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?



Ottawa personal injury lawyer explains who pays for Ontario accident benefits insurance compensation?

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers working with David Hollingsworth.

Ottawa Lawyers who travel to you to ensure maximum compensation.

Who pays for Ontario accident benefits insurance compensation?

Since Ontario has no-fault insurance, it can be confusing and sometimes difficult to understand who exactly pays for insurance compensation.  Does it come directly from the driver’s pocket? The other driver’s pocket? Your own insurance company? The other driver’s insurance company? Regardless of who is at fault, if you are seriously injured, you are entitled to certain Ontario accident benefits from your own car insurance company or from the car insurance company of another vehicle involved in the accident, no matter who is at fault. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, Ontario accident benefits compensation can come from any of the following.

  1. your insurance company
  2. the insurance company of the vehicle that you were travelling in as a  passenger
  3. the insurance  company of the any vehicles involved in the accident .
  4. if uninsured, the MVAC:  Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund . This is a fund established by the Government of Ontario to help compensate people who need help but have no insurance at the time of their accident.

How an Ottawa personal injury lawyer can help you with your insurance claim.

Experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyers will be able to help you fill out your Ontario accident benefit forms and help you determine your best course of action. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer and get a free consultation.  We meet daily with people who have been in accident sand need help.  One of the many services we offer is that we will fill your Ontario accident benefits forms for you.  It’s important that these forms are filled out correctly and in a timely manner.  Failure to do so can affect the amount of compensation you receive and the length of time it may take to receive your compensation.  The Ontario accident benefits insurance process can be complicated. Let us help you.  You have been through enough.



Ottawa injury lawyer explains insurance claims and compensation when it comes to ATV accidents and off-road vehicles.

ATV accidents and personal injury compensation

As many make their way to the cottage for the long weekend, I wanted to touch on the use of off-road vehicles .  Every spring I’m contacted as an injury lawyer and asked about ATV insurance claims. You would be shocked by the number of  All-Terrain Vehicle and off-road vehicle accidents that occur each year. In most cases, the ATV flips and typically the accident results in serious injuries such as head injuries, broken bones and in some cases fatalities.  Most ATV riders are excellent drivers and know how to ride their vehicles but something simply went wrong.  Sometimes it’s an unexpected branch, a wire that crossed a path that they didn’t see, the ATV gained too much momentum or simply a fluke accident.

Are ATVs considered to be off-road vehicles?

What is clear is that ATV accidents happen, what’s unclear to some is if are they considered to be a motor vehicle and therefore subject to insurance laws and compensation as would be an accident involving a motor vehicle. I have had some off-road cases go all the way to the Ontario Court of Appeal to determine the definition of what is a motor vehicle. In one case, my client was on an uninsured dirt bike and we were successful in proving that he was entitled to maximum compensation.  More and more ATVs are used for mainly recreational purposes and sometimes for work on farming lands. Now that summer is here, there will be more and more ATV vehicles out and many of the drivers are considered to be minors.

The Off-Road Vehicles Act describes the rules and laws surrounding  ownership and operation of  off-road vehicles including ATVs.  It also describes what insurance is covered.  The Act states:

For legislation purposes, an  “off-road vehicle” is considered to be:

1. Dune buggies.

2. All-terrain vehicles with steering handlebars and a seat that are designed to be straddled by a driver.

3. Vehicles designed for utility applications or uses on all terrains that have 4 or more wheels and a seat that is not designed to be straddled by the driver.

Should your ATV have its own insurance policy?

The laws surrounding who can drive off-road vehicles are clearly laid out in the Act. Children are permitted to drive off-road vehicles, with certain conditions. Children under the age of 12 can drive an off-road vehicle if they are on the land owned by the owner of the vehicle, and under the close supervision of an adult.  This means that no child under the age of 12 can drive an off-road vehicle off the property of the owner of the off-road vehicle.  Children under the age of 16 can drive an off-road vehicle off of private property with a valid G2 or M2 license.

All off-road vehicles must have licence plates, and drivers must have an issued permit, by the Ministry of Transportation.  Off-road vehicles may not be driven on highways, unless the driver has a valid driver’s licence.   All off-road vehicles must also be insured by a valid insurance policy.  Like when you are driving a car, evidence of insurance and ownership must be made available when using the vehicle.  Failure to provide proof of insurance or ownership may result in a warning, fine or order to produce within a certain time frame.  The only time this is not required is when the vehicle is being driven on private property owned or operated  by the owner of the off-road vehicle.  In other words, you and your family don’t need insurance or licence if you are driving your vehicle on your own cottage or farm property. The second your off-road vehicles leaves your property, it must be insured.

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 then be accessed to cover you for things such as medical rehabilitation, home care, caregiving, income replacement, house keeping etc…

Basic rules for off-road vehicles

  • drivers must observe a speed  lower than posted limits.
  • Passengers are not permitted.
  • Are allowed to tow trailers.
  • Must not have  obstructed views.
  • Never drive an off-road vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Must wear a helmet

As the owner of an off-road vehicle, who are you responsible for?

As the owner of an off-road vehicle, you are responsible and liable for any negligence of drivers of your vehicle if you have given them consent.  In other words, if you give permission to say a friend to use your off-road vehicle and they get in an accident and injure someone, you will be liable in that lawsuit and your insurance company may need to compensated the injured party.

The rules and laws surrounding the use of off-road vehicles are complicated.  Most important is that everyone drives their vehicles in the safest manner possible. ATV vehicles are particularly tippy and children need to be closely supervised.  In the event of an accident where someone is injured, it’s important to contact an injury lawyer to determine your rights and compensation.  I have had many ATV accident cases where my clients were unaware of the compensation and supports available to them. Securing maximum compensation and support is key. As an Ottawa injury lawyer, I urge you to absolutely insure your off-road vehicles and opt for any additional benefits that you may be entitled to. In the event you or a loved one is injured, you will never regret having made this decision. Safe riding !


Ottawa lawyer David Hollingsworth gives free legal advice today on CTV news at noon

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth on CTV news.

Please join personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth this afternoon on CTV news at noon with Leanne Cusack. We’ve had some great questions come in so far and I’m looking forward to today’s segment as the ask the expert on CTV.  On today’s show we hope to cover questions that relate to:

Summer safety, pool safety, water parks and off-road vehicles.

A few questions that were sent to our Ottawa injury lawyers and we hope to be able to cover relate to:

  • A deceased family member and a lost will. What should you do?
  • “Lemon clauses” when it comes to buying used cars
  • A Quebec resident who was in a car accident in Ontario. Which insurance regime to go through- Ontario insurance or Quebec insurance?
  • Difficulties with a contractor mid renovations the cost of the renovation doubles. What can you do?
  • Child injuries and how to proceed

We hope you are able to tune in at noon today on CTV. We look forward to answering all your legal questions.  If we can’t get to your question on today’s segment, feel free to email me directly at [email protected] and I would be happy to help.

Who doesn’t need free legal advice?

David Hollingsworth will be appearing regularly on CTV news and is available to answer your questions on or off the air. Whichever you are most comfortable with. If you have a legal question you would like answered on CTV news or need some free legal advice, contact David and he will happily offer free legal counselling. Even if your question does not pertain to personal injury, David can answer your question and if it is very specific, he can refer you to other reputable Ottawa lawyers who specialize in your field of interest.

Robert Wein and the Conquer Acquired Brain Injury inspiration for us all..

Conquer Acquired Brain Injury Walk

There aren’t many people who can forget the terrible accident that injured 5 cyclists in Kanata. Well, I can share something wonderful that has occurred as a result of that accident: The Conquer Acquired Brain Injury Walk in Ottawa organised by Robert Wein.  Robert Wein has been such an inspiration to many  after he was hit when he was cycling on March Road in Kanata on July 19, 2009 . Robert suffered serious personal injuries including a serious brain injury.  Originally, doctors said he had only a 50%  chance of surviving, and would not likely walk or cycle again. Robert beat those odds and has been on the road to recovery ever since. His story is an incredible table of someone not giving up and persevering through life’s challenges.

I had the pleasure of meeting Robert shortly after his accident and was so impressed with his determination. Sure enough, Robert Wein has been steadily progressing ever since and has even started riding again. He rides a recumbent three-wheeler. His hard work and determination is paying off. He regularly sees a personal trainer , physiotherapist and is constantly working on his recovery with a goal  to walk without the walker one day.  The way things are going for Robert, I bet he will.

Today  he organised and is leading  130 people in a two-kilometre walk at Andrew Haydon Park. The walk is called Conquer Acquired Brain Injury Walk and the money raised will support  Pathways to Independence, an organization which provides housing and programs to those with brain injuries.

I admire Robert Wein and his determination. What an inspiration to not only people with a brain injury but to everyone ! Good luck today to Robert and everyone participating in what is sure to be an excellent annual event: the Conquer Acquired Brain Injury Walk.