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Articles Posted in Car Accident

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Did you know that Ontario car insurance companies are entitled to a secret credit approaching $40,000 for your pain and suffering in car accident cases? Probably not.

It’s one of the best kept secrets in the insurance industry which insurance companies don’t want you to know about.

In the past few days, the secret credit aka the deductible has been getting a bit of attention in the news. Here is an article from the Toronto Sun explaining the unfairness of the deductible.

In fairness, the current deductible does not actually stand at $40,000. Technically speaking, it sits at $39,556.53, but lawyers call it $40,000 because remembering the exact dollars and cents is a bit difficult to do. This $39,556.53 goes up each year on January 1st. So, while today the deductible sits at $39,556.53, by January 1st of next year, it will go up again, likely over $40,000 which is higher than the average net salary of many income earners in Ontario.

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Personal Injury Lawyers across Ontario are all talking about the dramatic changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure which take place on January 1, 2020.

The most notable change is that being made to Simplified Procedure.

The amount you can claim for Simplified Procedure claims will double from $100,000 to $200,000, exclusive of interest.

This is significant for personal injury lawyers because damages for pain and suffering claims across Canada are capped at around $388,604 depending on who you ask. We found our best reference guide here with an actuarial/accounting company who focuses their time on personal injury claims. This cap on general damages goes up (or down) each month with the cost of inflation.

The cap on general damages is also significant when taking in to consideration the deductible for car accident cases in Ontario. As of the time of preparing this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, the deductible for general damages in motor vehicle accident claims sits at $38,818.97 and is set to increase on January 1, 2020.

When you take in to consideration the cap on general damages in Canada, along with the deductible for pain and suffering in car accident cases in Ontario, many personal injury lawyer across Ontario will look to take advantage of bringing claims under the New Simplified Procedure Rules.

The New Simplified Procedure puts a cap on cost recovery at $50,000; along with a cap on disbursement recovery at $25,000.

What’s important to note here is that the recoveries are limited at these amounts. But there is nothing preventing another party from spending well over these amounts. That means that a deep pocketed insurer can spend $500,000 on a case limited to just $200,000 under the Simplified Rules, and only recover $50,000 in costs and $25,000 in disbursements. It wouldn’t surprise any of the personal injury lawyers at our office if any insurer spend 10x of the value of the case in order to prove a point. There is NOTHING preventing a party from over spending on a case. What doesn’t make good business sense has never stopped an insurer from attempting to prove a point. How this plays out we have yet to see.

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Winning a car accident case in Ontario is difficult.

It’s not enough to have been involved in a car accident, and that accident is not your fault.

A Plaintiff also has to establish injuries/damages. The Plaintiff must also establish that his/her damages are related to the subject car accident. This is called causation.

At the end of the day, these are called personal injury cases for a reason. There must be an injury, otherwise there will be no compensation.

What makes things particularly difficult in Ontario, is that regardless of fault, the injuries are subject to two giant legal hurdles meant to defeat the Plaintiff’s case and limits their recovery.

The first hurdle is the threshold. Your injuries need to defined as a serious and permanent impairment of an important bodily function. If the injuries are not permanent, then you get zero. If the injuries are not deemed serious, then you get zero. If the injury just lasted 8 months, and then you made a full or close to full recovery, the you get zero.

All of this seems unfair; and I agree with you if you feel this way.

The second hurdle is the deductible. The insurer is entitled to a secret credit on all damages for pain and suffering. The first $38,818.97 of your award vanishes! It’s credited directly to the insurer. Is that fair? No it’s not, but this is the laws that personal injury lawyers have to work with for car accident cases in Ontario.

What’s even more disturbing is that if it’s a jury trial, your personal injury lawyer cannot mention the concept of the threshold or deductible to the jury. If your personal injury lawyer mentions these concepts, the defendant insurer will likely move for a mistrial and seek their legal costs.

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Mediation is mandatory in any civil case commenced in Toronto, Ottawa or Windsor. There are mandatory mediation requirements under the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Mediation is also mandatory in car accident cases, but not many save for lawyers and insurance adjusters know that it is.

Buried deep inside the Insurance Act is a provision dealing specifically with mediation for car accident cases:

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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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