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Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers and the Ontario Court of Appeal – Farmers insuring ATVs
By: Brent Meadows
The Ontario Court of Appeal had to decide whether an unmodified all-terrain vehicle (ATV) owned and used by a farmer for day-to-day farming operations was a “self-propelled implement of husbandry” (ie. vehicle for farming). If an ATV is considered as such, then it would not be subject to Ontario’s mandatory vehicle insurance regime. In other words, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be insured under said regime.
Mr. Matheson, the plaintiff, owns approximately 900 acres of farm land that abuts onto a highway. On the day of the accident he used his ATV to get from one part of his land to the other using the highway. He only intended to drive his uninsured ATV on the highway for a short period of time. Sadly, while driving on the highway he was struck by Mr. Lewis and suffered catastrophic injuries.
The plaintiffs brought, inter alia, a Rule 21 motion (ie. determination of an issue before trial) to determine whether their claim was statute barred by operation of s.267.6(1) of the Insurance Act which provides that a person is not entitled to damages for injuries that occur while operating an uninsured vehicle.
The motion judge held that the ATV was excluded from Ontario’s mandatory insurance regime as it was a self-propelled implement of husbandry. The ONCA however reversed this decision and held that the ATV was NOT a self-propelled implement of husbandry.
The court arrived at this decision by reviewing Ontario insurance regime and its intended purpose. The court then referred to R v. Van Berlo where it was held that a vehicle must be ‘manufactured’ or ‘designed’ for a specific use in farming in order to be considered a self-propelled implement of husbandry. While the plaintiff exclusively used the ATV for farming, it could not be said that the ATV was ‘manufactured’ or ‘designed’ for a specific use in farming.
Most importantly, with respect to Ontario’s automobile insurance regime, the ONCA held that an ATV cannot be both an off-road vehicle requiring insurance and a self-propelled implement of husbandry excluded from the insurance regime. Moreover, reg. 893 explicitly provides that an ATV is an off-road vehicle and not a self-propelled implement of husbandry.
The Court of Appeal ultimately decided that the plaintiff’s claim was statute-barred by s.267.6(1) of the Insurance Act as he was uninsured, and his claim for statutory accident benefits was barred by s.30(1)(a) of the SABS.
ATV accidents and insurance
This is undoubtedly an important decision for insurers in Ontario. Now more than ever it would be prudent for farmers to obtain insurance for their ATVs. One question comes to mind: If Honda were to manufacture and design an ATV for a specific use in farming, could it be exempt from the Ontario’s mandatory vehicle insurance regime?
Boating Accident Ottawa Lawyer
Boating Accident Law in Ontario
It’s finally here…Summer and that means lots of time outside and for many lots of time on the water. What many people do not know is that when it comes to driving a boat, there are many similarities to driving a car. A boat is considered to be a motor vehicle and must follow the laws, regulations and rules such as being licensed and registered.
Did know that from 1991-2008, there were over 3,000 boating related deaths reported by the Canadian Red Cross, of which 86% were from recreational boating? In many ways, operating a boat is similar to driving a car. There are numerous laws, regulations and local rules covering such things as speed, right of way, lights and signals and collisions. As well, boats need to be registered and licensed. In order to be licensed to drive a boat in Ontario, drivers must learn the rules of the waterways and other boating safety information. Ontario boaters must pass a regulated boating exam. If successful, a Pleasure Craft Operator card is issued.
Boating Accidents and Injuries
Should you become injured in a boating accident, the Ontario ‘MARINE LIABILITY ACT’ provides a maximum of $1,000,000.00 in compensation from injuries resulting from a boat operated with negligence, depending on your injuries. Boating accidents are complicated as there are several sets of laws that come into play; there is both marine and the Ontario motor vehicle laws.
Boating Accidents and Compensation
There are differences when it comes to seeking compensation for injuries and damages. In Ontario, no fault benefits do not apply in a boating accident. People who suffer a personal injury in a boating accident are limited to seeking compensation against the at fault party. Our lawyers are familiar with boating laws and personal injury compensation when it comes to boating accidents and can help provide you with the best analysis of your boating accident and next steps.
We hope you are enjoying your summer and boating safely. Should you need any information that relates to Ontario laws that relate to boating accidents or compensation for injuries and damages resulting from a boating accident, our Ottawa personal injury lawyers are here to offer free consultations. We understand the nuances of the law and boating accidents and we can help. Contact any one of our lawyers and we would be happy to help provide you with the information you need.
Ottawa Cycling Accident Lawyer
Well it is officially summer . What a gorgeous day to be out on a bicycle and although Ottawa has many designated cycling paths, a cycling accident can happen anytime, any place. We thought this would be a great time to review a few cycling safety tips and ideas on how to keep you and your children safe while cycling.
The first tip is the most obvious: Always wear a helmet..that includes parents too. Although the law only requires cyclists under 18 to wear a helmet, it’s the right thing to do. Lead by example and show your children that yes, even adults need to protect themselves while cycling.
Replace a helmet if its is at all damaged or cracked. You might think it seems like just a small crack; however, a small crack on a helmet is enough to compromise the helmet and render it useless in a cycling accident.
Make sure the helmet fits properly. There is no point in wearing an ill-fitting helmet if it’s going to fall off in impact. The Ontario government promotes the “2-4-1 Helmet Salute” a proper fitting helmet is when 1) you can fit “2″ fingers between the helmet and the eyebrows, 2) helmet straps meet in a “V” shape below the ears (that’s 4 fingers) and lastly 3) one finger would fit between the chin strap and the chin.
If you wear a helmet properly, the helmet will absorb the force of the impact from hitting your head and spread that force throughout the helmet; which then reduces the impact on the brain. When the brain crashes , it moves throughout the fluid in the skull and hits the sides of the skull. Often times, an impact of this nature can leave a brain bruised, swollen or bleeding. The result can be a brain injury and many brain injuries are permanent and life altering.
Avoiding Ottawa Cycling Accidents
Ride the right size of bicycle. Yes, your child might be excited to move up to the next size of bicycle; however you need to make sure they are riding a bicycle with the correct frame size, seat height, frame length, and proper working brakes. A bicycle that is too big is difficult to control properly and can result in a bicycle accident.
Make yourself visible and heard. Ensure your bicycle has adequate lights, reflectors, bells, horns or reflective tape.
Before heading out, give your bicycle a once-over check. Check the ABCs…air, brakes, and chain.
Know and follow the rules of the road. Don’t forget, a bicycle is a vehicle and must follow the rules and laws just as a driver of a car would do. This includes leaving enough space between you and other drivers, riding one metre from the curb or from other parked cars, riding in a straight line on the right hand side of the road, obeying all traffic signs, using the proper hand signals , stopping at stop signs and red lights, stopping for buses, stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks etc..
Never, ever ride against traffic. Drivers simply aren’t aware of cyclists riding on the left side of the road.
Watch for road hazards such as puddles, potholes, loose gravel, loose pavement etc…
One of the most common cycling accidents we see as Ottawa personal injury lawyers are bicycle accidents involving right turning vehicles. Always stay behind a vehicle as you get close to the intersection and do not try to pass. Often times the result is that the cyclist gets pinched in and often pinned beneath the vehicle.
There are many valuable resources throughout the Ottawa community and throughout Ontario. for more information on cycling safety visit: City of Ottawa Cycling Safety, Service Ontario, Citizens for Cycling Safety, Kids CAN-BIKE, Ontario Cycling Association to name a few.
Ottawa Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If you have any questions that relate to cycling accidents and personal injury law, feel free to contact any of our Ottawa personal injury lawyers and we would be happen to provide you with the information you need.
Sixth Annual Ottawa and Eastern Ontario Brain Injury Awareness Day
Our personal injury lawyers are pleased to once again share that we are again sponsoring this wonderful event aimed at raising awareness, support and funds for people with a brain injury and their families . For the past six years, Vista Centre has organised this event and invited survivors, family members, health care professionals, educators, lawyers and all anyone involved in preventing brain injuries.
Ottawa Brain Injury Lawyers
Our personal injury lawyers are not only sponsoring this event , we will be available throughout the day to answer any questions regarding brain injuries and legal rights. Thousands of Canadians injure themselves and suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year . Typically, there are more younger adults than older adults who suffer brain injuries. This means many people with a brain injury have a long life ahead of them; however it is a life that will require support. Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers are able to help offer this support. When we meet with someone who has been injured in an accident and is suffering from a brain injury, the first thing we do is put as many supports in place to properly diagnose and fully understand the extent of the brain injury. While our clients are focussing on their recovery, we implement a plan for the future. We understand and have experience with what is required. We hire our own medical experts to develop a life expectancy plan, we hire professionals to prepare reports to determine what amount of income will be lost throughout the course of an individual’s life time due to their brain injury and we make sure we are thorough in seeking maximum compensation for a brain injury. Part of the recovery process will be to access programs such as the Ottawa Brain Injury Awareness Day.
When it comes to helping people who are suffering from a brain injury, we are there. WE understand the complexity of a brain injury and its effects on the individual and their family and friends. A brain injury is an “invisible injury” with very visible effects. If you or a loved one is suffering from a brain injury , I urge you to visit the Brain Injury Association of Canada’s website as well as the Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley’s website . If you need us for free legal advice, we are here for you. Let our Ottawa personal injury lawyers help you with your brain injury .