Personal Injury Claims and Limitation Period for Underinsured OPCF 44R Policy Claims

Ontario Personal Injury Lawsuits and Statutes of Limitations

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by: Brent Meadows

The Supreme Court of Canada has denied leave to the Lombard General Insurance Company in a case involving the determination of the limitation period with respect to OPCF 44R claims.

OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage is an optional endorsement to the standard Ontario automobile insurance policy in Ontario. It provides protection to the named insured and her/his spouse or dependant relative in the event that they are faced with a situation where there is an insufficient amount of insurance proceeds to compensate for injuries sustained as a result of a motor vehicle accident. A shortfall in insurance proceeds typically occurs when someone is catastrophically injured and the policy limit amount is insufficient to fully compensate the injured party. Other scenarios that give rise to a situation where there is an insufficient amount of proceeds occur when the other driver is uninsured, or where the driver of another vehicle flees the accident and their identity is unknown to the injured party making the claim (ie. a ‘hit and run’ scenario).

Ontario Court of Appeal and limitation periods

Earlier this year the Ontario Court of Appeal in Schmitz v Lombard released its decision on the issue of when the limitation period begins to run for claims under the underinsured motorist coverage provided by the OPCF 44R. The limitation period is the period of time that a person may commence a legal proceeding. Ordinarily, under the Limitations Act, 2002 the limitation period is two years from the date of the accident. Once the limitation period expires a person is statute barred and can no longer pursue their claim. The OPCF 44R does however create a limitation period of 12 months and it is very important to recognize when the limitation ‘clock’ begins to run.
Lombard in its statement of defence pleaded that the plaintiff commenced the claim after the expiry of the OPCF 44R’s 12 month limitation period. The parties brought a Rule 21 motion for the determination of the limitation issue. The Court of Appeal held that the OPCF 44R’s 12 month limitation period begins to run the day after the demand for indemnity was made. Lombard sought leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada but was denied this month.
It is crucial that you and/or counsel understand when the OPCF 44R limitation ‘clock’ begins to run. Getting this wrong might be fatal to your claim. If you have been seriously injured in an accident and the other driver is uninsured, has minimum policy limits, or their identity is unknown it is very important to recognize any limitation issue that might arise. If you are unsure , we recommend you contact an Ottawa personal injury lawyer . Our lawyers are happy to offer you free advice. Consult any of our lawyers and we would be happy to assist. Email david@ottawainjury.ca and we can help.

 

disability claims lawyer

Ottawa lawyers explain your options and disability claim.

 

 


Will stiffer distracted driving fines in Ontario help reduce accidents in Ottawa ?

Personal Injury Lawyer Ottawa David Hollingsworth on distracted driving… With the increase in distracted driving fines last month there has been a lot of information about distracted driving released.  The most startling fact is that Ontario Provincial Police announced that distracted driving is the number one killer on our province’s roads.  More people died as a result of distracted driving than any other reason in Ontario. According to the Ontario Provincial Police, last year there were a total of 78 fatal accidents related to distracted driving,  57 fatal accidents related to impaired driving and 44 fatal accidents related to speeding.

Earlier this month, a new legislation was put in place and saw fines for distracted driving rise from $225 from $155.  The Ontario government is  also proposing new legislation that would further penalize distracted drivers by having them lose 3 demerit points, as well as give judges the authority to raise the amount of distracted driving  fines up to  $1,000.    In other serious cases, police also have an option of laying a “Careless Driving” charge under the Highway Traffic Act. The Careless Driving charge has serious penalties such as a loss of 6 demerit points, fines of up to $2,000 and possible jail time.  The question remains …will this be enough to deter drivers?

I also wanted to mention that distracted driving happens at all age levels, young and old.  It’s not just new drivers and “the younger generation”.  We now live in a world where many; young and old,  are glued to their devices for work and personal reasons. It’s important to note that distracted driving is not just talking and texting on your phone.  It’s taking your eyes off the road.  Distracted driving can include getting something out of your purse, tending to children in the back seat, changing radio stations etc…Essentially it can be anything that diverts your attention. The distracted driving section of the Highway Traffic act law only deals with handheld electronic devices. This means that these other activities can be very distracting and dangerous but they are not against the law. According to The Ministry of Transportation Ontario’s distracted driving law is aimed at  a particular form of  distracted driving; which is the use of hand-held communication and entertainment devices and display screens. In time, will we need to revisit was is legally considered “distracted driving” ?

Please focus on the road.  We need every driver on the road to be concentrating on the roads and their surroundings so that our roads are safer for everyone. Drive safely !

 


Will an increase in distracted driving fines help eliminate accidents ? Our Ottawa injury lawyers hope so.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth..Last year far too many people were killed  directly as a result of  distracted driving. Did you know that distracted driving has now become one of the main causes of accidents? As handheld devices become more and more popular, distracted driving is on the rise. The Ontario government is concerned and wants to do something about.  Despite more education surrounding the dangers of distracted driving, accidents continue to occur.  In response, fines for distracted driving are set to nearly double on March 18, 2014.

The decision to increase the fine for driving while using a hand-held device such as a cellphone, smartphone or MP3 player  to $280 from $155 starting March 18 was delivered by a chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice.

According to CAA statistics,  the Canadian Automobile Association states that cell phone use is the worst offender when it comes to causes of car accidents. Specifically texting, as the act of texting causes you to be 23 times more likely that you’ll cause an accident. These statistics are even higher that impaired driving.

The Ontario Provincial Police issued 19,000 tickets in the Ottawa region last year for distracted driving and this is raising concern about the fate of motorists on roadways. In the Ottawa area 78 people died as a result of distracted driving last year.  How tragic ! These deaths were avoidable !

As Ottawa personal injury lawyers , we read accident reports daily and often times distracted driving plays a role.  Sadly, this is not uncommon.  It’s everyone’s job to respect their lives and the lives of others and put your phone away while driving. If it’s an urgent matter and you need to read or send a text, then  pull over to a safe place and do what you need to do. As parents, we also need to stress the dangers of distracted driving with our children and new drivers.  Lead by example and discuss with your children the dangers and realities of distracted driving.  As a society, we all need to be a part of the solution and help eliminate distracted driving.  Do your part and save lives.

For more information on safety and laws in Ontario, please visit our website at www.ottawainjury.ca . Since 1999, David Hollingsworth has been an Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer dedicated to safety and helping people in eastern Ontario.  Throughout the years David has built an incredible personal injury team who share a common interest in helping people who have been injured.  David Hollingsworth and the team work closely with clients and  clients’ families to help rebuild lives following an accident in Ontario.  Email us at david@ottawainjury.ca with any legal or safety question you may have and we would be happy to answer.

“We understand, we care and we’re here to help..and our track record proves it”

 

Why do child car seats have an expiry date and is it safe to still use them ?

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth.  In Canada, all car seat manufacturers provide an expiry date on all car seats.  Why? For safety !

There are also reasons such as…

  • sunlight: yes, sun exposure can damage or weaken the plastic found in car seats; and
  • safety regulations and standards change over time and products improve over time.

The provincial and territorial laws state that children’s car seats and booster seats  must be certified to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and must be used properly according to the instructions given by the manufacturer. If you don’t follow the instructions or if you use them past their expiry or useful life dates, there is exposure to putting a child at risk and you may be found guilty of breaking the law.

You may be tempted to buy a car seat second hand.  Our Ottawa injury lawyers do not recommend you buy a used car seat unless you can get a guarantee that it hasn’t been in an accident (which could be impossible), has not been recalled (check with the manufacturer or Transport Canada – 1-800-333-0371) and that it isn’t expired; Transport Canada also provides a list of manufacturers of car seats and booster seats sold in Canada which includes the expiry/life date.

The following are the weight guidelines for child car seats in Ontario:

Infants: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children must rear-facing car seats until the child weighs at least 9 kg (20 lb.). It’s important to note that this is a minimum requirement. Some rear-facing car seats are made for children that weigh up to 20 kg (45 lb.).

Toddlers: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children use a forward-facing child car seat once  they weight from 9 kg to 18 kg (20 to 40 lb.). Again, this is a minimum requirement. Some forward-facing car seats are made for children that weigh up to 30 kg (65 lb.).

Pre-School and up to 8 years old: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children use a booster seat once they weigh 18 kg to 36 kg (40-80 lb.), are less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall, and are under the age of 8. Again, this is a minimum requirement.

Youth: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children can use a seat belt when one of the following conditions is met:

  • Child turns 8 years old, or
  • Child weighs 36 kg (80 lb.), or
  • Child is 145 cm (4´ 9˝) tall or more

It’s important that  the shoulder strap is positioned across a youth’s shoulder and in the middle of the chest and the lap belt crosses the hips and not the stomach.

Child car seat requirements are the law and more importantly are there for safety.  If you are unsure of what car seat your child should be in or if your car seat is installed correctly, there are a number of resources in the Ottawa area to help you such as Service Ontario at 1(800) 268-4686. Please make sure your child is safe.

-We understand, we care and we’re here to help: Ottawa personal injury lawyers since 1999.


“Thank you very much for advocating on my behalf” . An Ottawa injury lawyer review from a personal injury client.

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth..

We are so lucky to be able to be in a profession where we are able to help make people’s lives better. Most of our clients have had traumatic accidents in their lives and we are able to help them rebuild their lives following their accident.  Often times, it is not just our clients that we are taking care of, it’s also their family.  A family can be hugely impacted by an injury and family members also need support and compensation.

This week Denis Alisic, one of our  Ottawa personal injury lawyers received this email:

“Thank you very much for advocating on my behalf. During the past 2 years I have come to appreciate your amazing work and what you and your colleagues do to help people during a very vulnerable time in their lives. “

GC, Ottawa

Here is another testimonial from a personal injury client:

“I would like to say thank you ! You have an incredible team of professionals working along your side who provided help, support and advised me when I needed it most.”

CC, Ottawa

We work tirelessly for our clients and we know the difference we can make in their lives.  It’s what motivates us to help in every way we can and fight for maximum compensation for our clients. We understand, we care, we’re here to help and our track record proves it.

David Hollingsworth and our Ottawa personal injury lawyers are here for you. We love to hear from you.  The feedback we receive motivates us to continue striving for the very best for the families we work with .

If we have helped you in the past, we would love to hear from you.  Please provide our Ottawa personal injury lawyers with feedback and help us serve the Ottawa community as best as possible. We would really appreciate it. Email or call us and we would love to chat.

 


Ottawa students and back to school. What you can do as a driver to help ensure they get there safely. Ottawa injury lawyer David Hollingsworth asking you to help.

Ottawa Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth and Associates.  Many teachers have headed back into school this week and some school boards have already begun.  Students in the Ottawa area are heading back to school ! Among many other things, what this means is that we need to be extra vigilant on the roads and watch out for the little ones as they head back to school.  Many of them are out of routine, so they may not be looking as they cross the streets.  It’s our job as drivers to be cautious out there on the roads as these next couple of weeks will be busy with children reminding themselves with the rules of the roads as they walk, bike, scooter and blade to school. We all need to be watching out for the children as well as being cautious around school buses , as a lot of this will be new to many children.

The beginning of September brings a wave of emotions ranging from fear, excitement, and stress for children and parents alike.  As parents, we are often rushing around trying to adjust to the new schedule of having kids back in school and we too are distracted. This is the exact type of distraction that could lead to accidents.  We all need a good reminder to slow down and focus on driving when we are behind the wheel. Our commute to work may take longer with the increase in traffic but we are all in the same boat and we all need to arrive to our destination safely.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the City of Ottawa has implemented signage at high-traffic intersections to help remind Ottawa drivers about the start of the school season and the need to be extra cautious when driving near school zones and school buses. The Ottawa Police will also be focusing some efforts as well on driving safety when it comes to back to school and school zones. There are also many wonderful organisations in Ottawa such as the “Safer Roads Ottawa Program” which is a partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health, and the Public Works Department. These amazing organisations work together to prevent road deaths and injuries in the Ottawa area.

Happy back to school ! Let’s work together to make it a safe and successful return to school for everyone.

 

 


Ottawa lawyer David Hollingsworth explains Ontario accident benefits, timelines and where to find accident benefit forms

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth and Associates. If you have been involved in an accident in Ontario, you will most likely need accident benefits coverage. Regardless of who is at fault in the accident, everyone is entitled to accident benefits in most cases. There are however timelines that need to be adhered to make sure that you receive all the accident benefits you are entitled to in a timely manner.

To ensure access to timely your accident benefits:

  • You have to notify your insurance company immediately of the accident (In the instance where you do not have  insurance, you must put the insurance company of the other vehicle(s) involved in your accident on notice).
  • You must complete all accident benefits application forms ( This includes an income loss form to be completed by your employer and a separate  form indicating your injuries which must be completed by a treating medical physician).
  • If you are self-employed, you must be able to prove your income.
  • The insurance company may want to take a sworn  statement outlining the details of the accident and your injuries,.

In most cases, the following Ontario accident benefits are available:

  • Loss of income benefits up to  80 % of your net income from employment, to a maximum of $400.00 per week (unless additional coverage was purchased).
  • The income benefit is payable for 2 years following your  accident, if you are unable to perform the essential tasks of your employment. Income benefit will continue to be paid after 2 years if you are completely unable  to work in any capacity for which you are reasonably suited by education, training or experience.
  • Attendant care benefits are typically capped at $72,000.00. If your injury is determined to be “catastrophic”,  attendant care benefits can increase to a maximum of $1,000,000.00.
  • If you were unemployed at the time of your accident, you are not entitled to any weekly accident benefit for at least 6 months. If after 6 months, you still suffer a complete inability to carry on your normal life,  you will become entitled to  minimum non-earner benefits.
  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses are capped at $100,000.00. If your injury is deemed“catastrophic” , medical and rehabilitation benefits are increased to $1,000,000.00.
  • Death benefits of $25,000.00 are payable to the deceased’s spouse and an additional $10,000.00 to each deceased’s dependents. Funeral expenses are paid to a maximum of $6,000.00.
  • If you were a caregiver at the time of your accident and are unable to carry out your caregiver duties, you will be entitled to receive the reasonable costs of paying for professional care to a maximum of $250 weekly with an additional $50.00 per  child.

All accident benefits forms can be found at http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca

If you or a loved one has been injured and would like free legal advice about how best to maximize your Ontario accident benefits forms, consult with any of our Ottawa personal injury lawyers.  It is our job to ensure you receive maximum compensation and that you completely understand what you are entitled to following an accident in Ontario. We know the accident benefits process can be difficult and stressful and we are here to help. Contact us today so we can help get you on the right path.


Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth on CTV news at noon. Send me your questions

 David Hollingsworth offering free legal advice on CTV news

I am pleased to share with you that I have been invited to appear on CTV’s news at noon on Wednesday, June 26.  I will be meeting with Ottawa’s very own dynamic Leanne Cusack who hosts the show. We hope to cover as many questions as possible that relate to laws in Ontario.  Feel free to email me any legal question you need answered.  I am able to help out with most legal topics including wills and estates, insurance questions, liability, safety, business, landlord tenant and if I don’t have the answer, I will get it for you ! I have to admit, I enjoy the variety of questions that come in and love hearing about different people situations and am then able to help them. There’s something to be said when you can help someone one and relieve them of stress and it required very little effort, just simply answering some questions.

As many of you know, Leanne and I have done these legal segments in the past on CTV news . Click here to see some of our previous episodes that focus on personal injury topics and a call in question period.

http://www.youtube.com/user/davidhollingsworth70 . I’m really looking forward to the next episode and hope you can tune in. Please send me your questions ahead of time, as the studio cannot take incoming callers at this time on the live show. Email me at david@ottawainjury.ca and I will answer your question on the show on Wednesday.  Hope you are able to join us. I you miss it, we will have it posted shortly on our YouTube channel, as well as CTV keeps the Ottawa lawyer advice episodes on their site for a few months.

Hope to hear form you on the air…no question is a bad question..

 


Ottawa Injury Lawyer on what are timelines, cut off dates and statutes of limitations after an an accident in Ontario.

Ottawa Insurance Claims Lawyers

What are the timelines or cut off points for filing a personal injury law suit or making an insurance claim after an accident in Ontario? The timelines or cut off dates are known as statutes of limitations in Ontario for a car accident. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury in an Ontario accident there is a 2 year period whereby you must start your personal injury claim.  If you miss this 2 year mark, you may not be entitled to compensation from your insurance company, if you have been paying your premiums along the way.  This situation often occurs because people do not realise the extent of their personal injuries until long after their accident. There are however some exceptions to this rule.

Statutes of Limitations for Insurance Claims

The Ontario Limitations Act is complex; however it does take special circumstances into consideration.  As an experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyer, I have had success in the past where I have been able to help clients get compensation , even though they did not start their insurance claim before the statute of limitations. I’m not recommending you wait until the 2 year mark , as it is always best to consult with an Ottawa personal injury lawyer right away and let them at least start the claim. If you are unsure of what to do, consult with an experienced  injury lawyer and they can let you know what your next steps are.
 
Our lawyers are here for you. We offer free consultations and can walk you through the Ontario Accident Benefits and what you are entitled to.  We have Ontario accident benefit specialists who can also fill out the paperwork for you and make sure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to and make sure the paperwork is filed correctly and in a timely manner.  You’ve been through enough, now let us help you.

 


Slip and fall accident results in $125 000 in compensation for bulging disk.

Ottawa Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers

Compensation for bulging disk

We were pleased to be able to help another Ottawa woman who was recently injured in a slip and fall accident.  A few weeks after her slip and fall accident, she was in severe pain and needed help.  It became apparent that the pain in her lower back was causing her great pain and she would need compensation. We stepped in and took over and had the insurance company pay her $125 000 to compensate her for a bulging disk in her lower back. Our client was very happy with the way was settled without having to go to court.

How to determine the amount of compensation

It is difficult to determine the amount of compensation a certain injury will receive. In fact, it’s not just the injury that determines the compensation amount. The injured occupation, family, dependants, education, recovery, treatments, age, income, etc.. also help determine what amount of compensation will be needed to enjoy a comfortable quality of life moving forward, following the accident.

The role of a personal injury lawyer

We are Ottawa personal injury lawyers who help people like this every day. We know what to do to ensure our clients get maximum compensation for their injuries.  We hire and pay for experts to prepare a detailed analysis of all the costs that your injury is causing and will cause in the future.  These reports are incredibly important when it comes to the future and critical for maximum compensation. We’ve helped thousands and we can help you.

Experienced personal injury lawyers will offer you a free consultation and help you determine what your best course of action is. Maximum compensation for injuries such as a bulging disk can vary , but a top personal injury lawyer should be able to give you some indication in your initial free consultation.

What are you waiting for?