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Labour Day Long Weekend Tips from a Personal Injury Lawyer

Fact: Goldfinger Injury Lawyers receives a spike in phone calls from prospective clients both during, and after the Labour Day Long Weekend.

Fact: The majority of these calls come from injured accident victims and their loved ones inquiring about their personal injury claims as a consequence of somebody’s negligence which took place over the long weekend.

Fact: The majority of these accidents and resulting injuries are avoidable. Often times, these injury claims arise on account of mental errors, errors in judgment, or just bad behaviour.

Here’s what you need to know heading in to the Labour Day Long Weekend from the perspective of a personal injury lawyer who has seen a few things…

Long Weekend Safety Tip #1: Just because marijuana will be legalized, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to get really really stoned, and then operate a motor vehicle, a watercraft or heavy machinery. Just because you’re high, and marijuana will be legalized, doesn’t make you Superman/woman or invisible. You are putting your life, and the health, safety and welfare of other at risk. Don’t let one stupid decision ruin your life, and the lives of others.

Please make note of section 253(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada which states that the definition of impaired driving does not only impact drunk drivers through alcohol consumption. You can be found to be impaired under this section if you are operating your motor vehicle under the influence of a “drug“.

(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug

Marijuana, Hashish, Crack, Cocaine, etc. These are drugs.

It is also a criminal offense to operate a motor vehicle while your ability is impaired with both alcohol and drugs as well.

The terms “drugged driving“, “driving while high” and “driving while stoned” are becoming increasingly popular terms in the lexicon of personal injury lawyers and insurance companies alike . These are just new age ways of describing “impaired driving” which is a criminal offense. Not a good idea at anytime.

So just because you are hearing all sorts of stories in the news about the economic and potential health benefits of pot, doesn’t mean it’s lawful to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by pot.

The only excuse I have ever heard for driving under the influence of cannabis is that “it helps me concentrate“. I cannot comment on the benefits of cannabis to help someone operate a motor vehicle, but I can provide the following insight as a personal injury lawyer:

I have seen many doctors prescribe cannabis for glaucoma, chronic pain and anxiety.

In my 15 years of practice, I have never seen a doctor prescribe cannabis to assist a person operate a motor vehicle with specific instructions to the patient to only drive while high.

Long Weekend Safety Tip #2: The cottage isn’t going anywhere. There’s no need to speed. Take your time and arrive alive. It’s likely the the OPP will be out in full force over the labour day long weekend with speed traps. This isn’t only a safety tip. It may also save you a speeding fine as well.Goldfinger-logo-icon-300x300

Long Weekend Safety Tip #3: Your emails and text messages won’t self destruct if they aren’t read or responded to instantaneously. Distracted driving has surpassed drunk driving as a culprit for accidents on our road ways. Your emails and text messages aren’t going anywhere. You will be able to respond to them, after you’re done driving. As of Jan. 1, those pulled over will receive a summons to attend court. If you’re convicted of distracted driving for the first time, you could receive a fine of up to $1,000 (currently it’s $490) and three demerit points on your licence. A second conviction could mean a fine of up to $2,000 and a seven-day licence suspension and a third offence could mean a fine of up to $3,000 and a 30-day suspension. And these are just the fines. The fines don’t take in to consideration if you hurt or injure another person along with the emotional toll that can take on you.

Long Weekend Safety Tip #4: Booze and boating don’t mix. It seems that every summer long weekend we get calls involving alcohol and boating accidents. I don;t know what it is about the mix of the summer, a boat, booze and a wild ride on the lake; but they always seem to go wrong. Maybe it’s because we are personal injury lawyers and generally hear from people when something has gone terribly wrong.

Long Weekend Safety Tip #5: Seat belts and helmets still work and still save lives. It’s true! I know that technology has advanced considerably and nowadays there’s an app for everything. But there’s still no substitute for buckling your seat belt and wearing a helmet while cycling. It’s amazing how many people forget because they are distracted with other things (email, Instagram, text messages, Facebook posts, etc.)

Long Weekend Safety Tip #6: When closing the cottage, enlist someone else’s help while moving heavy objects! Why is this important? You would be amazed at the amount of grown and gainfully employed people (typically men), who in the course of closing their cottages hurt themselves lifting or moving incredibly heavy objects. The result is that they have hurt themselves so bad they miss work, or can’t got back to work for a long time on account of their severe and prolonged injury. Seems like a foolish cause to have to miss work, but it happens. And if it happens bad, these same people often need to claim disability benefits through a company like Great West Life, Manulife, SunLife, Industrial Alliance, Desjardins etc. These people are embarrassed to share that the cause for their injury and disability was working too hard, or lifting too much at the cottage in an effort to close her down for the summer. What a terrible reason to be off work.  Our personal injury lawyers have seen these cases. Don’t be Superman and let this happen to you. Get help when lifting heavy things. Your back will thank you for it.



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