As we head into the weekend, many of you will be on the roads. Winter is upon us and with it comes some challenging driving conditions. Now is the time to make sure that your vehicle is in top condition for winter driving. Getting ready is only half the battle. Winter conditions also require a refresher in driving safety. Snow and ice need to be taken seriously. Going the extra mile by getting your vehicle ready for winter and learning what it takes to drive safely through ice and snow could be a lifesaver.
First things first… Do you have your snow tires on ? If not, do it now ! It’s safer and your insurance company likely offers you a discount. If you can buy snow tires, please do.
Check your tires
Low air pressure and worn tires are a dangerous combination on wet or slick roads. No traction means no control. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated and that your treads are deep. You may also consider an investment in snow tires.
Replace or Refill All Fluids
* Coolant—Make sure your antifreeze levels are correct to prevent freezing in your radiator.
* Oil—Time for an oil change? Keep your levels topped up all season long.
* Wiper fluid—Change to winter wiper fluid to keep your wipers from freezing and keep your vision clear.
Cold Weather & Battery Capacity
It isn’t only your engine that if affected by the cold. Your battery capacity is reduced by the cold weather too. A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals, and fluid will help you make sure your car is ready for the winter.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Keeping a safety kit in your car all year is a good idea. Things like road flares, a jack, a lug wrench, and a first aid kit should be at hand no matter what. It’s also a good idea to update this kit with seasonal items that can keep you warm and prepared for winter’s worst.
Items to include in your winter safety kit include:
* Blanket, leather gloves, and hat
* Bag of kitty litter or sand
* Ice scraper and brush
* Small shovel
* Safe and leak-proof container of coolant
Our Ottawa injury team wishes you a safe and fun filled weekend. Drive safely.
There once was a time, not long ago, when children were taught to look both ways before they crossed the street. In those days, we were all worried that drivers would not see pedestrians. We were afraid of the drivers. Now we also need to be on the look out for a pedestrian accident.
Today, pedestrians themselves are increasingly becoming the problem, walking around with their eyes on their phones and earbuds plugged in.
In fact, around 40 percent of Canadians admitted to texting as they walk and about 25 percent said they always or often walk with their headphones on. Not surprising given the increase in cell phone use over the years, but no text or call is worth the risk. These distractions are a very real danger, especially during the month of November which is noted for an increase in pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The time change leaves commuters at a greater risk walking and driving home in the dark.
While laws are in the works across Canada to fine distracted drivers, it’s best to make sure that you and your family are always safe and that you are not liable for an accident.
Our Top Ottawa Injury Tips for Avoiding a Pedestrian Accident
1. If you must use headphones or other electronic devices, maintain a volume where you can still hear the sounds of traffic and your surroundings.
2. If you need to talk to someone, make a call or text, stop and do it away from the traffic.
3. Focus on the people, objects and obstacles around you.
4. Don’t jaywalk. Cross streets carefully at a traffic light. Stay aware of the traffic and the vehicles and bikes on the road.
5. Look up, not down, when stepping into an intersection or walking in a parking lot.
6. Stay alert and be aware especially during the winter months when it gets dark earlier and drivers aren’t as likely to see you.
More and more, our Ottawa injury lawyers are finding that the things that social media , the things you post online are being admitted into in court as evidence. Think about it. The updates, photos and videos you post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat can be very easy to access.
Every day, people post photos, status updates and videos that create a window into their personal lives. Insurance companies may explore all of your posts, past and present, to uncover your character and your lifestyle. They will look at the type of activities you participated in prior to your injury and dig for signs of pre-existing injuries. More importantly they will follow your activity after the injury.
Social media recommendations from our Ottawa injury lawyers:
Lock down your accounts– This is the easiest way to help prevent information from being used against you.
Monitor photos – Keep a close eye on photos that you post or are tagged in. Untag yourself or ask the person who posted it to delete it right away.
Watch what friends post – Monitor what’s being posted on your wall to make sure nothing could be misinterpreted.
Monitor comments – Be careful when commenting on friends’ statuses or photos.
Our Ottawa injury lawyers ask you to consider your social media presence –
Although Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are the most targeted, don’t forget about the rest of your online presence. Are you on LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, or Flickr? These may all be other sources of information for other lawyers or insurance companies.
Ask the question: “Who am I really sharing this information with? Could it be used as harmful evidence?” If your gut tells you yes, it’s probably a good idea not to post it
Don’t talk to strangers. If you are involved in a personal injury or insurance case, beware of friend requests from people that you don’t know. Folks who want to access your information have ways of making you think that you know them. Be very careful.
Teen driver safety is so very important. As Ottawa injury lawyers, we meet with families regularly who have lost a teen in an accident. Sadly, teen drivers are the most at risk drivers in our country. Inexperience, coupled with immaturity, can result in not knowing how to react or even risk taking behaviours like speeding, distracted driving, drug and alcohol use and not wearing a seatbelt. All of these behaviours can lead to an increased accident rate among teens. The Ontario Provincial Police report that teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
National Teen Driver Safety Week aims to get the word out about safe driving to parents and teens encouraging them to start talking about the dangers. Also parents need to lead by example. Specifically, parents should talk to their teens about what is known as the “5 to Drive” or the five most common teen safety driving issues.
Speeding Drugs or alcohol
Driving and riding without a seatbelt
Using a cell phone or
Texting while driving
Talk to your teens about accidents and how to stay safe
During National Teen Driver Safety Week, our Ottawa injury lawyers urge you to take the opportunity to talk with teenagers about these issues and remind them to take a stand for safe driving even when not behind the wheel. That means speaking out if you are in a car with someone who is texting while driving, making sure not to distract the driver and calling home for a ride home if another teen driver is unsafe.
This year it is particularly important to talk to teens about distracted driving as the incidents of distraction are clearly on the rise. Approximately 16 percent of all distracted driving crashes involving drivers younger than 20*.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Let us all do our part to ensure that all teen drivers . Our Ottawa injury lawyers want you to #GETHOMESAFE.
*Ontario Provincial Police
From our Ottawa injury lawyers…
Our Ottawa injury lawyers hope you have enjoyed your summer. As we head into the fall and see the kids back off to school, we thought we would remind you of a few very important recent changes to laws for Ontario drivers and pedestrians.
Changes to passing cyclists
Drivers must give cyclists at least one metre of room wherever possible. This offence in Ontario could cost you $110 and two demerit points . Ottawa police say they’ll start enforcing the law shortly.
Dooring is also an area with newer rules and fines. In Ontario, motorists who open the door of their vehicle into the path of a cyclist without checking first will face increased set fines of $365 and three demerit points, if conviction.
Changes to distracted driving
Please remember that it’s not just about talking on your phone. In Ontario, you are not permitted to look at your phone, text or talk without hands-free on your phone when driving. In Ontario, the current penalty for distracted driving is approximately $200 to an increased fine of $490 and 3 demerit points, if convicted. New drivers with a G1 or G2 license could also have their driving permits suspended on the spot.
Changes to pedestrian crossovers
In January of this year, new laws in Ontario came into effect when it comes to pedestrians and crosswalks. Ontario drivers now must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the other side of road at crossovers and school crossings. Before, drivers only needed to wait until a pedestrian had crossed their side of the road only. For more detailed information , visit www.ottawainjury.ca/lawyers/safety/new-laws-ontario-pedestrian-crosswalks/
Changes to driving under the influence
Drinking and driving is not only only type of driving considered to be “under the influence” . Ontario drivers caught driving under the influence of illegal drugs now face the same penalties a someone who is considered a drunk driver. Depending on how influenced a drivers is, the fines and penalties vary from a 3- 90 day suspension of one’s driver’s licence.
Changes to driving around emergency vehicles
Otherwise known as the “move over” law, Ontario drivers will be required to slow down and move into the next lane over whenever passing a stopped emergency vehicle such as police, ambulance, fire and tow trucks, when their lights are flashing and they are pulled over. The fine in Ontario for not complying with these rules is $490 and three demerit points.
Be safe out there….
Our Ottawa injury lawyers share what you need to know for the upcoming holiday season.
It’s that time of year again, house parties and office parties. People want to get together. It’s a wonderfully festive time. You may be attending your office party, ringing in the new year with friends or just getting together with family. Many of these types of parties often involve alcohol consumption. Here are a few things our Ottawa personal injury lawyers believe you should know:
Hosting the party: Social Host Liability
If you plan on being the host, it’s important that you take some very important precautions. It’s always best to hire a third party if possible. Hiring a catering company or bartending company, allows the host to circulate freely with their guests and not worry as much about monitoring guests alcohol levels and consumption. As a host, you may also be indulging in alcohol and if you are the one responsible for monitoring people’s intake, your judgment may be impaired. This is not safe. A bartender is trained to to recognize people who may have had too much to drink. It goes without saying that if you are hosting a party, you want your guests to have fun, while at the same time, are safe and free from injury.
Third Party: Commercial Host Liability
Commercial host liability differs from both social host (you) and employer liability (work functions). The Liquor Licence Act and its regulations have detailed statutory requirements that drinking establishments must comply with when they are serving alcohol. This is not to say that the drinking establishment that overserves will be held 100% responsible. In many cases, the courts will determine the percentage of liability.
Work parties: Employer Liability
There is an onus on employers to ensure their staff’s safety. It’s important for employers to not only provide a safe party environment but also ensure that any staff leaving their party who they believe may be intoxicated, does not drive. Employers can provide taxi chits, arrange drives etc…Employers can be held liable when their employees leave a work party intoxicated and subsequently becomes injured. As an employer, our personal injury lawyers recommend that employers provide taxi chits, host their parties at a third party location, offer non-alcoholic beverages as an option.
Our Ottawa injury team wishes you a safe and happy holiday season. Enjoy your time with friends and loved ones and please drink responsibly.
Rear-end collisions or ” hit from behind accidents” are some of the most common types of accidents we see as Ottawa injury lawyers. In most cases, when a vehicle hits you from behind, it is usually them who is at fault. Very rarely will the driver who was hit be found at fault. The rationale behind this is that typically all drivers are supposed to leave enough room in front of their vehicle that allows for enough room for the driver to come to a complete stop should the vehicle in front of them suddenly need to brake and stop. Our Ottawa injury lawyers were contacted about an accident of this nature. Our client “YT” was involved in a car accident that left her injured. YT was a 41 year old mother of two children. One day she was driving her vehicle when suddenly she was hit from behind at approximately 50 km/h. You might not think 50km/hr is very fast; however when a vehicle travelling at that speed and hits another vehicle, the results can be devastating.
Injuries Resulting From Accident:
No two accidents are alike. Our client was involved in a serious accident that left her suffering from chronic pain in her neck, back and shoulder, post concussive symptoms, major depression, anxiety and pain disorder. Thankfully, she was able to go back to work on a modified and part time basis. Hopefully over time, her injuries will continue to heal and she will be able to return to full-time work when she is ready.
Compensation for Injury:
Our Ottawa injury lawyers are very experienced in Ontario personal injury law. After a mandatory mediation session, Ottawa injury lawyer Denis Alisic was able to negotiate a favorable settlement with the insurance company in the amount of $240,000.00. This meant no trial and our client was able to receive compensation in a short amount of time. Currently she continues to receive monthly medical and rehabilitation accident benefits from her insurance company .
If you have been injured in a “hit from behind” accident, you are likely not at fault. If this accident has caused you injuries, then you are likely in need of Accident Benefits such as medical and rehabilitation benefits and income replacement benefits. It’s important that you explore your options and make an informed decision. Our Ottawa injury lawyers are available for FREE CONSULTATIONS if you are looking for advice and whether or not there is support and compensation available to you.
*Please note: Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and that the amount recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.
Pembroke Accident: Slip and Fall
Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers received a call one day from a woman. She was going about her daily routine when suddenly she slipped and injured herself. She was unsure of her rights. Can you sue for a slip and fall accident? Who would she sue? Would an insurance company cover her costs? Would an insurance company compensate her for her injuries? What if she knew the person who owned the property? These are all valid questions and questions our Ottawa injury lawyers are asked daily. The most frequent question we get asked is “How much compensation does one receive for a slip and fall accident? ” Our personal injury team listened to all her questions and concerns and then came up with a plan. Our lawyers worked closely with “TB” to ensure she received maximum compensation for her orthopedic injuries. TB was a 40-year-old woman from Pembroke. One day she was going outside to walk her dog. She set out her back porch stairs when suddenly she slipped off of a step and twisted her right ankle. The porch steps were not maintained properly and were missing a plank thus making them too narrow and contrary to the building code.
Injuries Resulting From Accident:
As a result of her slip and fall accident, TB suffered a chipped bone in her foot which thankfully fully healed following conservative treatment. Not all our clients have such luck. Often times in a slip and fall accident, bones break and never heal quite the same. What seems like a small fracture or broken bone can end up being life-altering for some. Thankfully this was not the case for TB.
Compensation for Twisted Ankle Injury:
While every case is different and every injury is different, we were able to help TB get compensation. We worked on behalf of TB and negotiated with the insurance company . We ended up suing her landlord’s insurance company, as well as the property management company’s insurance company. After tough negotiations, we were able to get the insurance company to settle at a private settlement conference without having to go through prolonged litigation proceedings. Our client was very thankful, as she wanted it to be over and done with.
How a slip and fall accident lawyer can help..
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your injuries may not be permanent; however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be compensated. Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and can walk you through your rights . It’s important you make an informed decision when it comes to starting a lawsuit. Let us help.
*Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and that the amount recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.
Maximum Compensation for Elbow Injury
Our client was hit by vehicle in a private parking lot. It wasn’t perfectly clear who was responsible for the accident. Despite this, we were able to obtain maximum compensation for her injuries that will help pay for future care, rehabilitation, medical expenses, and income losses, among other things.
Injuries Resulting From Accident:
Following the accident our client was taken immediately to the hospital. She was discharged from the hospital with cuts and bruises and a sore elbow. She returned to hospital as the pain in her elbow did not dissipate and learned that she had suffered a fractured elbow. She was eventually diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Her condition was not improving despite various treatments and interventions including physiotherapy. As a result of the accident she was also experiencing psychological disorders and soft tissue injuries to her neck, back, and hips.
Compensation For Elbow Injury:
Early on in the litigation process we were in disagreement with the insurance company about the amount of damages that was reasonable in the circumstances. We, nevertheless, believed in our client and understood that she was in pain which was affecting all aspects of her life. We had our client examined by several doctors who diagnosed that she was suffering from chronic pain and other injuries. We eventually settled her tort claim for approximately $700,000 all-inclusive on the tort side of the claim and then also settled the accident benefits side of the claim. This will, of course, never eliminate the pain but will assist to provide care and income in the future, and help her live life with these ongoing impairments.
We fought tirelessly to have our client deemed catastrophic by her insurance company. This increased the amount of accident benefits that she was entitled to. We eventually settled her accident benefits claim for approximately an additional $800,000.
Our Injury Lawyers:
We stick by our clients during these very difficult times. We work hard to build trust and instill confidence in our clients allowing them to discuss matters openly and frankly with us. We build strong relationships with our clients which allows us to better understand their needs and requirements. Being injured in an accident can be devastating. Our lawyers understand and care about what our clients are going through and we aim to help our clients in every way possible.
*Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and that the amount recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.
Tobogganing and Injuries on City of Ottawa Property
Many of us remember the first snowfall of the winter and the excitement of grabbing our toboggans and running for the hills. It’s what many children did then and it’s what many children do ( or at least want to do now). The situation now however has changed slightly. As more cities in Canada embark on a tobogganing ban, parents are left with many questions: Is this safe? Is this ridiculous? Are we going to have to bubble wrap our kids? What is the city’s responsibility?
Hamilton, Ontario has had a tobogganing ban in place for over 15 years; however recently, the City started installing more “no tobogganing” signs to remind people of the ban in place. Hamilton residents were unhappy, as they now faced a fine ranging anywhere from $105 to possibly even up to a $5,000 fine for tobogganing, even though these were not new by-laws for the city. Many believe that the reason the city suddenly chose to emphasize its tobogganing by-laws was because the City of Hamilton was ordered to pay $900,000 to a Hamilton resident who was injured on City property in a tobogganing accident in 2004 .
Orangeville Ontario also banned tobogganing after their insurance company said tobogganing may be a liability issue, following the death of a 14-year-old boy, whose toboggan hit a tree and he suffered a fatal head injury. Will Ottawa follow suit ?
Tobogganing in the City of Ottawa
In Ottawa, we do not have a tobogganing ban. In fact, the City of Ottawa oversees 57 tobogganing hills during the winter season. The public is encouraged to check ottawa.ca regularly for condition updates. A list of approved hills can be found at http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/parks-and-recreation/parks-and-sports-fields/sledding-hills. As far as a tobogganing ban in Ottawa…Well, never say never; however Ottawa’s Sports Commissioner Jody Mitic seems opposed to such a ban. He was quoted in the Ottawa Sun as saying “I keep hearing about it and it’s ridiculous, I don’t see what the point of banning it is” He then goes on stating that he is supportive of a bylaw that would enforce helmet use, such as the current by-law for helmets and bicycles.
As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, yes I do see the dangers of tobogganing. I am also the father of 3 young children, each of whom got a shiny brand new toboggan for Christmas. I believe we need to look at activities such as tobogganing as calculated risks. It’s a delicate balancing act and yes, there are some inherent risks and dangers that accompany tobogganing. As a parent, I allow our children to toboggan; however I do check to make sure the grounds are reasonably safe. I look for trees, ditches, ice etc.. I establish certain ground rules, ie: no standing on the toboggan, I make sure my children wear a helmet at all times. I am aware that each year there are many catastrophic injuries due to tobogganing but I am not prepared to “bubble wrap” my kids. I recently appeared on CTV National News and Rogers TV offering legal advice on the responsibilities of municipalities. If you would like to see these programs you can view it here http://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=237&rid=4&sid=68&gid=229918
All this to say, yes the City of Ottawa has a responsibility to keep its premises reasonably safe, under the Occupier’s Liability Act. There are many instances where someone has had a slip and fall accident , motor vehicle accident , or suffered other types of injuries on City of Ottawa property and it’s been found that the City was responsible because they did not keep their premises reasonably safe. For more information read this http://www.ottawainjury.ca/lawyers/ottawa-personal-injury-accidents/slip-and-fall-accident-on-city-of-ottawa-property/.
Get out there and enjoy this incredibly cold winter we are having. Please do it as safely as possible. Take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and the safety of others. If you have suffered an injury and are unsure of your rights or need more information as it relates to accidents, injuries and safety, please contact any of our personal injury lawyers. we would be happy to help in any way we can.