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Articles Posted in Fatality Claims

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Imagine for a moment that you have a personal injury case with a fast approaching Pre-Trial or Trial date.

In the case, liability (how then accident happened and whose fault it is) along with damages are both hotly contested issues.

At trial, both lawyers for the Plaintiff and the lawyers for the Defendant expect their respective clients to provide contradictory evidence. It’s a case of s/he said vs. s/he said whereby the Judge and Jury will need to pick a version of events they like the best.

What happens is before the trial one of those parties dies?

This happens more than you might expect. Personal injury cases, and civil trials take a lot of time. In 2024, these cases take a lot more time to get to move through the litigation process than they did decades ago. The longer a case takes to reach its conclusion, the greater the odds that a party might pass away before the proceeding reaches its conclusion. That’s just science.

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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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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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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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The main office of Goldfinger Injury Lawyers is at 167 Sheppard Ave W, at Yonge and Sheppard in Toronto.

This is right outside of where Toronto Van Rampage suspect Alex Minassian was bravely apprehended on Poyntz Ave by Toronto Police Constable Ken Lam. More on PC Ken Lam later.

This is also right outside the site of where Mr. Minassian’s drive ended at Yonge and Sheppard, which began earlier at Yonge and Finch. The crime scene as identified by the Toronto Police extends around 2.2 kilometres. This is a long stretch or densely populated road and sidewalk.

The aftermath was that Minassian left 10 people dead in his tracks, and 14+ seriously injured. His actions shut down  Yonge Street and subway service in the area. Toronto Mayor John Tory asked that businesses close down for the day so the police could properly investigate the area.

Among the names deceased identified this fare are Anne Marie D’Amico (30); 80 year old grandmother Dorothy Sewell; Munir Najjar; and chef Chul Min “Eddie” Kang.

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Tragedy struck the nation on April 6, 2018 as 15 young men of the Humboldt Broncos Saskatchewan Junior Hockey Club were killed in a fatal bus/tractor trailer crash in rural Saskatchewan.

The lives of: Parker Tobin, Darcy Haugan, Stephen Wack, Logan Boulet, Brody Hinz, Evan Thomas, Mark Cross, Logan Schatz, Adam Herold, Tyler Bieber, Glen Doerksen, Jaxon Joseph, Jacob Leicht, Logan Hunter and Conner Lukan all cut too short.

14 others who were on the bus were injured. The extent of those injuries and their long term impact is unknown. We wish all those injured in this terrible accident, their loved ones, friends and families for a speedy physical, emotional and spiritual recovery.

In the words of Humboldt Broncos father Myles ShumlanskiI don’t know how to explain it even as a nightmare, because it’s past a nightmare.

The whole world (not just Canada) has rallied around this tragedy to show their support through financial donations via GoFundMe Campaign which as of the date of preparing this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post has raised over $8.2M; well wishes online#HumboldtStrong; shows of remembrance/support leaving out hockey sticks outside of the front door to honour those lost and injured. All Canadians are Humboldt. 

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A few weeks ago, the Marco Muzzo sentencing grabbed national headlines. In case you don’t know about the Marco Muzzo case; here’s the gist.

Mr. Muzzo was driving drunk in York Region. His drunk driving led to a fatal car crash which killed 4 people. It was a tragic collision. At our law firm, we don’t refer to these collisions as “accidents“. Accidents are by their very nature, unintentional acts. You mean no harm, although harm may come from your unintentional negligence.

Drunk driving on the other hand is never unintentional. It’s a conscious decision to drink, and then another conscious decision to drive. Every person needs to know or ought to know that whenever you get behind the wheel after you’ve had a drink or two puts the lives and safety of other motorists at risk.

Mr. Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He received 8 months credit for time spent in prison pre-sentencing. That means that he will only need to serve 9 years and 4 months in jail. Upon release from prison, he will be prohibited from driving for 12 years.  He will be eligible for parole and an early release. When that time comes is up to the Court. In my informal poll of criminal lawyers, the consensus is that if Mr. Muzzo is a model prisoner, he may get parole in around 3 years or so.

Think about that long and hard. If Mr. Muzzo, having made a conscious decision to drink and drive and kill 4 people is out on parole in 3-4 years, does that punishment/penalty fit the crime? Conversely, does 9 years and 4 months of jail time fit the crime?

Finding the right balance between penalty, punishment, deterrent and rehabilitation/reintegration of an offender is a difficult balance. This is one of the hallmarks of Canada’s criminal justice system. The goal of the justice system is not only justice, but it’s to rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders so that they can become productive members to society.

This same delicate balancing act does NOT apply to the civil justice system. Nobody is doing jail time (unless they’re found in contempt of Court or in repeated breach of a Court Order) for having caused damage to others.

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Just after 4 p.m. this past Sunday, Gary and Neriza Neville were driving with their grandchildren – Daniel, 9, Harry, 5, and Millie Neville-Lake, 2 – and the children’s great-grandmother Josephina Frias when an SUV operated by Marco Muzzo slammed into the side of their minivan at an intersection north of Toronto. Mr. Neville and all three children died of their injuries.

The parents of the children, Edward Neville and Jennifer Neville-Lake, were not in the minivan. Ms. Neville-Lake learned of the collision while watching TV news at home and has called the loss “the worst nightmare.”

The cause of the collision appears to have been drunk driving. Charges have been laid, but nothing has yet to be proven in Court.

Many of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog readers, and non-readers heard about this tragic quadruple fatality claim. It brings to light a number of legal issues which I would like to clarity regarding drunk driving laws, and how damages work for drunk driving claims along with Court penalties for drunk driving.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about drunk driving and fatality/wrongful death claims:

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Received a few calls wanting commentary on the recent fatal accident involving a 7 year old. The accident took place at intersection of Millwood Road and McRae Drive, south of Eglinton Avenue in Toronto in an affluent area of the City known as Leaside. The intersection has a baseball diamond nearby, a park and a children’s summer camp as well. Kids play in that area.

The facts of the case are still rather murky. All we know for certainty is that the child was struck by a van trying to make a right hand turn. No charges have been laid. Police continue to investigate this matter. Speed may or may not be an issue in this case. We’re still not certain.

Dignitaries and politicians attended at the child’s funeral including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Kathleen Wynne. Any funeral attended both by the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Ontario is going to be a big story.

A fund raiser for Sick Kids in memory of the child raised well over $55K.

To say that the accident was a big deal and a big news story is an understatement. This car accident received national media attention.
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