Articles Posted in Car Accident

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If you are reading this entry in the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, then likely a loved one, family member, dear friend or acquaintance has passed away as a result of the negligence of another party.

We are sorry for your loss.

Thoughts, prayers and well wishes from others are great, but sometimes they aren’t enough. You need action. And that’s where my law firm comes in.

Goldfinger Injury Lawyers has a proven track record of results in getting families the compensation they deserve following the untimely death of a family member as a result of the negligence of another party. Full disclaimer here: past results are not indicative of future awards. We have to include that disclaimer because we’re lawyers.

Many of the fatality claims that we see come as a result of a motor vehicle accident (car vs. car, car vs. truck, bike vs. car; pedestrian vs. car; motorcycle, etc.). Thousands of pounds of steel, metal, aluminium in the form of a motor vehicle travelling carelessly at high speeds will cause devastating and fatal injury.

Here is where things can get confusing for the general public.

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In the world of Plaintiff personal injury law, it’s not uncommon for cases to last a year,  to multiple years. Depending on the severity of the injury, the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved in a case, along with the willingness (or lack thereof) of the parties to settle, personal injury cases can take a lot of time.

From the time your case is issued, up until the time the case is ultimately resolved by way of trial or settlement, a lot can happen. We call this period of time the litigation period.

During the litigation period, it’s unfortunate, although not uncommon for Plaintiffs to get involved in a second, or even a third accident. Regardless of fault, or whether or not the Plaintiff choses to litigate, this second or third accident will be significant and can totally change the dynamic of the personal injury case at hand.

Here are a few examples discussed by personal injury lawyer Brian Goldfinger the principal of Goldfinger Injury Lawyers of how a second or third accident during the litigation period can have a negative impact on a personal injury case.

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September means back to school time. It can also mean back to work time for many adults who have take a summer vacation. That means our commutes are more crowded on the roads. Increased volumes of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are imminent.

The City of Toronto is in the midst of its Vision Zero comprehensive safety plan to reduce the number of fatality claims and serious injury claims on Toronto streets to ZERO. This is a bold objective. Starting in 2017 and lasting until 2021, Vision Zero believes that serious accident claims are preventable and ought to be totally eliminated.

I’ve not seen very much on Toronto streets when it comes to eliminating pedestrian/bike/car accidents on city streets. Attempts at segregated bike lanes ebb and flow depending on which way City Counsel is feeling that day. Increasing or decreasing speed limits, adding more (or less) red light cameras, better sequencing of traffic lights has been discussed and implemented to some form or extent.

But I would like to share with you a recent observation from right around the block from our Toronto Office near the busy corner of Yonge and Sheppard.

Directly across the street from Goldfinger Injury Lawyers’ Toronto Office is the Catholic District School Board. It’s a busy place, rumbling with students, parents, teachers, administrators etc. Within walking distance are a number of Catholic, Public and Private Schools as well. Right across the street are twin buildings which play host to the Small Claims Courts, Family Courts, OHIP Offices, ODSP Offices, Landlord Tenant Tribunal, accounting offices, law firms, and other professional offices. Across the street in the other direction are 4 high rise condominiums, the entrance to the Yonge/Sheppard Subway, a bustling mall with shops and a food court, along with other professional offices.

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Some of the most difficult, and most emotional cases for clients and personal injury lawyers to handle are car crashes which result in the death of a loved one.

How does one put a price on a human life?

No amount of money will ever be enough to fill the void of the untimely death of a family member.

One of the saddest things we at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers hear from our clients is that they never got a chance to say goodbye to the deceased.

When a family member is terminally ill, at least we have a chance to say our goodbyes and come to terms with their illness. There is no surprise in their passing.linkedin-2-300x300

But when a fatal car crash happens, we never had a chance to share memories of the good times or say a proper goodbye. There is a huge element of shock and trauma which goes along with the news of a fatality case as a result of a car crash because it was so unexpected and it should not have been their time to go. The departed were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The negligence of an at fault driver has taken their last breath of life and caused a ripple effect of consequences and sorrow for their family and loved ones.

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Summer long weekends can bring out the best, and worst in people.

As a personal injury lawyer, we are consulted in situations where bad things happen. Often bad things happen to very good people. This can have a devastating impact on the lives of the injured party, along with the lives of their families and loved ones. The future of one’s life can be altered for the worst in an instant thanks to some bad decisions.

Our law firm helps people from across the province of Ontario get the compensation they deserve. But Brian Goldfinger has seen far too often that the laws to compensate innocent accident victims, particularly in car accidents aren’t fair.

  • There is a secret credit for each car accident case whereby the first $38,818.97 for every award under $129,395.49 vanishes! That means if a Judge or Jury awards you $40,000 in damages for your pain and suffering in a serious car accident case which isn’t your fault, that $38,818.97 is subtracted from that amount leaving you with only $1,181.03! If a Judge and Jury award you $35,000, you are left with ZERO after the $38,818.97 deductible is applied. At law it’s called a deductible, but in reality, it’s a secret credit
  • Your personal injury lawyer CANNOT mention the aforementioned secret credit to the Jury at trial and the majority of people and juries alike don’t even know that a deductible applies which contemplating awards for car accident cases.
  • If your personal injury lawyer mentions the deductible aka secret credit, a Judge may declare a mistrial and seek that the Plaintiff and his/her personal injury lawyer pay costs to the defendant.
  • The will of the jury is usurped by the law when the deductible aka secret credit is applied. If a jury intends to award a Plaintiff $50,000, they should get the $50,000 award as the jury intended. But instead, the will of the governments supersedes the will of the jury which sat through the evidence and heard the case when the deductible is automatically applied.

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If you’ve been involved in a serious car accident, the police will generally come out to investigate the accident and lay charges on the at fault driver, if necessary.

At the scene of the car accident, police officers are required to take notes. Some officers notes are more detailed (and legible) than others. The police officers may also prepare an accident report at the scene of the collision, or back at the station. Those officers may (or may not) give you a copy of the accident report on the scene. Or, it may be provided to you at a later date (at a charge).

The motor vehicle accident report, or the police report as it’s commonly called, is the building block for proving liability in any personal injury car accident case.

This is the starting point for personal injury lawyers, insurers, defence lawyers and judges to understand how the accident happened.

The police report provides what’s supposed to be an objective synopsis of what happened.

Let me be perfectly clear. Sometimes the police don’t get it right. Their intentions are in the right place, but we are all human and we make errors. It happens.

Unfortunately, when these errors in reporting the collision happen, it can have a significant impact on the personal injury case.

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It’s hot. That means more people are outside doing “outdoorsey” stuff like hiking, cycling, rollerblading and skateboarding.

The activities are suppose to be fun and safe. But sometimes things can go wrong. And when they do, our law firm usually hears about it.

Accidents whereby skateboarders, cyclists and rollerbladers are hit by cars are usually very serious. Want to know why?

The average weight of a large car is over 4,000 pounds! The average weight of a Canadian male is 177 pounds.

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Ride hailing companies like Uber and Lyft have dramatically changed the way we get around. Hailing a car from a ride share service is convenient, fast and easy.

The increased popularity of these services has created many hiccups for personal injury lawyers, and insurance companies alike.

To give you an idea of the popularity of drive sharing services, in March 2019 in Toronto, nearly 176,000 trips were taken. That’s a lot of trips!

The first major pitfall we saw as personal injury lawyers is what policy of insurance was appropriate for ride share drivers?

A standard car insurance policy wouldn’t cut it because these vehicles were being used for commercial purposes. There are different driving patterns and risks associated with insuring commercial vehicles versus insuring normal residential communing vehicles. Add to that the additional risk of drivers taking on strangers in their cars, driving to/from unfamiliar places with timing constraints to get to a certain destination on time; it all adds to additional risk for insurers.

The first drive share cases which personal injury lawyers saw dealt with accidents involving such vehicles, where insurance companies were denying coverage because the driver failed to disclose that they were driving the vehicle for commercial purposes.

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Every single client that personal injury lawyer Brian Goldfinger has met believes that his/her case is worth at the very least, $1,000,000 (if not more).

But why stop at $1,000,000?

Why not $2,000,000?

Or $3,000,000?

How about $10,000,000?

Better yet, let’s make it $50,000,000 plus three Ferraris, a life time supply of groceries and a lakefront Muskoka cottage.

There are no limits to our imaginations and expectations for our respective cases.

But unfortunately, there are limitations at law for how much you can receive in your personal injury case, along with what exactly you can claim for.

When clients here about these limitations (essentially how the law works in Ontario), they are left disappointed and thinking that “the law sucks“. I agree. The law does suck. And it sucks especially hard for innocent car accident victims who did NOTHING WRONG, except for being in the wrong place, at the wrong time and suffering a serious injury as a result of the negligence of another individual.

When reading this installment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, please keep this in mind. All the law can do is try to make you whole, to compensate you “fairly” for your injuries. The law only in very rare cases punishes defendants with punitive or aggravated damages. Defendants are entitled to more protections under the law than innocent plaintiffs. We see these protections in the form of caps on general damages, secret credits called “deductibles“, medico-legal thresholds to hit in order to recover compensation along with damage set offs or credits for at fault defendants.

Car accident laws in Ontario have been drafted, crafted, carefully thought out and manipulated by large deep pocketed insurance companies to reduce their risk and exposure in cases like yours. The lower their risk and exposure, the more profitable these insurance companies can be.

The Ontario government for many years has caved in to insurance company demands with respect to the laws, in particular for car accident claims. The thinking was that the more insurers saved, the easier they would be able to pass along these savings to the consumer to reduce car insurance rates to make everyone happy. But ask yourself, over the past decade have your car insurance rates decreased? Likely not. But the benefits you’re eligible to receive have been slashed significantly. The end result is that Ontario consumers are paying MORE for car insurance, but getting LESS coverage and benefits under their plans.

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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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