Ontario personal injury, What is a mediation? Ottawa injury lawyer explains…

Ottawa Ontario personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth.. What is a mediation? How does a mediation affect an Ontario personal injury lawsuit?  Not all Ontario personal injury lawsuits get to the mediation stage.  Some may settle before that.  A mediation in an Ontario personal injury lawsuit is a step that both sides agree to take in order for a speedier resolution and hopefully have the Ontario personal injury lawsuit settle before going to court, which could take years.

In a personal injury mediation, both sides agree on using a mediator. The mediator’s job is to  help both sides come together and reach a settlement.  Mediators are neutral and are there to help both sides reach an agreement.  A personal injury mediation in Ontario is a step before court, whereby both parties can speak directly to one another and are really able to share with the other side what their needs are. It really is a very valuable part of the litigation process and typically results are fair.  Most accident victims find that because of the mediation process, they are able to avoid dragging out their personal injury case and avoid going to court. As an Ontario personal injury lawyer, I have found that almost all personal injury cases truly benefit from the mediation process.

Before going to the mediation, Ontario personal injury lawyers are required to prepare the mediator with the facts from their case.  Both sides will prepare their own version of this document known as a “mediation brief”. The mediator will typically begin the mediation by stating the facts, as they know them and then turn the floor to the  lawyers , who each get a turn to make their opening statements to both the mediator and the other side. In an Ontario personal injury case, the other side is the insurance companies’ lawyer; not the individual driver.

In Ontario, personal injury clients must be present at the mediation; however they are not required to speak. Their Ontario personal injury lawyer is there to represent them and speak on their behalf. Many accident victims like the fact that their lawyer speaks for them; while others do not.  At a mediation, the personal injury client is able to speak whenever they feel comfortable, they just don’t have to.  This includes answering any questions from the insurance company. The insurance company does not have their client there.  In fact, in most cases, the other driver is completely uninvolved in the lawsuit and has no idea as to what amounts or details there are in the case. The settlement cheque does not come from the driver, it comes from the insurance company. The insurance company also does not report back to the driver the amount that was reached at settlement.

Once all of the information has been presented by both lawyers; both sides will typically break off in separate locations to discuss freely and openly what offers they will accept and what offers they would like to make in the hoped of settling the case.  The mediator will flow back and forth between both rooms and offer counsel and suggestions to help both sides reach an agreement.

Most Ontario personal injury cases will settle at the mediation stage but not all do. In the case where it does not settle, the mediation process still helps forward the case along as both sides were able to share information and truly get a sense of where the other side is coming from. Sometimes, the mediation allows both sides to leave with some time to think about things and then over the course of the next little while, they are able to reach a resolution, as they have had some time to let things settle and they have had time  to simply think. And that is a good thing.

—-The Ottawa Injury Lawyer Blog is written regularly by Ottawa Ontario personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth. The Ottawa Injury Lawyer 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 subject  you would like to know about or  if you have a question,  please call or email me: [email protected] (613) 978-9549

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What happens mediation? Ottawa personal injury lawyers, Ontario personal injury lawyers, Mediation process Ontario


Ottawa personal injury lawyer cautioning all Ontario distracted drivers.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth… Ontario Provincial Police have a new focus:  distracted drivers. The OPP are going to crack down on people driving who are doing almost anything other than driving. Yes, that’s right. What does that mean? It could be cell phone or texting, fiddling with the radio in the car, eating and drinking, smoking, dealing with children. Anything that distracts drivers from the road.  I can honestly say as an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, there are far too many accidents as a result of distracted driving. 2012 has just begun and already we have 8 people who have been killed on Ontario highways due to distracted driving.

I know we are all in a rush but please put the phone away.  Don’t even keep it within arms reach when driving.  That way you won’t be tempted to answer it. Return your calls/texts when you arrive SAFELY at your destination.  Before cell phones, people managed and so can we.

Please drive safely out there !                                    -Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth

———————- This  Ottawa Injury Lawyer Blog is written regularly by Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth. Since 1999, David has been an Ottawa injury lawyer dedicated to helping Ontario accident victims and the families of accident victims who have been seriously injured or 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 topic you would like me to write about or  if you have a question,  please call or email me: [email protected] (613) 978-9549

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Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth, Ontario accident lawyers, distracted driving


Ontario Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth: Stages of an Ontario Personal Injury Lawsuit

How long does a personal injury lawsuit take in Ontario?

After an accident, your world is turned upside down.  You may have lost a loved one or you may be in pain and unable to do some everyday tasks you once could. You probably have a million questions that need to be answered.

An Ontario personal injury lawyer can help answer any questions you may have that relate to Ontario accidents, personal injury, accident benefits, insurance claims, medical specialists, services available and more …

Most people who come to me as an Ontario personal injury lawyer want to know: how their case will proceed , how long it will take and what is the maximum compensation they are entitled to in Ontario.

There is no one answer to these questions but after reviewing all the facts in your case, an Ontario personal injury lawyer can best give you an idea of what course to take and what compensation you are entitled to.

What happens in an Ontario personal injury lawsuit?

Step 1:  

Shortly after you hire an Ontario personal injury lawyer, they will  notify the defendant (i.e. the person’s insurance company who you plan to sue) that you intend to file a claim.

Typically, the  insurance company will try to negotiate directly with you and hope that an Ontario personal injury lawyer does not become involved.

The reason for this is that typically Ontario personal injury lawyers can negotiate  a much much larger settlement amount in compensation.

They know how to develop a personal injury case to show not only what compensation  you need now but what compensation you will need in 20 years from now, as the result of an accident.

 

Step 2:

If the insurance company does not offer you a reasonable amount,  your Ontario personal injury lawyer will commence the lawsuit.  This is done by filing a document called a “Statement of Claim” with the Court office and then serving the defendant with the Statement of Claim.

The insurance company generally have their  own lawyers and will in turn file a “Statement of Defence”.

The Ontario personal injury lawyer and the representative for the insurance company then exchange documents and proceed to “examinations for discovery”.

At the examinations for discovery, each side is asked questions about the accident by the other party’s lawyer.

The best Ontario personal injury lawyers will  arrange medical examinations for you.  The insurance company is also entitled to have you seen by medical professionals it chooses, although there are limits on this right. This is not something you should be afraid of; don’t worry.

 

Step 3:

Your Ontario personal injury lawyer and the insurance company can offer settlement compensation at any point and your Ontario personal injury case can be resolved at any given moment.  A lot of Ontario lawsuits are settled at a “mediation”.

A mediation in Ontario is an attempt to settle the case.  The Ontario personal injury lawyer and the insurance company agree upon  the mediator they want to reach a settlement amount in their personal injury case.

A few months before trial, there will also be a “pre-trial meeting.

 

Step 4:

The pre-trial  meeting is a venue, whereby an Ontario judge can offer input to the Ontario personal injury lawyer, as well as the lawyer for the insurance company. Typically, the Ontario judge will offer their opinions in regards to the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

Often times, cases settle at, or shortly after, the pre-trial meeting. Most Ontario personal injury lawsuits are settled before trial.

However, some lawsuit do not settle and  you will be given a trial date.  The unsuccessful party at trial can appeal the trial decision to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

  

How long does a personal injury lawsuit in Ontario take to resolve?

The length of time it takes to resolve an Ontario personal injury lawsuit depends on many factors:

  • How quickly you respond to your Ontario personal injury lawyer’s requests for information and documents;
  • If the insurance company is cooperative;
  • How long it takes for your doctors to provide a report as to what the long term implications of your personal injuries will be;
  • How much time it takes to prepare and receive reports from doctors, other health professionals and other institutions;
  • How long it takes for the defence lawyer to arrange various defence medical examinations: and
  • How long it takes to obtain a trial date in Ontario.  The sooner you commence your lawsuit, the better.

 

The most important thing you need to do after an accident is recover and rebuild.  You will need help and support. Ask for help from friends and family.  They are for you.  Don’t worry about your Ontario personal injury lawsuit. Your Ontario personal injury lawyer will do that for you.

They will represent you and fight on your behalf to ensure that you get everything you need and are entitled to. These are some of the most difficult and stressful times of your life; focus on yourself, family , friends and recovery.  By hiring one of the best Ontario personal injury lawyers, you can concentrate on your recovery.

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Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for more information. David understands, he cares and he is here to help.

mobile (613) 978-9549 / (613) 237-4922 ext.203

 


Ride and stay alive ! Ontario Snowmobile Accidents Safety Tips, Ottawa Lawyer

Snowmobile Accident Lawyerssnowmobileaccident

I have yet to ride a  snowmobile myself,  but I can understand the attraction.  Sadly, every year in Ontario, the number of snowmobile accidents is staggering.  Winter is certainly upon us and I thought after this week’s big chill, it might be a time where more riders are out on their vehicles ( yes, a snowmobile is a motor vehicle) and thought I’d share some very obvious basic safety tips that simply serve as a reminder to everyone out there heading out on their sleds.

Snowmobiling in Ontario:

If you plan on riding across Ontario lakes or Ontario rivers, investigate the conditions before you go and  cross only by following marked stake lines. For your safety, follow these safety tips:

  • Wear a bright, buoyant snowmobile suit.
  • Carry ice picks at all times.
  • If your snowmobile breaks the ice:
  • Place hands/arms on unbroken ice while kicking hard to propel your body as far as you can onto the ice, like a seal.
  • Kick vigorously into a horizontal position and swim to the nearest ice edge.
  • Once clear, stay flat and roll away to stronger ice.
  • Quickly replace wet clothes, keep moving to generate body heat, and find immediate shelter and warmth if possible.

Avoiding Snowmobile Accidents at Night:

9/10 snowmobile fatalities, occur after dark. Slow down, don’t overdrive your headlights. Becoming disoriented or lost is much more likely to happen at night. Wear bright outer clothing with reflective trim on the arms, back and helmet. Never ride your snowmobile alone at night. Always dress in your full reflective snowmobiling outfit even if your intending to just go next-door. You never know….

Avoid Alcohol= Avoiding Snowmobile Accidents- Sadly, alcohol is involved in over 70% of snowmobiling accidents that tragically end in death.  Any amount of alcohol can impair your perception, slow your reaction time and limit your ability to control your sled at a critical moment. Operating your snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol is punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada. If convicted of driving a snowmobile while impaired, you will lose all driving privileges (car, truck, motorcycle, off-road vehicles and snowmobile).  In other words, if you drink and drive your snowmobile,  both your driver’s license and insurance are at risk.

Reduce the Chances of a snowmobile accident by driving defensively.

Engine noise and your helmet may impair your hearing, so be extra alert for danger. You can only control your snowmobile driving, not how others drive.  Your safety is in your own hands, so watch out for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Oncoming sleds
  • Obstacles hidden by the snow
  • Trees and branches on the trail
  • Slow grooming equipment
  • Bridges, open water and
  • Other trail users (skiers, walkers)
  • Wildlife
  • Unexpected corners, intersections and stops
  • Trail wash outs and flooding
  • unsafe ice
  • Snow banks and moguls
  • Road and railway crossings
  • Logging operations

Get out there and enjoy this beautiful, cold winter we are having….but please be safe.  Before you hop on your snowmobile, take a few seconds to prepare yourself in the event of a snowmobile accident.  Should you be involved in an Ontario snowmobile accident, know that there are accident benefits to which you are entitled to through your car insurance. Contact an Ontario personal injury lawyer to find out how best to maximize your compensation.

  • Source: Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs

 


Compensation for Pain and Suffering, Ontario Accident Benefits

Calculating compensation for pain and sufferingpainandsuffering

Calculating your compensation for pain and suffering can be challenging . In Ontario, damages for pain and suffering refer to the amount of compensation an accident victim should be compensated for because of the pain and suffering the person they have  endured and most likely will continue to endure. Pain and suffering damages can be awarded for the future, for the present, or for the past, depending on the personal injuries, when they happened and how serious and life altering they are. More specifically, if a person was in an Ontario car accident, and remained in pain for an entire year, and is only now settling the claim with the insurance company, they would likely get compensation for pain and suffering damages for the entire year they were in pain.

What are damages for pain and suffering?

As a personal injury lawyer, I help accident victims obtain an expert opinion that states whether or not this pain and suffering will have life long implications and if so,  help them get the maximum  lifelong compensation they will need.   Notably, future damages are more difficult to obtain than past or present damages, because victims cannot have personal documentation of his or her future pain but that is where the help of an Ontario personal injury lawyer comes in.   An accident victim can have documentation, i.e., medical records, video, pictures etc, of present or past pain. One of the difficult parts of settling an Ontario  personal injury claim is that unlike medical bills, or lost wages, pain and suffering will cost a person an undetermined amount of money and compensation.

How much is pain and suffering worth?

The amount is open to interpretation. So how do people generally place a dollar value, when requesting a settlement from an insurance company? Many insurance companies take each personal injury and assess it based on individual merit. Some insurance companies use calculating software programs to determine payout amounts. Other insurance companies base the amount they will pay out generally on how much they have paid on past similar personal injury cases and circumstances. There are many different theories on the methods for calculating pain and suffering . The main thing to remember is each case is unique and what’s most important is that above all accident victims get  maximum compensation.  Some insurance companies try to determine how many days you have or will endure pain and how much each of those days of pain is worth in dollar value. Then multiply the number of days by the amount you valued the pain and suffering at. This is precisely why a top Ontario personal injury lawyer is essential.  I have had many accident victims come to me who really needed my help.  They tried working directly with their insurance companies, but realised that it was complicated and got the feeling that the insurance company wasn’t necessarily looking out for their best interest.


Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers- Holiday Safety Tips…

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers -Holiday Safety Tips…

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers: David Hollingsworth: www.ottawainjury.ca

The holiday season is a time that many share with family, friends, and loved ones. It is a time to be generous and grateful for the things in life that we often take for granted, such as the health and happiness of our friends, family, and ourselves. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a time of tragedy and loss for pedestrians, drivers, and shoppers in the context of road safety and weather considerations.  Consider the following advice to keep your friends and family safe from serious car accidents and personal injury during the holiday and winter season:

Even though you may take the best of precautions to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones, it is still possible to become the victim of another’s negligence. Let us spend this holiday season in safety by considering the small but important ways we can all prevent and avoid situations of personal injury, accidents, and tragedy:

DRIVING

Good snow tires can help to keep your car on the road when it doesn’t want to be. Even if your car is in good working condition, it can still hydroplane, contact dry ice, or generally lose control if it is not properly equipped with the right snow tires. Tires require adequate air pressure, and tread. Your gas tank should be about half-full to ensure a freeze-up doesn’t occur. A good mechanic can confirm proper function of all components, including battery, and antifreeze levels.

EMERGENCY KIT

An emergency kit can be useful to have in your car. They can often be bought at any comprehensive hardware store. A good kit will include such things as (1) jumper cables (2) flashlights, (3) first-aid kit (with the useful emergency blankets), (4) blankets,  (5) signal flares, (6) waterproof candle/matches (7) and water. You can always add to your own emergency kit, by including such things as a mobile phone, non perishable power-bars, an object of sentimental value, and so on. The idea is to include anything that could help you in a time of need.

DISTRACTION

When drivers are distracted, they can be as dangerous and drunk drivers because many accidents occur due to the neglect of the person behind the steering wheel. It goes without saying, drinking and driving puts the lives of everyone on the road at risk, and is advised against. Most accidents occur because a few distractions are combined all at once to lead to a major accident (i.e. a driver has only consumed one drink, but the combination of the bad driving of another car, poor visibility due to snow, and driver talking on the phone, putting on makeup, reading the paper, texting, etc. leads to a serious accident). (By the way, talking on the phone while driving is now prohibited in our city of Ottawa)

PATIENCE + RECKLESS DRIVERS

Allow for extra time to do routine tasks. Generally, it will take longer to drive in winter conditions due to climate factors such as snow and hail, while social factors include increased traffic of people driving to see family or go to the cottage for the holidays. Many people fail to anticipate the need for extra time and drive in a reckless manner, endangering their own lives and the lives of others on the road. Safe-guard yourself against the reckless drivers and please take care on the roads.

SLIP AND FALL Accidents

The last thing you want to do is spend your short holiday break in the hospital recovering from a slip and fall.  Always remember to watch out for wet spots and potential slippery areas in shopping malls, supermarkets, offices, etc. Try to shake the snow of your shoes to expose your shoe traction for better grip upon the ground. Most facilities will have rubber mats to remove the moisture from your shoes for additional traction. Comfortable shoes with good tread can make a world of a difference in preventing a slip and fall.

CRIME

Statistically, the rate of crime peaks somewhat during the holiday season. Please be aware of your environment when shopping, and generally out and about. In particular, avoid ATM machines in locations that you feel are unsafe or when you are by yourself. Remember to limit your shopping to stores that are equipped with (1) adequate security (2) well-lit parking, and (3) entrance and exit ways.

Again, as with all the advice, exercise your common sense and know that your attention to these matters acts to decrease your risk, and focus on what really matters – the opportunity to share your time and energy with your friends, family, and loved ones during the holiday season and beyond.

David Hollingsworth is an experienced personal injury lawyers in Ottawa, specializing in Ottawa and Ontario car accidents, Ottawa slip and fall accidents, and Ontario Accident Benefits Insurance Claims. For over 12 years, Ottawa personal injury Law Firm of Goldberg Stroud LLP has been helping Ottawa personal injury accident victims and their families receive the maximum amount of compensation for their injury.

Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for more information regarding Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers and how the best Ottawa Accident Lawyers can help you with your personal injury.