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Articles Posted in Car Accident

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Wednesday July 1st is Canada Day. Can you believe it?

Because of COVID, most people are uncertain what day of the week it is. Let alone month or date. When it comes to stat holidays? Forget about it! Every day feels like a Tuesday on repeat like some cruel real life edition of the cult comedy Ground Hog Day starring Bill Murray.

For most, Canada Day is full of fond memories like spending time at the cottage, lake, pool, BBQs or at family get togethers. It’s a time to decompress, enjoy the warm summer weather and kick back. It’s also a time where you get a day off work to relax.

This Canada Day will likely be a really weird one because of COVID.

For starters, mass gatherings like those at a community picnic, BBQ, concert or celebration like we see across the nation (particularly in Ottawa) either won’t be happening or will be happening much differently and on a much smaller scale. I don’t expect to see any sort of mass gatherings like we are accustom to seeing for Canada Day 2020.

But this doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to be out and about trying to get the most out of this celebratory day.

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Continuing with our COVID theme of straight facts and no filler or wonky political spin, for this week’s edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, we will be focusing on Accident Benefit Claims in Ontario.

Why are we doing this?

Because we are finding so much misinformation going around right now during the Pandemic, we want to give people easy to understand legal information which won’t take forever to sort through. It also won’t require the reader to be a political analyst or medical expert to understand.

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Toronto’s new initiative to provide safer streets for cycling and walking is a step in the right direction but
will require a cooperative effort from drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, says Toronto personal injury lawyer
Brian Goldfinger.

As part of its ActiveTO program, the city is transforming some major roads into “quiet streets,” giving
people space to be physically active while observing social distancing protocols.

This is a great idea, especially for an urban environment,” Goldfinger notes. “As a result of COVID-19,
there are fewer people taking mass transit. People are getting around on bikes a lot more these days,
whether it’s to commute to work, or for pleasure. It’s not a war on cars, but more of an evolution of our
roadways.

Toronto Mayor John Tory says the city will soon have more than 50 kilometres of quiet streets, including
areas like Kensington Market and Havenbrook Boulevard, reports CP24.

Signs and temporary barricades will be placed on neighbourhood streets to allow local car traffic only and
open up space for people who walk, run, use wheelchairs and bike, states the city’s website.

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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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