It’s cold in out here
There must be a slip and fall
In the atmosphere
It’s cold out here
There must be some slippy ice
In the atmosphere
Snow and Ice? Bring it on!
Snow and ice isn’t going to stop you from living your life. But, it can sure making getting around much harder, and more treacherous. We’ve seen some serious cold snaps and snow fall throughout Ontario. This has resulted in slipper winter weather conditions for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
The focus of this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog will be what personal injury lawyers, insurers and Courts look for when assessing the merits and the value of a slip and call case in Ontario.
The CBC Reported last month that nearly 58 pedestrians died as a result of car accidents on Toronto’s streets last year; with another 183 more reported as being seriously injured.
This is an alarming statistic given that 2021 was a year that saw rolling lockdowns due to the COVID-19 Pandemic resulting in fewer motorists on the road. Fewer drivers on the road resulted in fewer car accident claims. This trend was reported across Canada and in the United States where insurers saw large windfall profits on auto related insurance products. The savings have not been passed along to the consumer in the form of reduced car insurance premiums, but that’s a story for another edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog.
The City of Toronto has implemented a bold Vision Zero pledge to reduce the number of auto-pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries down to Zero. It’s a great goal, but since the Vision Zero program was announced, those fatality and serious injury cases to pedestrians have continued to steadily creep up.
Why is that?
Is the City not trying hard enough?
Are Toronto and GTA drivers simply the worst in the free world incapable of hitting pedestrians while driving?
Does it have something to do with the way Toronto’s streets are designed?
What can possibly explain why pedestrian fatality cases are so high in Toronto and the GTA?
Everyone wants a deal. Bargain hunters looking for deep discounts should look no further than Ontario’s Car Accident System. That’s not to say that purchasing car insurance is cheap. It’s to suggest that car insurers get deep discounts when defending a car accident case. In fact for each case that’s started a car insurance company receives around a $40,000 discount; give or take.
Why would you think about car accidents as a commodity. It’s not like a car accident is a product to be sold and worn like a brand new jacket, a sweater or a pair of pants you’ve just purchased off the sale rack.
But perhaps we should look at car accident cases more as a commodity so that we can better understand how insurers save big bucks on each and every car accident case in Ontario.
The way the laws for car accident cases are set up in Ontario is unfair. Those laws provide more protections to the at fault driver, than they do the injured Plaintiff.
For starters, the injured Plaintiff’s injuries (regardless of fault), must meet a medico-legal test or threshold. If the test is not met, then the injured Plaintiff receives zero dollars for his/her pain and suffering.
If the injuries are not deemed by the Judge to present both a “serious and permanent impairment of an important bodily function“, then the Plaintiff won’t be entitled to general damages for their pain and suffering. That means that regardless of fault; meaning the at fault driver could have been drunk, smoking drugs and on his/her cell phone; if the injuries don’t meet that medico-legal test; then the Plaintiff’s claim for pain and suffering will fail.
Some injuries are visible to the naked eye. Someone in a wheelchair with a broken limb. A bandage. A crutch. A walker. A cast or a cane. All of these things are plainly visible and send a strong message to the world that a person is hurt, injured and not at their best. These sort of visible injuries are easy to understand, plainly visible to people from all walks of life and from diverse backgrounds. It doesn’t take a medical expert or a skilled personal injury lawyer to help a judge and jury understand that we have an injured party involved in the case at hand.
In contrast, the vast majority of injuries are invisible to the naked eye. You cannot see chronic pain. You cannot see fibromyalgia. You cannot see anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, or plain misery. Perhaps you can see an unhappy look on one’s face. But simply because someone appears to be unhappy does not necessarily mean that they are suffering from a serious personal injury or disability. Perhaps they are just having a bad day.
The purpose of this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog is to focus on those invisible injuries which insurers love to deny, discount and minimize. In particular, we will focus on fibromyalgia and depression which often go hand in hand. And which are two injuries/disabilities which both auto insurers and long term disability insurers love to deny and discount.
If you are suffering from fibromyalgia or depression, don’t lose hope or give up! Stay strong. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Your injuries and disabilities are legitimate despite what the insurance company and their hired gun doctors might say. The insurance company wants you to become reclusive so that you don’t commence an action to get the compensation you deserve. If you do nothing, you will get nothing and the insurance company will win. But if you have the strength and courage to take the first step and to reach out to a personal injury lawyer; you are taking a step in the right direction. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope.
Good timing can mean the difference between a winning personal injury case, and a losing personal injury case. In fact; timing can also spell the difference between being involved in a serious accident; and missing a serious accident.
Accident victims aren’t looking to get into accidents in the first place. They are simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time. But for some serendipitous timing and bad luck, they would not have been involved in an accident in the first place. Hence, they would not need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. But accidents much like bad luck and bad timing happens. That’s life.
At law, there are limitation periods. This means that an injured accident victim cannot wait forever, or wait too long to retain a personal injury lawyer and start their claim. Waiting too long to get the legal process started has consequences.
Defendants will argue that waiting too long is unfair. Lawyers will call that unfairness prejudice. You will often hear from Defence lawyers that the delay is “prejudicial to their clients” because of reasons A, B and C. Sometimes this is true. Other times, it’s legal mumbo jumbo for they just want to get the case dismissed on account of delay.
Here’s a case where there can be prejudice to a Defendant for delay:
The Plaintiff waits so long to start their case that evidence is destroyed, witnesses can’t be tracked down or if they are, their memories of the events have faded, and investigations by a Defendant cannot be made until it’s fall too late. That’s certainly fair. Continue reading →
A bad police report and a poor police investigation can be very harmful to an injured Plaintiff in personal injury cases.
In order for a Plaintiff’s personal injury case to succeed, the Plaintiff must establish that the Defendant was negligent (at fault) for the accident in question.
No fault against the other driver? No tort claim.
Regardless of how seriously injured the Plaintiff is; if the Plaintiff cannot establish fault against the other driver, they won’t have a successful tort claim. That’s not to say that they won’t have a successful accident benefit claim. Accident benefit claims are not subject to same the fault rules which we see in tort cases.
All too often, our office has seen police investigations in Ontario which frankly aren’t done properly. That’s not to say that all police investigations into motor vehicle accidents fall short. One bad apple (or a few bad apples) can certainly spoil the bunch.
There is no doubt that police resources are spread thin. Large jurisdictions like Toronto have a lot of ground to cover. Other more rural jurisdictions may not have ample resources. But the consequences of not getting the job done properly, or at all, can be devastating to a personal injury case.
Each year our law firm sees a spike in calls immediately after the Canada Day Long Weekend. We expect this long weekend to be no different. The combination of long summer nights, alcohol, drugs and long weekend excitement can lead to some pretty dangerous situations which we should all hope to avoid.
While we have done iterations of this post in previous years, the safety tips are worth repeating. Some here are some old tips, and some new ones based on recent observations and queries from our intake of calls from across Ontario. Some of these tips may surprise you; while others are common sense. The thing with common sense is that it’s not so common; and sometimes it doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense to people.
If you haven’t heard of what a COVID Long Hauler is, you should look it up. As a personal injury and long term disability lawyer, I don’t profess to be a medical expert. This is where I defer to the doctors have to say about COVID long haulers and the potential long lasting health implications by those who study COVID at the Mayo Clinic , Harvard Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic.
Tens of thousands of people who have contracted COVID, have been left with lingering symptoms and effects including but not limited to fatigue, body aches, joint pain, coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, inability to exercise, loss of taste or smell, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. COVID Long Haulers can’t exert themselves or exercise and simple tasks (like walking to the mailbox or taking out the trash) will often leave them feeling exhausted. Chronic fatigue and chronic pain as being reported with COVID Long Haulers can be incredibly debilitating and frustrating. Many long-haulers also report brain fog, difficultly concentrating or feel like they aren’t as sharp as they used to be.
The reality of COVID is that it’s a new disease which began in an outbreak in around December 2019. Given the newness of the disease, doctors have little data to know the the long term effects or recovery from these long term effects/symptoms. Only time will tell. The vast majority of COVID Long Haulers test negative for COVID after the first few weeks of contracting the disease, despite still having these COVID long haul symptoms.
Long-haulers include two groups of people affected by the COVID:
- Those who experience some permanent damage to their lungs, heart, kidneys, or brain that may affect their ability to function.
- Those who continue to experience debilitating symptoms despite no detectable damage to these organs.
The clashes taking place in Washington DC earlier today got me thinking about assault cases. It’s a mess what’s happening there.
We have seen a spike in calls during the pandemic with regard to physical violence. I can tell you there’s a lot of rage inside and outside homes. People are fed up of being locked down and are either taking matters in to their own hands, or taking out their frustrations on other people (family and strangers a like).
Goldfinger Injury Lawyers certainly doesn’t endorse the use of violence. Victims of violence often call our law firm to get the compensation which the deserve.
The problem however with these types of assault cases is recovering money on behalf of our clients. This is a very common problem in assault cases and I will share with you why in today’s instalment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog.