Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you have to love this time of year. Holiday meals, celebrations, gifts and good vibes galore. That’s what the holidays are about. A bit tone deaf given the political climate? Sure. But the focus of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog isn’t politics. Let’s keep that debate out of it and focus on the intention of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog which is to educate the public on the ins and outs of personal injury law in Ontario.
The holiday season can get ruined by anyone who makes a bad decision and jeopardizes their life, and the lives of others because they weren’t thinking or showed a wanton disregard for the health and safety of others. Those sort of people exist. You know, the people who make selfish decisions which impact the safety of others. The people who can’t say “no” to the next drink, or are too proud to call a taxi after a few too many drinks.
So, without further ado, here are Goldfinger Injury Lawyers quick hitter tips on how to keep the Holiday Season a safe one. While following these tips can’t guarantee safety, following them certainly can increase the odds of making this holiday season a fun and safe one, as oppose to needing to consult with a personal injury lawyer on account of a serious accident resulting in injury.
Don’t Drink and Drive: Drinking and driving still happens. And it happens a lot more around the holiday season. There is no excuse for drinking and driving. It’s a conscious decision to drink. And then another conscious decision to grab your keys, start the car, and drive away. That sequences of events doesn’t magically happen. The drinker makes the decision to drink, then makes the decision to walk to his/her vehicle; then makes the decision to drive. It’s an intentional act for which there is no excuse. It’s not like someone forced you to drink. Then forced you at gunpoint to drive in an intoxicated state.
Don’t toke and drive. Don’t consume edibles and drive: The excuse that you drive better while “high” doesn’t fly in a Court. Just like alcohol, you are not allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federally approved drug screening device) if you are driving and you:
- are 21 or under
- have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence
- are driving a vehicle that requires an A-F driver’s licence or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR)
- are driving a road-building machine
The penalties for violating Ontario’s zero tolerance law include licence suspensions and financial penalties. Repeat offenders face longer suspensions and additional consequences such as mandatory education and treatment programs.
This truth hurts really hard when you unknowingly consumed some cannabis cookies at a holiday party, then drove a vehicle and got into an accident. The “I didn’t know” there was cannabis in those cookies excuse doesn’t fly for a personal injury case where you are seeking to contest liability.
Winter Ties. Winter Boots: Depending on where you live in Ontario, it might be rather cold, snowy and icy over the holiday season. This means slippery roads for vehicles, and slippery surfaces to walk on. Winter tires help with cold winter driving. Insurance companies also offer rebates on insurance premiums if you have winter tires. When it comes to slip and falls, winter boots offer better traction and support than sandals or slippers. In every slip and fall case that we handle, the insurer wants to know what sort of footwear the Plaintiff was wearing at the time of his/her fall. The reason they want to know this is because they want to argue that had the Plaintiff been wearing proper/adequate footwear (like a winter boot) that they fall may not have taken place in the first place; or the injuries would be less severe. They insurer will seek to argue that the Plaintiff was in part, or entirely, responsible for the fall based on his/her decision to wear inappropriate footwear for the winter weather conditions. This is called contributory negligence. In most slip and fall cases, there is an element of contributory negligence which comes back to reduce the Plaintiff’s award by a certain percentage. If a Plaintiff was wearing sandals when it’s icy, a Defendant will seek that a greater percentage of the award be reduced. Where a Plaintiff is wearing appropriate footwear (like a winter boot); the Defendant will have a harder argument to make with respect to a reduction for contributory negligence.
Don’t assume that motorists can see you: As of the time of preparing this edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, it’s the shortest day, and the longest night. It gets dark at around 415PM or so, and stays dark until the morning. That’s a lot of darkness. Greater darkness means less visibility for drivers. Pedestrians and cyclists cannot assume that drivers will see them out and about. Visibility gets increasingly difficult when you add freezing rain, snow and sleet. Ways to stay safe if you need to go out on your feet or on a bike? Lights! Bright and big lights so that they can see you coming! Bright and reflective clothing! That goes a long way too. Going out wearing black, without and lights or poor reflective clothing is a bad idea.
Uber, Taxi and Designated Drivers are always great: Don’t assume that you or your colleagues can hold their liquor and that they are safe to drive home. There is no excuse not to have a ride share app on your smart phone, or not to have the phone number of your local taxi service handy. There is no shame in calling it a night and asking for a ride home because you got caught up and are in no condition to drive. In fact, asking for help in that situation shows real intelligence, thoughtfulness and courage. It shows that you care about your safety, and, more importantly, for the safety of others in your community.