Articles Posted in Children Accident

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I suppose the title of this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post is slightly misleading. It may suggest that I, Brian Goldfinger, am going back to school. While this sounds like a great and enlightening idea, I am not going back to school.

Rather, this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post will deal with Brian Goldfinger’s observations on students returning to school earlier this week.

My children began school on the Tuesday after labour day. Other began school on Wednesday, September 7th. Older university students got settled in their dorms and residences over the Labour Day Long Weekend.

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Labour Day has come and gone. You can kiss the summer and wearing those light white beach side pants goodbye.

With the passing of Labour Day comes the arrival of the back to school season. The roads are noticeably busier across Ontario. I can tell you from experience that the morning commutes in Toronto, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Peterborough take longer and are noticeably more congested.

Back to school brings more school buses on the roads, along with more children walking or cycling to school. This added traffic brings with it increased risk for serious accidents and serious injury. This is why this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog will focus on the top safety tips for the Back To School Season Commute. Some obvious tips; others not so obvious. Enjoy!

  1. Signage: Those “School Zone” and “Community Safety Zone” signs really mean something. They have been installed for a reason after long road studies and traffic observations; so watch your speed and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists on their morning commutes.
  2. Stop Signs on Buses matter: School buses come equipped with their very own stop signs. They are attached to an extendable arm at the side of the bus and activate on pick ups and drop offs. These stop signs aren’t gimmicks. They have the very same force as those signs which are fixed in place on community streets.It is illegal to fail to stop for a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing. If you don’t stop, you can be fined $400 to $2,000 and get six demerit points for a first offence. If you are convicted a second time within five years, the penalty is a fine of $1,000 to $4,000 and six demerit points. You could also go to jail for up to six months. In Ontario, school-bus drivers and other witnesses can report vehicles that have illegally passed a school bus. If you are the vehicle’s registered owner, these same fines, but not demerit points or jail time, may be applied to you.Watch for school buses near railway crossings. All school buses must stop at all railway crossings. The upper alternating red lights are not used for these stops, so be alert. If you are driving behind a stopped school bus with its flashing light extending, the Ministry of Transportation requires that you stop at least 20 meters BEHIND the stopped bus. 
  3. Use the Buddy System: If your child walks or bikes to school, it’ s a good idea for road safety and just for general safety that they not make the commute on their own. Find a friend or a commute buddy so that they can make the trip together and in proper safety. G-d forbid something should happen or they go missing. The buddy system will ensure a faster notice period should something wrong on the commute to/from school. It’s easy and just makes sense.

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Halloween is fast approaching and everyone is getting in to the spirit. Household decorations are popping up. People are crunching trying to find that perfect holiday costume. And what about the mounds of candies and treats that are yet to come. It’s a fun time which shouldn’t be tainted by accident or injury.

You would be AMAZED at the volume of post Halloween personal injury calls that our law firm receives. When things go wrong, we hear about it and we hear about it fast.

With that being said, the following Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post is our best attempt to warn you about some of the top accident/injury calls we get around this time of year to prevent them from happening to you or your loved ones.

1) Injuries caused on account of darkness Trick or treating happens in the dark. Because it’s dark, pedestrians often can’t see where they’re walking. This might cause them to trip and fall on a hazard which they might otherwise see in the daylight. How can you solve this problem? Try starting your trick or treating a bit earlier when there’s more daylight. Carry a flashlight to guide your way. Walk in areas which you’re familiar with. Walk on well lit streets or well lit paths. Visibility is important.

Other injuries we see on account of poor visibility involve pedestrian/car accidents. Cases where cars fail to see trick or treaters, and knock them over causing serious injury. Motorists need to be especially cautious while driving on Halloween to avoid energized youngsters on their quest to candy. Drive slow. Put on your head lights. When in doubt, slow down. The same what that motorists need to be careful of pedestrians; pedestrians also need to be careful of negligent motorists. Walk on the sidewalk. Carry a flashlight. Get some reflective tape for your costume or on your candy collecting pail. Don’t dress in all black because motorists won’t be able to see you well.
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Today I purchased a new car seat for my young one. The amount of safety technology they put in to car seats for little ones is astonishing. I think that an army of engineers and crash collision experts spent years developing the safety technology in the car seat. The safety features of the car seat, combined the the safety features of modern automobiles such as front and side airbags, ABS breaks, re-enforced steel etc. can really give you a sense of security.

Did I mention the sheer selection of car seats on the market? The amount of brands, combined with the amount of options makes your task as a parent a difficult one. If the sales person doesn’t know anything about the brand or safety features, then you’d better hit the internet and hit it hard. The safety of your child isn’t something you want to take for granted.

Which got me thinking. If child car seat and auto manufacturers are putting in so much thought in to child safety; what are the Courts doing to protect the interests of children and minors?

Great question!

Rule 7.08 protects the rights of minors, which are, for the purposes of the Rules of Civil Procedure; “parties under disability” under the law of Ontario. Any person under the age of 18 is a “party under disability” and will need to be represented by an adult for the purposes of the law suit.
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