Ottawa personal injury lawyers reflect on Bill 171.

Personal Injury Lawyers Ottawa.  The Ontario’s Minister of Finance recently  introduced Bill 171. This bill is entitled  the “Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act” and claims to be put in place to help Ontario drivers.

The question is …Is it helping drivers or helping insurance companies?   A very important provision in the bill lowers the interest rate paid by the insurance companies from 5% to 1.3%.  As  Ottawa personal injury lawyers , we feel that this highly impacts our personal injury clients .  Insurance companies will now be less inclined to settle and pay out benefits to people who have been injured and are waiting and relying heavily on this money.  A lower interest rate will not be incentive for insurance companies to settle quicker. This delay in payment may directly impact the lives of people who are waiting to rebuild their lives and often cannot afford such delays. This reduction in interest rate may cause a serious injustice. Insurance companies will now be in a position where they could potentially invest the funds and make more profit by delaying b the payout.

Bill 171 also eliminates powers given to arbitrators from the Financial Services Commission Ontario (FSCO) who review the personal injury cases and decide whether or not both sides are acting fairly. Arbitrations will now be conducted through the Ontario Licence Appeal Tribunal. As Ottawa personal injury lawyers, we find all these changes very disturbing.  It seems these changes are being made quickly and there doesn’t seem to be many opportunities for input from stakeholders. Perhaps this is by design ?

Over the past few years there have been numerous changes and reductions to Ontario accident benefits and the insurance regime. These changes are not to be taken lightly as they have serious and potentially devastating consequences for Ontario drivers who have been seriously injured.

If you have questions that relate to insurance and accident benefits in Ontario, our Ottawa personal injury lawyers are here to help you. We can offer you free advice and help you decide what your best options are if you have been injured in an accident in Ontario.  We have over 25 years experience in maximizing insurance claims and helping people rebuild their lives.  Contact us free of charge at www.ottawainjury.ca



Why do child car seats have an expiry date and is it safe to still use them ?

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth.  In Canada, all car seat manufacturers provide an expiry date on all car seats.  Why? For safety !

There are also reasons such as…

  • sunlight: yes, sun exposure can damage or weaken the plastic found in car seats; and
  • safety regulations and standards change over time and products improve over time.

The provincial and territorial laws state that children’s car seats and booster seats  must be certified to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and must be used properly according to the instructions given by the manufacturer. If you don’t follow the instructions or if you use them past their expiry or useful life dates, there is exposure to putting a child at risk and you may be found guilty of breaking the law.

You may be tempted to buy a car seat second hand.  Our Ottawa injury lawyers do not recommend you buy a used car seat unless you can get a guarantee that it hasn’t been in an accident (which could be impossible), has not been recalled (check with the manufacturer or Transport Canada – 1-800-333-0371) and that it isn’t expired; Transport Canada also provides a list of manufacturers of car seats and booster seats sold in Canada which includes the expiry/life date.

The following are the weight guidelines for child car seats in Ontario:

Infants: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children must rear-facing car seats until the child weighs at least 9 kg (20 lb.). It’s important to note that this is a minimum requirement. Some rear-facing car seats are made for children that weigh up to 20 kg (45 lb.).

Toddlers: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children use a forward-facing child car seat once  they weight from 9 kg to 18 kg (20 to 40 lb.). Again, this is a minimum requirement. Some forward-facing car seats are made for children that weigh up to 30 kg (65 lb.).

Pre-School and up to 8 years old: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children use a booster seat once they weigh 18 kg to 36 kg (40-80 lb.), are less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall, and are under the age of 8. Again, this is a minimum requirement.

Youth: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children can use a seat belt when one of the following conditions is met:

  • Child turns 8 years old, or
  • Child weighs 36 kg (80 lb.), or
  • Child is 145 cm (4´ 9˝) tall or more

It’s important that  the shoulder strap is positioned across a youth’s shoulder and in the middle of the chest and the lap belt crosses the hips and not the stomach.

Child car seat requirements are the law and more importantly are there for safety.  If you are unsure of what car seat your child should be in or if your car seat is installed correctly, there are a number of resources in the Ottawa area to help you such as Service Ontario at 1(800) 268-4686. Please make sure your child is safe.

-We understand, we care and we’re here to help: Ottawa personal injury lawyers since 1999.


Remembrance day Ottawa, OC Transpo buses to pull over to side of road for 2 minutes of silence.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth, We understand, we care, we’re here to help  and our track record proves it.
Tomorrow is Remembrance day, an important day for all Canadians  to honour and remember all the war veterans who fought for our lives and served Canada during war times.  Many people in  Ottawa  will gather at the War Memorial on Elgin , for the annual Remembrance Day National Ceremony.  Tomorrow is not  a statutory holiday in Ontario. It is however  a federal holiday. Federal government and City Hall are closed but schools  will remain open.
If you are travelling by bus tomorrow, OC Transpo buses will pull over to the side of the road to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. The Last Post and Reveille will be played on the radios on OC Transpo buses. Some OC Transpo drivers may also be wearing red tomorrow in support of Canadian Forces troops.
To everyone who has sacrificed for others, thank you.

CBC journalist shares his top 10 safety tips for Ottawa cyclists.

Ottawa Bicycle Accident Lawyers David Hollingsworth.

CBC video journalist Steve Fischer produced a top ten list for cyclists in the Ottawa area that I wanted to share. Not only is he a video journalist, he is an avid cyclist.  In the article Steve gave his top 10 safety tips for cycling in the Ottawa area. I have paraphrased slightly and put a bit of my own spin on some of his recommendations…

  1. Purchase a rear view mirror. Cars have them and so should bicycles. A rear view mirror can attach to sunglasses, helmets or a bicycle depending on your preference.
  2. Always wear a helmet. A helmet could save your life.
  3. Make use of lights and a bells. If riding at dusk or later,  LED red light that blinks are the best and will help make you more visible at night.   Bells are also required by law.
  4. Properly maintain your brakes. Brakes need to be checked regularly.
  5. Always obey the rules of the road. Make sure you top at red lights, ride on the right side of the road, come to a proper stop at stop signs, make safe lane changes.
  6. If possible, avoid commuter areas such as  Carling Avenue, Heron Road, Baseline Road, Albert St,  Bronson Avenue, Main Street, Scott Street, , Slater, Greenbank Rd, Woodroffe Ave, and Innes Road. These Ottawa roads are incredible busy and not as safe for cyclists.
  7. Always use designated bike paths and bike lanes. Ottawa has many designated areas for cyclists only..use them !
  8. Be aware of parked cars. Cyclists get hit by doors being opened all the time. Be on the look out for people sitting in their cars who may be exiting their vehicles.
  9. For downtown cyclists, use the Laurier Ave bike lane. It is the safest way to travel east to west through the downtown core.  Watch out for pedestrians as this is an area with high traffic volumes.
  10. Be very careful when cycling close to an OC Transpo bus. It is not safe to pass them.

original article can be found here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2013/07/19/ottawa-cycling-safety-tips-roads.html

As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I meet regularly with people who have been injured in a cycling accident. Most times these accidents could have been avoided. Its important to use your common sense.   Ottawa does have many designated bike paths, yet we still see a number of tragic cycling accidents each year in Ottawa. Please cycle safely. To all Ottawa drivers, please be aware of other vehicles on the road such as cyclists.  Cyclists, drivers and pedestrians need to share the road to ensure a safer Ottawa.

 


Ottawa injury lawyer David Hollingsworth shares safety tips to avoid pedestrian accidents.

Ottawa Accident Lawyer David Hollingsworth

Although it doesn’t look or feel like it, spring is officially here.  With the warm weather coming , more Ottawa pedestrians will be taking to the streets. Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe.

To avoid a pedestrian accident, you should…

  • always cross at crossways or traffic lights
  • be alert
  • ensure drivers see you before you cross any road;
  • only cross a road when traffic has stopped;
  • be cautious when crossing and do so promptly. Don’t waste time and make sure you get completely across before the light changes.
  • do not wear headphones to listen to music. You need to hear the sounds around you.
  • be aware of cars that may be turning and may not be able to see you;
  • as much as possible, wear bright clothing or reflective wear and make yourself as visible as possible.  Most of all, use common sense.

Accident benefits for pedestrian accidents

Did you know that pedestrians are entitled to accident benefits is they become injured as the result of a motor vehicle accident? A personal injury insurance claim is mad through the drivers insurance company and things like income replacement benefits, rehabilitation expenses, attendant care, hospital expenses, loss of education expenses, housekeeping, expenses of visitors etc.. can be covered

There are far too many Ottawa pedestrian accidents each year and sadly, most of them could be avoided.  Both motorists and pedestrians need to ensure that they are doing everything they can to keep Ottawa roads safe and accident free. David Hollingsworth and his personal injury team are top Ottawa personal injury lawyers  who dedicate themselves to ensuring that Ontario pedestrians get all the help, support and maximum compensation after an Ontario accident.

Feel free to contact our Ottawa injury law firm with any questions you may have and we would be happy to help.


Ontario accident benefits and indexation. Should you purchase additional accident benefits?

Ottawa Insurance Claims Lawyers David Hollingsworth

In September 2010, The Ontario government through the Financial Services Commission of Ontario made significant changes to Ontario insurance plans. Not only did FSCO significantly reduce the accident benefits available to Ontario drivers, it introduced a 2 tiered approach for Ontario drivers. All Ontario drivers are required to purchase insurance.  How much insurance you purchase is up to you.

Top up accident benefits

There are several “top ups” that can be purchased in the event that you or a loved one is in an accident in Ontario. Indexation is an additional Ontario accident benefit that can be purchased. This optional benefit provides for an automatic adjustment over time of several  different accident benefits including income replacement benefits, medical and rehabilitation benefits, attendant care benefits and other Ontario accident benefits.  The indexation of these accident benefits is determined by the changes in inflation based on Consumer Price Index of Canada.​ Basically, it’s an extra insurance policy that ensures that your benefit dollars keep up with the times.

Accident Benefits and Indexation

In other words, a dollar today is not going to be worth what a dollar tomorrow will be worth. As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I know how important Ontario accident benefits are to my clients.  Often times, people are unable to return to their previous life before the accident and are left with their insurance claim and accident benefits to carry them throughout the rest of their lives. I know that Ontario insurance premiums are already very high, so paying even more is frustrating; however, if ever you need to access these accident benefits, you will need them.

Our personal injury lawyers are constantly meeting with people who regret not having “topped up” their insurance coverage.  It’s a personal decision and not a decision that should be taken lightly.

Something to think about…

 

 


Congratulations Ottawa ! Yesterday’s snowstorm resulted in 95 accidents, none with serious injuries .

Ottawa Snow Storm

Well done Ottawa.  We survived what seemed to be an incredible amount of snow fall yesterday.  It was recorded that we received close to 15 centimeters but it did feel like much more.  In Ottawa/Gatineau there were a reported 95 car accidents. Ottawa paramedics responded to 26 accident related calls but thankfully no serious injuries were reported.  I say well done. While it would have been great to avoid all accidents, in weather like yesterday’s, it is bound to happen. The fact that there were no serious injuries tells me that Ottawa drivers are driving more cautiously and adjusting their driving to the conditions of the roads . Well done Ottawa. (Maybe you all read my earlier post on safe driving in winter weather ) All kidding aside, I think this is great.

Continue to use your best driving skills as we aren’t out of the woods yet.  Ottawa roads are covered in snow and may make for challenging driving conditions. Most of all ensure you have enough space between you and the driver in front of you. Slow down and eyes on the road at all times !

Safe travels home ..and if you are like me, safe travels to your kids extra-curricular activities once you get home !

 


Ottawa lawyer David Hollingsworth offering safety driving tips for icy roads.

Ottawa Accident Lawyer

.I was up bright and early this morning taking our kids to hockey.  I knew it had rained last night but I had no idea when I hit Ottawa streets how slippery they were.  As I pulled into the arena parking lot, my vehicle slid sideways down a hill.  Thankfully it was 6:30 am (yawn) and the lot was empty. I was driving very slowly and paying close attention to the road conditions, yet at that very moment, there was nothing else I could have done.  I was sliding on ice . Be careful out there on Ottawa roads. It is extremely slippery out there today. The Ottawa Police Service have provided excellent safety tips to drivers who encounter freezing rain.

-Clear all ice and snow off your vehicle to avoid any ice and snow dislodging and flying onto other vehicles.

-Allow yourself distance between vehicles. Especially when the roads are icy, you need enough distance to stop. Also it allows time to react if ice and snow is flying off other vehicles.
-Be aware that other vehicles may loose snow and ice on them. Often times, transport trucks have ice and snow on the roof of their trailers.
-Always slow down when the roads are icy.
-Allow yourself more time to arrive safely to your destination.
-Ensure your vehicle is ready for winter. Ensure you have winter tires, proper windshield wipers.

Here are a few more tips I have to offer:

  1. Make sure tries have good grips: Always best to have proper winter tires installed.
  2. Make sure you can see. Make sure blades, windows and headlights are properly functioning and clean.
  3. Run the air-conditioner. This removes condensation and frost from the interior of windows.
  4. Check your lights. Ensure they are clear of snow and working.
  5. Know how to use your brakes. If you find yourself sliding on ice,use your antilock brakes: Stomp, stay and steer. Stomp on the pedal . Stay with the pedal. Steer around the obstacle.
  6. If your car is not equipped with ABS, do not panic. Push the brake pedal hard until the wheels stop rolling, then immediately release the brake enough to allow the wheels to begin turning again. Repeat this sequence rapidly.
  7. Be careful. Look for “black ice. Touch your brakes regularly enough to test for black ice.
  8. Know the tough spots.  Bridges and intersections are common places for ice to form.
  9. Too much steering is bad. In most cases, over steering will always make the situation worse. While it may be instinctive to steer away from the obstacle as hard as you can you may make things worse. If the icy conditions end and the front tires regain grip, your vehicle will go in whatever way the wheels are facing, which could be very dangerous (oncoming traffic , hydro poles or traffic).

All in all, common sense and good driving habits are what will help you the most. Sometimes, despite this accidents will happen as we cannot control everything around us. Please drive safely out there.

 


Ottawa pedestrian accidents results in head injury, leg injury and abdomen injury.

Ottawa Accidents and Pedestrian Accidents

Two Ottawa accidents have left a 30-year-old man in serious condition after he was struck by a truck on Heron at Finn . He had been walking on the sidewalk when he was hit and was trapped under a  hydro pole. He suffered personal injuries to his legs and abdomen and remains in serious condition at the Ottawa Hospital Trauma Centre.

In a separate Ottawa accident, another man in his 80s remains in serious, but stable condition after he was hit by a car on Baseline road, close to Clyde. He was rushed to an Ottawa Hospital and was being treated for a severe head injury.

I hope both of these men are able to recover fully from these terrible accidents. My thoughts are with them,  their families and friends.

Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth.  David Hollingsworth has been an Ottawa Ontario injury lawyer since 1999 and has been building a team of dedicated  injury lawyers. Our blog talks about eastern Ontario accidents such as Ottawa area accidents, personal injury, safety,  insurance in Ontario,  and events or news that relate to Ottawa .  For more information, visit  www.ottawainjury.ca.


Tragic Ottawa rollover accident Upper Dwyer Hill at March road: car submerged in water filled ditch.

Car Accident Upper Dwyer Hill

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth. Sadly, a 43 year old woman died yesterday at an Ottawa hospital. She had been submerged under water car after her car  flipped and landed in a ditch filled with water on Upper Dwyer Hill Road at March Road. Emergency crews got the call around 8:15, but tragically Ottawa firefighters couldn’t help the woman. They had to first tow the car out of the water ditch and turn it over before Ottawa paramedics could try to start to save her .   She was air-lifted to an Ottawa hospital and sadly she succumbed to her injuries. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this very sad and difficult time.

Wrongful Death and Car Accidents

Our personal injury lawyers meet regularly with families who have lost a loved one in a car accident. We sit down with these grieving families and share with them what we can do to help.  Unfortunately, we can’t do what they want most , which is to bring their loved one back. Our injury lawyers can help in other ways. We can help secure death benefits so that loved ones receive a proper send off.  Also included in Ontario Accident Benefits are expenses paid by family members related to a funeral.  Our lawyers represent families at some of the most difficult times of their lives and help secure death compensation such as: Funeral Expenses up to $6,000.00, Spousal Death Benefits: $25,000.00 and Dependents’ Death Benefit: $10,000.00 each.  We understand that this is not enough.  In the case where someone else was negligent for the death of a loved one, you may have a wrongful death lawsuit you can also pursue.

In order for a death to be considered wrongful death lawsuit, it must establish that the death:

  • Was due to negligence or recklessness of another party.
  • Has caused measurable damages, for example a spouse is now suffering from financial issues as the deceased was  primary breadwinner.

Contact a wrongful death lawyer

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, we are so sorry .  We understand what you are going through and we  are here for you. You have been through enough, now let us help.