These days, it seems very foreign to see someone talking on a cell phone while driving. Since 2009, Ontario drivers have been banned from using hand-held devices that create distracted driving behind the wheel.
Since then, the use of cell phones and other personal electronics has risen and driver distraction has increased with the introduction of smart watches, GPS systems and on-board information screens.
Sadly, in Ontario, deaths from collisions caused by distracted driving have doubled since 2000 with distracted driving being the number one cause of road deaths in Ontario.
Currently, if a driver is caught using a hand-held device, they can expect a $490 fine and three demerit points.
On January 1, 2019, new laws will take effect in Ontario with escalating sanctions, increased fines and license suspension. At the same time, the list of activities that count as distracted driving has also expanded.
Effective January 1, a distracted driver will receive a summons with a court date where fines for a first offence can be high as $1,000.
- First offence: 3 days suspension and $1,000 fine
- Second offence: 7 days suspension and $2,000 fine
- Three or more offences: 30 days suspension, $3,000 fine and six demerit points
New Distracted Driving laws
Under the new law, anything that causes a driver to be less focused on the road constitutes distracted driving, this includes:
- Simply holding an electronic device in your hands (hand-held communication during driving is against the law)
- Using a cellular phone to talk, text, check maps or switch playlists
- Eating (there may not be a licence suspension, but the RCMP warn you could be fined or given six demerits depending on the food)
- Reading books or documents
- Typing a destination into the GPS
As we head into the new year, we can all resolve to end distracted driving and to keep our roadways safe for all. Turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. If you need to, put the phone in the glove compartment or in a bag on the back seat. Consider using an app that blocks incoming calls and text while you are driving. If you must respond, or have to make a call or send a text, carefully pull over to a safe area.
If you, or a loved one, has been involved in an accident or injured due to distracted driving call us today. We understand, we care and we are here to help.
What do product liability and garage sales have in common. Springtime brings new beginnings. When the warm weather finally comes, we are all anxious to open the doors and windows and begin the spring cleaning. Out with the old and in with the new.
As the seasons change and the children grow, we are anxious to get rid of the stuff we no longer use. Old toys, car seats, strollers, playpens and bicycles and helmets are the first to go.
Beware, selling your things carries a responsibility. Did you know that you are legally responsible to ensure that anything you sell, new or used, meets the current Canadian regulatory requirements?
Canada Consumer Safety and Product Liability
Since the enactment of the Canada Consumer Safety Act, if you sell a product that is banned in Canada, defective and will cause injury to the user or part of a product recall you will be responsible for anyone getting hurt who uses the product you sold them.
Before you hold a yard sale or flock to Kijiji to sell off your clutter, take a few precautions. Find out if the item you are selling has been banned in Canada. You can find that information on the Health Canada website.
Some of Canada’s banned products include:
· baby walkers
· infant self-feeding devices
· lawn darts with elongated tips
· baby bottles that contain BPA
Health Canada Consumer Product Liability Safety Product Recall page
Make sure that the products have not been recalled by checking the Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Product Recall page.
If you need to find out if a product has been recalled, you can contact the retailer or manufacturer or check for recent recalls and safety alerts on the Health Canada webpage. Double check infant products like playpens, car seats or strollers, still have the manufacturers label including model and date of manufacture on it.
Don’t sell toys with loose parts like buttons or knobs that can easily become choking hazards.
Buyer Beware. When you buy products from flea markets yard sales or even online, you should always ask questions about the item you are considering. Ask the seller where they bought it, how long they have had it or if it has ever been repaired or recalled. If you are buying infant products look for the manufacturers tags and check online for recalls on the item.
If you, or a loved one, has been injured by a product, you can make a product liability claim against the manufacturer or seller of the unsafe product. Call us today for a free consultation. We will gladly answer all of your questions and concerns so that you have all of the facts about making a claim
Amusement parks and safety
We have all seen the horrific videos of innocent thrill seekers thrown from amusement park rides while spectators below watch in disbelief. Most recently, a young man at the Ohio State Fair fell to his death when a faulty part caused him to be ejected from the ride he was on. The disturbing video was seen across the internet causing many to question the safety of these carnival rides.
Canada and amusement park safety
How safe are Canada’s amusement park rides? Very safe according to the Technical Safety Standards Authority (TSSA). In fact, Canadian amusement park accidents are rarely the result of mechanical or operator error. Only four per cent of reported accidents in Canada can be attributed to the equipment or the operator. Most often these types of accidents are caused by the actual rider.
Riders who do not use the safety restraints, who stand up on the rides and who do not follow the instructions of the ride operator are more often the cause of the accident. According to a TSSA safety report, amusement ride injury occurrences have increased from 213 in 2012 to 556 in 2015, with the vast majority being minor in nature. Of the 556 injury occurrences in 2015, only 22 were reported as permanent.
Unlike the U.S., in Canada the TSSA enforces and monitors safety inspections. Last year, they reported over 2,000 inspections for rides. These inspections were carried out by certified experts. In addition, ride operators in Canada undergo mandatory training and certification. On site, operators are required to perform daily inspections of the equipment and rides they operate.
For the time being, enjoy the rides at Canada’s late summer fairs and amusement parks but follow these guidelines protect yourself from personal injury.
Follow all weight, height and age restrictions placed on individual rides. Always keep legs, arms and head inside the ride while it is in motion. Read all ride safety rules that are posted near the ride entrance.
Graduation student in Ottawa
It’s graduation season. There will be ceremonies, house parties and a host of other celebrations honouring great accomplishments. There will also be drinking, partying, distracted driving and other risks and dangers that can turn a night of celebration into a tragedy. Let’s make this is a season to remember or all of the right reasons.
Teenagers are the most at-risk group of drivers on the road today especially when it comes to drinking and driving. When you factor in distracted driving, speeding, lack of seat belt use and extra passengers, graduation season becomes very risky. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada (MADD Canada).
• Young people have the highest rates of traffic death and injury per capita among
all age groups and the highest death rate per kilometer driven among all drivers
under 75 years of age. More 19-year-olds die or are seriously injured than any
other age group.
• Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 25 year olds,
and alcohol and/or drugs are a factor in 55% of those crashes.
• 16-25 year olds constituted 13.6% of the population in 2010, but made up almost
33.4% of the impairment-related traffic deaths – MADD CANADA.
Graduation time? time to talk about safety
Before your graduate heads out this prom season, please take some time to talk openly about safety.
Drinking and driving is never an option. Peer pressure can sometimes be hard, especially at a time of celebration. Remind your teen that even one drink is not acceptable if they are planning to drive. Promise them that you will pick them up anytime of the night, no questions asked and give them a backup plan with an aunt, uncle or neighbour to call if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.
Graduation and distracted driving
Distracted driving has become an epidemic for teen drivers. In 2013, almost half of all of the people killed in distraction-affected crashes were teen agers – Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). By now, all kids have been exposed to the dangers of distracted driving. During grad season encourage your teen to leave the phone in the back seat of the car or in the glove box to avoid the temptation to call or text while on the road. If they use their phones for music or GPS, have them set their navigation or playlists before they drive off.
Driving while drowsy is most defiantly a form of impairment. In fact, driving while being awake for more than 18 hours, is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05 per cent. Many teens are less aware of the dangers of drowsy driving. Late nights studying and celebrating can make your teen sleep deprived and they may not notice. Remind your teen of the danger and remind them that your top priority is that they get
Teen driving safety starts with you. As a parent, it is important to set a good driving example at all times and to have open conversations with your teen, especially during graduation and prom season.
It’s never a good time for a personal injury
Summertime is peak time for personal injuries in Canada with more than 30 per cent of all injuries occurring in the warmer months. * Half of those injuries happen between noon and 6:00 p.m. and the main cause of summer injuries comes from people falling, including falls into water (Statistics Canada). The best way to avoid any accident is attention and prevention.
Prevent a personal injury
In Ottawa, 55 per cent of cyclists report that they don’t always wear a helmet when they ride a bike. * On the water, up to 85 per cent of boating-related deaths could have been prevented by the wearing of a life-jacket or Personal Floatation Device.** It’s not hard to understand why we resist suiting up with protective equipment during the warmer months. Helmets, body gear and life jackets are not terribly comfortable to wear in the heat, but, as we know, they are our best defense against personal injury. No matter the sport, statics prove that helmets and life jackets save lives.
Pay attention and avoid personal injury
Canadian summers drive us to the cottages, lakes and pools to for swimming, boating and so many other water activities. On average, 525 people die each year in water-related incidents with children between the ages of 1 – 4 and young men aged 15 – 34 at the highest risk. ** Many of these accidents could have been prevented. Summer is a welcome time for recreation and get togethers with family and friends. Keeping tabs on small children and toddlers is crucial when they are around water of any kind, from a small backyard kiddie pool to a lake. Accidents happen fast and the best way to keep kids safe it to keep them close. It’s always a good idea for parents of small children to have water safety and first aid training.
While 15 – 34 year olds are mostly responsible for their own safety, 38 per cent of water related fatalities in people over 15 involved alcohol use. Clearly the two do not mix and caution should be taken to ensure that those who are drinking alcohol are in control of their actions and their surroundings.
The best way to prevent injury during the summer months is to always remain aware of the surroundings and to be keep a close eye on the people around you. Insist on use of life saving devices and protective gear all summer long to stay safe and accident free.
* Statistics Canada Community Health Survey
** Canadian Red Cross
Every year at this time, as the weather gets warmer, we hear more and more about accidents and insurance claims involving an ATV accident or All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and off-road vehicles. A day out enjoying nature is always fun. Operating a motor vehicle without the proper insurance and equipment may lead to serious injuries, broken bones and sometimes worse.
Last year, more than half of all -road vehicle accidents in Ontario were cause by drug and alcohol impairment. Accidents are worse when riders who were injured when they were not wearing a helmet. Of the 22 riders who died in ATV accidents last year, nine were not wearing a helmet. (Ontario Provincial Police). On-road or off-road, there are laws and regulations in place to keep riders, their passengers and other trail users out of harm’s way.
What you can do to help avoid an ATV accident …
· Riders must wear an approved motorcycle helmet
· Riders must have at least a valid G2 or M2 driver’s licence to operate on-road and must have a valid driver’s licence (i.e. minimum G1) to directly cross a road.
· All ATVs must also be insured when operated off of the vehicle owner’s private property
· ATVs operating on-road must have the same insurance as a passenger car.
· It is against the law to drive an off-road vehicle when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
· If the ATV is permitted on-road, riders must operate on the shoulder of the road in the same direction as traffic. If the shoulder is unsafe or impassable or not wide enough, an ATV can be driven on the travelled portion of the road.
When it comes to insurance and ATVs, riders are often unclear of the rules. An ATV is considered a motorized vehicle. Insurance laws and compensation are available to ATV riders in the same way they are to other motorized vehicles. For that reason, all off-road vehicles must be insured by a valid insurance policy. Like a motor vehicle, purchasing insurance and opting for additional insurance
coverage is always a good idea. In the event of an accident, you and your family will be much better covered and cared for. In most cases a separate insurance policy is not even required and your off-road vehicle can be added to your existing car insurance policy. Ontario accident benefits can be accessed to cover you for things such as medical rehabilitation, home care, caregiving, income replacement and house keeping among other things.
If you or a loved one are injured in an ATV accident and are unclear as to your entitlement for compensation and coverage, call my office at (613) 978-9549.
It’s a sure sign of spring when neighborhood streets and sidewalk traffic is jammed with kids on bikes, their flowered baskets and suped up BMX models. Kids love bikes, but travelling at high speeds, lack of control over the bike when learning and neglecting to wear a helmet contribute to the risk and a cycling accident can be the end result for this popular spring pastime.
Who is at most at risk of a cycling accident?
Much has been written about the safety of our urban cyclist and cycling accidents and commuters, but children between the ages of 1 and 14 have the highest incidence of hospitalization due to bicycle injury. (Canada injury compass 2015.) Speed loving, stunt driving 10 – 14 years olds have the highest rate of hospitalization, followed by kids 5 – 9 years old leaving the little ones 1 – 4 with the lowest rate of injury. Not surprisingly, boys are injured far more often than girls. In 2010 – 2011 670 boys were hospitalized compared to only 195 girls. (CHIH’s Hospital Morbidity Database 2010 – 2011) Also notable is that the types of injuries sustained varied between age groups. 1 – 10 year olds were more likely to be injured due to loss of control and speed or distraction, whereas children aged 10 – 14 were injured doing stunts, tricks and biking on rough terrain. This age group was also involved in accidents with other motor vehicles. In all of these cases, there were head injuries which could have serious consequences short and long-term. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of severe injury to kids on bicycles.
How to avoid a cycling accident
As with any sport or childhood activity, the best way to avoid treatment is through prevention. Make sure that your child always wears a helmet. Helmet use reduces the severity of injury by 80%. Parents should also wear helmets both for their safety and to model positive behaviour in their children. If you would like more information on insurance claims involving a cycling accident, we would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.
Yes, homeowner liability is not to be taken for granted. It happens. Guests to your home sometimes do have accidents when visiting. The truth is, it is very common. From the moment a visitor enters your home, you are responsible for their well-being. If they do get hurt at your home or on your property, you must take personal liability. This is legally known as premises liability or occupiers’ liability.
What is a homeowner liability? The Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act
A homeowner liability mainly deals with the Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act, it’s your responsibility to make sure that anyone entering your property is safe. For example, if someone visits while your house is under renovation, you need to remove any hazards from the area they will be in or warn them about any dangers they may encounter.
If you are renting your living space, your landlord is responsible for providing warning about the hazards or dangers on the premises. However, if the injury comes from something that you could have prevented, you can still be responsible.
If someone breaks into your home, is trespassing or committing a crime, you are not responsible for their safety.
Injuries on Non-Residential Property
The concept of premises liability in Ontario also applies to non-residential places, like restaurants, amusement parks, schools, parking lots, and shopping centres .Lack of maintenance is often the most common cause for accidents on these properties.
When you pay admission to a park, water park or other recreational property or when you enter a premise to receive or purchase a service you are putting your own safety into the hands of the property owner and assuming that they’ve taken precautions for you.
Most business owners are required to install signs warning guests of any dangers or hazards they might encounter. The only time that liability does not apply is when you enter a recreational building or property that does not charge an entrance fee. Anyone who enters a free recreational property automatically assumes any risks during their time on that property.
Slip and Fall Injury Claims
The most common type of homeowner liability claims on someone else’s property are slip and fall injuries.
When you go to someone else’s home, they are legally required to warn you of any hazardous conditions that could impact your health or safety. This could be anything from a loose floorboard to unshoveled stairs. Failure to remove snow or ice properly could also be a major safety issue. If you slip and fall on ice because the property owner didn’t shovel their driveway, they could be found to be negligent.
Other Common Premises Liability Injury Claims
There are so many ways that you could hurt yourself on another’s property. Dim lighting, failure to clean up debris or spills or uneven walking spaces could all contribute to injuries. There are extra risks involved they have a pool.
What do I need to File a Personal Injury Claim for Premises Liability?
Like any personal injury claim in a homeowner liability claim, you need to keep as much evidence as you can. In a civil lawsuit for negligence, the defendant has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they weren’t at fault.
You’re going to have to prove in court that the injury was not caused by your own recklessness or negligence. You could be held responsible for your own accident if it could not have been reasonably predicted or foreseen.
Photos are the best evidence. They will accurately show the area and the hazard or condition that caused your injury.
Keep all of your medical records, doctors’ notes and receipts Having a witness on your side who was there at the time of the incident will also help your case.
If you are injured in an accident on someone else’s property, seek legal advice. A good personal injury lawyer can help you to get the compensation you deserve to recover from the accident and return to a normal life.
Ski Accidents and Safety
Ski season is in full swing. We have had significant snowfall and eager skiers are hitting the slopes in droves. It’s going to be a great season. Remember, though, that winter sports—with the crowds, the weather, and the slippery slopes can be dangerous. In fact, according to the Canadian Ski Council, Downhill skiing and snowboarding are the second and third most dangerous snow and ice activities in the county.
Heading out to enjoy a day of skiing or snowboarding? Take some time to review a few simples safety tips and read the skiers’ responsibility code. Dress appropriately. The clothing you wear in the cold matters a lot, so layer up. Layers are convenient because they allow you to moderate your temperature by taking things off or putting them on. They help to keep freezing moisture off you skin and keep you comfortable as you enjoy your day out.
Wear a helmet. Wouldn’t you want o do everything you can to reduce your chances of a traumatic head injury ? Don’t let your helmet give you a false sense of security, though. People with helmets still get hurt if they are not careful.
Take your phone. Be sure you program in the number for the ski patrol. You’ll want to carry your phone so it is accessible if you’re in a difficult situation where you may not have full movement.
Stay with a buddy. Someone should always know where you are. If you lose sight of your buddy, assume he or she is in danger and try to regain contact immediately.
Follow the skiers’ Responsibility Code.
o Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
o People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
o Do not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
o When starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
o Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
o Observe and obey all posted signs and warnings.
o Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
o Ensure you have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely prior to using any lift.
Following these simple procedures on your next ski adventure will make the experience more enjoyable for you and the people around you. Our Ottawa injury lawyers wish you a happy, safe ski season..
A lot of accident victims wonder whether or not they should hire an Ottawa dog bite lawyer or personal injury lawyer after they have been in an accident or sustained an injury. It is a very common issue. Studies have shown that approximately *60% of all accident victims settle with the insurance company without ever consulting a personal injury lawyer. Are these people saving money in legal fees or losing money by settling for less than they deserve?
It would not be practical to make a decision on the perceived size of the claim without a lawyer’s input. If the victim assumes that the claim is small and is not significant enough to justify the legal fees, a quick consultation with a lawyer will help to determine the actual size of the claim. Claimants may be surprised to learn the actual value of the claim when working with a lawyer that can determine who responsible for the injuries and understands where the damages can be recovered from.
When should you hire an Ottawa dog bite lawyer ?
Larger, more complex claims are always best left with an experienced personal injury lawyer who :
* Can achieve higher settlements than what the claimant can on their own
* Can explain legal documents and related paperwork
* Has claims assessment expertise
* Is experienced in working with defendant’s lawyers and insurance company lawyers
* Will represent the victim and work towards the best possible outcome
Understanding when you should seek out the services of an Ottawa dog bite lawyer or personal injury lawyer is essential to getting the compensation you deserve. Don’t let the negligence of another party cause you undue stress and pain. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an injury or accident, contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. David understands, he cares and he can help.