Articles Posted in Car Accident

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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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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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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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The OCF-10 Election Form is important for your car accident case in Ontario. By completing the OCF-10 Election Form, the injured accident victim is telling the insurance company which benefit they are choosing to receive.

Completing the OCF-10 Election Form incorrectly, or late; can hurt a car accident case and prejudice your right to claim and recovery accident benefits which you will need to help make you whole.

Without further a due, here are Goldfinger Injury Lawyers’ Top Tips on completing the OCF-10 Election Form.

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Completing the Application for Accident Benefits is the single and most important step in any car accident case.

Without a completed Application for Accident Benefits, your car accident case; both for tort and accident benefits won’t get off the ground.

Failure to complete an Application for Accident Benefits can nullify your claim, no matter how legitimate that claim might be.

So where does one start? Good question!

After you’ve been involved in a serious car accident; or accident arising from the use or operation of a motor vehicle (motorcycle; bike/car; car/pedestrian; truck), you will first need to contact your own insurance company.

Sounds crazy right! Why on earth would you have to call your own insurance company to report a car accident that wasn’t even your fault.

But that’s how Ontario’s no fault system of accident benefits works. Regardless if the at fault driver was drunk driving, while texting and smoking cannabis all at the same time causing him to run a red light; you will still need to contact your own insurance company to make an accident benefit claim.

Your own insurance company is responsible for paying those accident benefits. It gets trickier if the injured party is a pedestrian, cyclist, or a passenger without insurance. It gets even tricker if none of the vehicles involved in the car accident didn’t have car insurance. That’s what insurance lawyers and personal injury lawyers are for. Sorting out those tricky and ever complex coverage disputes which insurers seem to love to argue over.

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A recent appeal heard in the Ontario Divisional Court made my blood boil.

Why? Let’s set the context for modern car accident and personal injury law in Ontario.

Being a personal injury lawyer is an uphill battle. It’s a real life David vs. Goliath fight featuring what’s usually an unsophisticated accident victim of limited means who has never litigated a case in his/her life vs. a highly sophisticated multi billion dollar insurer whose litigation costs are a part of its business model.

The Plaintiff is seriously injured and looking to get the compensation they deserve so they can move on with their lives as best they can.

The Defendant is looking to minimize their cost exposure by any legal means necessary. The Defendant insurer will conduct “independent” medical examinations by doctors who are paid directly by the insurer or through third party contractors (also paid by the insurer) to defeat a Plaintiff’s case. The insurer will conduct in person and cyber surveillance to find out what a Plaintiff is up to to defeat their case. The insurer will constantly test and re-test the credibility of a Plaintiff because they don’t believe what they’re saying. The insurer has an unlimited war chest at its disposal.

Those are just some of the pitfalls and hurdles which personal injury lawyers have come to expect from the combative state of modern personal injury litigation in Ontario.

But there are also procedural pitfalls and hurdles which an injured Plaintiff must overcome as well. And it’s one of these procedural hurdles which is the focus of this week’s edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog.

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Goldfinger Injury Lawyers represents clients who have sustained catastrophic injuries as a result of a serious motor vehicle collision.

The term “catastrophic” isn’t thrown around lightly by personal injury lawyers.

The term “catastrophic” has special legal meaning under the Insurance Act. It would be defined as a term of art which carries with it a special medico legal definition.

Under the Insurance Act, a “catastrophic injury” is defined as:

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In law school, lawyers are taught to sue parties with deep pockets.

Suing a Defendant who is without assets will net you a limited or a nil return. You can’t get blood from a stone.

Understanding this concept is important to understanding how car accident cases work in Ontario. But there is much more than meets the eye.

In this “nutshell” series of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, we take a quick examination of how exactly car accident cases w0rk in Ontario, and what to expect.

Ontario has a very strange system of car insurance. When explained to a lay person, Ontario’s no fault accident benefit and tort system for car accident claims sounds backwards:

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Toronto has seen a spike in pedestrian/car and bike/car accidents. Toronto has also seen a spike in fatality claims arising from such accidents. Vision Zero is a multi-national road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic. Vision Zero has been implemented in Toronto, but its objectives have not been met. The goals are ambitious, and failure to reach those goals is a “good try“. Harsher critics would call it a failure.

Fatality claims on Toronto Roads have hit such a crisis point that City Council voted unanimously to double this year’s road safety budget in light of recent cyclist and pedestrian deaths and public outcry. An additional $22 million in annual municipal spending will go towards accomplishing Vision Zero goals in the City of Toronto. This more than doubles the initial budget of Vision Zero, which had been set at around 21.3 million.

We can all agree that nobody should be seriously injured, or killed while using our streets either as a motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian. Our streets should be safe; and the fear of getting run over by a car shouldn’t run rampant in your mind when out and about trying to enjoy city life in Toronto.

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