Social Host Liability : Entertaining over the holidays? Ensure the safety of your guests.

Social Host Liability

Inviting a few friends over to celebrate the season or ring in the new year? Your social host liability and responsibilities go further than just providing the memorable music, drinks and delicious appetizers. As a social host, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of your guests. While you don’t have the same responsibilities as someone who runs a bar or restaurant, if you are having an event in your home or on your property where alcohol is served, you may have more legal responsibilities than you think.

As a social host, you should be aware of how much alcohol your guests are consuming, whether you provided it or they brought it along themselves. Guests who leave your home intoxicated could be involved in a motor vehicle accident injuring themselves or others. Guests who over indulge can also choke, slip and fall, assault another or injure themselves in a number of other ways. As a social host, you may be sued if you were aware that your guest was intoxicated and you did not prevent them from driving or becoming injured.

Prevention and planning ahead is always the best course of action when hosting a party where alcohol is involved. It is much easier to reason with your guests when they arrive at the party sober than when they are trying to leave the party intoxicated. Explain to your guests ahead of time that you have zero tolerance for drinking and driving and that they will either leave your party sober, in a taxi or not at all.

Here are some tips for safe social hosting:

* Limit guest list to those you know

* Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages

* Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive home

* Stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is to end

* Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated

* Consider hiring a smart serve trained bar tender for your party

* Stay alert yourself, always remembering your responsibilities as a host

Social Host Liability. A few important numbers you may need in the Ottawa area:

The Ride-Dowload the App

WestWay Taxi – (613) 727-0101

Blue Line (613) 238-111

UBER -Dowload the App

DJs Taxi – (613) 829-9900


Please don’t shop until you drop! Avoiding a slip and fall injury.

Slip and Fall Injury in Shopping Malls

The parking lots are jammed, the line-ups are long and the potential for slip and fall injury is at its highest in city shopping malls. Your best defense against slip and fall hazards at this time of the year is to slow down and be aware of your surroundings.

Slip and Fall Injury Caused by Slips on Wet Floors 

Slushy snowy conditions outside create slip, trip and fall hazards indoors. People track all of the snow and slush inside making the potential for slipping on a wet floor very high, especially near entrances. To compensate, shop keepers are constantly mopping the floors, even while the stores are open, creating yet another hazard. Be aware of the condition of the floor and wear a flat sole shoe or boot when shopping.

Slip and Fall Injury Caused by Stairs and Escalators 

Stairs, escalators and elevators pose another mall hazard. Take your time and use the handrails. Don’t be afraid to stand to the side and allow others to pass if you need extra time. If possible, only use stairs or escalators that have step guards or paint indicating the edge to help you avoid tripping.

Slip and Fall Injury Caused by Poor Lighting 

It is dark outside this time of year and poor lighting inside often contributes to trip and fall accidents. Shop owners have a responsibility to maintain proper lighting and to ensure that shoppers can see all potential hazards.

Slip and Fall Injury Caused by Aisle Fixtures

Stores are brimming with merchandise and full to capacity at this time of the year. Retailers often stack items at the end of the aisles or in large bins without leaving a safe path for customers to navigate through with carts and bulky packages. Be aware of these hazards and take time to ensure that you and / or your cart can pass without catching on something and causing an accident.

Mats and Carpets – There is a lot of heavy foot traffic on mall mats and carpets around that malls at this time of year. Merchants are too busy to be concerned about their upkeep and repair.

Frayed edges, lifted tiles and wayward mats are easy to catch your foot on causing a trip and fall accident.

Every year at this time, we see too many clients whose holidays have been spoiled by injuries in shopping malls and stores. Be careful this holiday season, take your time and avoid slips, trips and falls.

Liability: Can multiple insurance company policies be liable for one accident?

Ottawa Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth discusses liability in Lawyers Weekly

lawyers weekly

David Hollingsworth was recently featured in Lawyer’s Weekly,  where he discussed joint and several liability.  Specifically the article mentioned what can happen when a person is injured by multiple parties.  What most people don’t know is that when someone is injured by multiple parties, there may also be multiple insurance policies that can provide compensation.

In particular, David highlighted a recent tragic accident that resulted in catastrophic injuries and death. The case highlighted the importance of joint and several liability. The Negligence Act was set up for situations such as this recent tragic accident. In this case, there were multiple people and families that needed compensation. Sadly, there were limitations on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy and that policy would not be enough to compensate the multiple accident victims. In this case, the City of Ottawa was also deemed to be partially responsible (20 percent) yet they could be responsible for 95 percent of the compensation to the accident victims and their families.  Because the City of Ottawa’s insurance pockets are much deeper, they actually end up making up the difference in compensation that is needed for all the families. It appears that the Negligence Act in fact protects accident victims that find themselves in a situation where there is adequate compensation available. The City of Ottawa is appealing the decision.

David later discussed another case where the courts did not attach liability to “other” parties involved in an accident and as a result the accident victims and their families did not receive the compensation that was needed.

If you would like to read the entire article, click here

If you or a loved one has been injured you should contact an experienced Ottawa injury lawyer to discuss what Accident Benefits you may be entitled to.  Your Ottawa injury lawyer will be able to help you establish what your short-term and long-term needs will be.

A Recent Case Involving Compensation for Chronic Pain

Personal injury Ottawa cases and compensation amounts.

chronic pain compensation

Compensation for Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain is an injury our lawyers see frequently.  It often results from an accident and can be debilitating and life altering. Every person who suffers from chronic pain will experience varying amounts of pain.  Every accident is unique and our lawyers understand that each and every one of our clients has a unique set of circumstances surrounding their accident and injuries.

Accident Scenario:

Our team of Ottawa injury lawyers worked closely with our client to ensure she received maximum compensation for her injuries.  Our client was  a  39-year-old single woman from Cornwall, Ontario. One day, she was a driver in a car and was ” T-Boned ” by another vehicle.

Injuries Resulting From Accident: 

Our client suffered very serious personal injuries including chronic pain, post concussion symptoms anxiety and psychological difficulties as the result of the accident. These are injuries that are not to be taken lightly and required a serious plan to be put in place and that plan required maximum compensation.

Compensation For Dental Injury and Psychological Injury:

After the mandatory mediation session, our personal injury lawyers were able to get the insurance company to settle without having to go to court. Not dragging this out was crucial to our client.  She received $200,000 from the tort action and another $24,000 from her Ontario Accident Benefits Insurer. While this $224,000 in compensation will never erase the damage that has been done, it can help her adjust to a new life with rehabilitation, benefits and support.

Our  Injury Ottawa Lawyers Can Help You:

Since 1999, we have been helping people get through their accidents , come up with a plan for rehabilitation and ensure maximum compensation. Our team cares about the well-being and future of our clients and their families.  We try to make the entire process as painless and easy as possible.  That includes working around our clients’ schedules, meeting at their homes or hospital rooms and taking on extra duties to help alleviate the stress and uncertainty our clients experience following an accident. For more information that relates to compensation for chronic pain, visit 

Can you be at fault for hitting a deer ? Who is at- fault ?

Motor vehicle accidents and wildlife
By: Brent Meadows
If you live in Eastern Ontario, it is not uncommon to encounter wildlife when venturing outside of the City, and sometimes within City limits. I frequently hear stories from motorists discussing close encounters with deer and other wildlife during their commutes to and from work. In the City of Ottawa, collisions with deer and other wildlife are quite common. These collisions may result in serious motor vehicle accidents causing personal injuries to those involved.  If you are involved in a wildlife motor vehicle accident there are many legal aspects to consider.
For example, what happens in a situation where someone is driving along a roadway when suddenly without warning they strike a deer causing serious injuries to the motorist? As we know in tort, you may only sue another party if they are at fault in some way. Here, it would initially appear that no party is at fault, and it is likely that there is no party liable to compensate you for injuries caused by the accident (unless the party who has jurisdiction over the highway is liable in some way). But what happens if the deer was struck by a vehicle and that same vehicle kept on driving leaving the deer injured on the roadway, and at some point later on the injured deer is struck by another vehicle causing injuries?
The Supreme Court of British Columbia recently dealt with this issue in Ziemer v. Wheeler 2014 BCSC 2049. The court noted, among other things that:
[187] Mr. Wheeler failed to take any reasonable or entirely possible steps over the period of approximately 9 minutes before the third collision.  He did not return to the scene until a minimum of 21 minutes had passed.  I find that in these circumstances, his failure to take any steps to warn other motorists of the hazard posed by the moose carcass fell below the standard of care.
[191]     In conclusion, I find that Mr. Wheeler breached his duty to warn other motorists of the hazard posed by the moose carcass, and that this caused the Walter-Ziemer collision.
The Court held that the driver who initially struck the moose was liable as he failed to warn other drivers about the hazard.  While this case was heard in British Columbia it may have persuasive authority in Ontario. It is cases like these that demonstrate the importance of contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer who is willing to look at each and every fact to fully appreciate the compensation that you may be entitled to.

Does the Highway Traffic Act apply to private property?

Ottawa Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth….Can you be fined for failing to stop in a private parking lot? Can you be fined for speeding in a private parking lot ? What happens when there is an accident on private property? Should the police be contacted? Should a police report be made?

If this parking lot was in Ontario,  the rules of the road don’t apply on private property.  The  Ontario Highway Traffic Act cannot be enforced  on private property such as parking lots.  In Ontario, motorists are still required under the Highway Traffic Act to report collisions involving personal injury, or having property damage exceeding $1000, or if there is a dangerous condition resulting from the accident.  (eg. a broken gas line) under Section 199 of the HTA .

For insurance purposes, the IBC (Insurance Bureau of Canada has specific rules and guidelines when it comes to “Rules for Automobiles in Parking Lots”  ( O. Reg. 276/90, s. 16.) Insurance companies use the Fault Determination Rules to determine fault. What this means is that you may not be “at-fault” according to police; however depending on the nature of the accident on private property, you may be 50% responsible for insurance purposes.

Regardless of whether you are on private or public property, it’s important to obey all rules of the road for safety purposes. If you have a question regarding your accident on private property, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to provide you with the information you need.


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.

Ontario insurance accident benefits claims: Can a relative make a claim on my insurance?

Ottawa Insurance Claims Lawyers David Hollingsworth

Is everyone entitled to an insurance claim?

Yes, any person injured in an automobile accident in Ontario can make an insurance claim. This includes claim their relatives and/or dependents.

Are there any restrictions on making an insurance claim in Ontario?

There are some limitations to their insurance claim if one has broken the law during the accident in Ontario. If this is the case, they cannot receive income replacement benefits, visitors expenses, non-earner benefits, lost education expenses, expenses of visitors and the housekeeping and home maintenance benefits.

What happens if the injured does not have insurance ?

The person injured may claim these benefits from their own insurance company. If they do not have an insurance company, they can claim it at the driver at-fault’s insurance company. If none of the persons involved have insurance, the claim can be made through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.

Who can help me with my insurance claim?

Regardless if you have been at fault or not or have insurance or not, we can help you. There are options. We understand the stress you are going through and can help. Our Ottawa personal injury lawyers have been helping people with their insurance claims since 1999.

Contact one of our Ottawa lawyers for a free consultation and help with your Ontario accident benefits insurance claim.



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 Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth: How to prevent a slip and fall accident.

Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer

Good morning Ottawa ! It is cold out there today and very slippery. There is a layer of ice on the ground and its hard to see , as last night’s snow is covering the ground.  This is typically when slip and fall accidents happen. With the holidays here we are all out just a little more, shopping and visiting with others and often we are carrying bags or presents. This, coupled with our weather conditions contribute to a higher incidence of slip and fall accidents.  Slip and fall accidents  in Canada makeup more than 50% of all personal injuries . Slip and falls accidents are the primary cause of accidents in hotels, restaurants and public buildings such as shopping malls.

As a property owner, it’s also important that you keep your property as safe as possible. This means keeping your walkways and steps clear of ice.  Property owners have a “duty of care” to see that their property is reasonably safe.  This not only means ensuring steps and walkways are cleared away in a reasonable manner, it also means  your home doesn’t have structural defects, hazardous conditions have been addressed.

Yes, accidents do happen but many accidents are preventable. There are things you can do to lower your risk of a slip and fall accident such as watching for ice, wearing proper footwear, walking slowly, keeping your hands free in case you do fall.

Common Slip & Fall Injuries include:

slip and fall accident

Our injury lawyers help with:

  • Fractures
  • Back Pain
  • Broken Bones
  • Brain Injury
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
  • Bulging Discs
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Spinal Injuries

Although a slip and fall accident doesn’t seem as serious as a car accident, some injuries are more serious and can leave an individual with a lifetime of pain and a decreased quality of life. Some people suffer such serious injuries from a slip and fall accident, that they are unable to return to work.

Financial compensation for slip and fall accidents

If you have suffered from a slip & fall accident you may be entitled to maximum compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of income and health costs, depending on whether or not you are able to establish negligence.  This is where our Ottawa personal injury lawyers excel. We have helped thousands of people and we can help you with your slip and fall accident and make sure you are well taken care of now and in the future.

Ottawa Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Free Consultations