your boat has enough life jackets/flotation devices for all of your passengers. Make sure that your radio is powered up, you have extra batteries if your radio is battery powered, and have some flares just in case you get in to a sticky situation. Make sure that your boat is visible to others on the water. That means making sure that the boat is properly lit at night, and that the lights are working. What good is a busted light on a dark light? Have a fog horn or sound device. Have a paddle. Have a bailer in case water starts getting in to your boat. There are a lot of bad things that can happen on the water and you want to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever might come your way. There is a great boating safety check list posted by Transport Canada on their website at. You can click to the link here. The Red Cross also has a great boating safety list here.
We here at Goldfinger Personal Injury Law wish you and your family a fun and safe Simcoe Day August Long Weekend for 2016.