Personal Injury Claims and Limitation Period for Underinsured OPCF 44R Policy Claims

Ontario Personal Injury Lawsuits and Statutes of Limitations

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by: Brent Meadows

The Supreme Court of Canada has denied leave to the Lombard General Insurance Company in a case involving the determination of the limitation period with respect to OPCF 44R claims.

OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage is an optional endorsement to the standard Ontario automobile insurance policy in Ontario. It provides protection to the named insured and her/his spouse or dependant relative in the event that they are faced with a situation where there is an insufficient amount of insurance proceeds to compensate for injuries sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident. A shortfall in insurance proceeds typically occurs when someone is catastrophically injured and the policy limit amount is insufficient to fully compensate the injured party. Other scenarios that give rise to a situation where there is an insufficient amount of proceeds occur when the other driver is uninsured, or where the driver of another vehicle flees the accident and their identity is unknown to the injured party making the claim (ie. a ‘hit and run’ scenario).

Ontario Court of Appeal and limitation periods

Earlier this year the Ontario Court of Appeal in Schmitz v Lombard released its decision on the issue of when the limitation period begins to run for claims under the underinsured motorist coverage provided by the OPCF 44R. The limitation period is the period of time that a person may commence a legal proceeding. Ordinarily, under the Limitations Act, 2002 the limitation period is two years from the date of the accident. Once the limitation period expires a person is statute barred and can no longer pursue their claim. The OPCF 44R does however create a limitation period of 12 months and it is very important to recognize when the limitation ‘clock’ begins to run.
Lombard in its statement of defence pleaded that the plaintiff commenced the claim after the expiry of the OPCF 44R’s 12 month limitation period. The parties brought a Rule 21 motion for the determination of the limitation issue. The Court of Appeal held that the OPCF 44R’s 12 month limitation period begins to run the day after the demand for indemnity was made. Lombard sought leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada but was denied this month.
It is crucial that you and/or counsel understand when the OPCF 44R limitation ‘clock’ begins to run. Getting this wrong might be fatal to your claim. If you have been seriously injured in an accident and the other driver is uninsured, has minimum policy limits, or their identity is unknown it is very important to recognize any limitation issue that might arise. If you are unsure , we recommend you contact an Ottawa personal injury lawyer . Our lawyers are happy to offer you free advice. Consult any of our lawyers and we would be happy to assist. Email david@ottawainjury.ca and we can help.

 

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Will stiffer distracted driving fines in Ontario help reduce accidents in Ottawa ?

Personal Injury Lawyer Ottawa David Hollingsworth on distracted driving… With the increase in distracted driving fines last month there has been a lot of information about distracted driving released.  The most startling fact is that Ontario Provincial Police announced that distracted driving is the number one killer on our province’s roads.  More people died as a result of distracted driving than any other reason in Ontario. According to the Ontario Provincial Police, last year there were a total of 78 fatal accidents related to distracted driving,  57 fatal accidents related to impaired driving and 44 fatal accidents related to speeding.

Earlier this month, a new legislation was put in place and saw fines for distracted driving rise from $225 from $155.  The Ontario government is  also proposing new legislation that would further penalize distracted drivers by having them lose 3 demerit points, as well as give judges the authority to raise the amount of distracted driving  fines up to  $1,000.    In other serious cases, police also have an option of laying a “Careless Driving” charge under the Highway Traffic Act. The Careless Driving charge has serious penalties such as a loss of 6 demerit points, fines of up to $2,000 and possible jail time.  The question remains …will this be enough to deter drivers?

I also wanted to mention that distracted driving happens at all age levels, young and old.  It’s not just new drivers and “the younger generation”.  We now live in a world where many; young and old,  are glued to their devices for work and personal reasons. It’s important to note that distracted driving is not just talking and texting on your phone.  It’s taking your eyes off the road.  Distracted driving can include getting something out of your purse, tending to children in the back seat, changing radio stations etc…Essentially it can be anything that diverts your attention. The distracted driving section of the Highway Traffic act law only deals with handheld electronic devices. This means that these other activities can be very distracting and dangerous but they are not against the law. According to The Ministry of Transportation Ontario’s distracted driving law is aimed at  a particular form of  distracted driving; which is the use of hand-held communication and entertainment devices and display screens. In time, will we need to revisit was is legally considered “distracted driving” ?

Please focus on the road.  We need every driver on the road to be concentrating on the roads and their surroundings so that our roads are safer for everyone. Drive safely !

Since 1999, David Hollingsworth and his personal injury team have been  helping people who have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident in Ontario. We devote ourselves to safety and helping people through some of the most difficult days of their lives. For more information, please visit us at www.ottawainjury.ca or call (613) 978-9549   or   (613) 237-4922 ext.203 . Email us at david@ottawainjury.ca We understand, we care and we’re here to help.


Will an increase in distracted driving fines help eliminate accidents ? Our Ottawa injury lawyers hope so.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth..Last year far too many people were killed  directly as a result of  distracted driving. Did you know that distracted driving has now become one of the main causes of accidents? As handheld devices become more and more popular, distracted driving is on the rise. The Ontario government is concerned and wants to do something about.  Despite more education surrounding the dangers of distracted driving, accidents continue to occur.  In response, fines for distracted driving are set to nearly double on March 18, 2014.

The decision to increase the fine for driving while using a hand-held device such as a cellphone, smartphone or MP3 player  to $280 from $155 starting March 18 was delivered by a chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice.

According to CAA statistics,  the Canadian Automobile Association states that cell phone use is the worst offender when it comes to causes of car accidents. Specifically texting, as the act of texting causes you to be 23 times more likely that you’ll cause an accident. These statistics are even higher that impaired driving.

The Ontario Provincial Police issued 19,000 tickets in the Ottawa region last year for distracted driving and this is raising concern about the fate of motorists on roadways. In the Ottawa area 78 people died as a result of distracted driving last year.  How tragic ! These deaths were avoidable !

As Ottawa personal injury lawyers , we read accident reports daily and often times distracted driving plays a role.  Sadly, this is not uncommon.  It’s everyone’s job to respect their lives and the lives of others and put your phone away while driving. If it’s an urgent matter and you need to read or send a text, then  pull over to a safe place and do what you need to do. As parents, we also need to stress the dangers of distracted driving with our children and new drivers.  Lead by example and discuss with your children the dangers and realities of distracted driving.  As a society, we all need to be a part of the solution and help eliminate distracted driving.  Do your part and save lives.

For more information on safety and laws in Ontario, please visit our website at www.ottawainjury.ca . Since 1999, David Hollingsworth has been an Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer dedicated to safety and helping people in eastern Ontario.  Throughout the years David has built an incredible personal injury team who share a common interest in helping people who have been injured.  David Hollingsworth and the team work closely with clients and  clients’ families to help rebuild lives following an accident in Ontario.  Email us at david@ottawainjury.ca with any legal or safety question you may have and we would be happy to answer.

“We understand, we care and we’re here to help..and our track record proves it”


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.


Ottawa lawyer David Hollingsworth on record Ottawa temperatures and icy roads to come.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth, Apparently we set a record temperature this morning for this time of year and it’s about to get colder. This weekend, in Ottawa we saw lots of snow and consequently accidents throughout the city.  It was reported on CFRA news that at one point, Ottawa Police were attending to  more than 50 car accidents at the same time.

Environment Canada is predicting that in Ottawa temperatures with the windchill may drop between -20 and -25. so, yes that means get your snow tires on and be prepared for slippery roads that will likely be covered by a light dusting of snow. Having proper snow tires on your vehicle is crucial for winter driving in Ontario. It’s important to remember that snow tires help with snow on the roads but when it come to icy conditions, braking is equally if not more important. Remember to adjust your driving speed and allow yourself time to break .

After visiting CAA’s website , I found the following tips for driving safely under icy conditions:

  • Ensure your is good working order and ready for winter. Have an overall check up done, focusing on the car’s battery, brakes, heater, defroster and wiper blades.
  • Make sure you have proper snow tires.
  • Ensure that you clear off your car and make sure you have excellent visibility.
  • Travel with a shovel,  scraper, washer fluid, first aid kit, blankets, flashlight and extra batteries, a bag of sand or salt can also be used for traction.
  • When weather conditions are not good, plan for extra time when travelling. You are always better off taking extra time and arriving safely.
  • Look up the weather conditions ahead of time and know what to expect. at your destination, because they can be drastically different than Niagara.
  • Punch in destination addresses in your GPS before you hit the road.

It’s cold out there in Ottawa and surrounding areas and winter isn’t going anywhere. Please prepare and drive safely. Have a great, safe week.

 


Ottawa Police seeking information regarding Ottawa pedestrian accident Walkley and Baycrest in the Heron Gate area.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth

Ottawa’s CFRA radio station reported an Ottawa accident this morning involving a 21-year-old male, who remains in serious condition in an Ottawa hospital. The male was hit by a car in  the area of  Heron Gate area.  Ottawa Paramedics reported that the male  hit the windshield of the car and was thrown close to  20 feet into the intersection of  Walkley  and Baycrest road. He was rushed to a nearby Ottawa hospital and Ottawa Police are investigating the accident.  If you have any information, you are asked to please contact the Ottawa Police at (613) 236-1222. We strongly encourage all Ottawa residents to help our local police. It could be your accident someday and you would want others to help if possible.

If you would like more information related  to driving safety, insurance, accidents  or personal injury law Ontario, please visit our website at www.ottawainjury.ca.  Not all injuries lead to a law suit.  It is important that you be informed and know your rights. There are certain accident benefits that injured people may be entitled to and other benefits you may not be entitled to depending on the extent of your injuries, your insurance company, optional benefits, and many, many other factors. Our lawyers are available to sit down with you and explain to you what your options are and whether or not you have a case . It’s best you get informed first.  Hopefully your injuries fully heal and you recover quickly; however, in the event that they do not, it’s important you approach your new situation correctly.  Throughout the years, we have built an incredible personal injury team who share a common interest in helping people .  Email us at david@ottawainjury.ca with any  questions you may have and we will provide you with free legal advice. We understand, we care and we’re here to help..and our track record proves it.


David Hollingsworth, Ottawa injury lawyers proud to be sponsoring the Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley’s fundraising dinner. Tickets still available.

As Ottawa personal injury lawyers, we are proud to again be supporting and sponsoring the Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley’s Seventh Annual Fundraising Benefit Dinner tomorrow.

Each year, the Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley offers education, information, hope and support to people with brain injuries, family members, friends, caregivers and professionals in the Ottawa Valley area. The fundraising dinner tomorrow night hopes to raise much-needed funds to provide education, information, support and advocacy with a mission of advocating dignity, respect, inclusion and understanding for all.

David Hollingsworth and the personal injury lawyers working with him have been supporting the Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley for years and are proud to be involved with such a fantastic non-profit organisation. 95% of the funds raised at tomorrow night’s event will go towards supporting programs such as the Peer Mentoring Program, Peer Support Program, Family Support Group, Drop-Ins, Brain Basics Training Sessions and the Step Up Work Centre to name a few.

There is still time to donate and tickets are still available for tomorrow night’s fundraising dinner.   Living with a brain injury is not easy and it is difficult for not only the injured, but their friends and family as well.  There is a tremendous need for support for this community .  A brain injury is life-altering. 

I know we are all be asked to support various organisations and their are tremendous needs in the Ottawa community ; however, please consider supporting this very valuable organisation.

Every little bit helps to provide hope and funding for much needed supports and programs that could help an individual or a family get back on their feet again.  We are proud to be involved with the Brain Injury Association and we sincerely hope you will consider joining us and make a difference in the lives of other.


“Thank you very much for advocating on my behalf” . An Ottawa injury lawyer review from a personal injury client.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth..

We are so lucky to be able to be in a profession where we are able to help make people’s lives better. Most of our clients have had traumatic accidents in their lives and we are able to help them rebuild their lives following their accident.  Often times, it is not just our clients that we are taking care of, it’s also their family.  A family can be hugely impacted by an injury and family members also need support and compensation.

This week Denis Alisic, one of our  Ottawa personal injury lawyers received this email:

“Thank you very much for advocating on my behalf. During the past 2 years I have come to appreciate your amazing work and what you and your colleagues do to help people during a very vulnerable time in their lives. “

GC, Ottawa

Here is another testimonial from a personal injury client:

“I would like to say thank you ! You have an incredible team of professionals working along your side who provided help, support and advised me when I needed it most.”

CC, Ottawa

We work tirelessly for our clients and we know the difference we can make in their lives.  It’s what motivates us to help in every way we can and fight for maximum compensation for our clients. We understand, we care, we’re here to help and our track record proves it.

David Hollingsworth and our Ottawa personal injury lawyers are here for you. We love to hear from you.  The feedback we receive motivates us to continue striving for the very best for the families we work with .

If we have helped you in the past, we would love to hear from you.  Please provide our Ottawa personal injury lawyers with feedback and help us serve the Ottawa community as best as possible. We would really appreciate it. Email or call us and we would love to chat.

 


Fatal hit and run Brockville accident results in tragic death 16 year old Aaron Stevenson.

Brockville Accident

Ottawa Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth offering our condolences.

Wrongful deaths : I’m very sad to report of a tragic and terrible accident has left a young boy dead .  He died as a result of being in a hit and run accident on County Road 2, near Irace Drive in Augusta Township yesterday around 12:30 a.m. The driver has now been arrested .  A 23-year-old man from Augusta Township is facing charges of impaired driving, speeding and indignity to a dead body, as well as a  21-year-old man from Brockville is facing charges of failing to remain at the accident scene.  Ontario Provincial Police responded to a hit and run accident and the young 16 year old boy who friends have identified as Aaron Stevenson was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital. Sadly, it was too late and he was pronounced dead.  Aaron was about to enter grade 11 at Brockville Collegiate.  The accident is still under investigation.  My thoughts go out to Aaron’s family and friends at this very sad and difficult time.  I have no doubt that Aaron touched many lives in his short time on this earth. What a tragedy to lose a life at such a young age.

information gathered form W1310News

Brockville Accident Lawyers

Our personal injury lawyers travel regularly to Brockville Ontario to meet with clients who have been injured in an accident. Many people living in Brockville frequently travel the highways, have a longer commute to work and therefore are greater chances at being involved in an accident. We have a number of clients in the Brockville area who have suffered serious personal injuries. We have helped them and we can help you.  If you have been injured in a Brockville accident and would like some advice and a free consultation, contact any one of our lawyers. We understand, we care and we’re here to help..and our track record proves it.

 


Ottawa students and back to school. What you can do as a driver to help ensure they get there safely. Ottawa injury lawyer David Hollingsworth asking you to help.

Ottawa Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth and Associates.  Many teachers have headed back into school this week and some school boards have already begun.  Students in the Ottawa area are heading back to school ! Among many other things, what this means is that we need to be extra vigilant on the roads and watch out for the little ones as they head back to school.  Many of them are out of routine, so they may not be looking as they cross the streets.  It’s our job as drivers to be cautious out there on the roads as these next couple of weeks will be busy with children reminding themselves with the rules of the roads as they walk, bike, scooter and blade to school. We all need to be watching out for the children as well as being cautious around school buses , as a lot of this will be new to many children.

The beginning of September brings a wave of emotions ranging from fear, excitement, and stress for children and parents alike.  As parents, we are often rushing around trying to adjust to the new schedule of having kids back in school and we too are distracted. This is the exact type of distraction that could lead to accidents.  We all need a good reminder to slow down and focus on driving when we are behind the wheel. Our commute to work may take longer with the increase in traffic but we are all in the same boat and we all need to arrive to our destination safely.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the City of Ottawa has implemented signage at high-traffic intersections to help remind Ottawa drivers about the start of the school season and the need to be extra cautious when driving near school zones and school buses. The Ottawa Police will also be focusing some efforts as well on driving safety when it comes to back to school and school zones. There are also many wonderful organisations in Ottawa such as the “Safer Roads Ottawa Program” which is a partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health, and the Public Works Department. These amazing organisations work together to prevent road deaths and injuries in the Ottawa area.

Happy back to school ! Let’s work together to make it a safe and successful return to school for everyone.