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Articles Posted in Personal Injury Lawyer

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People get really confused about what to do when they sustain an injury in the workplace.

The first reaction for a person who gets injured while on the job is that they want to sue their employer, and everyone else under the sun for what happened to them.

This is a normal reaction and a normal train of thought. It would only seem logical and oh so simple that the injured worker sue his/her employer and anyone else responsible for their work related injuries.

Unfortunately, personal injury law in Ontario is far from logical and far from simple.

You see, because the injury took place in course or work, the employee must take a long hard look at whether or not s/he has to go through WSIB.

But what does going through WSIB have to do with suing for a personal injury case?

WSIB has everything to do with suing for a personal injury case; and here’s why.

You cannot both sue for your personal injuries, and claim WSIB benefits.

Well; if an injured worker cannot sue, and cannot claim WSIB benefits; then why can’t the injured worker just choose one path?

Because the law, in most cases; does NOT allow the injured party to chose. In the vast majority of cases; the injured worker MUST go through WSIB and cannot sue at all! Even if the employer was insanely negligent. I’m talking like sweat shop like labour conditions with zero protective gear and malfunctioning equipment which has been neglected for decades; the injured worker still CANNOT sue their employer if they are covered by WSIB.

If an injured worker tries to sue instead of having claimed WSIB benefits, their case will be kicked out of Court.

If an injured worker sues having not liked the amount of WSIB benefits they received; or having received not enough in WSIB benefits; their case will be kicked out of Court.

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Last night, like millions of others, I sat down to watch the Superbowl with my family. We had our traditional Superbowl Party, with all the fun food, snacks and beverages you might expect. We were all excited for the game, for the commercials and of course; for Rhianna’s return to the public eye for the Halftime show. And Rhianna did not disappoint.

The game had it’s fair share of controversial, or questionable calls.

There was a play in the first half, when the Eagles Tight End caught a pass heading out of bounds. He bobbled the pass, but still got both feet in bounds. Was it a catch? Was it not a catch because he bobbled the ball? I could have sworn it was not a catch because the bobble was clear as day. Yet, the referees ruled it a catch.

In the second half, the Eagles receiver caught the ball, got tackled after taking a step or two, fumbled the ball and it was returned for a touchdown. The ruling on the field called it a touchdown. Upon review, the call was overturned. The referees ruled that despite catching the ball, the receiving did not make a clear football move, and therefore, it was not ruled a catch or a fumble. The call was overturned and the points were taken off the board. It was baffled to say the least.

The final odd call was the holding penalty which ultimately decided the game. The Eagles defensive player made contact with the Chiefs receiver in what looked to be a normal football play. The referees called it a hold, the balls was advanced; and we all know what happened from there. The Chiefs kicked the game winning field goal with seconds left on the play clock. And there you have it, the Superbowl champs were decided.

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As a personal injury lawyer, I would love to snap my “Goldfinger” and make all of my client’s dreams come true!

I would snap my “Goldfinger” and my client’s cases would settle for billions and trillions and gazillions of dollars!

I would snap my “Goldfinger” and my client’s cases would settle on demand; with no hassle or stress for my clients.

I would snap my “Goldfinger” and the Defendant insurer would pay for a ticker tape parade down Yonge Street in honour of the Plaintiff and the at fault driver would have to serve as the Plaintiff’s butler for a lifetime.

All of this would be very nice for my clients, but it’s fantasy. The actual practice of law doesn’t work at all this way.

Many clients want to see their cases open, and then close quickly for millions and millions of dollars. That’s the way which personal injury cases appear to work on the television and in movies; so why not in reality as well?

Because reality is completely different than the world we see on TV or on the big screen.

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Earlier this week Chief Justice Morawetz gave his address at the traditional “Opening of the Courts” for Ontario.  Calling it the “Opening of the Courts” is likely very confusing for the general public.

To be clear, the Courts were not “closed” before that time. But every year around this time we have a ceremony to “open” them in pomp and circumstance. If you like legal tradition, then this is the place to be! If you weren’t there live (which you likely were not), you can catch the ceremony here as it was publicly posted on YouTube.

The Opening of the Courts presents an opportunity for the Chief Justice to make a state of the union type of address acknowledging how the Courts and the Administration of Justice is performing from an insider’s perspective. It presents the Chief Justice with an opportunity to announce plans or changes moving forward. When the Chief Justice speak, lawyer across Ontario listen very attentively. Here are a few interesting comments from the Chief Justice himself from the Opening of the Courts which caught my attention:

References to the Queen have now transitioned to the King. Our Registrars now refer to the King when opening and closing court.”

The current situation (in Ontario Civil Courts) cannot continue. If the timeline between the commencement of a civil matter and the trial is 4 to 5 years, the civil justice system is simply not responding to the litigants.

return to in-person hearings, especially for substantive and complex matters, is an integral part of the judicial system and essential to the administration of justice.”

Meaningful access to justice requires in-person hearings for many self-represented litigants. It is also essential to building the core ingredients of a strong and healthy bar — mentorship and collegiality

There is no going back: virtual hearings have become a permanent fixture for court proceedings

civil proceedings are an area that is ripe for major change…..(The Court) runs the risk of becoming irrelevant in civil proceedings if action is not taken.”

The Rules of Civil Procedure were meant to provide us with a roadmap to resolution; but instead, civil proceedings have become bogged down by process. They have become a maze that is difficult for many to navigate. They have become out of step with the purpose they were meant to serve

In commenting on this, the Chief Justice commented that there out to be a new and more simple path forward. There looks to be a complete re-writing of the Rules of Civil Procedure within 3 years.

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The front page story of today’s Globe & Mail (print) newspaper read “Woman at centre of scandal breaks silence“; referring to the complainant who stepped forward in the sexual assault lawsuit against Hockey Canada and some players.

More interesting were the comments from the personal injury lawyer who says “in watching the coverage of his client’s complaint it has been frustrating to see misinformation circulate that she did not cooperate with police.

It’s really hard to read about stories in the print media, when they don’t have access to all of the information and yet they report on it as if they do. It’s not in the best interest of any lawyer to litigate a case through the media. In fact, if sensitive information about a case gets out into the public before the case has resolved, it will likely jeopardize and tarnish the outcome of the case entirely.

Assaults, and sexual assault cases often get reported in the media. We hear it all the time, and tend to cast judgment based on the reporting itself, or based on our own predisposed beliefs.

Unfortunately, the reporters and their news outlets often get things wrong.  Or perhaps its the Twitter Trolls or amateur internet commentators in the comment sections who just don’t get it.

It happened to our office and to one of our client’s. In a highly publicized case out of Peterborough, our client was assaulted at Riley’s Pub downtown. The bouncers were so aggressive that they broke our client’s leg/ankle. Our client sought medical assistance from the police.

Instead, the three officers referred to the man as a “pussy,” a “douche,” a “drunk idiot,” told him to “walk it off” and told him to take a cab to the hospital where he was eventually treated for the serious leg injury, investigators found. An independent police review has found “evidence of misconduct” involving two Peterborough-Lakefield police officers and a department sergeant.

The complaint against the officers eventually settled outside of the formal Tribunal.

When this story first broke, members of the community thought it to be a sham, or a charade to catch attention. It couldn’t possibly be true. But it was.

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A few weeks ago I was in conversation with a person who asked what I did for a living. I told him that I was a lawyer. He thought that was really cool. When he asked what kind of law I practiced; I told him I was a personal injury lawyer and he looked at me with distain. I wasn’t quite sure why.

Practicing personal injury law is the very essence of civil litigation. At the route of it; personal injury lawyers get innocent accident victims fair compensation for their injuries. We Get People Paid. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. I cannot think of a more noble and pure pursuit when it comes to civil litigation.

Every time I hand someone over their settlement cheque, I am helping to stimulate the economy at a grass route level.

Don’t believe me?

A personal injury lawyer is quite literally re-distributing wealth from large, multi-billion dollar insurance companies; trickling down to injured accident victims; many of whom were struggling to make ends meet before the litigation even got started. The money is going from super rich corporations to regular, everyday individuals. Very Robin Hood-esque!

When my law firm hands someone a settlement cheque; they will spend that cheque in so many different ways. You remember when Oprah handed out gifts (like free cars) on her TV show. You Get a Car! And You Get a Car! And You Get a Car! It’s kinda the same thing!

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The title of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post, “Brian Goldfinger and the Case of the Bad Delivery” sounds like it could be a young adult mystery novel. I mean; who wouldn’t want to read a book about middle age personal injury lawyer Brian Goldfinger cracking the case on a delivery gone bad? Sound exciting enough; right?!?!?

Let me share a story with you. During the early stage of the Pandemic, my law firm, Goldfinger Injury Lawyers moved from a large office building at 45 Sheppard Ave East in Toronto; to a self contained unit at 167 Sheppard Avenue West, also in Toronto. The move was under a kilometer in distance, but it was still a hard move.

The rationale for the move was quite simple. At the large office building all of our staff and visiting clients had to pay for parking; and parking was quite limited. More importantly, we weren’t too keen during the pandemic to sharing space with strangers. We had to share the elevators, share the bathrooms, share the boardrooms, hallways, reception area, lobby and hallways with the other tenants on our floor. It wasn’t ideal during a global pandemic. Mind you this was pre-vaccines and also when we believed that COVID was not only airborne, but could also be spread on surfaces.

Needless to say, my staff nor my clients were thrilled by the idea of sharing space or common areas with others. The fewer exposures, the better.

So we decided to move down the street.

The new office gave our clients and staff free parking. We no longer had to share any common areas such as washrooms, boardrooms, elevators, hallways, reception area etc. We had to space all to ourselves. It was much more comfortable, and safe from a COVID perspective (keep in mind this is early on in the Pandemic before vaccines were readily available).

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I was recently at a kid’s birthday party. It was my son’s first “real” birthday party. He hadn’t been to a “real” birthday party in around 2 years or so due to the COVID Pandemic.

It was great socializing with adults from his class. It was great seeing my child interact with his classmates at a birthday party. It was great to be out and about after such a long period of on and off again lockdowns, fear and uncertainty.

One of the adults at the party told me that he kept up with the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog. He wanted to know how we came up with so many topics to discuss; week after week.

Here are some secrets from behind the curtain about how we come up with topics.

Many would think that personal injury law is a limited topic. But it’s not. Personal Injury Law encompasses so much which people can relate to.

People drive cars, ride transit, walk or ride bikes to get around. Once you participate in any or all of these activities, you open yourself up to a potential claim. Who amongst us hasn’t seen a car accident; or the aftermath of a car accident? How many times have you drove on the highway or passed an accident scene with flashing police lights, firemen and paramedics.

We all know or have heard of someone who has been involved in an accident; whether it’s serious or not. We all likely have someone in our lives who is sick, ill, or disabled from working. They likely require, receive or have applied for either government assistance, or insurance benefits from a private insurer.

In order to drive a motor vehicle you require car insurance. It’s the law.

Who hasn’t done something “risky” like bungee jumping, sky diving, skiing, put their kids in a bouncy castle; or some other action sport which requires the participant to sign a waiver?

Who hasn’t seen a vicious dog or been afraid of a vicious neighbourhood dog? Perhaps that dog got off leash and bit someone?

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The majority of my clients are first time litigants:

  1. It’s their first time retaining a personal injury lawyer; or retaining a lawyer at all
  2. It’s their first time suing
  3. It’s their first experience with the legal system
  4. It’s their first time getting really hurt and needing to do something about it from a legal perspective
  5. It’s their first time getting denied by an insurance company
  6. It’s their first time feeling gaslit by an insurance company
  7. It’s their first time participating in sworn statements, an examination for discovery, medico-legal assessments, mediation, having surveillance conducted on them, Pre-Trial, Trial and all of the other things which go hand in hand with personal injury cases

The parties which my clients sue or seek benefits from are large and sophisticated insurance companies. This is not their first rodeo. They are well versed in the dark arts of litigation. Strategically defending lawsuits is what they do well.

Insurance companies know what they are up against. They are facing off against for the most part, unsophisticated accident victims who are hurt or injured. The Plaintiffs are new to litigation and all of the ups and downs which it presents. Insurance companies know how to say the right things because they have experience. Having their lawyers say “healing words” to appease a Plaintiff; or say all the right things to gloss over a terrible sequence of events is less expensive than paying out an award for damages.

An apology costs n0thing. Stating condolences for the loss of a loved one costs nothing as well.

But paying out of a claim costs the price of said claim.

There is a quantifiable economic difference between the two which insurance companies and their lawyers know all too well. Why pay out on a claim when you don’t have to? Why pay more on a case when you don’t have to? It makes financial sense. If an insurance company either liked your claim, or wanted to get you the compensation you deserve; you would have received that compensation by now.

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