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Articles Posted in Car Accident

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When a car accident happens, you would like to think that the insurance company insuring the at fault driver will pay out on a meritorious claim.

That makes sense.

But more often that not, insurance companies try to avoid (putting it kindly) their obligation to pay out on such claims. They will leave no stone unturned in an attempt to get out of paying. Smart tactic when it works. But breaches all conventional norms of decency when it fails. But a little egg on the face of an insurer isn’t a new thing.

One of the ways that they can avoid paying out on claims is by attempting to nullify the insurance for the Defendant at fault driver.

They can do so in a number of ways.

One of the ways is to declare that the at fault Defendant driver didn’t have any sort of insurance coverage in the first place.

This happens more often that you would think. During the Pandemic, many Ontario drivers stayed at home on account of COVID and the lockdowns. These motorists had cars, which weren’t being used at all. They were just sitting in the garage, all the while the motorist was paying insurance premiums. Many of these motorists temporarily cancelled their car insurance during the Pandemic to save a few dollars. This makes perfect sense.

But the problem became that many of these drivers who removed coverage, forgot to reactivate their coverage when the world opened up again. The result was that they thought that they were driving around with proper insurance coverage, but in reality; they were not.

In that example, the insurance coverage is well within their rights to deny coverage for a car accident which took place when there was a temporary hold, or removal, of the insurance coverage. You don’t get coverage for free.

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It’s a legal requirement to drive a motor vehicle with car insurance.

Section 2(1) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act states:

Compulsory automobile insurance

(1) Subject to the regulations, no owner or lessee of a motor vehicle shall,

(a) operate the motor vehicle; or

(b) cause or permit the motor vehicle to be operated,

on a highway unless the motor vehicle is insured under a contract of automobile insurance

In plain language English, this means that if you are driving a motor vehicle without insurance, you are breaking the law.

The consequences for breaching the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act can be significant. It’s not a criminal offense, but the fines and consequences for driving without car insurance can add up quickly.

Section 2(3) of the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act sets out the penalties for driving without insurance. Those penalties are set out below. If you don’t want to read the “leagalese”, I’ll quickly summarize those penalties for you. A Justice of the Peace can fine you (not more than $50,000 after multiple offenses), can take away your driver’s license, can impound your car, and can charge you for the costs of impounding your car.

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When someone gets into an accident, we think that the accident victim is automatically entitled to compensation. This seems basic, fair, and like the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, the law is not so simple, nor is it very forgiving.

The law is a donkey. It’s rather stubborn, unyielding, and once you think you have it figured out, it gives you a big kick in the you know what!

Just because you’ve been involved in an accident, even if the accident is NOT your fault; it does not mean that you are entitled to compensation. And even if you are eligible for compensation for your injuries or damages, it does not always mean that you will recover as much as you think you are entitled to.

Insurers and defence lawyers want to know how much money a Plaintiff has received since their accident. Not only that, they want to know how much money a Plaintiff might be eligible to receive even though they have not collected that money.

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linkedin-2-300x300Personal Injury Law in Ontario does not make sense. It’s overly complicated, and intentionally hides things from Jurors.

It would make sense to present a Juror (who likely has no prior experience being a Juror) with all of the facts so that they can make a just decision.

Yet, in personal injury cases, there are things which lawyers are NOT allowed to share with the jury. Insiders (like Judges, insurance adjusters, and lawyers) know about what can be shared with a jury, and what cannot. But jurors are intentionally left in the dark.

Here are a few things which lawyers cannot share with the jury, at a personal injury trial.

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Everyday, our personal injury law firm receives calls from people who have been involved in car accidents in Ontario.

Some people reside in Ontario.

Other people reside outside of Ontario.

Some accident victims have their own car insurance.

Others have no form of car insurance whatsoever.

Their common connection is that they’ve been involved in a car accident in Ontario; and now; don’t know what to do; or where to turn.

They don’t know the right things to do. They don’t want to do the wrong things either. It’s their first time being involved in a serious car accident and they are looking for answers.

People tell me that they weren’t taught in school how to handle a car accident case with an insurance company. Nor is there any quick and easy book on what to do after they’ve been involved in a car accident. They are right in stating that what to do after a car accident isn’t on the standard school curriculum. But, there is a fast and quick guide on what to do after they’ve been involved in a car accident in Ontario. The Goldfinger Guide to Fair Compensation is a great starting point and it can be found in the link above. Reading the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog (as you are right now!) is another great resource.

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The July 1st Canada Day Long Weekend is fast approaching. People are excited to celebrate Canada Day.

Having practiced in the field of personal injury law in Ontario for over 2 decades, I can tell you that there are patterns for car accident cases.

Would it surprise you if I told that that our office sees a spike in car accident; and other accident related claims shortly after a long weekend? While I cannot single out the Canada Day Long Weekend in particular; what I can say is that we see a spike in accident calls shortly after a long weekend.

There are very good reasons for this.

For starters, many people are on the move over a long weekend. They are all out and about. Going on a trip, driving off to see friends, headed camping or to a beach to relax. Either way you slice it, more people are on the move over a long weekend, compared to a normal weekend.

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What happens when someone hits you with their vehicle, and they drive off from the accident scene? The at fault driver is unidentified. The collision took place so quickly, that you weren’t able to get a license plate number. The at fault driver obviously didn’t stop to check if you are ok; or to exchange insurance information. Or perhaps the injuries are so bad that you loose consciousness; or you are in so much pain that you can’t track down the at fault driver.

How do you handle these situations? How do you sue a party who cannot be identified?

These are great questions.

These types of unidentified driver situations happen more than you might think.

Often, when they happen, the at fault driver has their nefarious reasons for not stopping. They might be trying to avoid all interaction with the police because they shouldn’t be driving; the are operating a vehicle illegally; they have something illegal/stolen in their vehicle; they are operating a stolen vehicle; or a vehicle which they aren’t allowed to be driving; they are unlicensed; they are uninsured; or perhaps they have so many car accidents on their driving record that one more will result in an automatic suspension of their driver’s license; or a dramatic increase of their car insurance premiums. In all of these situations, the at fault driver is attempting to avoid any interaction with authorities.

In other cases, the at fault driver may not have even known that they were involved in an accident at all. They may have not noticed, or felt any impact resulting from the collision. This can happen when a large vehicle makes the slightest contact with a cyclist or a pedestrian. The impact to the large vehicle is hardly noticeable on account of the size of the vehicle. On the other hand, the impact to the pedestrian or cyclist can be catastrophic

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When I was a young personal injury lawyer, an odd case appeared on my desk.

The Plaintiff was an older automobile executive, who broke 3 vertebrae, torn his rotator cuff and fractured his skull in a car accident.

The injuries were quite significant. They prevented the client from returning to work, or engaging in his usual personal care and recreational activities. His life would be forever changed as a result of the car accident.

What was odd was that the car accident was a single car accident. The client was a passenger in the vehicle. The driver had lost control, drove the car off the shoulder of the road, and flipped the vehicle into a ditch along a deserted country road. I imagine that the car accident could have been even more serious had there been more vehicles involved.

So, in that case, the passenger would sue the driver for having lost control and flipped over the vehicle.

In this case, the driver was the client’s own daughter.

Isn’t that strange. A father, needing to sue his own daughter for his personal injuries arising from a car accident. It’s not like the daughter intentionally tried to flip over the vehicle. It was, by all accounts; an accident.

But how does that work, and what are the ramifications of a father, having to sue his own child for damages in a personal injury case? Can the daughter go to jail? Will her credit rating be ruined forever? Does she need to hire a personal injury lawyer to defend her claim? Will she need to go to trial and square off against her own father in open Court? Will this father/daughter personal injury case get really nasty such that Dad will take away Daughter’s TV and cell phone privileges?

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When I first started the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, I often ended each entry with a short blurb about my favourite sports team; the Toronto Raptors.

I’ve been a Toronto Raptors fan since Day 1. I was an NBA basketball fan long before the Raptors came to Toronto, so convincing me to root for the Raptors was an easy sell.

I remember the nay sayers when we drafted Damon Stoudamire as the franchise’s first ever draft pick. The rise, and fall of Vince Carter (along with his graduation ceremony on the same day as a Game #7 playoff game vs. Allen Iverson). I remember the promise of so many failed draft picks and free agent signings: Michael Bradley, Yogi Stewart, Rafael Aruajo, Aleksandar Radojević, Rasul Butler, Hedo Turkoglu, and my all time favourite: Uros Slokar.

I was there for what I believe was the most poorly attended game in Raptor history: vs. the Charlotte Bobcats back when the Bobcats wore those ugly orange uniforms on a Tuesday night of a heavy snowstorm. I think Gerald Henderson went off that night.

I was there when Joey Graham was promised to be the “next great guy” because he had a remarkable NBA physique. Those “next great guys” came and went. From Jamario Moon to Sonny Weems, to the Slovenian Gangster Primoz Brezec, just to name a few. Continue reading →

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Finding a personal injury lawyer who is knowledgeable, kind, sympathetic, and who will fight hard for you is important.

A good personal injury lawyer will listen, and give you advice to hopefully put you in a better position to move forward.

But, a personal injury lawyer doesn’t live with you.

A personal injury lawyer isn’t there when you go and see the doctor, to tell him/her what’s wrong with you. Nor can a personal injury lawyer force you to see your doctor. Nor can a personal injury lawyer call in a prescription medication on your behalf, attend at the pharmacy to pick it up, and force you to take said medication.

Everyday everyone makes decisions. Some decisions are complicated legal decisions. But other decisions are daily care and everyday decisions which cannot be delegated to another person unless you are a minor or a person who the Court has deemed to be under a disability.

Some decisions are helpful for a personal injury case like making the decision to take your prescription medication, as directed by your doctor; attending at medical appointments and therapy appointments.

Other decisions are hurtful to a personal injury case like not taking your prescription medication, as directed; and skipping out of medical or treatment appointments. Other bad decisions for a personal injury case may include doing things that your doctor said you should not be doing (like bungee jumping after a serious accident, taking a long flight or going on a long vacation without asking your doctor if that’s a wise thing to do).

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