Monthly Archives: September 2011
Dogs really are a person’s best friend. They’re always there for us, whether we need protection or just a snuggle. But dog owners have a responsibility to their pets and to their community. Even the most lovable pets can become cranky, due to factors such as stress, illness or age. Dog owners should be aware of their responsibilities and the potential consequences should their pet bite someone.
What happens if my dog bites someone?
If your dog bites someone, make sure the victim gets immediate proper medical attention, whether that means basic first aid, calling an ambulance or a drive to the hospital. As well, any dog bites should be reported to the local Heath Unit, whether by the owner, the victim or by medical personnel providing care to the victim.
Can I be sued if my dog bites someone?
Dog bites in Ontario are governed by the Dog Owners’ Liability Act which says that a dog owner is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack. No negligence needs to be shown. All the victim needs to show is that he or she has been bitten by your dog and that you owned the dog. The extent of any damage award will depend on the severity of the bite and the consequences for the victim as well as whether the victim contributed to the damages. It is not unusual for injuries to the face, neck and hands to be severe when a dog attacks, which can result in lost work, prolonged physical problems and/or scarring.
Dog bites are usually covered by your home owner’s insurance policy, but there may be consequences that go beyond financial considerations. Depending on the circumstances, the court may order that your dog be confined to your property or restrained by means of a leash. If a court finds your dog a menace to public safety, it may order your dog destroyed if the court is satisfied that such an order is necessary for the protection of the public.
To protect your best friend and yourself, it is important to take some basic precautions, such as:
- Keeping your dog on a leash when in public
- At home, keeping your dog in an enclosed area, not running free
- Paying close attention to changes in your dog’s behaviour, and seeing a vet as necessary
- Never leaving young children unsupervised with your dog.
If your dog bites someone, our Ontario injury Lawyers can answer questions and offer a free no obligation consultation to discuss your rights and obligations under the law. If you have been bitten by a dog and are unsure if you may be able to take legal action for your injuries, see our post Ontario Dog Bite Laws- Can I sue if a dog bites me?
While the expression goes, “there’s one in every family”, the divisive nature of a family conflict over a will or estate can result in some members alienating themselves out of hurt or anger. Some may refuse to participate in the process of settling a will or estate, and others still may fail to communicate their thoughts or opinions altogether out of fear of making a difficult situation worse. If this sounds like your family, you are not alone.
Contested wills in Ontario are not uncommon and can be resolved with an experienced Ontario lawyer’s help
Following the loss of a loved one, emotions can run high for some family members, and old hurts can return as anger while someone is grieving. It is this emotional turmoil that can set the stage for disputes about what family members feel they are entitled to from a will or estate, during a time when it may be hard for those who are dealing with a loss in their own way, to be objective.
How an Ontario Wills and Estates lawyer can help you and your family
We’re experts at litigation for wills and estates. Our experienced Ontario Estate Lawyers will be objective and listen to your concerns, explain how the law relates to your families situation and help you manage to come to an agreement as quickly and fairly as possible. Here is what our team can do for you:
- Analyze the estate issues
- Manage family dynamics
- Negotiate a fair and agreeable solution
- Resolve any lasting conflicts or disputes that may arise during the process of settling a loved one’s estate or last testament
We have experience in:
- Interpreting and challenging a will, if necessary
- Answering questions regarding Powers of Attorney or personal capacity and care
- Contesting estate litigation proceedings
- Answering questions regarding the responsibilities and obligations of an estate executor or trustee
- Making claims against estates or the executors and trustees of these estates.
Few of us like to think about what will happen after we die. Even fewer want to think about what will happen if our family members wind up in some type of dispute over our property or assets after we die. If you or your family are dealing with concerns surrounding a will or estate, we welcome your questions and can listen to your situation to help make sure you see the best possible outcome for your family’s situation.
Preparing your own will?
Our previous post offers advice for you when preparing your will to prevent potential conflicts:
Call us at 1-800-563-6348 for a free no obligation consultation or call to speak to an experienced Ontario Estate lawyer today
Protect your kids with proper equipment to prevent brain injury while engaging in contact sports
Fall in Ontario is the time of year when our kids put away their swim trunks and begin to participate in contact sports like football and hockey. While there’s an element of risk in any contact sport, no sound is more deafening than a crowd’s sudden silence when a young player loses consciousness after hitting his or her head on the ice, field or another player.
According to a report submitted to the Ministry of Health, one out of every 230 Canadian children is hospitalized each year with a serious trauma, with 20 percent of these having serious head injuries.
The potential long-term effects of sports-related concussions are serious enough to lead the NHL and NHLPA to conduct studies to look into the issue.
Personal injury lawyers in Ontario recommend wearing a helmet to help prevent sports-related concussions.
Just as it is critical that kids wear bicycle helmets to protect from head injury while cycling, it is imperative that young football and hockey players wear appropriate helmets to reduce incidences of head injury, brain injury or sports-related concussions.
Choosing a proper helmet is important, and Ontario educators have created a Helmet Requirement Summary Chart to offer specific guidelines to follow in doing so. For example:
- Football helmets must have a label from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
- Hockey helmets and full face protectors must bear a seal from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). These seals certify that helmets have passed rigid CSA safety tests.
According to the NOCSAE suggested helmet inspection checklist ,“helmets should be snug, with a gently-fitting chin strap that is always fastened while playing. Helmets should be inspected for safety daily, with cracked helmets replaced immediately, regardless of the size of the crack.”
Ontario Injury Lawyers recommend helmets to prevent head injury or brain injury
Sometimes, even when you take all precautions, accidents still happen. If your child is injured playing football or hockey, you may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Our Ontario injury lawyers can answer questions and offer a free no obligation consultation to accident victims.
Tips to avoid personal injury on your property
Being diligent about property maintenance helps protect your visitors from potential dangers, and yourself from potential lawsuits, should someone happen to suffer an accident while on your property, such as a trip and fall.
Slips, trips and falls can happen quickly and may result in significant personal injuries leaving victims unable to return to work or their other regular activities.
If you are a property owner in physical possession of the property, your are responsible to take steps to make sure visitors are reasonably safe while on your property. Here are some tips to help prevent accidents on your property:
- Talk a walk around the exterior of your property, looking for and removing any tripping hazards.
- Carefully inspect your driveway, walkways and any exterior steps. Look for uneven surfaces, crumbling concrete or other tripping hazards. Test any railings to ensure they are secure. Make any necessary repairs.
- Repair leaky eavestroughs to prevent dripping or pooling water that can later turn to ice.
- Look for decaying trees or branches. These may present a falling hazard and may need to be removed.
Negligent property maintenance can result in personal injury lawsuits
Failure to maintain a property or premises can result in conditions where slips, trips and falls become more likely. If you are injured due to someone’s negligence in maintaining a safe property, an Ontario injury lawyer can help find out if you may be entitled to recover damages for your injury from the occupier.
Learn more about the criteria for determining whether the steps you take will be meet the appropriate standard of care by reading our previous post called “Slips trips and falls resulting in personal injury more likely under icy conditions”
Ontario’s injury lawyers, are experts in personal injury and civil litigation claims. Find out how a personal injury lawyer can help you after a slip trip or fall
Mark Baker’s recent blog post, “If you build it they will come” takes a close look at some of the obstacles small firms face in trying to attract young lawyers to work in rural communities.
This post inspired a conversation between Mark Baker, a partner with Ferguson Barristers since 2007, and Rachel Leck, the youngest lawyer at Ferguson Barristers. In this Ontario Injury Lawyer Blog post, Mark interviews Rachel to gain some critical insights into how firms can attract young talent, and how a young lawyer can benefit from practicing law in a rural community.
Q: Because of the debt accumulated by students, the allure of higher paying positions in urban centres can be tough for a young lawyer to turn down. How do you think small firms should highlight that, though debt may exist, it does not draw away from the benefits that small firms can offer?
A: For many students, the expenses associated with their education can be a heavy burden. After so many years focused on education, most of us are keen to be able to use what we’ve learned. We need to draw the attention of these communities to the fact that legal professionals are also vital to the operation of the community, and students need to work with them to see if incentives can be given.
Q: Are we reaching out to the appropriate age group when we speak to students?
A: Unfortunately, the demographics that small law-firms have been traditionally catering towards, are lawyers with goals of creating families in mind, which are looking for a more relaxed climate that they can raise a family within. This means that new lawyers that are looking for a more fast paced environment may not be attracted to rural areas for the same reasons.
I think that if small firms want to attract new lawyers, they need to create a challenging work environment that offer opportunities to exercise their drive and desire to meet with success in the early stages of their career. In many ways, the rural environment lends itself to achieving a balance that may be more difficult to find in large urban firms.
Q: What are small Ontario law firms doing to change their current situations? What should they be doing in the future?
A: Firms that take the initiative to work together with other small law firms in Ontario can offer new lawyers the kind of variety, challenge and opportunity that they experience in large urban firms, while enjoying the relaxed lifestyle that smaller towns can offer. Programs like the Ontario Referring lawyer network, founded by Rod Ferguson are a good example of one way Ontario injury law firms have achieved both the objectives of making justice available to rural communities, and allowing rural firms to be part of a larger community of lawyers in the area.
It is vital that small firms communicate all of the benefits they have to offer, including a more balanced lifestyle, lower cost of living, greater ability to directly influence what happens in their community and the opportunity to work directly with experienced partners. We have made a progressive effort to embrace new forms of communication to connect with both our local and legal communities to make sure those messages are being shared.
Or call us directly at 1-800-563-6348 to find out more about our Ontario Referring Lawyer Program
In our practice, we have helped many clients who have come to us after losing their job with concerns about what to do next. Employment laws in Ontario have been put in place to help protect workers from being let go or fired from their jobs unfairly, or without cause. Unfortunately, there are times when employers fail to adhere to these laws, resulting in a stressful outcome for the employee who has lost their job.
Our Ontario employment lawyers have been able to help clients gain a better understanding of how these laws apply to them, and help them to gain fair settlements when it has been shown that they were wrongfully dismissed. The following Ontario Injury Lawyer blog posts can help you to better understand how an Ontario Employment lawyer can help you if you have lost your job.
Employment Lawyer works with referral network to meet with clients across Ontario
In my practice in wrongful dismissal cases I have found that when a person has been let go, fired or wrongfully terminated from their employment the initial reaction can often be humiliation or embarrassment. It is important to understand, however, that you are not alone and that you do have rights under the Employment Standards Act . To understand those rights it is important to speak with an employment lawyer right away. Being aggressive and well prepared at an early stage ensures that you access the most of your entitlement.
Learn how an employment lawyer can help in you in rural Ontario
Do I need to hire an Ontario employment lawyer?
An employee can choose to sue an employer for wrongful dismissal, or submit a claim to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for an investigation of the termination or severance, but cannot do both. Because of this, many turn to an Ontario employment lawyer to answer their questions and help explain the process step by step.
First, let’s clarify exactly what constitutes “employment termination”. An Ontario Employment Lawyer explains wrongful dismissal
Need answers to your questions about wrongful dismissal? Our lawyers will listen to your concerns and offer you sound advice on the best way to determine how to take action.
Call 1-800-563-6348 to book a no-obligation consultation at no cost.
In this post, personal injury lawyer, Lisa Belcourt offers comment on a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision surrounding deductions from an insurance claim, based on the type of benefits chosen by the accident victim.
Considerations to make when choosing your Ontario accident benefits
After a car accident, the process of electing weekly benefits (income replacement benefits, caregiver benefits and non-earner benefits) can be a daunting one. Insureds and their lawyers need to be aware of the consequences of choosing one type of benefit over another.
The following considerations should be made:
- Future impact on accident benefits claims
- The interface of those benefits with the social welfare benefits
- Implications on an award of damages should a lawsuit be commenced.
Ontario Court of Appeal provides clarity for Ontario personal injury lawyers with recent decision
Thankfully, the Ontario Court of Appeal has recently overturned the lower court decision in Sutherland v. Singh, 2011 ONCA 470, and provided some clarity for litigators who practice personal injury law.
In Sutherland, the plaintiff had claimed Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS) from his own insurance company and elected to receive caregiver benefits (CGBs) as opposed to income replacement benefits (IRBs). He also started a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for, amongst other things, lost income.
Making the choice – Care Giver Benefits or Income Replacement Benefits?
The defendant insurance company argued that it was entitled to deduct the IRBs from the plaintiff’s claims for lost income. The lower court agreed, holding that because the plaintiff had made a choice (“an election”) to receive CGBs over IRBs from his SABS insurer, the IRBs were technically “available” to him and were, therefore, to be deducted from lost income damages.
The Court of Appeal has, thankfully, disagreed, finding that the IRBs were no longer “available” to the plaintiff once he made the election. As the SABS stipulate that a person can only receive one type of benefit, it would be unfair to allow the defendants to reduce damages by an amount that the plaintiff had never actually received.
Ontario’s Injury Lawyers can help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the type of accident benefits that are best for your future. We are available to meet with you in person to listen to your concerns and help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Our team of personal injury lawyers in Ontario provide legal representation to accident victims and people with serious injuries in 35 communities. Call 1-800-563-6348 or contact a personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation.
Everyone is trying to squeeze the most out of the last few weekends at the cottage, a few more early morning cups of coffee on the dock, a few more sunny afternoons by the lake, and a few more crackling campfires watched through sleepy eyes.
For many, it also means a few more chores to take care of to prepare for the fall and winter seasons. It’s important to think about what you need to do to protect your little piece of heaven until next summer, in order to avoid a situation that will require you to make an insurance claim for property damage.
To be sure that your property is protected from property damage, take these tips into consideration when closing up for the season:
- Consider a security system that is monitored by a reputable local security firm. A basic system offers protection against burglaries. More sophisticated systems include smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have this type of of system, make sure your security company knows when you are leaving for the off-season and that they have a way to contact you.
- Turn off the power supply to your major appliances at your main panel
- Remove fuses or shut off main breaker to disconnect power to your water heater
- If you’re closing the house for the winter, shut off the water to and drain the cold water from all the taps. This will prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting in the cold winter months
Ontario’s Injury Lawyers can help to settle your insurance property damage claims
In the event that you discover your cottage has been damaged in some way, you may be entitled to make a claim for coverage with your insurance company. Our team of Ontario Injury Lawyers can help you to evaluate your insurance policy to determine what compensation you may be owed, and can assist you in the process to make sure you receive the maximum benefit entitlement under your policy.