How much information should you share with your personal injury lawyers ?

How much information should you give your personal injury lawyer?

We often meet with clients who are injured in an accident and don’t know what to do.  Initially we walk through the steps to take in getting a claim started and start getting support at home .  Throughout the first few months following an accident , there are a lot of changes in one’s recovery and health.  It’s important to remember to keep your personal injury lawyer abreast of these changes. If your recovery is not moving along as expected or if you feel your health is in fact declining, it is important to seek proper medical treatments as soon as possible.  The longer you wait, the worse it may become.  You are doing yourself any favors by “toughing it out”.   Once you have received proper medical treatment and are taking care of yourself, it is important that you share with your personal injury lawyer any changes in your health and recovery.  If you are referred to a new doctor or a specialist, it is important to keep your personal injury lawyer informed of such referrals.  Your personal injury lawyer will want a copy of all medical reports and any developments in your treatment plan.  The more information your personal injury lawyer has, the better they can prepare your case. In the long run this will help your case, as there will be no surprises. You may think you are bothering your injury lawyer, or they are too busy, or that you will be billed every time you contact them . In most cases, all it takes is a simple email.  Most personal injury lawyers take cases on contingency so you don’t pay anything until your cases is resolved so you need not worry about being charged. Your personal injury lawyer will want to know what you are going through.  The more they know, the more they can help.  In our initial meetings with clients, we try to make this message clear; however, often times down the road we will have clients say things like ” I didn’t want to bother you…”.  Trust me, it would bother us more if we didn’t know !

It’s important that you are honest and open with your doctors, nurses, social workers , health practitioners and injury lawyers.  We all understand that what you are going through is not easy and at times you may wish to remain private.  This is completely understandable and normal; however it is not what’ s best for you.  You need to be as open as possible and accurately describe your pain and symptoms.  The best way to recover is to properly diagnose that needs recovery.  As experienced personal injury lawyers, we are actively involved in your recovery.  We often will attend meetings with your health team and give input on what we think that can in your recovery.  We have helped hundreds of people rebuild their lives following an accident and we can help you.

Contact us at no charge and we can discuss your personal situation and how we can help you and your family.   Leave this to us so that you have the time and energy to focus on your self, your recovery and your family.

 


Can you be liable for texting someone while they are driving if they cause an accident as a result of your text ?

I  recently read about a very interesting case that relates  to texting and driving.  An accident in New Jersey which caused very serious injuries was the result of distracted driving; more specifically texting and driving.  The question that was put to the courts was whether or not a remote texter can be held liable for texting someone else while they were driving and that driver causes an accident. Before I start, let me clarify again that  this accident took place in the United States of America and the laws are very different than Canadian laws and the laws in Ontario.

The New Jersey court deemed that the person who sends the text can only be help responsible if they knew  their text  was being viewed by the recipient while they driving. In the case they presented they concluded that there was insufficient evidence  that the person who sent the text would have known well enough that the text she sent to her friend was going to be responded to while he was driving. The court ruled that the “texter”  could not be help liable due to  insufficient knowledge  and the motion was defeated.  An accident that caused serious injury to two motorcyclists occurred within less than 30 seconds of when the drover’s phone records showed that he received a text from the texter.

To paraphrase, in a nutshell, it was decided that someone sending text messages has a duty not to text someone who is driving if the texter knows, or has reason to know that the recipient will view the text as they are driving.  In this case, there was insufficient evidence to prove that the “texter” had such knowledge when she texted the driver.  The courts stated that she did not actively encourage the driver to text her while driving and that their relationship was not close enough to have known how the driver would have responded upon receiving her text.  The court also determined that the act of sending a text message is not actively encouraging  someone to immediately read the text or  respond. To read more about this case, visit the ABA Journal.

As a personal injury lawyer, this case is extremely interesting to me because if  the circumstances were slightly different, the courts may have decided differently and held the “texter” responsible.  Something to think about before you text ……

What do you think about this?

 

 


What are Ontario Accident Benefits ? Are family members entitled to accident benefits?

Ontario Car Insurance Claims and Accident Benefits. Who can access Ontario benefits?

Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS) are provided by law in every Ontario auto insurance policy. All Accident Benefits are standard and equal among insurance companies, unless you opt for “top up” coverage. Ontario  Accident Benefits provide compensation, regardless of who is at fault, for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and family members who suffer personal injury or death caused by an accident in Ontario or any accident if you are a resident in Ontario. The following accident benefits are the standard Ontario Accident Benefits and are available to most accident victims in Ontario:
  • Income Replacement: Just like it says…the income replacement benefit compensates  for lost income/wages.
  • Non-earner benefit: The non-earner benefit applies when you are unable to carry on a “normal life” and do not qualify for either an Income Replacement benefit or Caregiver benefit.
  • Caregiver benefits: Compensation for expenses incurred when a member of your home needs care and someone is hired to care for them because you no longer can.
  • Medical benefits: Covers medical expenses that occurred as a result of the injury.
  • Rehabilitation benefits: Covers rehabilitation expenses incurred as a result of an injury.
  • Attendant Care benefits: Covers some of the expense incurred by hiring an aide or attendant.
  • Compensation for Other Expenses: These accident benefits pay for some expenses such as monies put out by family members costs in being with you during visitation and recovery. Often times some housekeeping and home maintenance is also covered , as well as lost or damaged articles during accident. ie: computer in car etc…
  • Death benefits: Family members may collect this accident benefit on behalf of a deceased family member.
  • Funeral benefits: These accident benefits help cover funeral expenses.

There are many more Ontario accident benefits available to Ontario drivers.  If you are unsure of whether or not you are receiving everything you are entitled to from your Ontario insurance company, it is best you consult with an Ontario injury lawyer.  We meet daily with people and walk them through their best options. Often times all they need is a little advice.  Unfortunately most insurance companies will not tell you unless you ask and most people don’t know what to ask for.  We know Ontario accident benefits inside and out we have experienced staff who specialize in Ontario accident benefits.  We can help.


Are Ontario snowmobile accidents entitled to Ontario accident benefits ?

Snowmobile Accidents and Accident Benefits Insurance Claims

There are far too many snowmobile accidents each year. A tragic snowmobile accident took another life: the life of  a 24 year old man in Val des Monts yesterday.  My thoughts go out to his family and friends and I am truly sorry for their loss.  I have many clients who have injured themselves in a snowmobile accident . A snowmobile is considered a motor vehicle and yes, Ontario accident benefits apply to snowmobile accidents.  So the good news is there is support and compensation for people who suffer injuries in snowmobile accidents.   The bad news is, there seem to be a lot of snowmobile accidents in our region and some of them are sadly,  fatal. Please ride safely…

Transport Canada  has prepared an amazing site full of interesting information that relates to road and snowmobile safety. For example, did you know that there are over 700,000 registered snowmobiles and more than 161,000 km of snowmobile trails in Canada?  Snowmobiling can be safe and enjoyable. As long as drivers are cautious and follow safety rules, there is no reason not to get out and enjoy a fantastic sport.

The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations or CCSO highlighted that between the years of 1994 and 1999, when promoting safety and  snowmobiling became a focus, snowmobile accident fatalities dropped by 2% – from 96 to 94 deaths;however the number of snowmobile drivers increased by 40%. This goes to show that more and more people can ride safely ,when safety is a focus.

Avoiding Snowmobile accidents safety tips:

  • Tell someone where you plan to go and when you plan to get there.
  • Ensure that your snowmobile is tuned up.
  • Dress properly to protect yourself and avoid hypothermia, especially in children.
  • Always have a  first aid and survival kit available.
  • Ride at your own speed.
  • Try to use snowmobile trails whenever possible.
  • Remain on the right side of all roads, paths and trails.
  • If you don’t know  the area, slow down and drive cautiously.
  • Be careful crossing roads and train tracks.
  • At night, drive with headlights and slow down.
  • Know the  ice conditions and if you are unsure, do not cross.
  • Always  wear flotation-type clothing.
  • Always be on the look out for wildlife.

It’s impossible to completely avoid all accidents but please, let’s try.  Snowmobiling does not need to be a dangerous sport.  Be safe and ride as safely as possible. Enjoy !

 

 

 

    

 


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 Lawyers: Have you been in an Ottawa Accident ? What you do to report an accident in Ottawa.

Ottawa Accident ? How to report an accident in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Police services has a comprehensive website with valuable information for Ottawa residents. I stumbled across their accident reporting information and thought I’d share it with you.

  • A police report is not required when damage to all vehicles is under $1,000.
  • If there are personal injuries and the vehicle(s) cannot be driven,  9-1-1 should be contacted.
  • If there are no personal injuries, but the vehicle(s) cannot be driven, call 613-230-6211
  • If the vehicle(s) can be safely driven and there are no personal injuries, drive all vehicles to the same Police Station and  file an accident report. Important to note: Accident reports cannot be taken over the phone.

The Ottawa Police Collision Investigation Unit …

is responsible for investigating all fatal and serious life threatening motor accidents.  They also investigate hit and run/ fail to remain accidents.

If in doubt call the police and ask them what to do.Your next call may be to an Ottawa personal injury lawyer. They can advise you whether or not you may need a lawyer and whether its best to let them speak with your insurance company.  Make sure to gather as much evidence as you can. Take pictures, write down the sequence of events in as much detail as possible.  Most of all, take care of yourself first. Ensure you are safe and that you are not injured. If you think you might be seek medical attention immediately. The rest can wait.

 


Ottawa personal injury lawyer supporting Ontario pedestrian accident study.

As an Ottawa accident lawyer and Ontario personal injury lawyer, I am very pleased with the recent announcement that a new study into pedestrian deaths will be done by the Ontario Coroner’s Office. The Ontario pedestrian study is calling for Ontario residents to offer personal insight into pedestrian deaths.  This brings relief to not only myself, but many families and friends who have lost a loved one in an Ontario pedestrain accident or whose loved ones have suffered serious injury such as a brain injury, spinal cord injury or broken bones. The study will hopefully reveal what many already know…we need to make our pathways safer. Some are calling for more protected, better marked pedestrian walkways on busy roadways. The Ottawa Police are also anticipating the study will help identify trends and predictors to the fatal Ottawa collisions.

Sadly, to date in 2011, 7 Ottawa pedestrians were killed in Ottawa accidents, the same number as in all of 2010. This is tragic! Not to mention that many other pedestrian accidents result in serious personal injury. The Ottawa pedestrain accident statistics are very disturbing. In 2010  there were 390 pedestrians who suffered serious personal injury in Ottawa accidents. The goal of the coroner’s probe is to identify common factors in the wrongful deaths and to make recommendations to avoid future pedestrian accidents in Ontario. The study aims to look at accident trends across Ontario, education needs, enforcement needs , engineering through cities and municipalities.  The Ontario coroner’s office review will focus on deaths from 2010, with the report scheduled for release in spring 2012. In my opinion, as an Ottawa accident lawyer, this report can’t come soon enough !

The following are some statistics that relate to Ottawa pedestrain accidents:

2006 – 389, 2007 – 372, 2008 – 380, 2009 – 385, 2010 – 390

I know it goes without saying.  Some accidents are out of our control. Please be extra cautious when walking on busy streets.  Keep your head up, eyes open, but your phone away and focus on your surroundings.  It may very well save a life.

———————- The  Ottawa Injury Blog is written regularly by Ontario personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth. Since 1999, David has been an Ottawa injury lawyer representing Ottawa accident victims and the families of accident victims who have lost a loved one in an Ontario accident. This blog reports on accidents in eastern Ontario, personal injury issues, local Ottawa news and events and various news that relates to Ottawa, accidents and personal injury.  Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for more information. If you have a question, feel free to call or email david@ottawainjury.ca (613) 978-9549

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Ontario pedestrian accident study, Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth


What is a mediation in a personal injury lawsuit? Ottawa lawyer David Hollingsworth explains.

Ottawa Accident Lawyer,  Ottawa Mediation and Personal Injury Lawsuitsmediation

What is a mediation?

If you suffered a personal injury in an accident and are involved in a personal injury law suit in Ottawa or in some other Ontario jurisdictions, one of the required steps is to work at resolving the dispute with your insurance company at the mediation level . The idea is that all facts will be on the table for both sides and a personal injury lawyer can represent you and negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf , avoiding the cost, time and stress of going to court. Each party has the opportunity to express their concerns, tell their stories and attempt to negotiate an agreement. Accident victims should ensure that they completely understand the process and know what to expect before they attend the mediation. Chances of a successful mediation, of resolving the dispute or at least some of the issues between the parties, are enhanced by taking the time to prepare. David meets personally with all his clients before such meetings  to sit  down, review and discuss what is expected of them at mediation.

What can I expect in a mediation ?

Mediation is simply a step in the legal process designed for people to settle disputes or lawsuits outside of court. A mediator is hired to be unbiased and help both sides  come up with a fair solution they are both happy with. The mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator. Mediators are not  judges and do not  decide who wins and who gets what. The mediator’s role is to help the people involved  to reach a fair settlement with each other in a positive  manner and move the lawsuit forward, to  understand all sides, and to find a resolution that both sides feel good about. The mediator’s role is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to express themselves, their concerns, and their interests. The purpose of this stage in the process is not to determine who wins and who loses a case, but to come up with a solution and possibly avoid a trial. The  process is informal, relaxed and absolutely confidential.  The insurance company and the accident victim speak more openly than they would in court. Most accident victims  find mediation a more comfortable and constructive process than they would in court.

Typically,  a mediation involving a personal injury lawsuit most often begin with the mediator explaining the reasons and procedures for the personal injury mediation. Then the personal injury lawyer and the insurance defence lawyer make  opening statements explaining the facts of the case. Both sides involved in a law suit must attend the mediation. However, they are not always required to speak. A personal injury lawyer will often speak on their clients behalf. The mediator may the accident victim  if there is anything they want to add. However, it is common for the clients not to speak in the mediation.

How long does a mediation last?

After the opening statements, the parties usually retire to separate rooms where they exchange settlement offers back and forth under the  guidance of the mediator. This is often when most personal injury cases develop and a lot of progress is made in resolving the personal injury lawsuit. In some instances the lawyers will have a direct conversation without clients. The mediator may or may not participate. Almost always the person who attends the mediation with the defence lawyer is not the driver but an insurance company representative who decides on behalf of the insurance company how much money in compensation they will pay out to the accident victim.

Unfortunately not all personal injury lawsuits settle at the mediation level, but a lot do. In the instances where they do not settle, the lawyers can continue to discuss settlement and will move forward towards a trial date.