Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accident

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An Ontario MPP’s private member’s bill proposed that pedestrians not paying attention to where or how they are walking, could be fined up to $50 for distracted walking.

It’s called the “Phones Down, Heads Up Act” and was tabled by Toronto MPP Yves Baker of Etobicoke Centre.

Baker’s bill would ban people from looking at their phones or electronic devices when crossing roads, with an initial $50 fine for the first offence, $75 for the second and up to $125 for the third. Exceptions would include pedestrians making an emergency call or if they began speaking on the phone before stepping into the crosswalk (this would be difficult to prove).

In Ontario, the OPP attributed 65 deaths in 2016 to distracted driving, which is more than impaired driving, speeding or not wearing a seat belt. While this is not distracted walking, it’s certainly along the same lines. In 2016, 42 pedestrians were killed on Toronto’s streets, the most since 2002.

Here are Goldfinger Injury Lawyers, we applaud the “Phones Down, Heads Up Act” as too often, we see people taking those so called “zombie walks” without paying attention to where they are going, or what they’re doing.

But, we have a lot of questions about the new Act, which are explored in greater detail below.

Please keep in mind that distracted walking does not only involve accidents involving pedestrians, and cars, bikes or other motorized vehicles.

People walk in to pot holes or cracks or lose their footing on account of not paying attention to where they are walking .

People walk in to lamp posts, doors, walls, guard rails, other pedestrians, parked cars and fall down stairs because they are not paying attention to where they are walking.

People slip on ice or other slick surfaces because they aren’t paying attention to where they’re walking.

You have all seen the YouTube clips before of ridiculous distracted walking incidents. Our personal injury lawyers field some of those calls.

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Happy New Year to all of the readers of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog! We hope that the upcoming new year brings you  health, happiness and prosperity. We also want to thank all of our readers for their excellent comments, likes and shares. 2015 was a banner year for Goldfinger Injury Lawyers and the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog and we hope to build upon that success in 2016.

What’s new for 2016? Well, Ontario has a set of laws which have just kicked in pursuant to the aptly named “Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act“. As an aside, Ontario along with other jurisdictions have a tendency of giving grandiose names to acts which make the public think that they are not only AMAZING, but also do what they say they do. The reality is that within these incredibly named acts, there are sometimes provisions which have little or nothing to do with the name of the Act as well. Sometimes, it’s a way for legislature to pass laws under the rug, without the public or media catching on. We often see this with car insurance and the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule and the Insurance Act.

In any event, the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act is a fantastic name for a set of laws. Whether or not it will do what it purports to do is still up in the air.

Here’s what you need to know:

There are increased fines for violations at crosswalks, school crossings, and pedestrian crossings. Those fines are DOUBLED in Community Safety zones. Drivers will be fined $150-$500 along with 3 demerit points for such offences.

Staring January 1, 2016, drivers and CYCLISTS must STOP and yield the entire road to pedestrians at pedestrian crossovers, and at school crossings where  there is a crossing guard displaying a school crossing stop sign. These pedestrian crossovers are identified with specific signs, road markings and lights. The new rules do NOT apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school guard is present.

The Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act also gives municipalities the power to install new types of pedestrian crossings on low speed, low volume roads in addition to existing crossovers (think more speed bump crossings in a sub-division).

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Around this time of the year, our law firm receives a noticeable spike in pedestrian collision claims. These are the sort of cases where somebody is trying to cross the street (on foot), and they get hit by a car, or some other sort of motor vehicle (even a bike).

What explains the spike is anybody’s guess. But, it would make sense that near the end of October we get less daylight, making visibility more difficult for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. We also have some worse weather which can lead to visibility issues as well. And who can forget the Halloween Holiday, whereby residential streets are flooded with trick or treaters in full blown costume.

At the time of preparing the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post, at least 12 pedestrians were hit by cars around the General Toronto Area during the commuting periods. Some new outlets have the number as high as 16 pedestrian collisions throughout the course of the day. That’ a lot! Police are attributing this spike to poor visibility on account of decreased daylight and bad weather. This was one of the first days of the fall where the weather was rather cold, damp and dark.

Scary because Halloween is right around the corner and you get the sneaking suspicion that people can’t drive safely anymore? Scary because you get the feeling that motorists don’t have respect for other motorists, cyclists or pedestrians? I know the feeling. Adding insult to injury is that the penalties handed out by our Courts following a breach of the Highway Traffic Act are akin to slaps on the wrist. A few demerit points, a license suspension, a fine. None of these penalties are proportional to the devastating impact a serious car accident can have on an innocent accident victim and their family.

There are a lot of young parents who read the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog. Having a young family of my own, I want to share with you some of Goldfinger Injury Lawyers’s top tips on how to keep Halloween safe when you’re outside trick or treating this holiday season. If the recent trend of motorists colliding with pedestrians continues, I’m certain you can use these tips. I’ll do my best to give you some out of the box tips you may not have even thought of aside from the usual ones you may see in other media online.

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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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One of the most important, most complex, and trickiest claim forms to complete following a car accident is the OCF-3 Disability Certificate.

Never heard of an OCF-3 Disability Certificate? That’s ok. Most people haven’t heard of any of these “OCF” claim forms until after they’ve been involved in a car accident.

There are many purposes to the form. But, the primary and general purpose of the form is to let the insurer know what injuries you’ve sustained as a result of the car accident.

The OCF-3 is completed by two people. The first half is completed by the accident victim themself, a family member, a lawyer, a friend, or a loved one. The first part of the form asks some very basic information which you ought to have no problems completing (provided that you can read and write in English). If English is NOT your first language, or you have problems reading and writing, then it’s best to get somebody else to complete the form on your behalf.

You will be asked for your name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and the date of the car accident. The trickiest part of the top part of the form is completing the section which asks you to describe how the car accident happened, along with the injuries you’ve sustained.

The insurer will look back to this section, and cross reference it with the medical and police records they’ve gathered throughout the litigation process. If there are any significant discrepancies, then beware.

Example: You say in this part of the form that the car accident was a t-bone collision and that the at fault driver also fled the accident scene. As a result of the t-bone collision, you’ve sustained a fractured skull, and 3 broken ribs. But the police records show that this accident was actually a rear end collision, and that you didn’t break any bones whatsoever. This will be a big red flag for the insurer, so be careful how you complete this part of the form. It’s best to consult a lawyer before submitting it to the insurance company. I have seen many a defence counsel refer and rely on these forms and accident/injury descriptions to hurt the credibility of injured accident victims, so don’t underestimate the importance of how you complete this part of the OCF-3 Disability Certificate.
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When innocent parties get run over by a car, or hit while they’re riding a bike, they automatically think that some for of insurance company will respond to their claim.

On one hand, they’re right: some FORM of insurance should respond. But what form that insurance comes in (private/public/fast/slow) is a different story.

The insurer of LAST resort is the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund or “The Fund” as it’s known to many lawyers across Ontario.

But, getting the Fund to respond to your claim is not as easy as it sounds, nor are they quick to act in any way, shape or form. After all, we’re dealing with a government entity.

In Ontario, we have a system of no fault accident benefits. That system, is supposed to provide all injured accident victims with support for their rehabilitation costs which are not covered by OHIP after an accident. Physiotherapy, chiropractic care, occupational therapy is all NOT covered by OHIP, except in very limited circumstances, either through the hospital or through Community Care Access Centre (CCAC).
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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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