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.
Farming Accident Insurance Claims
Unfortunately a farming accident can happen any time. The spring weather is finally here and across the outer regions of Ottawa and into Kemptville, Cornwall, Arnprior and the Valley, farmers are beginning to prepare for their spring planting season.
Living in the city, we often forget that these farms are where our food comes from and that these farmers work long hours in, sometimes, dangerous situations.
Machinery is the major cause of accidents and injuries in farm workers with 70 per cent of fatalities being attributed to machine rollovers, run overs, entanglement in moving machinery parts or other machinery-related causes, (Canada Safety Council). Proper training, education and preventative maintenance are very important to maintain a safe working environment.
Farming accident and safety
The best tool for any farmer who operates machinery is the owner’s manual. Machines are designed with safety in mind and are often used without error with properly maintained and operated.
An inspection of the machinery at the start of the work day can sometimes expose serious safety issues. Leaking air or hydraulic lines, missing machine guards or obstructed stop switches can have dire consequences. Safe operation should include a daily walk around the machinery. Here are some safety tips for farm operators.
* Wear personal protective equipmenton the job. Goggles, safety shoes and leather gloves are all potentially lifesaving.
* Avoid wearing any loose-fitting clothing, jewelry, hairstyles or anything that could get caught on moving parts.
* Stay away from moving parts at all times. If there’s something caught in a moving part, make sure to turn off the machine and remove the keys from the ignition before performing maintenance.
* When parking a machine on a slope, make sure to block it. The majority of all run over accidents between 2002-2012 were caused by unmanned machines.
* Exercise caution and judgment when operating a machine close to the edge of a ditch, slope or field. This is the most frequent cause of machine rollovers.
* Perform preventative maintenance regularly, making sure that machinery is properly lubricated, adjusted and does not have parts that are in need of adjustment or repair.
Farming can be a dangerous industry, but education and a mind for safety can greatly reduce accidents and injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a farming accident, call us today. We understand, we care and we are here to help.
Extension of presumption for entitlement for cancers in firefighters.
What do WSIB claims and cancer have in common ? Ontario has made it easier for firefighters to get the help and care they need by extending the presumption for entitlement to benefits to cervical, ovarian and penile cancers.
“Firefighters are vital to keeping our communities safe from life-threatening dangers. Every day, they risk their health and their lives to protect us and our communities. In return, we must protect them. That’s why the government has made it easier for firefighters and fire investigators to qualify for workplace safety and insurance benefits,” Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour.
By adding the three cancers to the list of cancers presumed to be related to their work, firefighters and fire investigators will have greater access to healthcare and compensation. With the expanded presumption, once a firefighter is diagnosed with cervical, ovarian or penile cancer, the claims process for WSIB claims benefits will be expedited, and firefighters will not be required to prove a causal link between these cancers and a workplace exposure.
“If a firefighter is diagnosed with cervical, ovarian or penile cancer, the worker’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board ( WSIB) claims for benefits and services will be presumed to be work-related. This will give firefighters faster access to compensation and other benefits, ultimately supporting positive recovery outcomes,” Ron Kelusky, Chief Prevention Officer
Claims related to cervical, ovarian and penile cancers will be retroactive to January 1, 1960. This will apply to full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters, firefighters employed by band councils and fire investigators.
* In 2007, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) was amended to create a statutory presumption for firefighters and fire investigators to get compensation for heart injuries and certain cancers without having to prove they are work-related.
* In 2014, the Ontario government amended the Firefighter Regulation under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to add six cancers to the list of diseases that are work-related: multiple myeloma, testicular, breast, prostate, lung and skin cancer.
* This amended regulation makes Ontario among the leaders in this area and Ontario’s firefighters among the best protected in Canada.
* There are about 450 fire departments in Ontario made up of about 11,000 full-time firefighters, 19,000 volunteer firefighters and 200 part-time firefighters
If you, or someone you love, has been injured at work or has a work-related diagnosis of disease, give us a call. We can help you make sure that you receive the benefits that you deserve.
As we head into the weekend, many of you will be on the roads. Winter is upon us and with it comes some challenging driving conditions. Now is the time to make sure that your vehicle is in top condition for winter driving. Getting ready is only half the battle. Winter conditions also require a refresher in driving safety. Snow and ice need to be taken seriously. Going the extra mile by getting your vehicle ready for winter and learning what it takes to drive safely through ice and snow could be a lifesaver.
First things first… Do you have your snow tires on ? If not, do it now ! It’s safer and your insurance company likely offers you a discount. If you can buy snow tires, please do.
Check your tires
Low air pressure and worn tires are a dangerous combination on wet or slick roads. No traction means no control. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated and that your treads are deep. You may also consider an investment in snow tires.
Replace or Refill All Fluids
* Coolant—Make sure your antifreeze levels are correct to prevent freezing in your radiator.
* Oil—Time for an oil change? Keep your levels topped up all season long.
* Wiper fluid—Change to winter wiper fluid to keep your wipers from freezing and keep your vision clear.
Cold Weather & Battery Capacity
It isn’t only your engine that if affected by the cold. Your battery capacity is reduced by the cold weather too. A thorough inspection of your battery, cables, terminals, and fluid will help you make sure your car is ready for the winter.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Keeping a safety kit in your car all year is a good idea. Things like road flares, a jack, a lug wrench, and a first aid kit should be at hand no matter what. It’s also a good idea to update this kit with seasonal items that can keep you warm and prepared for winter’s worst.
Items to include in your winter safety kit include:
* Blanket, leather gloves, and hat
* Bag of kitty litter or sand
* Ice scraper and brush
* Small shovel
* Safe and leak-proof container of coolant
Our Ottawa injury team wishes you a safe and fun filled weekend. Drive safely.
There once was a time, not long ago, when children were taught to look both ways before they crossed the street. In those days, we were all worried that drivers would not see pedestrians. We were afraid of the drivers. Now we also need to be on the look out for a pedestrian accident.
Today, pedestrians themselves are increasingly becoming the problem, walking around with their eyes on their phones and earbuds plugged in.
In fact, around 40 percent of Canadians admitted to texting as they walk and about 25 percent said they always or often walk with their headphones on. Not surprising given the increase in cell phone use over the years, but no text or call is worth the risk. These distractions are a very real danger, especially during the month of November which is noted for an increase in pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The time change leaves commuters at a greater risk walking and driving home in the dark.
While laws are in the works across Canada to fine distracted drivers, it’s best to make sure that you and your family are always safe and that you are not liable for an accident.
Our Top Ottawa Injury Tips for Avoiding a Pedestrian Accident
1. If you must use headphones or other electronic devices, maintain a volume where you can still hear the sounds of traffic and your surroundings.
2. If you need to talk to someone, make a call or text, stop and do it away from the traffic.
3. Focus on the people, objects and obstacles around you.
4. Don’t jaywalk. Cross streets carefully at a traffic light. Stay aware of the traffic and the vehicles and bikes on the road.
5. Look up, not down, when stepping into an intersection or walking in a parking lot.
6. Stay alert and be aware especially during the winter months when it gets dark earlier and drivers aren’t as likely to see you.
More and more, our Ottawa injury lawyers are finding that the things that social media , the things you post online are being admitted into in court as evidence. Think about it. The updates, photos and videos you post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat can be very easy to access.
Every day, people post photos, status updates and videos that create a window into their personal lives. Insurance companies may explore all of your posts, past and present, to uncover your character and your lifestyle. They will look at the type of activities you participated in prior to your injury and dig for signs of pre-existing injuries. More importantly they will follow your activity after the injury.
Social media recommendations from our Ottawa injury lawyers:
Lock down your accounts– This is the easiest way to help prevent information from being used against you.
Monitor photos – Keep a close eye on photos that you post or are tagged in. Untag yourself or ask the person who posted it to delete it right away.
Watch what friends post – Monitor what’s being posted on your wall to make sure nothing could be misinterpreted.
Monitor comments – Be careful when commenting on friends’ statuses or photos.
Our Ottawa injury lawyers ask you to consider your social media presence –
Although Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are the most targeted, don’t forget about the rest of your online presence. Are you on LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, or Flickr? These may all be other sources of information for other lawyers or insurance companies.
Ask the question: “Who am I really sharing this information with? Could it be used as harmful evidence?” If your gut tells you yes, it’s probably a good idea not to post it
Don’t talk to strangers. If you are involved in a personal injury or insurance case, beware of friend requests from people that you don’t know. Folks who want to access your information have ways of making you think that you know them. Be very careful.
Teen driver safety is so very important. As Ottawa injury lawyers, we meet with families regularly who have lost a teen in an accident. Sadly, teen drivers are the most at risk drivers in our country. Inexperience, coupled with immaturity, can result in not knowing how to react or even risk taking behaviours like speeding, distracted driving, drug and alcohol use and not wearing a seatbelt. All of these behaviours can lead to an increased accident rate among teens. The Ontario Provincial Police report that teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.
National Teen Driver Safety Week aims to get the word out about safe driving to parents and teens encouraging them to start talking about the dangers. Also parents need to lead by example. Specifically, parents should talk to their teens about what is known as the “5 to Drive” or the five most common teen safety driving issues.
Speeding Drugs or alcohol
Driving and riding without a seatbelt
Using a cell phone or
Texting while driving
Talk to your teens about accidents and how to stay safe
During National Teen Driver Safety Week, our Ottawa injury lawyers urge you to take the opportunity to talk with teenagers about these issues and remind them to take a stand for safe driving even when not behind the wheel. That means speaking out if you are in a car with someone who is texting while driving, making sure not to distract the driver and calling home for a ride home if another teen driver is unsafe.
This year it is particularly important to talk to teens about distracted driving as the incidents of distraction are clearly on the rise. Approximately 16 percent of all distracted driving crashes involving drivers younger than 20*.
Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Let us all do our part to ensure that all teen drivers . Our Ottawa injury lawyers want you to #GETHOMESAFE.
*Ontario Provincial Police
From our Ottawa injury lawyers…
Our Ottawa injury lawyers hope you have enjoyed your summer. As we head into the fall and see the kids back off to school, we thought we would remind you of a few very important recent changes to laws for Ontario drivers and pedestrians.
Changes to passing cyclists
Drivers must give cyclists at least one metre of room wherever possible. This offence in Ontario could cost you $110 and two demerit points . Ottawa police say they’ll start enforcing the law shortly.
Dooring is also an area with newer rules and fines. In Ontario, motorists who open the door of their vehicle into the path of a cyclist without checking first will face increased set fines of $365 and three demerit points, if conviction.
Changes to distracted driving
Please remember that it’s not just about talking on your phone. In Ontario, you are not permitted to look at your phone, text or talk without hands-free on your phone when driving. In Ontario, the current penalty for distracted driving is approximately $200 to an increased fine of $490 and 3 demerit points, if convicted. New drivers with a G1 or G2 license could also have their driving permits suspended on the spot.
Changes to pedestrian crossovers
In January of this year, new laws in Ontario came into effect when it comes to pedestrians and crosswalks. Ontario drivers now must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the other side of road at crossovers and school crossings. Before, drivers only needed to wait until a pedestrian had crossed their side of the road only. For more detailed information , visit www.ottawainjury.ca/lawyers/safety/new-laws-ontario-pedestrian-crosswalks/
Changes to driving under the influence
Drinking and driving is not only only type of driving considered to be “under the influence” . Ontario drivers caught driving under the influence of illegal drugs now face the same penalties a someone who is considered a drunk driver. Depending on how influenced a drivers is, the fines and penalties vary from a 3- 90 day suspension of one’s driver’s licence.
Changes to driving around emergency vehicles
Otherwise known as the “move over” law, Ontario drivers will be required to slow down and move into the next lane over whenever passing a stopped emergency vehicle such as police, ambulance, fire and tow trucks, when their lights are flashing and they are pulled over. The fine in Ontario for not complying with these rules is $490 and three demerit points.
Be safe out there….
Our Ottawa injury lawyers share what you need to know for the upcoming holiday season.
It’s that time of year again, house parties and office parties. People want to get together. It’s a wonderfully festive time. You may be attending your office party, ringing in the new year with friends or just getting together with family. Many of these types of parties often involve alcohol consumption. Here are a few things our Ottawa personal injury lawyers believe you should know:
Hosting the party: Social Host Liability
If you plan on being the host, it’s important that you take some very important precautions. It’s always best to hire a third party if possible. Hiring a catering company or bartending company, allows the host to circulate freely with their guests and not worry as much about monitoring guests alcohol levels and consumption. As a host, you may also be indulging in alcohol and if you are the one responsible for monitoring people’s intake, your judgment may be impaired. This is not safe. A bartender is trained to to recognize people who may have had too much to drink. It goes without saying that if you are hosting a party, you want your guests to have fun, while at the same time, are safe and free from injury.
Third Party: Commercial Host Liability
Commercial host liability differs from both social host (you) and employer liability (work functions). The Liquor Licence Act and its regulations have detailed statutory requirements that drinking establishments must comply with when they are serving alcohol. This is not to say that the drinking establishment that overserves will be held 100% responsible. In many cases, the courts will determine the percentage of liability.
Work parties: Employer Liability
There is an onus on employers to ensure their staff’s safety. It’s important for employers to not only provide a safe party environment but also ensure that any staff leaving their party who they believe may be intoxicated, does not drive. Employers can provide taxi chits, arrange drives etc…Employers can be held liable when their employees leave a work party intoxicated and subsequently becomes injured. As an employer, our personal injury lawyers recommend that employers provide taxi chits, host their parties at a third party location, offer non-alcoholic beverages as an option.
Our Ottawa injury team wishes you a safe and happy holiday season. Enjoy your time with friends and loved ones and please drink responsibly.
Rear-end collisions or ” hit from behind accidents” are some of the most common types of accidents we see as Ottawa injury lawyers. In most cases, when a vehicle hits you from behind, it is usually them who is at fault. Very rarely will the driver who was hit be found at fault. The rationale behind this is that typically all drivers are supposed to leave enough room in front of their vehicle that allows for enough room for the driver to come to a complete stop should the vehicle in front of them suddenly need to brake and stop. Our Ottawa injury lawyers were contacted about an accident of this nature. Our client “YT” was involved in a car accident that left her injured. YT was a 41 year old mother of two children. One day she was driving her vehicle when suddenly she was hit from behind at approximately 50 km/h. You might not think 50km/hr is very fast; however when a vehicle travelling at that speed and hits another vehicle, the results can be devastating.
Injuries Resulting From Accident:
No two accidents are alike. Our client was involved in a serious accident that left her suffering from chronic pain in her neck, back and shoulder, post concussive symptoms, major depression, anxiety and pain disorder. Thankfully, she was able to go back to work on a modified and part time basis. Hopefully over time, her injuries will continue to heal and she will be able to return to full-time work when she is ready.
Compensation for Injury:
Our Ottawa injury lawyers are very experienced in Ontario personal injury law. After a mandatory mediation session, Ottawa injury lawyer Denis Alisic was able to negotiate a favorable settlement with the insurance company in the amount of $240,000.00. This meant no trial and our client was able to receive compensation in a short amount of time. Currently she continues to receive monthly medical and rehabilitation accident benefits from her insurance company .
If you have been injured in a “hit from behind” accident, you are likely not at fault. If this accident has caused you injuries, then you are likely in need of Accident Benefits such as medical and rehabilitation benefits and income replacement benefits. It’s important that you explore your options and make an informed decision. Our Ottawa injury lawyers are available for FREE CONSULTATIONS if you are looking for advice and whether or not there is support and compensation available to you.
*Please note: Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and that the amount recovered and other litigation outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.