What is arbitration and how to prepare for a FSCO arbitration.

What is an arbitration and how can one prepare ?stepsarbitration

If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit and are trying to reach a settlement with your insurance company you may end up at the arbitration stage . Arbitration at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) is a bit of a last resort when the insurance company and the insured cannot come to an agreement. It is less formal than going to court but one step further than a mediation at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) . Before an arbitration, a mediation involving both parties will have taken place and will have failed. Only the insured can apply to have the dispute go to arbitration . Insurance companies cannot make this request.

Are there time limits involved? 

Yes, if a mediation fails and the insured decides to apply for arbitration, the application must be made within TWO YEARS after the insurance company denies the insured  the accident benefits claimed, or within 90 DAYS after the mediator gives a ” Report of Mediator” , whichever is later. It is crucial to follow these time limits as you don’t want to be denied what you may be entitled to.

Do you need a personal injury lawyer ?

No, you do not need a lawyer for a dispute resolution at FSCO; however we strongly recommend you use one. Often times, a personal injury case becomes complicated and insurance companies are represented by lawyers.  It is best to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.  Our lawyers know the ins and outs of a FSCO arbitration and will be able to steer the arbitration in the right direction.

How do you apply for a FSCO arbitration?

Your personal injury lawyer will counsel you on whether or not applying for a FSCO arbitration is wise or not.  If it’s in your best interest, your personal injury lawyer can apply on your behalf by sending the appropriate, completed forms ( Application for Arbitration – Form C) as well as any related reports such as the Report of Mediator. There is also a fee for applying; however,  in most cases your personal injury lawyer will cover this cost as part of a contingency arrangement.   The request is then sent to the insurance company and within 20 days, the insurance company must send you ( or your personal injury lawyer ) and FSCO a completed Response by Insurer to Application for Arbitration. There are again fees associated with this response. There will also be other costs in preparing for an arbitration such as medical reports, expert reports etc. Again, depending on what arrangement you entered into with your personal injury lawyer, these fees are typically covered by your personal injury lawyer as part of the contingency fee arrangement.

 What is an arbitration pre-hearing conference ? 

Given that the goal is to reach a resolution,  a pre-hearing conference is scheduled before the arbitration. This pre-hearing can be done in person or by telephone conference.  The pre-hearing arbitrator will schedule a hearing date and try to help both parties resolve the dispute and prepare for the arbitration.

What happens at the arbitration ?

If there is still no resolution, then the arbitration will take place at FSCO or at an agreed upon location. The arbitration hearing itself is somewhat like a court hearing ; however less formal .  The arbitrator listens to both sides present the facts of the case , reflects on the findings and then provides a written decision  backed up with reasons for the decision , based on the evidence and Ontario law. At this stage, the arbitrator may decide who is paying for which expenses.  He/she may decide to have the insurance company for the expenses, the insured pay the insurance company’s expenses or decide that each party pays their own expenses. The arbitrator can take many things into consideration when deciding about fees. He or she will evaluate the overall arbitration and look to see which side made offers and  how each side conducted themselves in the arbitration.

What happens after an arbitration?

If either party is not satisfied with the arbitrator’s findings, they can appeal an arbitrator’s order on a question of law within 30 days of the decision.  It is best that you  discuss with your personal injury lawyer whether or not to appeal the order. Experienced personal injury lawyers will have insight on what is your best move at this step.
If you are proceeding on your own and wish to consult with one of our personal injury lawyers, we would be happy to answer any questions for you free of charge.  We have decades of experience in personal injury are here to help. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Ottawa injury lawyers help determine what is maximum compensation for pain and suffering in Ontario.

David Hollingsworth ‘s injury team:  Ottawa Injury Lawyers since 1999.

What can you claim for damages for Pain and Suffering ?

Almost every accident leads to pain and suffering.  The level of pain and suffering will vary. There is the initial pain and suffering you feel immediately after an accident and the pain and suffering moving forward. You may require surgery moving forward and that also brings a new level of pain and suffering. In many cases,  injuries never fully heal and you may be living in various levels of pain for the rest of your life. We understand that living with constant pain and suffering changes your life forever and we make sure that you get all the support and compensation you need to help you as best as possible.

Determining a dollar amount for someone’s pain and suffering  can be difficult and there are a number of factors that contribute to the dollar amount one receives for pain and suffering in Ontario. The following are just some of the factors that influence the amount of compensation one receives for pain and suffering in Ontario:

  • your age;
  • the severity of  your injuries;
  • any pre-existing injuries you may have had before the accident
  • if/how long it takes for your injuries to heal;
  • the physical limitations caused by the accident;
  • what treatments are required to help treat your injury ;
  • is surgery required ?;
  • how long you were in the hospital;
  • how long you need rehabilitative treatments for;
  • emotional trauma caused by the accident

There are many other factors that help determine what amount of compensation you are entitled to for pain and suffering but these are some of the main factors.  It is imperative that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine all the benefits that you are entitled to and that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries including pain and suffering. Your personal injury lawyer can help calculate the maximum amount of compensation for pain and suffering and help you get the medical, rehabilitative and support services you need put in place. Our Ottawa injury lawyers have a tremendous amount of experience in maximizing pain and suffering compensation claims in Ontario.  If you or a loved one is suffering, you owe it to yourself to sit down and hear your options. Our Ottawa injury lawyers offer free consultations. We can sit down with you and your family and make sure that everything is in place before you make your pain and suffering claim. We can make a claim for you and make sure that you receive everything you need and are entitled to. All consultations are free .

 


Concussion symptoms and treatment for concussions. Did you know a concussion can last for up to 2 years ?

Ottawa Brain Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth  .

The Ottawa Citizen reported on a study recently done through CHEO and Dr Vassilyadi that looked at the after effects of concussions in children.  It described a story of a  boy named Clayton Carter who suffered a traumatic brain injury while riding an ATV and was able to return to hockey, school and a regular life within four months.  There are many remarkable things about Clayton’s story. Firstly the fact that he was so severely injured and could have died and was then  rushed by helicopter to CHEO and had his brain and skull operated on.  He survived and had an amazing recovery in a very short time frame.  Claydon’s speedy recovery with a severe head injury is remarkable.

Dr. Vassilyadi reported to the Ottawa Citizen that Clayton’s recovery was better than many children who suffer a concussion. Dr Vassilyadi is just finishing a study that looks at youths between  11 and 17 who have had a sports-related concussion and still have symptoms at least three months later. In the Ottawa area there have been close to 60 patients who are still suffering from their concussion 3 months later.

There are many more who suffer concussions. In fact, close to 900 children and youth are rushed to  CHEO’s emergency department yearly with a suspected concussion. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, depression, sleeping too much or not enough and declining performance at school. In general, close to 90 % of concussions clear up within  10 days of the impact. Dr. Vassilyadi and his team at CHEO noted that not all parents are aware of the symptoms of concussions, so it’s tough to track what your child may be going through. Often times, parents, coaches and teachers don’t equate a child’s change in academic performance to a concussion but Dr. Vassilyadi noted that it’s entirely possible. The emotional, social and cognitive symptoms are tough to  pick up on and often persist over three months for up to 2 years. CHEO conducted a research project last year “The Concussion Research Project” and found that young patients described their quality of life at almost the same level as undergoing chemotherapy. Dr. Vassilyadi also noted that there is a common misconception that there has to be a loss of consciousness in a concussion and this is simply not true. Early recognition is key to properly treating a concussion.

Unfortunately the treatment for a concussion isn’t always obvious either. Nutrition and rehydration are critical and in most rest, even if that means not returning to school or work. After a head injury, the brain needs to rest and mental stress needs to be avoided. This means eliminating video games, television, reading, texting and getting plenty of rest.

Concussion symptoms and concussion treatments are very tough to recognize which is why concussions still remain a tricky area for parents, coaches and teachers. It’s critically important to be aware of your child’s moods, fatigue, and overall feelings and “When in doubt, sit them out,”. It’s not worth the risk because a second or third head injury will be worse. Dr. Vassilyadi is speaking to physicians on Monday night about a new clinic to be opened this fall by Pro Physio & Sports Medicine Centres, which will draw on the services of sports physicians, a neuropsychologist and physiotherapists specifically trained to assess and treat concussions. The owner of the clinics, Mr. Salib focused on concussions because of the large need to properly treat concussions .

As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer with many clients who are suffering from concussions and brain injuries, I am so thankful that our community is developing more resources that relate to concussions and head injuries. I have many clients who are suffering so severely from a concussion, they are unable to return to work, be comfortable around their families for extended lengths of time and their concussion has changed their lives and the lives of their families.  The more research and resources that help us with concussion treatments the better, I say !

 


Ontario insurance fraud affects you. Here’s how you can help…

Insurance Claims Lawyer

Did you know that the month of March has been deemed ” Fraud Prevention Month”.  I wanted to remind all  drivers that they can help to fight auto insurance fraud.
Unfortunately, people do abuse the auto insurance system and often times the insurance companies raise premiums as a result of faulty claims. There are ways to tackle this problem. It’s important to use a licensed insurance company, agent or broker when purchasing auto insurance. Go with someone you can trust. Talk or meet them first and see if you feel like it’s a good fit for you or not. The FSCO offers valuable information and a list of licensed insurance companies and agents in Ontario.  If you don’t know where to start; this is a great place. Suppose you are unfortunately in an accident. There are also steps you can also take to help avoid any insurance fraud being committed.
-Gather as much information as possible at the accident scene. If possible, take pictures.
-Get the contact information of other drivers, their drivers’ licence numbers and their licence plate numbers and insurance information. If possible, take a picture of the information they give you.
-Once your medical needs have been met, immediately file an accident report with the Police or if in a minor collision; the Collision Reporting Centre .You need to make sure that the accident has been legally reported.
-Ensure that you receive detailed repair bills and review them carefully.
If you suspect that someone is involved in insurance fraud, please report it to police. This is a problem that affects us all.
As an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I feel very strongly about the abuse of auto insurance. There are people in accidents every day who need to be able to access much needed funds.  When insurance fraud takes place, it makes it more difficult for people to access the funds that really need it.  I also feel that auto insurance rates are so high already and we need to access even more to protect ourselves.  If the insurance companies weren’t raising the rates,more and more people could afford the much needed extra coverage. Most people feel the same as I do and the percentage of people who actually commit insurance fraud is low, I’m sure. If we could reduce it even more, that would be great.

 


Ottawa lawyer David Hollingsworth with tips to help avoid an Ontario snowmobile accident.

Snowmobile Accident

It s the time of year when many snowmobiling accidents occur.  Every year I help dozens of Ontario snowmobile accident victims who have been injured in snowmobile accidents and are not getting the insurance compensation they desperately need.  There are many dangers associated with outdoor winter activities and snowmobiling is no exception.  Many snowmobile accidents are unavoidable and simply happen.  There are however some things you can do to help minimize your chances of injuring yourself while snowmobiling.

Avoiding a snowmobile accident? It’s important to:

– follow all driving laws; especially the speed limit.

-know where you are going.

-tell others where you are going

-stay off ice that may be dangerous

-obey the speed limits

-do not drink and ride

-ride in a group or use buddy system

-know your vehicle

-ride with a toolkit and first aid safety box

-ride with proper clothing, helmet and equipment

-be aware and obey all trail signs

-if you fall through ice, do not panic. Crawl out of the ice and roll to safety.  Do not stand up until you are clearly on thick ice.

Most of all you common sense and be on high alert.  Snowmobiling is a great, fun outdoor past time. Enjoy it safely and responsibly because a snowmobile accident can happen in an instant.

 

 


Ottawa Police aiming to reduce personal injuries by focussing on unsafe lane changes

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth…Ottawa Police and the City of Ottawa’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) are targetting  Ottawa motorists performing  unsafe lane changes and those who inappropriately use reserved lanes to help keep Ottawa’s roads safe. This will be the focus for April.

Ottawa Accidents and Unsafe Lane changes

Unsafe lane changes caused 1,130  accidents  reported in 2010, resulting in one wrongful death and 111 personal injuries. 

Ottawa Accidents and Ottawa Drivers Driving in Reserved Lanes

In 2010, Ottawa motorists traveling in the reserved transit lanes caused 27 accidents which resulted  in  personal injuries. 

The  Safer Roads Ottawa Program is a partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department.  They are all dedicated to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious personal injuries for all Ottawa people , through culture change, community engagement, and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment. 

I commend them on their efforts and support these amazing initiatives.  Let’s all do whatever we can to help reduce the number of Ottawa accidents and personal injuries.

—-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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Ottawa Police STEP program, Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth

Steps in an Ontario personal injury lawsuit : What is a settlement conference ?

Ontario personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth …Steps Ontario personal injury lawsuits: What is an Ontario Settlement Conference ?

Before the Ontario settlement conference, your Ontario personal injury lawyer will prepare on your behalf a settlement conference brief. The settlement brief will outline to both the judge and the insurance company what you are seeking in compensation and provide a history of your injuries. Your settlement brief outlines the evidence and why we believe you are entitled to receive maximum compensation for damages. This is sent for the judge to review prior to the settlement conference. 

Your Ontario personal injury lawyer will attend the settlement conference with you. Your Ontario personal injury lawyer is there to represent you and will present your case to the Ontario court. In turn, they will counsel with you and together you can determine how you want to proceed. Often times, the insurance company will offer to settle at this stage based on what has transpired at the settlement conference.  Only you and your Ontario personal injury lawyer can decide if you accept the settlement. Your Ontario personal injury lawyer will provide you with advice but ultimately the decision will be yours.

—-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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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 David Hollingsworth:What are income replacement benefits ( IRB ) ?

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth, Ontario Injury Lawyers, Income Replacement Benefits..Often times  after suffering a personal injury in a  motor vehicle accident you may not be able to return to work right away. You also may not be able to provide for yourself and your family. Depending on the severity of your personal injuries, you may not be able to work for a few days, maybe a few months or perhaps even longer.  This is very stressful and this is where income replacement benefits comes in.

What are Income Replacement Benefits?

Income Replacement benefits are available to Ontario personal injury victims who were employed or self employed at the time of the motor vehicle accident in Ontario  and who, as a result of the personal injuries sustained in the Ontario accident, “suffer a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks of their employment”. This is the definition that applies for the first 2 years following a car accident in Ontario. 

Following 2 years after an Ontario accident, it changes and becomes much more difficult to qualify for income replacement benefits. To continue to qualify for income replacement benefits, Ontario accident victims must  have “a complete inability to engage in any employment or self-employment for which they are reasonably suited by education, training or experience.”

How much do Ontario accident victims get for Income Replacement Benefits?

The amount of income replacement benefits received depends on a number of different factors such as one’s income before the accident.  As well as whether or not you opted to purchase additional accident benefits.

  • For motor vehicle accidents occurring after September 1, 2010, the amount of the weekly income replacement benefits is based on 70% of your gross weekly income before the accident, subject to the maximum amounts.
  • Under the standard accident benefits limits, the maximum weekly amount payable for the first 2 years following the accident in Ontario is $400 per week
  • No income replacement benefits are payable in the first 7 days following an Ontario accident
  • Optional accident benefits limits increase the maximum weekly amount to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week 

How to apply for income replacement benefits…

In order to receive income replacement benefits,  Ontario accident victims  need to submit a completed 

  • Application for Accident Benefits.
    •  OCF-10  Election of Income Replacement, Non-Earner or Caregiver Benefit
    • OCF-3 Disability Certificate
    • OCF-2 Employer’s Confirmation

    If you have been involved in an Ontario car accident and are unable to work, you most likely qualify for income replacement benefits. It is important that before you fill out the associated accident benefits forms that you contact an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer .  The best Ontario personal injury lawyers not only will help you fill out these forms, they will ensure that it is done in a manner that  gets you maximum benefits support.

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    The  Ottawa Injury Blog is written regularly by Ottawa Ontario injury lawyer David Hollingsworth. Since 1999, David has been an Ontario personal injury lawyer representing Ontario accident victims who have suffered a personal  injury 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 [email protected]  (613) 978-9549 

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    Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth, Income Replacement Benefits, Ontario Accident Benefits


    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.