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The Liberal Government of Ontario plans to introduce new tougher penalties to crack down on careless and distracted driving, this fall.

The Honourable Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca, along with some other MPPs, announced the new measures today in Toronto.

The legislation, if passed, is supposed to protect pedestrians and cyclists and reduce the number of fatality claims involving people killed or injured by drunk, distracted, impaired and/or dangerous drivers.

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I was just visiting my local bank. All across the banker’s desk were glossy flyers advertising critical illness and mortgage insurance. Behind the banker’s desk, there was a lovely poster which again, promoted critical illness and mortgage insurance.

The promotional material paints a very nice picture of what critical illness and mortgage insurance can do for you; should things go terribly wrong.

 

The narrative went something like this:

“I was diagnosed with terrible cancer…Thank goodness I had critical illness insurance with (Insert Name of Bank/Insurer here). Thanks to (Insert Name of Bank/Insurer here) I was able pay off my debts and live with dignity”.

The photo featured a happy and smiling family. Other photos showed a person who appeared to have a very serious and worried look on their face. Either way, these advertisements really drew on the heart strings.

In theory, critical illness and mortgage insurance policies are fantastic. In theory that is. When you get diagnosed with a “critical illness“, or with a “disability“, then your insurer will automatically pay out a lump sum cash benefit. No questions asked. This sounds great; doesn’t it!?

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2014 is coming to a close and what a year it’s been.

Tonight, millions of people around Ontario are getting ready to bring in the new year in style. That means parties, gatherings, food and alcohol.

Many host parties at their homes and have questions regarding the safe service and consumption of alcohol.

Here are a few quick tips for hosting a safe new years party:

1. Make sure there are non-alcohol drinking options at your party/gathering. This means water, pop, juice, non-alcohol sparkling wine/punch. Get creative and have fun with it.

2. Have the number of a taxi company or car service on site. Some taxi companies have great fridge magnets which have their contact information which are always in good taste for displaying the night of your party.

3. Have one, or more designated drivers assigned for your party
4. Offer guests to stay the night in a guest room, or even on the couch if they’ve had too much to drink and can’t get home safely
5. Know where the nearest hotel is for your guests and let them know about it if they’ve had too much to drink
6. Friends don’t let friends drink and drive. Taking away your friend’s car keys might save their lives, or somebody else’s

When I think of New Years, I think of a very tragic case which happened in Ontario on New Years and went all the way up to the Ontario Court of Appeal, and then to the Supreme Court of Canada. The case is called Childs v. Desmoreaux and can be read here.

There is a theory at law called “social host liability”. This is when the injured accident victim seeks compensation from the injuries not just from the at fault drunk driver, but ALSO from the host of the party for over serving or not being responsible in the safe service of their alcohol at the party which the at fault driver attended before the drunk driving collision.
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We have laws for about everything in Ontario. Don’t believe me?

Personal Injury lawyers need to deal with laws for car insurance (The Insurance Act). There’s an act for motor vehicle accidents and traffic safety (The Highway Traffic Act). There’s an act for slip and falls on private property (The Occupier’s Liability Act). There’s an act for slip and falls on public property (The Municipal Act). There’s an act for simple negligence in Ontario (Negligence Act). There’s even Art Gallery of Ontario Act! Seriously! Don’t think we covered that one in law school, but if I worked at the AGO in any way, shape or form, I’d take a read at the act. Here’s the link.

With these all encompassing, acts, it would seem normal that there be an act devoted stricty to dog owners, dog owner liability and dog bites. And here you have it, the Dog Owners Liability Act or “DOLA” as it’s known by lawyers across Ontario.
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The most important form to start any personal injury claim following a car accident in Ontario is called the OCF-1 Application for Accident Benefits. This is the starting point for all accident benefit claims. You will not be entitled to income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits, attendant care benefits, housekeeping/homemaintenance benefits, money for massage, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic treatment, psychological counselling or even get money for your prescription medication following a car accident if you don’t complete the OCF-1.

I’m always asked by accident victims what the best way is to complete this important form. Today I will share with you some important details on how to complete the OCF-1 properly to ensure that your accident benefit stands a fighting chance.
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Don’t be fooled by the title of this blog post.

My web guy wants me to use the terms personal injury lawyer car accident lawyer Toronto as much as humanly possible/tolerable. But, I’m not going to pull some Family Guy stuff on all of my loyal readers and just keep writing Brian Goldfinger Injury Lawyersyer Car Accident Lawyer Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer as much as possible. How self serving.

On top of that, blogging about stories strictly personal injury law or insurance law related can be terribly boring. If you really have some pressing questions about personal injury law or about a car accident, just email me at brian@goldfingerlaw.com or visit www.personalinjurylawyertoronto.com for all my contact info.

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I voted. I did. Seriously. I didn’t think I’d vote because every time I listen to ANY party leader, it’s like they’re pissing on me and calling it rain.

As some of you may know, I now call London my primary residence. I live in the riding of London North Centre. All you Western kids will associate this riding as the one with Masonville Mall in it.

Here was my dilemma. I wanted to vote, but I wouldn’t be in London come election day. What to do? (I missed the advance polls for all of you smart alecs out there).

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Evidence in personal injury cases includes but is not limited to hospital records, ambulance reports, witness statements, police records, photographs of the accident scene, photographs of injuries, medical reports, employer’s records, tax returns, OHIP summaries, bank statements and the list goes on.

The problems is that evidence can disappear making an accident victim’s case that much more difficult to prove and that much more difficult to quantify. Take the slip and fall case on an icey patch of pavement. If photographs are not taken of the accident scene immediately, it will be nearly impossible to fully appreciate how the accident happened and who is at fault. We can certainly make educated guesses, but knowing with certainty how large the patch of ice was, where it was, and how slippery it was will be very difficult to re-create completely. What about the lay witness who saw the person slip and fall on the ice. If your lawyer does not get their contact information immediately and conduct an interview, it’s possible that witness may not be reachable in the future because of an address change, they may have forgotten what happened, or they may simply no longer want to co-operate. What about the injuries to an accident victim? Blood, breaks and bruises heal. If your lawyer does not have photographs of what those injuries are, it will be very difficult for the insurer, judge or jury to fully appreciate the extent of the damages to the accident victim.

Pictures, whether they are of an accident scene or of injuries are powerful evidentiary tools used by all Plaintiff lawyers to help their clients prove their cases. The more pictures which a Plaintiff lawyer has to prove their case, the better. But if accident victims wait too long to contact their lawyer to build their case; evidence gets lost, damaged and photos may be impossible to attain; thereby hurting the accident victim’s case.

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We recieve many calls at our office from accident victims who want to know how long they have to sue for damages arising from their accident. You have 2 years from the date you knew or ought to have known you have a cause of action. The date that you knew or ought to have known you have a cause of action, is, more often than not, 2 years from the date of the accident. The limitation period to bring your action is set out in an Ontario statute called the Limitations Act, 2002. The Limitations Act, 2002 replaced the old Limitations Act. There is little a lawyer can do to change the limitation periods as set out in the statute, aside from present your case in such a way to show that your case was in fact commenced within the limitation period.

If you try to sue outside of a limitation period, the insurer will likely attend before the Court and seek a Judge’s persmission to have your claim struck for being brought outside of the limitation period (this is called a motion). If the insurer is sucessful, not only will your claim be struck, but there’s also a good chance that you will have to pay for the insurer’s legal costs for bringing your claim outside of the limitation period. No Plaintiff lawyer wants this to happen to their client; especially when they know their client can’t afford to pay for the insurer’s legal costs.

Ignorance of a limitation period is not a defence. Even if you are newcomer to Canada, and you have no idea how limitation periods work or what they are; this will not protect you.

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