No doubt most Ontarians are aware of the ghostly holiday taking place later this week – scary decorations and jack-o-lanterns make for a fun distraction from the cooler and shorter days we are experiencing. And on that note, we will also be getting an extra hour of sleep this weekend, courtesy of the end of daylight saving time in southern Ontario.
This Thursday evening, thousands of excited children will roam our neighbourhoods in search of the perfect (and numerous!) Hallowe’en treats. This means there will be a great increase in the number of pedestrians on the roadways – young, excited and sometimes distracted pedestrians. Drivers should take extra care and direct their full attention to driving to avoid any pedestrian accidents . Reduce your speed and, if possible, avoid travelling in densely populated areas after dusk. For more tips on how to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Hallowe’en, visit our 2012 blog by clicking here.
Turn the Clocks Back
Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend, on Sunday November 3rd. That means we all get a welcome extra hour of sleep to recover from our Hallowe’en festivities. It also means extra sunshine in the morning and an earlier sunset time in the evenings. This earlier sunset may have important negative implications for pedestrians. As reported by the CBC News, at least one study in the United States found that pedestrians walking during rush hour around 6 p.m. in the first few weeks after the clocks fall back were more than 3 times as likely to be fatally struck than before the change.
Common sense dictates that as we approach winter, with less light in the evenings and changing weather conditions, drivers should adjust their driving behaviours to avoid collisions. Pedestrians too should focus their attention on their surroundings – bearing in mind that drivers are having to deal with reduced visibility.
Contact Ferguson Barristers
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car or pedestrian accident, contact us online or toll free at 1.800.563.6348 for a free, no obligation initial consultation.
Lisa Belcourt, a partner at Ferguson Barristers, was successful before Justice T.M. Wood at the Ontario Superior Court in obtaining insurance coverage for Barbara Kozel after Ms. Kozel was involved in a car accident in Florida. Lisa has extensive experience at all levels of the Ontario Courts and represents clients in personal injury and other litigation matters throughout the Northwest and Central East regions of Ontario. Read more about Lisa, one of Ontario’s injury lawyers, by clicking here.
What happened in this case?
While in Florida in February of 2012, Ms. Kozel was involved in an accident with a motorcyclist and as a result, the motorcyclist commenced an action against her in the State of Florida. At the time of the accident, Ms. Kozel’s motor vehicle licence had expired and consequently, her insurance company argued that she was not covered under her contract of insurance with them. Lisa Belcourt brought an application on behalf of Ms. Kozel for a declaration that The Personal Insurance Company owed a duty to indemnify and defend Ms. Kozel.
What did the court decide?
The court held that the offence in this case was one of strict liability which meant that there was a defence of due diligence available – in other words, the court had to determine whether or not in this case Ms. Kozel had a reasonable belief that her licence was valid and whether or not she took all reasonable care in the circumstances.
In the end, the court found in favour of Ms. Kozel and ordered that the insurance company owed a duty to defend her against the motorcyclist’s personal injury action. Justice T.M. Wood also ordered the insurance company to pay all costs Ms. Kozel had already incurred, both in Canada and in the United States, in defending the action herself. You can read the entire reported decision at Kozel v. The Personal Insurance Company, 2013 ONSC 2670.
How much time do I have to sue?
In Ontario, the basic limitation period of 2 years is set out in section 4 of the Limitations Act, 2002. In practical terms, this means that if you want to sue someone to recover your damages you need to do so, usually by filing a Statement of Claim, within 2 years of the date of loss or injury. However, there may be circumstances in which this timeline is shortened, as illustrated by the 2013 Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Boyce v. The Co-Operators General Insurance Company.
The plaintiffs in this case ran a boutique which was covered by business insurance with the Co-Operators. On October 30th, 2010, a foul odour was discovered at the store, resulting in the business being closed for a time, clean-up costs being incurred and inventory being lost. The plaintiffs argued that the skunk smell was the result of Halloween vandalism (a peril covered by their policy) while the insurance company took the position that the damage was caused by a skunk (a peril not covered by the insurance policy). On that basis, the Co-Operators refused to reimburse the plaintiffs under the terms of the policy.
As a result, the plaintiffs filed a proof of loss in December of 2010. However, they did not issue a Statement of Claim until February 17, 2012, more than 1 year after the loss was discovered.
Motion for Summary Judgment
One of the Co-Operators’ arguments at the motion was that there was a provision in the policy limiting coverage to claims made within 1 year of the loss. Since the plaintiffs had not filed their Statement of Claim within 1 year, the argument was that their claim was time barred and should be dismissed. For its part, the plaintiffs argued that it was the usual 2 year limitation period that applied and that their Statement of Claim was issued well within this 2 year time frame.
The Co-Operators were not successful with their argument on their motion for summary judgment. The motions judge found that the relevant limitation period was the 2 years contained in the Limitations Act, 2002. However, on appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Co-Operators were successful and the matter was dismissed, at least insofar as it was based on a claim made under the insurance policy.
In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeal found that the insurance policy contained a clear and unambiguous one-year limitation on claims and that by virtue of the contract being a business agreement, the parties could, and did, by contact override the 2 year limitation period set out in the Limitations Act, 2002.
What does this mean for you?
Not taking the appropriate steps within the appropriate timelines could leave you or your business without a legal remedy. If you or your business has suffered a loss, call the team at Ferguson Barristers toll free at 800.563.6348 or contact us online. We have the knowledge and experience to ensure your rights are protected.
This week is the 1st full week back for many students – whether it be to college, university, high school or elementary school. With all those extra feet on the sidewalks and roadways, it’s worth reminding ourselves about some safe driving tips.
Many people may be under the impression that they will be fully reimbursed for any damage caused to their car because of an accident, regardless of who is at fault. After all, don’t we have no-fault insurance in Ontario? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that straightforward and indeed, a finding of fault in an accident may leave a driver with a portion of the repair bill to pay.
In Ontario, every insured driver has the same standard Owner’s Policy called the OAP1. This policy sets out the general terms about when, and how much, your insurance company will pay for property damage to your car. Essentially, the amount of money you will receive when you are involved in an accident with another insured car in Ontario will depend on three things: who is at fault, your deductible and whether or not you have purchased optional coverages.
The Deductible – Direct Compensation
Assuming the other driver is entirely at fault for the accident, your own insurance company will pay for the cost of the damage to your car minus any deductible under the Direct Compensation section of the policy. At the time you purchase your automobile insurance, this deductible is set at either $500, $300 or $0. This deductible will be noted on your Certificate of Automobile Insurance. You are not entitled to sue the at-fault driver to recover this deductible – even when they are 100% at fault for the accident!
Fault – Direct Compensation
In many cases, the accident will be partly the fault of each driver. In those circumstances, the insurance companies will use specified Fault Determination Rules to determine each driver’s percentage of responsibility. Once that percentage has been determined, the insurance company will pay you the amount of property damage the other driver would have been responsible for (less any deductible). So, for example, if you were 50% at fault for the accident, your insurance company will pay for half of the property damage (minus 50% of the deductible). In those cases, unless you have purchased optional coverages, you will be responsible for the remaining damage cost.
If you are 100% responsible for the accident, you will not receive any money to pay for the damage to your car under the Direct Compensation section of the policy.
Optional Loss or Damage Coverages
There are 4 different types of additional coverages, two of which are relevant to our discussion when you as the driver are partially or entirely at fault for an accident. These are Collision and All Perils coverage and they too are subject to a deductible which is determined when the policy is purchased and will be set out on your Certificate of Automobile Insurance.
In general terms, either of these optional coverages (together with the Direct Compensation coverage) means that you will receive the cost of the damage to your car minus any deductibles (which have been adjusted by the relevant percentage of fault).
Experts in Car Accident Cases
As the above discussion illustrates, car accident litigation is not always as straightforward as one might think. That is why it is so important for car accident victims to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. As Ontario’s Injury Lawyers, Ferguson Barristers has the knowledge to ensure your rights are being protected and that all possible avenues for recovery are being advanced. Contact us today toll free at 1-800-563-6348 or online for a free initial consultation.
One more week to go! School aged kids will soon be free of teachers and books – with lots of free time on their hands for fun and relaxation. With the soaring temperatures and humidity this week across southern Ontario, some of this extra time will no doubt be spent cooling off in lakes and pools.
Avoiding Swimming Accidents
Spending time in and around the water is a great and popular way to enjoy our Ontario summers. However, water activities are not without their risks. Knowing and reviewing these risks with your children, family and guests, will help to keep everyone safe this summer.
Here is a summary of some water safety tips as outlined by the Canadian Red Cross on their website:
Learn to swim
Don’t go beyond your swimming abilities and know your limitations
Be aware of currents and changing weather patterns when swimming in the ocean or lakes
Supervise children at all times
Fence backyard pools and ensure gates have self-locking latches
Tell your guests about the pool rules
Occupiers’ Liability Act
If you have a backyard pool, you have the obligation to ensure it is safe for swimmers and non-swimmers alike. This duty is set out in the Occupiers’ Liability Act and states that as the occupier of the premises, you have a duty to ensure that your premises are reasonably safe for persons entering the premises – in other words, anybody who is at your house. That is why it is so important to have a fence and self-locking gate, when you have non-swimmers and young children at your home. If someone is injured in a swimming accident in your pool, you may be held liable for damages if you haven’t taken reasonable steps to ensure their safety.
Contact Ontario’s Injury Lawyers
If you or any of your loved ones are involved in a swimming or pool accident this summer, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers are ready to assist to ensure your rights are protected and your claim fully advanced. Contact us toll free at 800-563-6348 or fill out our online form for a free no obligation consultation with one of Ontario’s Injury Lawyers.
The old adage “Better late than Never” applies in many situations – like cleaning the house, apologizing after a fight or taking up a new hobby. It does not however apply to making a claim after you have been injured in an accident. In those instances, the better adage is “The Early Bird gets the Worm”!
2 Year Limitation Period
In the usual set of circumstances, an injured person in Ontario has to start a claim for personal injury damages within 2 years of the accident. This is known as the Limitation Period and applies whether the accident was a slip and fall or a motor vehicle accident. Failing to start your action within this timeframe can mean that your right to recover damages may be lost.
Although the Limitation Period is a firm deadline, there are exceptions in certain cases. For example, if the injured victim is a minor, the limitation period does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of majority (unless the minor is represented by a litigation guardian in relation to the claim). In Ontario, the age of majority is 18 years old.
Other Notice Periods
Apart from the Limitation Period, there may be other notice requirements which apply. Some of these may be very short – as in the instance of suing a Municipality for a failure to maintain a municipal roadway, where notice must be given within 10 days of the accident, in addition to starting the action within 2 years.
Additional notice periods affect you if you are applying for no-fault benefits after a car accident. Read our blog Important Deadlines for Car Accident Victims for further information about these notice requirements.
Contact Ontario’s Injury Lawyers
Speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer shortly after an accident helps to ensure none of these important deadlines are missed. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to ensure your rights are fully protected and that your action proceeds in a timely manner. Contact us today toll free at 800.563.6348 to complete our Contact Us Form for a free initial consultation.
Travelling by bike in Ontario during the hot summer months is a common occurrence and all of us have the responsibility to ensure bicyclists remain safe. Unfortunately, as with any form of transportation, there is always the risk of being involved in an accident. If you are bicyclist injured as a result of a collision with a car, truck or motorcycle, you are entitled to make a claim for no-fault benefits. But where do you send your forms?
Which Insurance Company?
Where you send your forms depends on your particular situation. The application form itself sets out the questions that must be answered in order to determine where you will send the forms and must be reviewed carefully. Click here to view a copy of the Accident Benefit Application found on the Financial Services Commission of Ontario’ s website. The relevant questions are set out on page 2 of the form.
Owner of Car sends forms to own Insurance Company
It may surprise you to learn that if you own a vehicle, you will send your Accident Benefit Application to the insurance company that insures your vehicle – even though you were not driving that car at the time of the accident. It is only in circumstances where you (or your spouse or someone you are dependent on) does not own, lease or have regular use of a company automobile and you are not a Listed Driver on somebody’s insurance policy, that you will send your application for Accident Benefits to the insurance company of the car/motorcycle/truck that hit you while you were riding your bike.
Contact Ontario’s Injury Lawyers
As the victim of a bicycle accident, you may also have the right to sue the at-fault party for damages for pain and suffering and other damages not covered under the no-fault statutory scheme. It is important for accident victims to speak with a personal injury lawyer experienced in car accident litigation to ensure their rights are being protected and that every possible avenue for recovery is being advanced. Contact us today toll free at 800.563.6348 or complete our online form for a free initial consultation.
Last Thursday, Minister Charles Sousa presented the 2013 Ontario Budget at Queen’s Park. Whether or not this Budget, and the current government, survives will be determined in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we outline a few of the proposed auto insurance changes contained in the Budget.
Proposed 15% Reduction
One of the highlights of this Budget picked up by the media is the proposed 15% reduction in auto insurance rates, which would apparently translate into an average savings of $225 a year for Ontario motorists.
In addition to this commitment, the Ontario government is proposing additional legislative amendments in the auto insurance area. As outlined in Chapter IV of the 2013 Ontario Budget, the government’s stated intention is to reduce the average auto insurance rate and modernize Ontario’s insurance legislation to ensure an efficient and competitive marketplace.
Other Proposed Amendments
Included in the 2013 Ontario Budget are the following proposed auto insurance changes:
making the Superintendent’s Guidelines binding;
expanding and modernizing the Superintendent’s investigation and enforcement authority, particularly in the area of fraud prevention;
giving the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) authority to license and oversee business practices of health clinics and practitioners who invoice auto insurers;
creating a transparency and accountability mechanism in the form of an independent annual report by outside experts on the impact of auto insurance reforms introduced to date on both costs and premiums; and
conducting further study and consultation regarding provincial oversight of towing and amending the definition of catastrophic impairment in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
While certain of these proposals appear to expand the role of FSCO, the impact of these proposals on car accident victims’ rights to access timely, necessary and appropriate medical treatment remains to be seen – as does the question of whether or not these proposals, along with the rest of the Budget, will ever see the light of day.
To read all of the proposed changes to the auto insurance legislation contained in the 2013 Ontario Budget, click here.
The courts have a message for the insurance industry in Canada – honour your policy commitments in good faith and do not try to take advantage of an insured’s economic vulnerability to gain an advantage in settlement negotiations. Otherwise, your company may be hit with a significant punitive damage award!
In a recent decision from the Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan, a total of $4.5 million in punitive damages was awarded against AIG and Zurich. To read the March 2013 court decision in its entirety, click Branco v. American Home Assurance Company.
Mr. Branco, who was 62 years old at the time of the trial, was injured at work in December of 1999 when he dropped a steel plate on his foot while working as a welder overseas for a subsidiary of a Saskatchewan company. Despite surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation efforts, Mr. Branco was diagnosed as permanently disabled by his physician and was unable to return to his job. Eventually, Mr. Branco was also diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). As a result of non-payment under his insurance policies, Mr. Branco and his family were without funds for many years causing severe mental distress.
What did AIG and Zurich do?
The AIG policy provided monthly benefits for work-related injuries. The court found that although AIG initially paid benefits to Mr. Branco , these benefits were terminated in 2001 when AIG was unable to get an update from a doctor – a doctor they had arranged for Mr. Branco to see! Over the course of the next few years, Mr. Branco’s benefits were started and stopped a few times without explanation. Medical specialists arranged by AIG confirmed Mr. Branco’s disability. In 2004, when Mr. Branco refused to attend an inappropriate vocational retraining program chosen by AIG, they terminated his benefits.
The Zurich policy was a long term disability policy – which had an own occupation test for the first 24 months and thereafter, an any occupation test. Although Zurich approved the claim in March 2004 and agreed that Mr. Branco was entitled to full benefits for the first 24 months, it refused to pay because Mr. Branco refused to accept a $9,000 deduction for legal fees. The court found this was an unenforceable and unjustified demand for a deduction. In the end, Zurich did not pay any benefits until May 2009 – nine years after the first payment was due, despite medical reports received in 2007 confirming in general terms Mr. Branco’s disabilities.
What are Punitive Damages?
As set out by the trial judge in the Branco decision, punitive damages are awarded against a defendant in cases of “malicious, oppressive and high-handed” misconduct that “offends the court’s sense of decency”. This type of damage is designed to punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff. In general, punitive damage awards are rare in Canada.
Punitive damages of $1.5 million were awarded against AIG and $3 million against Zurich.
In reaching its decision regarding punitive damages, the court considered 7 possible factors influencing the level of blameworthiness, namely:
Whether the misconduct was planned and deliberate
The intent and motive of the defendant
Whether the defendant persisted in the outrageous conduct over a lengthy period of time
Whether the defendant concealed or attempted to cover up its misconduct
The defendant’s awareness of what he or she was doing was wrong
Whether the defendant profited from its misconduct
Whether the interest violated by the misconduct was known to be deeply personal to the plaintiff or a thing that was irreplaceable
The court noted that “(T)he cruel and malicious acts of AIG and Zurich combined with the previously ignored award of punitive damages against AIG is evidence of how calculated and abhorrent the actions of AIG were in dealing with Branco. The actions of AIG and Zurich establish a pattern of abuse of an individual suffering financial and emotional vulnerability.”
In the end, the court stated that it hoped that this award would catch the attention of the insurance industry – as it was apparent that the previous award of $1 million in the Whiten case had not. Whether or not it does remains to be seen.
Have you been denied disability benefits?
Is your insurance company refusing to pay your disability claim? Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will ensure you are accessing all the benefits you are entitled to receive and ensure that all steps are being taken to advance and protect your rights. Contact us toll free at 800-563-6348 or fill out our online form for a free initial consultation with an Ontario Injury Lawyer.
If you have been injured in a car or motorcycle crash in Ontario, your focus should be on getting the appropriate medical treatment and getting your life back to normal. This may sound simple. In reality however, the somewhat complicated system of auto insurance in Ontario leaves some accident victims feeling overwhelmed and unsure about what steps they should be taking to ensure they are getting all the benefits they are entitled to receive.
The paperwork itself may seem daunting – especially when the accident victim is already dealing with physical and psychological pain resulting from a car accident.
Understanding Accident Benefits
A general understanding of how no-fault insurance works in Ontario is a first step which may help accident victims take charge and relieve some of their stress and anxiety. To this end, we have compiled a list of our blogs which provide basic general information about how no-fault car insurance works in Ontario. Simply click on the title of the blog you wish to read and learn more about what to expect if you have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident.
Contact Ontario’s Injury Lawyers
Have you been injured in a car crash? Do you have questions about the no-fault benefits you are entitled to receive? Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will ensure you are accessing all the benefits you are entitled to receive and ensure that all steps are being taken to advance and protect your rights. Contact us toll free at 800-563-6348 or fill out our online form for a free initial consultation with an Ontario Injury Lawyer.
Spring has arrived – at least according to the calendar! With all the snow we have had in the last few days in the Barrie area, it may seem to some that Winter is going to last forever. Nevertheless, soon enough, the birds will be chirping, spring cleaning will commence and the snow will start melting…for good!
One unpleasant side effect of spring may be flooding in your home caused by stormy weather and melting snow and ice. Knowing what is covered under your home insurance policy is an important piece of information when dealing with any water damage claim.
Isn’t water damage covered by my Insurance?
Many people assume that any type of flood or water damage will be automatically covered by insurance. After all, isn’t that the purpose of buying insurance – to cover those unexpected accidental and costly accidents?
It may surprise you to learn that not all types of water damage are covered by the standard home insurance policy. For example, in general, standard policies do not cover flooding which is the result of rainstorms or from sewer backups. Sewer backups can be caused by heavy rainstorms or large amounts of melting snow. Having said that, many insurance companies do offer optional or additional coverage for water damage caused by sewer backups.
Whether or not a specific loss will be covered, and to what extent, will depend upon the wording of your particular policy and whether additional coverages have been purchased.
Talk to the Experts
If you’ve experienced water damage in your home and your insurance company is refusing to pay for some or all of the costs of clean-up, speak to one of qualified insurance lawyers. Our team of experienced Ontario Injury Lawyers can help ensure that your insurance company pays the appropriate restoration and replacements costs owed to you under the terms of your policy.
To arrange a free initial consultation with one of your lawyers, contact us toll free at 1.800.563.6348 or click here to complete our online form.
What happens if you want more coverage than the standard automobile policy offers? Are you aware of the fact that there are Optional Benefits out there to be purchased? For many Ontarians, this question is more important than ever given that benefits that used to be included with the standard no-fault automobile insurance policy are no longer included.
No Housekeeping or Home Maintenance Benefits
A good example is housekeeping and home maintenance benefits. If you were involved in a car accident prior to August 31st, 2010, these benefits were available with a standard policy, up to a maximum of $100/week for a two year period. For any car accidents after September 1, 2010, these benefits are no longer included in the standard policy (unless you are catastrophically injured). For more information about these and other changes that were made to the no-fault automobile insurance scheme in 2010, read our series of blogs beginning with our post Understanding No-Fault Insurance Benefits in Ontario.
Consider this scenario. You are involved in a car or motorcycle accident and due to the injuries suffered in the crash you are unable to return to work. You start receiving Income Replacement Benefits (IRBs) at the rate of $400 per week – only to discover that, based on your individual set of circumstances, if you had purchased Optional Benefits prior to the accident, you would have been entitled to $1000 per week instead. Suppose further that your insurance broker did not discuss with you in any meaningful way the option to purchase Optional Benefits when you were purchasing your insurance. Do you have any recourse for this shortfall of $600 per week?
What does the Ontario Court of Appeal say?
A case similar to this factual scenario is the Ontario case of Zefferino v. Meloche Monnex Insurance. In that case, the injured plaintiff sued the insurance broker, claiming that he would have purchased optional IRBs if they had been properly offered by the broker. At trial, the judge dismissed the plaintiff’s action on the basis that although the broker had failed in its duty to properly offer the Optional Coverage, the plaintiff could not be successful because the causal connection between the breach of duty and the plaintiff’s loss had not be shown. In other words, the plaintiff had not provided credible evidence to support his assertion that he would have purchased the Optional Coverage if he had understood what was being offered. The plaintiff appealed this decision.
At the Ontario Court of Appeal, the plaintiff’s lawyer argued that on a claim arising out of insurance broker negligence, the plaintiff doesn’t need to prove that the omissions of the broker caused the loss – rather, it was enough to show that the broker was negligent and that there was a resulting gap in insurance coverage. The Ontario Court of Appeal rejected this argument and affirmed the general principle that in order to be successful on a claim like this, the plaintiff must prove that the plaintiff would have purchased the additional insurance, if there had not been a breach of the duty of care. The full Court of Appeal decision is available here.
Contact Ontario’s Injury Lawyers
Have you been involved in a car accident and have questions about the no fault benefits you are entitled to receive or whether you may have a potential claim against a broker? Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will ensure you are accessing all the benefits you are entitled to receive and ensure that all steps are being taken to advance and protect your rights. Contact us toll free at 800-563-6348 or fill out our online form for a free initial consultation with an Ontario Injury Lawyer.
Co-authored by Sheila Minnie and Rachel Leck
Many of our readers may have heard of Bill C-38, the Federal Government’s Omnibus Bill that makes changes to a wide variety of statutes. There has been widespread media coverage, for example, of the possible negative impact of changes to our environmental laws. What you may not have heard is that the Omnibus Bill has also completely changed the appeals process for decisions regarding benefits under the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act. These changes take effect April 1st – April Fools Day – but the potential impact on applicants is no joke.
Current Regime for CPP Disability Benefits
Suppose you have applied for but been denied CPP Disability Benefits. Under the current system, if you disagree with this initial decision, you can apply to the HRSDC (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) for a reconsideration. This is an automatic right under the current system. In the event that you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can then appeal to the Review Tribunal. Again, this is an automatic right under the current system. Typically at this stage, a three member panel, including one lawyer and one qualified health professional, would hold an in-person hearing, consider the evidence and make a decision.
If you disagree with the decision of the Review Tribunal, a further appeal could be made to the Pension Appeals Board (PAB), provided leave to appeal (permission to appeal) is granted by the Board. Hearings before the Pension Appeals Board are adjudicated by a current or former Superior Court judge. The PAB grants each applicant a new hearing, also known as a “hearing de novo”. In practical terms, this means the adjudicator hears all of the evidence as new evidence or testimony, and makes her or his decision based on the evidence presented at the time of the hearing.
Changes Effective April 1, 2013
As of April 1st, all new appeals (after the reconsideration stage) will be heard by the newly created Social Security Tribunal (SST) (For appeals prior to April 1, 2013, there are transition provisions in effect – for more detailed information, visit the Social Security Tribunal website).
This new SST will have two divisions. The General Division will have an Income Security Section to hear appeals regarding CPP Disability benefits and Old Age Security benefits. The Appeal Division will decide appeals of decisions of the General Division. While the divisions within the SST may seem similar to the current system, there are important differences, including the following:
- there is no automatic right to appeal to the General Division of the SST – instead, the SST must dismiss an appeal if it is satisfied that the appeal has no reasonable chance of success – this is a called a summary dismissal and takes place without a hearing
- a hearing at the General Division of the SST is heard before 1 person, who will have access to legal and medical advisors/experts – there is no requirement that the person hearing the appeal be a lawyer or a medical professional
- hearings may be conducted in a variety of ways, including through written questions and answers, by video or teleconference or in person
- members of the Appeal Division are no longer required to be judges or former judges
- there are limited grounds on which an appeal may be made to the Appeal Division from the General Division
- the hearing at the Appeal Division is not a new hearing and therefore, in general, no new evidence or testimony can be presented
While it remains to be seen how these changes will impact individual applicants, it seems clear that it will be extremely important that sufficient materials and evidence is provided with the initial application given the ability for a summary dismissal and the fact that the hearing before the Appeal division is no longer a “hearing de novo”.
Contact Ontario’s Injury Lawyers
At Ferguson Barristers, our lawyers routinely represent clients at the various stages of a CPP Disability claim. We have the expertise and knowledge to ensure your rights are protected and that every available claim is being advanced on your behalf. If you have been denied CPP Disability benefits, contact our office for a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers by calling toll-free 800-563-6348 or clicking here to complete our online form.
Snow Day! While this phrase may delight the children in your family, all of this snow, shoveling and frigid temperatures may have you thinking about heading south to enjoy some sand and surf. Whether you are a senior looking to spend a good majority of our winter down south or a family escaping for the March Break, making sure you have sufficient travel medical insurance is a critical part of the pre-trip planning.
What is Travel Insurance?
In general, emergency travel medical insurance is designed to cover the unexpected and often costly expenses related to receiving medical care in a foreign country. Although OHIP may pay for some limited out-of-country expenses (provided certain conditions are met), this amount will usually be nowhere near the actual cost of the services you will have incurred. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website for more information about how much and when, OHIP will cover out-of-country medical expenses.
Travel Insurance Claims Denied
Having travel insurance doesn’t always automatically mean all of your out-of country medical expenses will be covered. You don’t have to look far to hear about a vacationer being left with a hospital bill despite the fact that they purchased travel insurance. For example, last year, CBC Marketplace reported about a couple who initially owed over $300,000 in relation to medical expenses incurred in the U.S. when the husband suffered a heart attack in the United States. According to the report, the claims was allegedly denied because of mistakes made on the medical questionnaire – questions about medical issues totally unrelated to the heart attack. Read the entire report by clicking here.
Tips to consider when buying Travel Insurance
Needless to say, it is extremely important to know what type of travel insurance you have purchased and what it will cover. Ontario’s Injury Lawyer’s offer the following tips:
- Since each policy of insurance is unique, you should review all of the available options with a broker or insurance representative knowledgeable in the area of travel insurance.
- Read and understand all of the various restrictions and exclusions in travel medical policy you are considering, before you purchase the policy.
- Fill out any medical questionnaire, honestly and carefully. If you don’t understand what is being asked, speak to your broker or insurance representative about what the question is asking, especially in relation to pre-existing medical conditions. In fact, in some cases, it may be helpful to visit with your treating physicians to make sure you are filling out the form correctly.
If your insurance company is refusing to pay your travel insurance claim, Ferguson Barristers may be able to help. Call us at 800-563-6348 or fill out our online form for a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers.
Ferguson Barristers is proud to announce that we have been officially shortlisted by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the Top 10 Personal Injury Boutiques. Voting for the Top 10 is currently taking place with the editors of the magazine publishing the results in the April 2013 issue. You can access and vote in this survey by clicking here.
With over 80 years of combined experience in personal injury law, Ontario’s Injury Lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to ensure our clients get fair and timely compensation for their injuries. Contact us today at 800-563-6348 for a free initial consultation.
Do you need some general information about whether or not you can get a cost award in Small Claims Court? Or, have you been in a car accident and have questions about the process that will unfold as you apply to get no-fault benefits? Or, are you a new lawyer, looking for tips on how to market to clients?
Ferguson Barristers is pleased to announce the addition of a Resource page to our website. This page is designed to provide general information on a variety of legal topics and contains manuals, articles and papers authored by the members of our firm. To visit our Resource page, simply click here or visit our website at www.fergusonbarristers.ca and click on the Resources tab located on the top menu bar.
Be sure to check out our Resource page regularly as it will be updated as new articles and papers are written. As the Resource page is designed to provide general information only, and not legal advice, we encourage you to contact us directly should you have any questions or need legal advice about your particular situation. We can be reached toll free at 800-563-6348 or fill out our Contact form to arrange a free initial consultation.
Mother Nature is playing havoc with the snow in Simcoe county! Today, we woke up to significant rain/freezing rain instead of snow and the forecast is calling for even warmer temperatures tomorrow. While some may welcome this break from colder temperatures, the combination of rain, freezing rain and snow can lead to some treacherous conditions – resulting in the potential for slip and falls.
Duty of a Property Owner
What do these icy conditions mean for property owners in Ontario? In general, property owners who are in physical possession of their premises are obligated to keep their premises safe for visitors. This applies to both businesses and to individual homeowners. This duty is set out in the Occupiers’ Liability Act in section 3.(1):
An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.
So – in practice what this means is that if you have a very icy driveway, under the law you have an obligation to take reasonable steps to make your driveway safe for visitors to use.
What are “reasonable” steps?
Ultimately, it is up to the court in any slip and fall case to decide what was reasonable in your particular case. However, some of the factors the court would likely consider in reaching a decision would include whether the danger was foreseeable, whether the property owner had a system for inspecting their premises, how long the danger had been there and how easy it would have been to remove the danger.
Have you been injured in a slip and fall?
Of course, not all slip and falls in Ontario in the wintertime are the result of negligence on the part of a property owner. However, if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, a personal injury lawyer can help assess whether or not you may have a claim at law. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers can take the time to listen to the details of your accident, what expenses you may have incurred and how your injuries have impacted your day to day life.
Contact us today through our website or call toll free at 1-800-563-6348 for a free initial consultation.
On behalf of the lawyers and staff at Ferguson Barristers, we want to thank everyone who worked with us to make 2012 a terrific year.
Have a safe and joyous holiday season with best wishes for the New Year.
On December 6, 2012, ceremonies took place across Ontario and Canada to honour and remember the 14 young woman killed at Montreal’s L’Ecole Polytechnique in 1989. December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
Vigil in Midland
Unfortunately, violence against women did not end with the horrific tragedy in Montreal over 23 years ago. At a vigil in Midland a few weeks ago, Rachel Leck, of Ferguson Barristers, read the names and details of 18 Ontario women who were violently killed by their male partners in 2012.
Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer Rachel Leck
In addition to her busy law practice, Rachel is the current chairperson of Huronia Transition Homes which includes La Maison Rosewood Shelter. Rosewood provides emergency shelter and support for abused and homeless women and their children.
At the vigil, a number of community members, including Rachel, spoke about violence against women and the need for change.
Click here to read the Simcoe.com article “Victims of violence remembered” about the Midland vigil and about Rachel’s committment to speak out against sexism in her role as a lawyer.
The flurries outside your window mean different things to different people. Kids (and kids at heart) relish the thought of spending hours playing in the snow, making snow forts and having snowball fights. Snowmobile enthusiasts can’t wait for the snow to pile up so they can hit the trails. For downhill skiers and snowboarders in Ontario, the wait to hit the slopes is finally over.
At last check, and according to the Ontario Snow Resorts Association website, four alpine resorts, including two in and around the Barrie area, are now open for business. Undoubtedly the number of open resorts and runs will continue to climb as we get closer to the holidays. There is nothing quite like that first run of the season to remind you about the joys of outdoor activity in the wintertime in Ontario.
Before you head back to the slopes, its important to remind yourself, and your family, about some basic safety tips to help avoid personal injuries on the ski hill. As outlined on the Canadian Ski Council website these tips include the following:
- always stay in control on the slopes and be comfortable with the trail you choose to ski
- never sit or stand in the middle of a trail
- obey signs regarding closed trails
- if unfamiliar with ski lifts, ask an operator for assistance
As well, everyone who is on the slopes should be aware of and follow the Alpine Responsibility Code.
In addition to following these safety tips, and as outlined by Dr. Rob on the Canadian Ski Council website, wearing a helmet specifically designed for skiing or snowboarding may help reduce the risk of certain types of head injuries. Parents can take the lead here by wearing a helmet and insisting their children do the same.
Enjoy these first few weeks of skiing and boarding – and keep safe!
If you have been seriously injured in a car or motorcycle accident, chances are you will be claiming no-fault benefits from your own insurance company. A recent decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal helps to ensure that, should you need to sue your insurance company for benefits, you will be able to do so in a timely manner.
Do I have to sue my insurance company?
In some cases, there will be no dispute about what no fault benefits you are entitled to receive under the terms of your policy and there will be no need to bring a court action (or go to arbitration) against your insurance company. Other times, disputes will arise regarding either the availability of a certain benefit, the amount of money you should be receiving or the length of time that benefit should be paid. In those circumstances, there are specific steps which must be taken before an injured victim can sue their insurance company (or take them to arbitration) to claim accident benefits.
Under Ontario law, you cannot sue your insurance company for accident benefits, until you have sought mediation and that mediation has failed. Furthermore, a mediator must attempt to resolve your dispute within 60 days after the application for the appointment of a mediator is filed. This makes common sense – if a matter can be resolved at mediation in a timely matter, both sides are better off than proceeding to court or arbitration.
Backlog of Applications for Mediation
The issue which has arisen relates to the backlog of applications for mediation which have not yet been assigned to a mediator. As reported on the Financial Services Commission of Ontario’s (FSCO) website, as of September 30, 2012, there were 23,745 open files that had not yet been assigned to a mediator. In practical terms, this means that in many cases, an injured victim will file an application for mediation, 60 days will pass, and no mediation will have taken place.
The question which then arises is, can you start a court action against your insurance company after this 60 days has passed and no mediator or mediation has taken place? Or, does the 60 days not start to run until FSCO has assessed the application, found it to be complete and assigned a mediator?
Good News for Car Accident Victims
The Court of Appeal, in its recent decision in Hurst v. Aviva Insurance Company unanimously decided that an injured person is permitted to start a civil action against their insurance company for no-fault benefits 60 days after they have filed an application for mediation with FSCO (unless the parties have agreed to an extension of time). The Court specifically rejected the argument that the 60 days does not begin to run until FSCO has assessed an application as complete, noting that “(S)uch an interpretation, which would allow FSCO to accumulate a backlog of any length, would ignore the legislative purpose of providing a speedy mediation process”.
Have you been in a car accident?
Our team of Ontario’s Injury Lawyers have extensive experience in car accident litigation, both on the no-fault or accident benefit side and on the tort side. We have the experience and knowledge to ensure your rights are protected and that all possible avenues for recovery are being advanced. Contact us today online or call toll free 1-800-563-6348 for a free initial consultation.
Are you attending the sold out Articling & Beyond 2012 Fair this Friday? If you are, Ferguson Barristers will see you there.
Articling and Beyond 2012
As outlined on the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website, this afternoon is designed for law students and new lawyers to explore practice opportunities in smaller communities throughout Ontario and runs from 12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m on November 23rd, 2012. Click here for more detailed information about this year’s program.
As in the past, Ferguson Barristers is proud to support this useful and practical afternoon. Read Mark Baker’s post “What Young Lawyers in Ontario Need to Know about Practising Law in Rural Communities, based on last year’s symposium.
This year, Rod Ferguson, founding partner of Ferguson Barristers, will be taking part in the Joining and/or Taking over an Established Practice workshop. This interactive workshop will consider the opportunities and challenges that come with joining and/or buying an established practice.
Ontario’s Injury Lawyers will also be at the Career Fair. Rachel Leck and myself will be at the Fair beginning at 1:30 p.m. Drop by our display table to say hello and to chat about practising law in a small community like Midland, Ontario.
The news was great for Nancy French – her claim with WSIB had finally been accepted and her late husband’s funeral costs will be covered and she will begin receiving a monthly pension. As reported in the Midland Free Press last week, members of Ontario’s Injury Lawyers helped Nancy achieve this welcome result.
Initial WSIB Claim Denied
Initially, WSIB denied Nancy’s claim. In a nutshell, WSIB would not accept her claim on the basis that the available records did not prove to their satisfaction that her late husband’s colon cancer was the primary cause of death. Letters from the treating doctors verifying that her husband died from colon cancer were not sufficient. Unfortunately, there was no autopsy report to confirm the primary cause of death.
Lawyers Rod Ferguson and Rachel Leck
Faced with this denial, Nancy turned to Rod Ferguson of Ferguson Barristers for assistance. Rod, together with associate lawyer, Rachel Leck, worked to help Nancy locate the necessary medical documentation and obtain the appropriate expert reports to convince the WSIB to reverse its decision.
At the end of the day, it was a report from a staff radiologist at Toronto East General Hospital that convinced the WSIB to change their mind.
To read more about Nancy’s battle for WSIB benefits, click here for the Midland Free Press Article “Widow wins long battle for WSIB benefits”.
Experienced Civil Litigators
The lawyers at Ferguson Barristers are experienced civil litigators who understand what steps need to be taken, and what reports commissioned, in order to successfully advance your personal injury or other civil litigation case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation at our website or toll free at 1-800-563-6348.
Unless you have been injured in a car accident in Ontario, you may not be aware of the various restrictions on your right to sue the at-fault driver for general damages. Many motorists assume they will be entitled to receive an amount of money that represents the court’s assessment of the pain and suffering they have endured as a result of the car accident. In reality, many car accident victims do not receive any amount of money for pain and suffering – even if they are not at fault for the accident.
The first barrier to receiving an award for pain and suffering is what is known in the industry as the “threshold”. Under the current automobile legislation, an amount for pain and suffering is only awarded against protected defendants (the owner or occupant of the other car and/or anyone present at the accident scene) in circumstances where the injured victim has sustained:
⇒ a permanent serious disfigurement; or
⇒ a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.
As you can imagine, whether or not your injury will qualify under this permanent and serious test depends on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the impact your injuries have on your ability to work or carry on your usual activities of daily living and the length of time your impairments are expected to last. The bottom line is that unless your injuries pass this threshold test, you will not be entitled to receive any amount of money to compensate you for your pain and suffering related to your car accident injuries.
If your injuries are severe enough to pass the threshold, you are entitled to claim an amount of money to compensate you for your pain and suffering. Suppose a court finds that a fair estimate of your pain and suffering is $40,000. Unfortunately, that is not the end of the story. Under the current automobile legislation in Ontario, an amount of $30,000 is automatically deducted from any pain and suffering award, unless the initial amount awarded is greater than $100,000 or optional coverages have been purchased. This $30,000 is known as the statutory deductible. So, in our example of an assessment of $40,000, the amount the victim would be awarded is only $10,000.
Furthermore, if you are injured in multiple car accidents with more than one claim for damages for pain and suffering, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently confirmed in its decision in Martin v. Fleming that the statutory deductible must be applied to each pain and suffering award.
Experts in Car Accident Litigation
As the above discussion illustrates, car accident litigation is not always as straightforward as one might think. That is why it is so important for car accident victims to speak with a personal injury lawyer experienced in car accident litigation. Ferguson Barristers has the experience and knowledge to ensure your rights are being protected, that the proper referrals are being made and that all possible avenues for recovery are being advanced. Contact us today toll free at 1-800-563-6348 for a free initial consultation.
Once you turn 18, you are considered to be an adult, at least in the eyes of the law. As a young adult, you, and your parents, may have some questions about what this transition into adulthood means for various legal matters.
Workshop on November 12th
On November 12th, Rachel Leck will be conducting a workshop at Collier St. United Church in Barrie to provide information and answer questions about legal issues for Young Adults. This workshop is offered by the Faith Formation Committee of Northern Waters Presbytery.
Rachel Leck practices personal injury and civil litigation as an associate with Ferguson Barristers. Rachel is an active community member and is the current Chairperson on the Board of Huronia Transition Homes.
What will I learn?
Topics to be canvassed at this upcoming Workshop include:
⇒ Entering into a Contract
⇒ New Tenant Information
⇒ What documentation should be prepared when you turn 18
⇒ Insurance issues
For further information or to register for this informative session, visit the “What’s New” page on the Northern Waters Presbytery website and scroll down to the Legal Issues subtitle.
Mike Laplante presented his paper “Marketing Tools for Lawyers – 5 ways to get clients for your new law practice” at a recent Ontario Bar Association Conference on November 1st, 2012. Mike is a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation who has been with Ferguson Barristers for 10 years. Mike’s practice focuses on assisting accident victims and those who have been wrongfully dismissed.
“Marketing Tools for Lawyers – 5 ways to get clients for your new law practice”
Starting your own law practice is like starting any other small business. As such, there are a wide range of factors you will need to consider – including determining your physical location, staffing levels and putting systems in place for accounting and bookkeeping matters. Notwithstanding the importance of all of these matters, if you do not have clients, you will not be in business for long.
Make Marketing a Priority
Marketing must be a priority for any new law practice and this paper will consider 5 marketing tools you might wish to consider to bring clients in the door. Needless to say, this paper is not exhaustive in terms of the almost endless variety of marketing techniques out there. More importantly, this paper is not written by a marketing guru or an MBA graduate. Instead, what I can offer you is some practical, common sense tips based on my years of working at, and now managing, a successful law firm.
To learn these 5 important tools, click here to continue reading Mike’s paper.
Beware – witches, goblins and fairy princesses will be out prowling the streets in a few days time looking for some sweet treats! Excited children of all ages will be running around our neighbourhoods and will be greeted at our doorsteps by grinning jack-o’-lanterns and other frightful creatures. Neighbourhoods will be transformed into scary, moonlit places for an evening of fun and fantasy.
5 Tips to stay safe this Hallowe’en
Ontario’s Injury Lawyers offer the following tips for you to consider to try and keep trick-or-treaters safe this Hallowe’en:
- If at all possible, avoid driving in densely populated neighbourhoods after dusk, on Hallowe’en night;
- If you must drive, reduce your speed and be alert for the increased numbers of pedestrians on the roadways;
- Homeowners and tenants, make sure your property is well lit and clear of any tripping hazards;
- Parents and guardians, be sure your child’s costume is short enough to avoid tripping and that they are able to see clearly from behind their costume. Consider using face make-up rather than masks, which may significantly obstruct a child’s vision;
- Trick-or-treaters should carry a light source like a flashlight or have reflective material, either as part of their costume or as their Hallowe’en bag, in order to increase their visibility.
Following these tips will help keep everyone safe on this fun and frightful night. Happy trick-or-treating!
Ferguson Barristers is pleased to advise that two of its lawyers will be participating in the upcoming Ontario Bar Association (OBA) program about starting your own law practice.
“Starting Your Own Law Practice”
As part of its Professional Development course offerings in the Sole, Small Firm and General Practice practice area, the OBA is presenting the “Starting Your Own Law Practice” conference on Thursday, November 1, 2012 beginning at 2:00 p.m. Members of the OBA can attend this program in person in Toronto or by webcast.
As outlined on the OBA website, this program is designed to appeal to any lawyer, whether seasoned or a new call, who is starting their own practice and will cover a broad range of topics, including Marketing, Bookkeeping and Start-up Pitfalls.
Co-Chair Patrick Sloan
Patrick Sloan will be co-chairing the program which promises to be an informative and practical session for any lawyer starting up their own practice.
Patrick, who joined Ferguson Barristers in 2008, is an associate lawyer who practices in the areas of wrongful dismissal and personal injury. Patrick is an active member of the Ontario Bar Association and is the current Vice Chair on the Executive of the Sole, Small Firm and General Practice section of the OBA.
Presenter Mike Laplante
Mike Laplante will be part of a panel looking at “Getting Started” and will be discussing the importance of marketing when it comes to starting a law practice based on his paper Marketing Tools for Lawyers – 5 ways to get clients for your new law practice.
Mike, a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation, has been with Ferguson Barristers for 10 years and is currently the managing partner of the firm. Mike is keenly aware of the importance of marketing to establish, and more importantly, to maintain a successful law practice.
We encourage any members of the OBA who are considering a move to start their own law practice to join Patrick and Mike on November 1st, 2012 for this instructive and practical program.
Are you a physiotherapist, doctor or other health care professional who treats patients who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario? If you are, Ontario’s Injury Lawyers have developed a resource to help you assist your patients with obtaining medical and rehabilitation benefits as they work their way through the no-fault system.
Click here to review and download a copy of Ferguson Barristers’ “Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Manual for Health Care Professionals”. This Manual has been updated to reflect the major changes to the no-fault system introduced in September of 2010, including the introduction of the Minor Injury Guidelines.
Topics covered in this updated Manual include:
- Maximum Limits for Medical Benefits available for your Patients
- Steps to take following an accident to apply for Insurance-Funded treatment
- How and when the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG) applies to your Patients
- Where your Patients should send their Application Forms
- Critical Deadlines and Limitation Periods for your Patients
Although this Manual is primarily designed as a tool to assist HealthCare Professionals, car accident victims will find the Manual a useful overview of the process by which they can obtain insurance funded treatment for their injuries, whether they are relatively minor, like a sprained ankle, or more serious injuries like fractures or even spinal cord injuries. As well, car accident victims will find the sections on FAQ as well as Additional Resources particularly informative.
We trust this Manual will be a useful tool for health care professionals and their patients. Of course, any of our lawyers would be pleased to speak with you directly if you have any questions or require further information. Contact us toll-free at 800-563-6348 or send us an email.
Note: This Manual does not provide legal advice and is intended to provide general information only.
As an active community member, Ferguson Barristers and its lawyers are involved in a number of important and worthwhile causes across Ontario. Today, we focus on Rachel Leck’s work with Huronia Transition Homes.
What is HTH?
HTH or Huronia Transition Homes is a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of ending all violence against women and children. HTH has been operating since 1984 and currently runs three major program: La maison Rosewood Shelter, Athena’s Sexual Assault Counselling and Advocacy Centre and Choices for Children. Rachel Leck, an associate lawyer with Ferguson Barristers, has been actively involved with HTH since 2009 and is currently the Board Chairperson.
LOL with HTH
Ferguson Barristers is a proud sponsor of this year’s LOL with HTH, featuring an evening of comedy with Elvira Kurt. This entertaining and hilarious event is taking place on October 12, 2012 at the newly completed Midland Cultural Centre in downtown Midland. A second show is taking place in Barrie on October 19th at Fendley Hall. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Join us to help HTH in its important work providing shelter, support and counselling to women and children affected by violence.
As widely reported last week, there are rumours that some private messages of Facebook users have been made public through the introduction of the Timeline feature. Whether or not the rumour is true, it does serve as a reminder to all social media users to consider what they are posting online and to think carefully about their privacy settings. For car accident victims or anyone making a disability insurance claim, this is especially critical as postings on Facebook and other social networking sites can potentially impact their lawsuit.
Once you have discussed the details of your accident, condition or treatment online, you have given up any claim that may have existed for solicitor client privilege. In practice, what this means is that if these postings are relevant to the lawsuit, they will likely have to be provided to the other side in the lawsuit. Read our blog Facebook, Confidentiality and Your Car Accident for more details about solicitor client privilege.
Some people might be under the impression that as long as they adjust their privacy settings and only allow certain friends to view their photographs and discussions, they will not have to provide these postings to the other party in the lawsuit.
A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court confirms that, at least in the circumstances of that case, photographs of the Plaintiff involved in activities and social events, including ones posted in the “private” section of her facebook account had to be listed on her Affidavit of Documents. Read the entire decision at this link.
While it is always the case that relevant documents have to be produced in a lawsuit and a Plaintiff should not delete postings to avoid them being produced, we echo the suggestion of David Bilinsky that the safest course of action is to stop posting to any social media sites from the time of the injury until the lawsuit has been settled.
If you have been involved in a car or motorcycle accident or are making a claim under a short or long-term disability insurance policy, contact one of our Ontario’s Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss how to protect yourself and ensure you are receiving the maximum compensation.
The boating season is slowly winding down on waterways across Ontario. Boating enthusiasts are turning their minds towards taking their boats out of the water and attending to the required year end maintenance. We hope you enjoyed this spectacular boating season across Ontario and kept safe on the water. However, if you did have the unfortunate luck of being involved in a boating collision or accident, we want to remind you about our expertise in boating personal injury law.
Roderick G. Ferguson, our founding partner, has been cottaging and boating in the Georgian Bay area since the 1970’s and is extremely familiar with the Georgian Bay area and the sometimes tricky task of navigating among the numerous islands.
Mike Laplante has been sailing for over 20 years, primarily on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, but also on the west coast of Canada. He has encountered almost every type of weather while boating and appreciates the importance of following safety precautions and boating regulations.
Boating Personal Injury Law
In many ways, advancing a claim following a boating accident is similar to the procedure following a car accident. However, there are important differences – for example, no fault insurance benefits are available to car accident victims but not to people injured in a boating accident.
In order to protect your rights, you need to have a lawyer who understands these differences. Having numerous years of first hand boating experience means both Rod and Mike are uniquely qualified to assist clients who have suffered personal injuries while boating. They know boating and they know personal injury law.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, contacting Ferguson Barristers online or toll free at 1-800-563-6348 will give you access to the expertise you need – Ontario’s personal injury lawyers with first hand knowledge of boating in Ontario.
Ontario Referring Lawyer Program Expands
Ferguson Barristers is pleased to announce the addition of Alison Lester to our Referring Lawyer Program. Alison has a general legal practice which focuses on the areas of real estate, wills, litigation and criminal law. Practicing since 2006, Alison has recently established her own firm in Cobourg. Joining our network means Alison will now be able to offer the services of Ontario’s Injury Lawyers to her clients right in their hometown.
What is the Referring Lawyer Program?
Ferguson Barristers LLP has a longstanding record of bringing justice to rural Ontario and small communities and has developed the the Referring Lawyer Program to serve the needs of personal injury victims who may not otherwise be able to access personal injury law services in their own town. The program works on a fee sharing arrangement in accordance with the rules of the Law Society of Upper Canada. For more information about the referral process and how the fees are divided, read our series of blogs Referral Fees for Ontario Lawyers.
Advantages of the Referring Lawyer Program
- Provide existing clients with access to specialized personal injury legal services
- Ontario’s Injury Lawyers see your clients in their home community
- Possible referrals of commercial, family, criminal and estate work from Ferguson Barristers
- Receive a directory listing on Ferguson Barrister’s website, including your contact information and a list of your areas of expertise.
How do I become an Ontario Referring Program lawyer?
Join Alison Lester and take the first step towards becoming an Ontario Referring Program lawyer today by contacting us online or by phone at 1-800-563-6348.
It’s that time of the year again! Kids are saying goodbye to the beach and the cottage and hello to their teachers and school friends. The start of a new school year is filled with excitement and promise, as well as a few nerves, as students and their families get back into their fall routine.
As part of that routine, Ferguson Barristers wants to remind drivers about a few safety tips as our children return to school.
Stop for School Buses
Back to school means school buses are back on the road. In Ontario, motorists approaching a school bus with its upper red lights flashing must stop. This applies to cars travelling in both directions and does not depend on the speed limit or the number of lanes on the roadway in question.
It is only after the students have boarded the bus, the STOP arm has been folded away and the red lights have stopped flashing that a motorist is permitted to move.
In addition to the possibility of injuring a child in an motor vehicle accident, the failure to stop for a school bus may result in fines, demerit points and possible jail time.
Parents and students also have a vital role to play in school bus safety. Children should be aware of, and follow, the safety rules set out by the Ministry of Education.
The anticipation of the new school year means that most kids are little excited and distracted – especially during the first few weeks of September. For that reason, it is important that drivers be extra vigilant and watchful while travelling around school areas. Reduce your speed in school zones and be on the lookout for school crossings.
Speed limits may be reduced in the immediate area surrounding a school on days when school is regularly held and at times prescribed by the municipality. Take a few moments this week to remind yourself about the school zones on your driving route and follow these reduced speed limits.
Let’s all work together to keep our children safe as they return to school!
As an active community member and a small business in a rural community, Ferguson Barristers is pleased to be a supporter of the annual rural medicine week in the Midland/Penetanguishene area.
As part of the Rural Ontario Medical Program (ROMP), twelve medical students visited our area for a week in June to gain first hand experience of practicing medicine in a rural community. Ferguson Barristers proudly sponsored the goodbye BBQ held at the end of the week. Judging from this photograph, it appears as though the students had a great time in our area!
For more information about ROMP, click here and make sure to scroll down the page to see the Town of Midland’s welcome to the students.
Ferguson Barristers would like to congratulate one of our own, partner Lisa Belcourt, on her receipt of the 2012 Ontario Volunteer Award.
This award is presented by the Government of Ontario to deserving volunteers for their continuous years of commitment and dedicated service to an organization. In Lisa’s case, she was recognized for her significant contribution to Community Living – Huronia. This organization assists people with exceptionalities to live with dignity and to participate effectively in community activities.
Lisa has been called to the Bar since 1999 and has been a partner with Ferguson Barristers since 2007. She has extensive litigation experience at all levels of the Ontario Courts and has appeared before many administrative tribunals.
Lisa is a tireless volunteer and a very active member of the community. In addition to her work as a member of the Board of Community Living – Huronia, Lisa was the director of the Board of the Simcoe County Association for the Physically Disabled and currently sits as a community member on the Tiny Township Accessibility Advisory Community.
Thank you Lisa for your important contribution to our community – well done!
If you are injured in a car accident in Ontario, there are a number of important steps you need to take in order to protect your rights. One of these steps is to notify your broker or insurance company about the accident. Your insurance company will then assign an adjuster to handle your claim. But what if this adjuster contacts you and wants to meet to talk about the accident and get a written statement – what do you do?
If you own an automobile in Ontario, certain basic insurance is required by law and you are covered by the provisions of Ontario Automobile Policy (OAP 1). Under this mandatory scheme, if you are going to be applying for Accident Benefits, you are required to report the accident to your own insurance company within 7 days of the collision (or if unable to do so, as soon as possible after that). For more information about what benefits may be available to you if you are injured in a car accident, read our blog Understanding No-fault Insurance Benefits in Ontario.
Once you have reported the accident, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your file. This adjuster, often referred to as your accident benefits adjuster, will likely contact you and may want to meet with you to get a statement about the accident.
How we can help
There is no question that you must co-operate with the accident benefits adjuster assigned to your file – however, it is usually a good idea to speak with an Ontario injury lawyer before you meet with the adjuster and sign a statement. Any written statement you give to your accident benefits adjuster will typically be a document that must be produced in any lawsuit you may have against the other driver – so it is extremely important to ensure this statement only covers questions related to your claim for accident benefits. Otherwise you may be jeopardizing parts of your civil lawsuit.
Other Driver’s Insurance Adjuster
In some cases, you may be contacted by an adjuster representing the other driver’s insurance company. Under no circumstances should you meet with or give a statement to this adjuster, except in the presence of your lawyer.
Our lawyers have the expertise and knowledge to ensure you are meeting your obligations under your insurance policy without adversely affecting any possible lawsuit you may have against the other driver involved in the collision. We will also work to make sure you are receiving all the benefits and services available to car accident victims.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact us at Ferguson Barristers or at 1-800-563-6348 for a free, no obligation initial consultation.
If you have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, your biggest concern is getting your life back on track – in both a medical and financial sense. A serious accident resulting in broken bones, a spinal cord injury or a head injury can mean months or even years of medical and rehabilitation treatment. In those instances, a consultation with a personal injury lawyer is an essential step in protecting your rights and ensuring you are accessing all the benefits and services available to you. As well, an experienced personal injury lawyer will ensure all the important deadlines are met.
With more minor accidents, the extent of your injuries may not be immediately obvious and consequently you may not think of consulting a personal injury lawyer right away. In those cases, it is very important to be aware that there are numerous deadlines and limitation periods which affect your ability to claim benefits and/or bring a civil action. A few important timelines include:
- Notice to your own Insurance Company that you intend to make a claim for Accident Benefits – 7 days from the date of the accident
- Completion of the Application for Accident Benefits - 30 days from the date of the accident
- Suing your own Insurance Company for Accident Benefits – within 2 years of the denial of any benefit
- Suing the at fault driver – within 2 years of the date of the accident
What if there isn’t enough Insurance
Another very important deadline arises in circumstances where the insurance held by the at fault driver is not sufficient to cover the damages the injured parties have suffered. For example if your personal injury damages total $300,000 and the other driver only has $200,000 in coverage. In those cases, an injured party has the ability to sue their own Insurance Company for the difference, provided they have purchased OPCF 44 – Family Protection Endorsement . But what if you don’t find out about how much insurance the other driver has until 3 years after the accident? How soon after the accident must you sue your own Insurance Company?
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently considered this issue in its decision Roque v. Pilot Insurance Company. The bottom line is that regardless of when you find out how much insurance the other driver has, you must sue your own Insurance Company under the OPCF-44 within two years of the date you knew or ought to have known that the quantum of your claims exceeded $200,000. This case underscores the importance of speaking with a lawyer who has experience dealing with these underinsured provisions.
Steps to Protect your Personal Injury Claim
An experienced personal injury lawyer will understand the importance of determining the limits and availability of the other driver’s insurance policy early on in the process to ensure that the proper steps are taken to protect your rights. Ferguson Barristers has a team of lawyers with a combined experience of over 80 years, including two Civil Litigation Specialists. If you have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident, contact us at 1-800-563-6348 to arrange a free initial consultation.
Ferguson Barristers is travelling to Ireland this summer – in a manner of speaking.
Ferguson Barristers is a proud sponsor of the Atlantic Challenge Canada’s 2012 International Crew travelling to Ireland this summer to participate in the 2012 International Contest of Seamanship. This contest, which is being held in Bantry, Ireland and takes place between July 21st and 29th, involves various sailing and rowing competitions with 13 other countries.
As outlined on its website, the Atlantic Challenge Canada Program is designed to promote stronger, healthier and more active youth through the adventure of sailing and rowing.
In addition to participating in the contest in the past, Canada has hosted the event twice, once at Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene in 1994 and more recently in Midland, in 2010.
We wish all the participants the best of luck!
There is no question with the soaring temperatures and rising humidity that summer has arrived in Ontario. This often means more travel time in the car with the family – whether it be a trip to the beach, cottage or a road trip to see another part of Ontario or indeed, Canada. Making sure you stay safe on the busy holiday roads should be a top priority this vacation season.
Avoiding Car Accidents
Here are some safe summer driving tips, as outlined by the Ministry of Transportation:
- Drive at a safe speed, do not tailgate and do not weave in and out of traffic
- Take a break if you feel tired
- Make sure everyone is properly buckled up and babies and young children are in car seats and booster seats
- Don’t let extra items like sporting or camping equipment block your view of the road
- Make sure loads are securely tied to your vehicle
- Watch out for increased activities on the road due to cyclists, motorcyclists, rollerblades, skateboarders and scooters
- Don’t drink and drive
- Watch out for pedestrians – school’s out so more children are playing outside. For more information on avoiding pedestrian accidents, visit our blog Watch Out for Pedestrians!
Contact an Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer
Despite taking all of these precautions, you may still be involved in a car accident. Whether it’s a straightforward fender bender or a more serious accident, you may need to consult a personal injury lawyer if you have suffered personal injuries as a result of the crash.
As a injured car accident victim you are entitled to apply for no-fault Accident Benefits and may also be entitled to recover damages in a civil lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision.
As with most things in life, the sooner you act the better. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the benefits available to you and would be pleased to sit down with you for a free initial consultation. Contact us toll free at 1-800-563-6348.
Have you been let go or fired from your job? Losing your job is a stressful event in itself – especially in the current economic climate. Additionally, you may be wondering if your employer has terminated your employment in accordance with the law or whether you have a claim for wrongful dismissal. An early consultation with an employment lawyer will help answer this important question and ensure you bring your claim within the 2 year limitation period that applies with respect to suing for wrongful dismissal.
Do I have a claim for Wrongful Dismissal?
In general, reasonable notice (or payment in lieu of notice) must be given to any employee (special rules and/or rights may apply for unionized employees – unionized employees should first speak with their union representative about the process involved to grieve their termination) by an employer before the employment contract can be terminated.There is however, an important exception – an employer can dismiss an employee without notice if there is just cause.
In Ontario what constitutes “reasonable notice” is governed by both the Employment Standards Act and the common law. The Employment Standards Act sets out the minimum notice period as well as an employee’s entitlement to severance pay. The common law may increase the amount of notice required by looking a number of different factors, including the age of the employee, seniority and availability of similar employment.
Questions to consider
Depending on your particular set of circumstances, the following questions may need to be answered:
- Have I been employed long enough to receive notice?
- Was I given reasonable notice?
- Did I receive the appropriate amount of pay in lieu of notice?
- Am I entitled to severance pay?
- Was there just cause for my termination?
Talking to an Ontario employment lawyer at an early stage will help you determine if you have a possible wrongful dismissal claim and ensure your rights are protected. As well, a lawyer with employment law experience will be able to assist you with the decision to either submit a claim to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for an investigation of the termination or severance or to sue an employer for wrongful dismissal. An employee cannot do both and it is critical that you understand the implications of proceeding in either direction before making your decision.
Contact one of our employment lawyers about workplace related issues and to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your job loss.
With this streak of hot summer weather, many boating enthusiasts will be eager to get out onto the water. Living on Georgian Bay means we have the luxury of enjoying some of the most spectacular recreational boating in the world. Making sure you are up to date with current boating safety regulations as well as following some basic safety tips, will help make this boating season unforgettable – for all the right reasons!
Boating Safety Regulations
In many ways, operating a boat is similar to driving a car. There are numerous laws, regulations and local rules covering such things as speed, right of way, lights and signals and collisions. As well, boats need to be registered and licensed.
Recently, new boating regulations were passed by the federal government requiring anyone operating a power driven boat to prove they are competent – meaning they understand the rules of the road and other important safety information. As outlined by Transport Canada, the most common way to prove competency is to obtain the Pleasure Craft Operator Card. In many cases, operators will take an accredited boating safety course in order to obtain this Card.
For a further discussion on boating safety and how to stay safe on the water, you may enjoy reading Personal Injury Lawyer discusses Boating Safety Laws in Ontario.
Personal Injury in a Boating Accident
In the unlikely event that you are injured as a result of a boating mishap – you need to be aware of significant differences between car accident and boating accident law in Ontario.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario, you have the qualified ability to sue the at fault driver for damages (for things like pain and suffering, lost income) as well as apply for no fault accident benefits. Payments under the no fault accident benefit scheme may include income replacement benefits as well as medical and rehabilitation benefits. Importantly, as the name suggests, you can apply and receive benefits under the no fault scheme, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
If you are involved in a boating accident the avenues for recovering damages for your injuries are a little different.
Limit on Personal Injury Damages
The first important difference is that no fault benefits are not available for boaters – instead, anyone injured in a boating accident is restricted to seeking damages against the at fault party. Furthermore, there is a limit to the amount of money that will be paid out as a result of a boating accident.
In Ontario, liability for personal injuries which occur while boating are governed by the Marine Liability Act. Among other things, this Act and its accompanying regulations, sets out the rules regarding the apportionment of liability for personal injuries and fatalities, the limitation period as well as the maximum amount payable for any distinct occasion involving a ship. Currently, for a ship less than 300 gross tonnage, the maximum is $1,000,000 for loss of life or personal injury, regardless of the number of people injured and making claims.
If you or anyone you know has been involved in a boating accident, our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers can help. Contact us online for a free initial consultation with an Ontario Injury Lawyer or call 1-800-563-6348.
Finding the right lawyer when you have just been involved in a car accident or any other incident causing personal injury can be difficult, particularly if this is the first time you have had to seek legal help. While relying on the advice of your family and friends about their experiences with various legal professionals may be a place to start, there are a few key qualities a good personal injury lawyer should possess in order to help you successfully gain compensation for your injuries.
Below is a list of criteria that you should consider when seeking out a law firm or lawyer in Ontario to advise you on your personal injury claim.
Your lawyer should be both knowledgeable and skilled in the area of expertise concerning your case. Personal injury and civil litigation cases require in depth research and a thorough understanding of the various benefits and timelines applicable to personal injury cases. With car accident claims, familiarity and experience with the relevant Accident Benefit scheme is critical.
Your lawyer should be able to provide you with helpful answers to your questions based on their knowledge and experience as well as provide you with a clear picture of how the process will work in your particular case.
To be effective and to make the process as stress free as possible, your personal injury lawyer should be accessible. This means your lawyer should return your calls and answer your concerns in a timely manner. It also means that a good personal injury lawyer should be willing to meet with you at a location that is convenient for you. In personal injury cases, clients may have just been in a serious car accident or slip, trip or fall accident, leaving them unable to leave their home or travel great distances. A lawyer who will make the trip to your hometown or even directly to your home is an important consideration.
As with most specialized professions, a large amount of knowledge comes from the experience of doing the work. Be sure to review the lawyer’s experience before hiring them. You should feel comfortable asking if they have handled matters like yours before, and confident that they are prepared to work with you through the process. Not all lawyers have the same approach or philosophy, so you should be sure your lawyer is the right person to represent your interests.
Often, traumatic incidents leave accident victims feeling vulnerable and confused about what to do next. You may or may not have experienced the loss of a loved one, lost the ability to function as you did before the accident or be experiencing psychological symptoms. A personal injury lawyer who is sensitive to your overall situation will be able to help you feel comfortable and offer you resources to access the support you need.
Lastly, be sure your personal injury or civil litigation lawyer is persistent in maintaining or seeking the required documentation, assessments and other information necessary to help advance and ultimately conclude your case. Legal matters often take many months, if not years, to conclude which means you need a lawyer who is willing to push your matter forward as well as see your matter through to the end.
At Ferguson Barristers LLP, we specialize in personal injury and civil litigation law. We have the hands-on litigation experience, training and knowledge you need to make sure your rights are protected and to help ensure your claim is resolved in a timely, fair and respectful manner. Furthermore, through our lawyer referral network, we are usually able to meet with you in the comfort of your hometown For a free initial consultation or to obtain more information, please contact us at 1-800-563-6348.
Any homeowner who has reached the bottom step of their basement to discover an inch of water will be intimately aware of how much damage water can cause. Whether it is a faulty sump pump, leaky flashing around your chimney or a catastrophic plumbing failure, one thing is certain – the mess has to be cleaned up and repairs can be costly.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, water is the leading cause of property damage in Canada. Losses related to water damage cost Canadian insurers and policyholders at least $1.3 billion every year. Water damage can lead to expensive bills and often homeowners rely on their home insurance policy to offset the cost of this type of property damage.
Common Causes of Water Damage
Basement floods are one of the most common contributors of water damage in your home. According to Insurance Bureau of Canada, basement flooding can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- improper disposal of materials such as fats, oils, grease and diapers;
- tree roots growing through cracks in the water lines and causing blockages;
- sewer backups caused by overloaded stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure;
- frozen water pipes; and
- illegal hookups allowing excess water into the lines. Outside stairwell drains, sump pumps, roof leaders and drain gutters should never be connected to the sewer system.
Will the Cost of Repairs be covered by Insurance?
Some, but not all, types of water damage are covered by the usual homeowner’s policy of insurance. In general, most policies will cover water damage caused by the sudden and accidental escape of water from a watermain, indoor plumbing, heating or air-conditioning systems. However, many standard policies do not cover water damage caused by flooding which is the result of rainstorms or from the backing up or escape of water from a sewer, sump or septic tank.
Whether or not a specific loss will be covered, and to what extent, will depend upon the wording of your particular policy and whether additional coverages have been purchased.
Contact Ferguson Barristers
No matter what the cause of the water damage to your property, having a qualified insurance lawyer review your policy and any offers of compensation from your insurance company before you sign off, is the best way to ensure you are fully compensated according to your contract of insurance. Our team of experienced Ontario Injury Lawyers can help ensure that your insurance company pays the appropriate restoration and replacement costs that are owed to you under your policy.
If you have suffered serious water damage to your home, contact us at 1-800-563-6348 to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers.
If you happen to notice a few extra medical students around the Midland Penetang area next week, be sure to extend them a warm welcome! Ten students from the University of Toronto and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine will be visiting our area from June 4th – 8th as part of ROMP week.
What is ROMP?
The Rural Ontario Medical Program (ROMP) is designed to provide first and second year medical students with an opportunity to see what it is like to practice medicine in a host rural community. Students are given the chance to scrub in, go on rounds, learn about a specialty, enjoy the outdoors and get to know a rural community. For the past 9 years, the Southern Georgian Bay Physician Recruitment Committee has hosted this annual rural medicine week in our community.
Ferguson Barristers Sponsors BBQ
Ferguson Barristers is pleased to be a part of this important initiative as the sponsor for the goodbye BBQ taking place at the end of the students’ stay in our community. We look forward to meeting with our future physicians at the BBQ.
On May 31st, lawyers from Ferguson Barristers will be attending the Solo and Small Firm Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. As the name suggests, this conference is designed for lawyers working in small firms and as sole practitioners. Presenters will be discussing innovative technology approaches and practice management tools designed to increase productivity and enhance client service.
As past presenters, we are excited to be taking part in this great event as it offers opportunities to discover new ways to improve your practice, as well as meet other solo and small firm practitioners from across Ontario. Ferguson Barristers will be taking part in a pre-event conversation through Twitter. You can join us by adding us on twitter and using the hashtag: #lsucsolosmall.
Join us for Happy Hour!
Following the program on Thursday, May 31, 2012, Ferguson Barristers LLP will be hosting a Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. at The OverDraught Irish Pub (156 Front Street West, Toronto) – just a stone’s throw away from the Metro Convention Centre. We hope to see you there.
For more information or to R.S.V.P, please contact Erica Vleer:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (705) 526-1471 ext 219.
This article written by Lisa Belcourt, a partner at Ferguson Barristers, originally appeared in the April 27, 2012 issue of The Lawyers Weekly, published by LexisNexis Canada Inc.. Ms. Belcourt practices personal injury litigation in the northeast and central regions of Ontario.
Using the OHSA in discovery
An elderly woman is shopping in a department store when she suddenly stumbles, falls and breaks her leg. Staff and fellow shoppers rush to her aid, medical assistance is summoned and she is taken to hospital by ambulance to be treated for the fracture.
End of story? Far from it. Apart from the woman’s own path to recovery, an internal investigation into her fall will ensue and a lawsuit may result. In this case, plaintiff’s counsel would inquire about any incident report prepared by the store, photographs taken and witness statements obtained by the store employees and any written reports to the liability insurer. There is also another layer of documentation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that might come into play.
All deaths and critical injuries at a workplace must be reported to the Ministry of Labour, even when the incident does not involve an employee. In Blue Mountain Resorts Limited v. Ontario (The Ministry of Labour and The Ontario Labour Relations Board), 2011 ONSC 3057, the Divisional Court upheld a decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, which found the OHSA, and in particular the requirement to report a death or critical injury, applied to an incident involving a guest of the resort who drowned in a pool.
For the Divisional Court, it appears that the critical factor was that the swimming pool was also a place where resort employees worked – i.e., the hazard affecting the guest could (at least in theory) also affect a worker. In December, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted leave to appeal but it has not yet been heard.
The OHSA provides a somewhat vague definition of “critical injury”. Under Regulation 834, an injury is considered “of a serious nature” if it: places life in jeopardy; produces unconsciousness; results in substantial loss of blood; involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe; involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe; consists of burns to a major portion of the body; or causes the loss of sight in an eye.
Under s.51(1), the OHSA requires all deaths or critical injuries to “persons” to be reported to the labour ministry within 48 hours while a verbal report is required immediately. All other injuries involving disability or medical attention must be reported in writing to the employer’s health and safety committee or representative within four days.
The injury involving the elderly woman, therefore, should have been reported, both verbally and in writing, to the Ministry of Labour by the store. Arguably, all reports and investigation documents, internal or external, would be producible at the discovery stage.
Employers are required to have a health and safety policy in place that is reviewed annually under s.25(2)(j). In discovery, that policy should be requested and questions relating to compliance should be answered by the defendant.
Section 9 of the OHSA is really the minefield for personal injury lawyers at discovery:
- An employer with 20 or more workers is required to have a joint health and safety committee (JHSC) and a list of its members should be requested at discoveries.
- The JHSC is required to have regular formal meetings; minutes must be taken and maintained and be available to labour ministry inspectors upon request.
- Monthly inspections of the workplace (or portions thereof) must be undertaken by the JHSC in accordance with a schedule.
- The JHSC is required to be advised of and consider any situations that may be a source of danger or hazard to workers.
- Where a death or critical injury occurs at the workplace, at least one member of the JHSC is required to investigate and report to the Ministry of Labour and the JHSC.
In the example of the elderly woman who was injured in the store, I would expect significant documentation to be generated as required by the OHSA immediately following the incident. I would also expect that this incident, which would be characterized as a “critical injury”, to be the subject of discussion at the committee level with some consideration of the hazard and its rectification being undertaken. In my opinion, any documents generated should be requested and produced.
Plaintiff lawyers will no doubt face the argument by the defence that such documents are privileged. However, keeping in mind the “dominant purpose” test that is applied to such claims for privilege, the employer (defendant) will have great difficulty in meeting its onus to establish privilege when the requirement to create those documents is legislated.
When preparing for your next examination for discovery in a personal injury matter, consider whether the OHSA might apply to the situation and whether the OHSA obligations imposed on employers should be incorporated into your discovery plan.
Warmer weather means that more people are taking to the streets – walking to and from work, taking lunch time strolls and generally enjoying the outdoors. College and university students have finished their winter terms and school age children will soon be out of school for their summer vacation.
Ferguson Barristers would like to remind both pedestrians and motorists to take a moment and remember that there are steps they can each take to help avoid accidents. Collisions with pedestrians can often have tragic consequences and may include injuries to the head, neck and spine.
Avoiding pedestrian accidents
Here are some tips from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario regarding pedestrian and motorist safety:
- Cross at marked crosswalks or traffic lights – not in the middle of the block or between parked cars;
- Be sure drivers see you before you cross;
- At a traffic light, only cross when you have the walk sign, not when the “Don’t Walk” sign is flashing or the light is yellow or red;
- Watch for turning traffic at intersections or entering and leaving driveways;
- Wear bright or reflective clothing when walking at dusk or in darkness.
- Be patient, especially with older pedestrians;
- Always watch for pedestrians, especially when turning;
- Slow down on residential streets and through school zones.
Who is liable?
Despite taking precautions, accidents can and do still happen. If you are an injured pedestrian, you are entitled to apply for no-fault Accident Benefits. As well, depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also be entitled to recover damages in a civil lawsuit (a tort action) against the driver of the vehicle.
In order to recover any type of damages in a civil lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle accident, a person must first prove that the other party was negligent. In the case of an injured pedestrian, there is what is known as the “reverse onus provision” to help establish fault or liability on the part of the driver. This provision of the Highway Traffic Act states that if a pedestrian is struck and injured by a motorist, the driver is presumed to be negligent unless he or she can prove otherwise. This is a very helpful provision for any pedestrian trying to recover damages against the driver of the car.
If you have been involved in a car accident involving a pedestrian, one of our experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers would be happy to speak with you regarding your rights and potential remedies. Contact Ferguson Barristers by filling out our contact form or call toll free 1-800-563-6348.
It has likely happened to you – you are walking along, minding your own business, when suddenly you trip or slip and fall. In many of these cases, the only cause for concern is your embarrassment and your injured pride. Nevertheless, there are times when a fall can result in significant injuries. Where you fall may have an impact on your potential claim for personal injury damages.
Personal Injury Claim
No matter where you slip or trip and fall, you may have the right to pursue a claim for personal injury damages. All occupiers have a responsibility to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. Ice, water, debris, uneven surfaces and poorly maintained walkways or stairs are often the cause of slip and fall accidents. These accidents may result in muscle tears, broken bones, head traumas and other injuries that can lead to long term job loss or an inability to go about your daily life as your normally would have before the accident. There may also be additional expenses associated with your medical recovery.
Highlighted below are just a few of the differences which arise in any potential personal injury claim, depending on where the fall occurred.
Fall At Work
If you fall at work, your ability to sue depends on your individual set of circumstances, as your injury may be covered by WSIB. You cannot receive WSIA benefits and also sue in court for personal injury damages. For falls at work, you will either be barred from suing and have to proceed under the WSIB scheme or you will have the right to sue.
On Private Property – Business
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada the following are some of the criteria used to determine whether or not the appropriate standard of care was followed:
- Whether the danger was foreseeable.
- Whether the occupier’s conduct was in accordance with acceptable standards of practice.
- Whether there was an adequate system of inspection in place (considering the risks involved) and whether it was followed.
- Whether the danger was allowed to exist for an unreasonable amount of time.
- The ease with which the danger could have been prevented.
On Municipal Property
If your fall occurred on a municipal roadway, you must act quickly. In general, notice of your intention to commence an action must be given to the Municipality within 10 days of the accident. As well, your action must be commenced in court within 2 years of the date of the accident (just like most other personal injury claims).
How we can help
Whether or not you are eligible for compensation for your slip and fall accident depends on the circumstances of your accident and the extent of your injuries. A personal injury lawyer can take the time to listen to the details of your accident, what expenses you may have incurred and how your injuries have impacted your day to day life.
If you are injured in a slip/trip and fall accident, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers can help answer your questions and ensure your rights are protected. Contact us toll free at 1-800-563-6348.
Sandra Proulx is a senior law clerk at Ferguson Barristers with over 25 years of experience exclusively in the field of personal injury litigation. She is a licensed paralegal having successfully completed the LSUC Paralegal Examination in March of 2008. Sandra has developed a specialty in accident benefits and conducts mediations with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Sandra continues to participate in continued education programs with the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Medio-Legal Society and Canada Pension.
Ferguson Barristers is pleased to share the news that Sandra will be a presenter at the upcoming Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) Law Clerks Conference scheduled for April 13, 2012 in Toronto. The theme of the conference, which is sold out, is “New Decade – New SABS”. Sandra’s presentation will focus on Section 44 Assessments, explaining what they are and how they work.
For more information on OTLA, visit: Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.
With spring just around the corner, it’s almost time to take the motorcycle out of hibernation and start planning your summer adventures. Ontario has some of the most scenic roads in Canada for motorcycle enthusiasts to enjoy. However, even if you are practicing safe driving on your motorcycle, accidents and personal injuries may still occur. When and if they do, it is important to know your rights for receiving compensation.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics on Ontario Roads
Taking proper precautions such as wearing appropriate safety gear and a helmet can help reduce the extent of injuries in any accident. Motorcycle riders should also remember that staying visible, riding in control and within posted speed limits are key to staying safe and avoiding accidents.
According to the 2008 Ontario Road Safety Annual Report from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the following factors are relevant in fatal motorcycle collisions :
- 51% involve speeding and loss of control
- 7.8% involve motorcycle drivers under 25 years of age
- 71% occurred during the day
- 9.8% of the motorcycle drivers were not wearing a helmet
No Fault Insurance Coverage for Motorcycle Accidents
As a result of a motorcycle accident, you may suffer serious brain trauma, spinal cord injuries, or broken bones that could significantly interfere with your daily routines. In many cases, you may be entitled to no fault insurance benefits .Your accident benefits are calculated based on a number of factors, including:
- the severity of your injuries
- your pre-accident income
- any extra accident benefits you may qualify for
If you are injured in a motorcycle collision or any other type of motor vehicle accident, you must apply for accident benefits before you can sue the responsible driver for damages.
Our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the benefits available to you in the event of a serious motorcycle accident and would be pleased to sit down with you for a free initial consultation.
You can speak to an experienced Ontario Injury Lawyer by calling 1-800-563-6348 or contacting us to receive more information about motorcycle accident claims by email.
Ferguson Barristers would like to congratulate The Honourable Doug Lewis, Q.C. on his receipt of the 2012 Law Society Medal. This prestigious honour – awarded each year by the Law Society of Upper Canada – is reserved for a select group of lawyers who have made a significant contribution to the profession. In this case, the Law Society has recognized The Honourable Doug Lewis’ service to his community and surrounding area for more than 40 years.
The Honourable Doug Lewis, Q.C., is a founding partner of the law firm Lewis Downey Tornosky Lassaline & Timpano in Orilla, where he practices corporate/commercial, estates and immigration law. Over his extensive career, The Honourable Doug Lewis, Q.C. has practiced law, represented his constituents as a Member of Parliament for Simcoe North and served as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada. As an active community member, he was twice named Orillia’s Citizen of the Year.
Congratulations once again – a well deserved honour for a most distinguished and respected colleague.
Spring is almost here, the roads are drying up and for some, that means getting your bike tuned up and back on the road. For most, cycling will mean lots of fresh air and exercise this spring and summer. However, accidents do happen and in the event that you are involved in a collision with a car, its good to know how to obtain help for any injuries you have suffered.
Common Cycling and Car Accidents
Research from the University of Toronto reported that the three most common accidents in Toronto involving cyclists and motor vehicles, were 1) a motorist entering an intersection and either failing to stop properly or proceeding before it was safe to do so; 2) a motorist overtaking a cyclist unsafely; and 3) a motorist opening a door onto an oncoming cyclist.
Claim for Accident Benefits
If you, as a cyclist, are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, you are entitled to make a claim for accident benefits, regardless of who is at fault for the collision! Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to receive income replacement benefits, medical and rehabilitation benefits and attendant care benefits.
In order to receive benefits, you must submit an Application for Accident Benefits.
Where do I Send the Accident Claim Forms?
You may be surprised to learn that, in most cases, even if you do not own a car, you can still submit a claim for accident benefits. Where you send your application form depends on your particular circumstances. For example, if you own an automobile, you would send your application form to the insurance company that insures your vehicle – even though you were not in your car at the time of the accident. However, in general, if neither you or your spouse owns or leases a car and you are not listed as a driver on somebody’s insurance policy, you would send your forms to the insurance company of the car that hit you. All of the details about where to send your forms are outlined in the accident claim form itself.
In addition to making a claim for accident benefits, you may also be entitled to sue the at-fault driver for additional damages, including pain and suffering. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident or have any questions about bicycle accident insurance claims, contact one of our experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers by calling 1-800-563-6348.
According to the Digital Buzz blog, one in every thirteen people on earth signs into Facebook every day! The site also reports that in just twenty minutes, over one million links are shared and almost three million messages are sent. Sharing details about our daily lives on social networking sites is great for gathering news and catching up with friends, family and colleagues. However, once you are involved in a car accident or have suffered any other type of personal injury, all of this sharing can potentially affect your lawsuit.
Don’t Share details on Facebook
After a serious accident involving personal injury or a car accident, the best course of action is to avoid discussing your condition, treatment or details of your accident online. This includes posting any images or photos relating to your accident or condition. The reason is that once you have posted this information, you have waived any claim to privilege that may have existed. This means that if the postings on Facebook (or any other social media site) are relevant to your lawsuit, they will likely need to be provided to the other side in the lawsuit.
What is privileged information? In general, once you’ve hired an Ontario injury lawyer for the purposes of listening to your case and offering advice, no one, not even the courts can require your lawyer to share the details of what you have discussed. The discussions you have with your lawyer are subject to lawyer-client privilege.
Who is Responsible for Keeping Information Privileged?
The only person capable of breaking or waiving lawyer-client privilege is you! Therefore, you must always keep the conversations between yourself and your lawyer confidential. By sharing information or details through social networks such as Facebook, you voluntarily give up your right to keep that information privileged. This means these details and information, if relevant, will need to be produced in the lawsuit.
If you have questions about how to start a claim for compensation for personal injury, or would like to discuss the details of your car accident confidentially, contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers in Ontario or call 1-800-563-6348 to speak to a lawyer for a free no-obligation consultation.
Car accidents can be inconvenient at best and devastating at worst. If you have suffered personal injuries as a result of the crash, you may need to consult a personal injury lawyer at some later date. In many cases, this may not be obvious to you at the accident scene. In fact, you may not even be aware of some of your injuries due to the stress and emotional impact of the accident.
Whether your accident is a straightforward fender bender or a more serious accident, there are some important steps you can take in the immediate aftermath of the accident which may assist your case should you need to consult with a personal injury lawyer at some later date:
- Report the accident to the Police
- Obtain the other driver’s insurance information
- Record details of the Accident
- Obtain any witness names and contact information
- Report the accident to your own Insurance Company
- Do not give a statement to the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company until you have consulted with a personal injury lawyer
- Do not share the details of the car accident on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
If you have been involved in a car accident and are struggling with some basic daily tasks, there is a good chance you are entitled to receive Accident Benefits and may be entitled to recover other damages from the at-fault party.
Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the benefits available to you and would be pleased to sit down with you for a free initial consultation. Contact us toll free at 1-800-563-6348.
With all the great hills around Ontario, many sports enthusiasts head to the slopes for a day of skiing or snowboarding during the winter months. This Family Day Weekend will likely be no exception. Taking precautions to prevent personal injuries while on the hill should be a top priority for all skiers and snowboarders.
Skiers and snowboarders can take a number of steps to help reduce the risk of suffering injuries like sprains, broken bones, back or neck injuries, spinal cord injuries and head injuries. Ferguson Barristers encourages you to follow these tips which are based on the Alpine Responsibility Code and the Canadian Ski Council website to help keep safe:
- wear a helmet specifically designed for skiing or snowboarding
- always stay in control on the slopes
- never sit or stand in the middle of a trail
- obey signs regarding closed trails
- if unfamiliar with ski lifts, ask an operator for assistance
Ski Lift Safety
It is particularly important to ensure you are using proper procedures when loading and unloading from chair lifts. The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), which is responsible for regulating the safety of chair lifts in Ontario, reports that user behaviour is the major cause of falls from chair lifts. Consequently, it is imperative that you ask an operator for assistance if you are unfamiliar with, or have any questions about, using the chair lift.
Whether or not you take to the slopes this weekend, Ferguson Barristers personal injury lawyers wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Family Day Weekend.
The Ride for Dad is a fundraising event that supports
the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation through annual local Rides.
The Ride for Dad event started in the early 2000’s as a motorcycle ride and raised over $20,000 for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Center. Since that time, there have been various Rides in over 30 cities in Canada raising over $9,000,000 for prostate cancer research and awareness. The events have grown to include motorcycle, snowmobile and watercraft events.
Georgian Bay Ride for Dad 2012
Ferguson Barristers is a proud sponsor of this year’s Georgian Bay snowmobile event, taking place on February 18, 2012. You can register for this year’s snowmobile event on the Ride for Dad website.
- The ride starts at the Town Docks in Penetanguishene, ON
- Registration is between 8-10 am
- Trail ride begins at 10am sharp
- Fee is $25 or free registration for those who raise over $100 in pledges
Ferguson Barristers has an ongoing commitment to support prostate cancer research and looks forward to a safe and fun snowmobile event. For more details on how you can get involved or to register for the ride, visit the Ride for Dad website.
Despite Wiarton Willie’s prediction this morning of an early spring in Ontario, there is still reason to be prepared for more winter driving. Winter driving can be tricky, especially in Central Ontario, with sudden changes in the weather and the road conditions. One way drivers can be prepared for any eventuality is to have an emergency kit in their car.
Emergency Car Kit
Whether you are involved in a car accident or your vehicle breaks down, keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times is extremely important – especially in the cold winter months. The following are recommended by the Government of Canada’s GetPrepared.ca site as items you should have in this kit.
- Food – that won’t spoil, such as energy bars
- Water – in plastic bottles so they won’t break if frozen (change every six months)
- Extra clothing and shoes
- First aid kit – with seatbelt cutter
- Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
- Candle in a deep can and matches
- Wind–up flashlight
- Whistle – in case you need to attract attention
- Copy of your emergency plan and personal documents
Also, keep these additional items inside your trunk:
- Sand, salt or cat litter (non clumping)
- Antifreeze/windshield washer fluid
- Tow rope
- Jumper cables
- Fire extinguisher
- Warning light or road flares
It is also important to note that cellphones may significantly cut down on the time it takes for you to contact help, whether you are involved in an accident or are stranded on the side of the road. Ultimately, staying hydrated, warm and safe inside your vehicle will be key to riding out the wait for help, whether it is a few minutes or several hours.
If you or anyone you know has been in a car accident, our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers can help. We would be pleased to sit down with you in your home town for a free initial consultation to answer any of your questions.
Now that the monetary limit of the small claims court in Ontario has increased to $25,000, renewed interest in this court seems likely. Although there are several factors that should be considered when deciding whether or not to pursue a claim in small claims court, an important consideration is what costs a successful party may be entitled to recover.
The following discussion is based on a paper I wrote entitled Costs in the Small Claims Court.
Can a party get an award for costs in the small claims court?
A qualified “yes”. Rule 19 of the Rules of the Small Claims Court (“Rules”) is clear that while a successful party is entitled to claim costs and disbursements, such an award is at the discretion of the judge. It is not a guarantee.
What is the usual award for costs in the small claims court?
In general, a successful party is entitled to recover their “reasonable disbursements” and, if represented by a lawyer, student-at-law or agent, a “reasonable representation fee”.
Examples of claimable disbursements include expenses for travel, accommodation, photocopying and experts’ reports. Under the Rules, certain disbursements, like for example, the cost of preparing a claim, are capped. In the case of preparing a claim, the maximum amount awarded is $100.
With respect to a reasonable representation fee, the general rule is that the maximum amount awarded is $3,750. Of course, this is always subject to the discretion of the court.
If a successful party represents themselves, they can request a maximum of $500.00 for their “inconvenience and expense”.
Are additional or increased costs ever awarded?
Again, this is at the discretion of the court. One instance where a court may award increased amounts for the representation fee is where a successful party “beats” their offer – i.e. the successful party offered to accept $3,000 from the other party in order to settle the claim, this offer was rejected by the other side and then at trial, the successful party was awarded $4000 by the court.
A party can also seek costs not exceeding $100.00 if they are successful on a motion.
A court may also award a “penalty” in the form of increased costs if it is satisfied that the other side has acted unreasonably or unduly complicated or prolonged the action.
Although not common, there are also provisions for a party to see costs associated with attending a settlement conference (max of $100)
As a teenager I loved the thrill of roller coasters, flying swings and bumper cars; I loved the sights and sounds of the amusement park and the smells of hot dogs, candyfloss and candy apples. But as a mother and a lawyer, my enthusiasm for amusement rides has been somewhat curbed by the occasional personal injury case that I take on involving them.
Thankfully, there are few catastrophic personal injuries that occur as a result of amusement ride mishaps in Ontario, at least when compared with the number of riders and amusement parks and travelling carnivals across the province. However, many less-than-catastrophic injuries occur every year that are not reported in the media.
There are a few things to keep in mind the next time you are retained in a personal injury matter involving an amusement ride.
The Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA) is responsible for the enforcement of provincial laws and regulations under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 in relation to amusement rides. The TSSA has significant investigative and prosecutorial powers.
With relatively few exceptions, owners of amusement rides must be licensed to operate the rides, have permits for each device and have a mechanic on staff.
Event organizers who rent amusement rides are required to ensure that the company they are renting from has complied with its TSSA obligations. This is of special note to municipalities, charities and others who hold carnivals and fairs, but does not affect the parent who rents a blow-up castle for his or her child’s private birthday party.
Although there are many TSSA director’s guidelines, an important one to be aware of is guideline 531/09, which outlines reporting requirements, notably that every incident “resulting in an adverse consequence to a person or property” must be reported to the director. Different reporting requirements apply, depending on the severity of the incident. Even a minor personal injury incident that does not require medical attention must be reported. Where the incident results in death, is considered serious or the ride is found to be an immediate hazard, the device must be stopped and cannot be returned to service until an inspector’s permission is obtained.
Getting your medical expenses covered after you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident is important but it may not be enough. What if your injuries mean that you need help with some basic tasks like washing your hair or transferring from a wheelchair to your bed? For these types of expenses, you may be entitled to receive Attendant Care Benefits under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule .
This is the last installment in our series of discussions on No-Fault Benefits in Ontario.
What are Attendant Care Benefits?
Attendant Care Benefits are designed to cover certain personal care expenses incurred by an injured motorist after a car accident. These expenses are paid to the aide, attendant or long-term care facility that is hired to perform the daily activities or tasks that the injured person would have been able to complete themselves had they not been involved in the accident. Examples of some of the tasks a person may need help with might include things like feeding, dressing, bathing, administrating medication, transfers or being able to respond to an emergency situation.
How do I apply for Attendant Care Benefits?
In order to receive Attendant Care Benefits, you will need to submit a completed Application for Accident Benefits and Disability Certificate to the insurance company. In addition, you will need to arrange to have an Assessment of Attendant Care Needs (Form 1) completed. This form must be completed by either an Occupational Therapist (OT) or a registered nurse. In order to complete the form, the OT or nurse will carry out an assessment to determine what type of assistance you require and how often.
How much Attendant Care is payable?
The OT or nurse who completes the Form 1 will calculate a monthly hourly amount of assistance you require for each of the three different types of Attendant Care Benefits available (routine personal care, basic supervisory functions and complex health/care and hygiene function). This hourly amount is then multiplied by the maximum hourly rate (established under the Guidelines of the legislation) for each type of benefit to come up with a monthly Attendant Care amount.
However, that is not the end of the story.
The monthly Attendant Care benefit payable is subject to the following limits (assuming a Standard Policy is in effect):
- No Attendant Care Benefit is payable for a Minor Injury
- The maximum monthly amount payable is $3,000.00 for a non-minor, non-catastrophic injury
- The maximum monthly amount payable is $6,000.00 for a catastrophic injury
- Attendant Care Benefits are available for 2 years following the motor vehicle accident for non-minor, non-catastrophic injuries to a maximum of $36,000.00
- For catastrophic injuries, there is no time limit and the maximum payable is $1,000,000.00
If you have been involved in a car accident and are struggling with some basic personal care tasks, there is a good chance you are entitled to receive help which will be covered by the Attendant Care Benefits available under your insurance policy. To ensure you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to or to get help arranging an Attendant Care assessment, it is important to speak with someone knowledgeable in the area of Accident Benefits.
Our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the benefits available to you and would be pleased to sit down with you for a free initial consultation.
Living in a rural northern area in winter can mean facing some harsh winters and chilly nights. For outdoor enthusiasts however, blankets of fresh snow mean the opening of snowmobile season and an opportunity to enjoy beautiful Ontario trails year round.
Snowmobiling in Ontario
According to Transport Canada, there are over 700,000 registered snowmobiles in Canada and over 161,000 km of snowmobile trails. Snowmobiling can be a great source of fun for families and individuals and a great way to get outside during the winter months. However, before heading out, it is important to familiarize yourself with some basic safety precautions and to use common sense to avoid unnecessary collisions and injuries.
Snowmobiling Safety Tips
The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO) reports that it believes that there is a link between raising safety awareness among snowmobilers and decreased fatalities.
Following important safety precautions will help to avoid snowmobiling accidents and associated injuries, which may include broken bones, neck injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and/or psychological /emotional injuries.
Follow these safety tips as outlined by Transport Canada:
- Inform others of your destination and arrival time
- Inspect your snowmobile for mechanical integrity
- Wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions to prevent yourself from getting hypothermia
- When riding, stay on the right side of the trail
- Stay within your riding capabilities
- At night, reduce your speed – your headlight limits how far you can see
- When riding over lakes and rivers be aware of ice conditions; always check with local authorities regarding conditions. If riding over water, always wear flotation clothing
- Never operate a snowmobile if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Snowmobilers are encouraged to belong to a recognized Snowmobile Club
Following these tips will help to minimize the chances of an accident. However, if you or anyone you know has been involved in a snowmobiling accident, our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers can help. Contact us online for a free legal consultation with an Ontario Injury Lawyer or phone 1-800-563-6348 to speak directly with one of our lawyers.
The Justicia Project
In 2008, the Law Society of Upper Canada formed the Justicia Project to examine this very issue in response to the Final Report of the Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group, which identified that women lawyers appeared to have immediate issues resulting from childbirth and parenting responsibilities, and were impacted to a greater degree by the unavailability of flexible work arrangements.
What are the Project’s Goals?
Simply put, the goal of the Justicia Project is to assist with the development of principles and best practices designed to retain and advance women lawyers in private practice.
More than 55 firms, including Ferguson Barristers LLP, have committed to the project and are working toward the following 4 goals:
- tracking gender demographics
- flexible work arrangements
- networking and business development
- mentoring and leadership skills development for women
What has the Justicia Project been doing?
Since 2008, members of the Justicia Project have participated in various working groups to develop resources for participating law firms and lawyers to help address the particular challenges faced by women in the profession. The June 2011 Status Report of the Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group identified over a dozen resources prepared by Justicia Project members.
In October 2011, Convocation approved the extension of the Justicia Project until the end of 2012. Project members are once again meeting regularly to complete ongoing work and develop further resources.
Retaining women in private practice throughout Ontario is vital to maintaining balanced representation and Ferguson Barristers is proud to be participating in this important initiative.
As of January 1st, 2012, there are new accessibility standards that various Ontario businesses will have to meet pursuant to Ontario Regulation 429/07. Although these standards have applied to various public organizations since January 1, 2010, the effective date for other customer service businesses is this upcoming January. Consequently, any Ontario business that provides goods or services to members of the public (or to other third parties) and has at least one employee needs to take the appropriate steps to comply with these standards designed to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities.
What does my business need to do to comply with accessibility customer service standards?
In general terms, the Regulation mandates that Ontario businesses that provide goods or services to members of the public must take the following steps:
- Establish policies, practices and procedures (“the 3 P’s”) regarding the provision of its goods and services to persons with disabilities
- Provide access to service animals and support persons
- Provide training to particular employees regarding the accessibility standards
- Establish a process for feedback regarding the provision of its goods and services to persons with disabilities
Additionally, businesses with at least 20 employees or more, must prepare written documentation with respect to each of these requirements and upon request, provide a copy to any person. Although not mandated, this is likely a good practice for all customer service businesses, regardless of their size, to assist with implementation and consistency.
This blog is based on the thoughts and contributions of a number of the practitioners who presented with me at the recent Articling and Beyond Symposium presented by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
A valid concern of many lawyers thinking about moving to a smaller community, is the lack of a support network. However, in this technology driven world, many of these concerns can be addressed by cultivating connections by using digital networking tools such as Linkedin or Twitter. Attending events within the community prior to your transition will also help you seize opportunities to become acquainted with lawyer contacts within the community.
Here are some other key takeaways brought forward by some of the panelists at the recent Articling and Beyond Symposium presented by the Law Society of Upper Canada:
Research the community.
Know where you’re going – each town is unique – it may be a pretty place to visit on a weekend, but day to day needs and life will be entirely different. Speak to practitioners who already work in that area – they don’t have to be potential employers, but they may well become your neighbours and fellow professionals if you decide to transition to the community. (For all you know, one of the people you speak to may not have even thought about selling their practice or taking on a potential partner until you call.)
Be prepared to create and live with a higher profile in a smaller centre.
You can expect to become involved in the community, both on a personal and professional basis. That is one of the best things about moving to a smaller centre, but it takes an adjustment. The odds of meeting a client in the supermarket in a city are far lower than they are in a small town. Be prepared to meet your clients on a more informal basis while you are out in the community.
Consider what you can offer as a potential buyer of a small firm.
Many practitioners who you may join in a smaller town will likely be looking at you as a potential buyer of the practice, but they may not have given it much thought. Consider not only what they have to offer you in the practice, but what you could bring to the practice that would appeal to them.
Respect the historical reputation of the firm within the community.
They’ve been members of the community for years and will have pride in what they have built, so you will be under consideration not only as a buyer, but as an ongoing representative of what they have built in the community. Whether you are taking over or building a successful practice in a smaller community, you are very likely going to find yourself an ambassador for your firm and your profession within that community.
One of the most terrifying aspects of being injured in a motor vehicle accident is the fear that you won’t be able to return to work and provide for yourself and your loved ones. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be off work for a few days, a few months or an even longer extended period of time. Who will pay the bills during this period of recovery?
In addition to any collateral benefits you may have access to (for e.g. a disability plan from your work), you may also be entitled to apply for Income Replacement Benefits (IRBs) under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Accidents on or after September 2, 2010.
This is the fourth installment in our series of discussions on No-Fault Benefits in Ontario and what the recent changes mean to Ontario motorists.
Who qualifies for Income Replacement Benefits?
In general, IRBs are available to personal injury victims who were employed at the time of the motor vehicle accident (including self-employed persons) and who, as a result of injuries sustained in the accident, “suffer a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks of their employment”. This is the definition that applies for the first two years following a car accident. After two years, the test changes and it becomes harder to qualify for IRBs. Specifically, the definition after two years is “a complete inability to engage in any employment or self-employment for which he or she is reasonably suited by education, training or experience.”
How much will I get?
Assuming you are eligible to receive IRBs, the amount you will receive depends on a number of factors, including your pre-accident income, any other income available to you and whether you have purchased Optional Benefits . Key points to be aware of include the following:
- No IRBs are payable in the first 7 days following an accident
- For accidents occurring after September 1, 2010, the amount of the weekly IRB is based on 70% of your gross pre-accident weekly income, subject to the maximum amounts outlined below
- Under the Standard Limits, the maximum weekly amount payable for the first two years following the accident is $400 per week
- Optional limits increase the maximum weekly amount to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week (must be purchased prior to date of the car accident)
How do I apply for IRBs?
In order to receive IRBs, you will need to submit a completed Application for Accident Benefits. In addition, your insurance company will likely require that some, or all, of the following forms be completed:
- An OCF-3 (Disability Certificate)
- An OCF-2 (Employer’s Confirmation Form)
- An OCF-10 (Election of Income Replacement, Non-Earner or Caregiver Benefit)
If you have been involved in a car accident and are unable to work, there is a good chance you may be able to receive IRBs. To ensure you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to as well as advice about filling out these forms and the impact of any choices you are required to make (i.e. choosing between Income Replacement, Non-Earner or Caregiver benefits), it is important to speak with someone knowledgeable in the area of Accident Benefits.
Our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the benefits available to you and would be pleased to sit down with you for a free initial consultation.
Ontario Referring Lawyer Program Expands
We are pleased to announce the addition of Tim Vanular Lawyers Professional Corporation to our Referring Lawyer Program, Tim Vanular Lawyers are located in Pickering, Ontario and practice in the areas of real estate law, corporate/commercial law and wills and estates. Joining our network of Ontario lawyers means that Tim Vanular Lawyers will now be able to offer the services of the Ontario’s Injury Lawyers to their clients in their hometown.
Ferguson Barristers LLP has a longstanding record of bringing justice to rural Ontario and small communities and has developed the Referring Lawyer Program to serve the needs of personal injury victims who may not otherwise be able to access personal injury law services in their own town. The program works on a fee sharing arrangement in accordance with the rules of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Advantages of the Referring Lawyer Program
The benefits of joining our Referring Lawyer Program include:
- Providing existing clients with access to specialized personal injury legal services
- Ontario’s Injury Lawyers seeing your clients in their home community
- Possible referrals of commercial work, family and criminal law and wills and estates from Ferguson Barristers
- Receive a directory listing on Ferguson Barrister’s website, including your contact information and a list of your areas of expertise
How do I become an Ontario Referring Program lawyer?
Take the first step towards joining our Referring Lawyer Program today by either contacting us online or by phone at 1-800-563-6348.
Although ATVs offer fun, adventure and a chance to explore Ontario’s trails, they can be dangerous if laws and safety precautions are not followed.
Inexperience, speed and carrying passengers can all be factors in ATV accidents in Ontario. An ATV accident may result in a variety of injuries including broken bones, abrasions, bruising, burns, concussions (minor to severe head injuries) and even spinal cord injuries.
Three Tips to avoid personal injury while riding an ATV
In Ontario, there are numerous legal requirements covering ATVs, ranging from issues regarding registration and insurance to rules about on-road driving (where permitted) and protective gear. If you are own or drive an ATV, you need to be familiar with and follow the provisions of the Off-Road Vehicles Act and the Highway Traffic Act.
1. Take a Hands-on Safety Training Course
Controlling and driving an ATV is different from driving a car. Read and follow the owner’s manual. Formal training will help teach drivers how to control ATVs on a number of different terrains and help lower the risk of accident and injury.
2. Always Wear Protective Gear
Wear an approved helmet with a chin strap securely fastened under your chin. This will help reduce the risk and severity of any head injuries. Protective gear such as long sleeved shirts or jackets, long pants and leather gloves will also help protect you from some injuries.
3. Inspect your ATV Before Riding
It is important to inspect your ATV before each ride to help detect any problems which may lead to an accident. Always check the following before heading out for a ride:
- Air pressure in your tires is adequate
- Visually inspect for loose bolts and nuts, or any cracked or worn parts
- Check the oil and gas levels
- Check brakes and headlights to ensure they are in proper working order
Following these tips will help keep your ATV rides enjoyable and safe.
If you or anyone you know has been in an ATV accident, our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers can help. We would be pleased to sit down with you in your home town for a free initial consultation to answer any of your questions.
The Ferguson Barristers LLP team have been raising funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer Canada for the past two weeks by forgoing their morning shave in favour of letting their moustaches (more affectionately known as “Mos”) grow.
Members of the Midland community, as well as the legal community have come forward with generous donations to sponsor the team in their endeavour.
Team Ferguson Barristers LLP has set a fundraising goal of $1000.00 and has currently raised $535.00. With two weeks left, there is still time for the team of legal “Mo Bros” to reach their goal before November 30th.
If you would like to support our team, or get in on the “growing” support for this cause you can follow these links:
Funds raised go to programs run directly by Movember and Prostate Cancer Canada.
As the weather turns colder, many who have worked hard to enjoy their retirement are thinking about traveling south to enjoy warmer weather. While preparing for your vacation, along with packing and arranging for someone to care for your home while you are away, obtaining travel medical insurance is an important item to check off the to-do list before leaving.
In general, emergency medical travel insurance is designed to cover the unexpected and often costly expenses related to receiving medical care in a foreign country.
Seniors with ongoing medical conditions may face challenges obtaining travel medical insurance
As we get older, it is not unusual for Ontarians to suffer from a variety of ailments and consequently, be prescribed a number of medications. This can sometimes mean that you won’t qualify for a particular policy or that your premiums for a particular coverage will be higher.
Of course, each policy of travel medical insurance is unique and for that reason it is very important to review all of the available options with a broker or insurance representative knowledgeable in this area to determine which product is right for you.
Reasons your travel medical insurance claim could be denied
There are a whole host of reasons why your claim might be denied. Some denials are based on exclusions contained in the policy. General examples of exclusion clauses in medical travel insurance policies might include:
- no coverage for certain pre-existing medical conditions;
- no coverage for conditions where a symptom arose within a certain number of days prior to your departure date;
- no coverage for conditions for which tests took place prior to your departure date and the results have not yet been received.
The bottom line is that you must read and understand all the various exclusion clauses in any travel medical policy, preferably before you purchase it, so that you are clear about what protection you have purchased.
Other times, a claim may be denied based on the argument that the entire contract (i.e insurance policy) is void due to a Material Misrepresentation. An example might be if you failed to disclose a significant medical condition on an application form. However, there are some travel insurance products out there that may help in circumstances where you failed to answer a medical question correctly, but nonetheless still qualified for the insurance. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to fill out any application carefully and honestly.
Whether or not any particular travel medical insurance policy is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances and health considerations. Make sure you understand the restrictions and exclusions contained in your policy, before you leave for your trip. Too often, it isn’t until after a claim is submitted and denied, that policy holders discover the limitations of their policy, leaving them with an unexpected financial burden.
If your travel insurance claim has been denied, call us at 1-800-563-6348 or contact an Ontario Injury Lawyer to discuss your options.
Mark will be a member of the Panel which begins the afternoon with a discussion about how to find and create opportunities in smaller firms and communities. Following this discussion, participants will attend various workshops, attend the Career Fair and then attend a Networking Reception.
To encourage participation and make the experience as valuable as possible, Articling and Beyond has created a Facebook page to invite attendees to connect before the symposium and to vote for the workshops they would like to see on the program.
Potential Workshops include:
- Life in a Small Firm or Small Community
- Joining And/Or Taking Over An Established Practice
- Women Lawyers in Private Practice
- Living & Working in Northern Ontario
- Living and Practising Law in a French Speaking Community
The final Agenda for the Workshops is scheduled to be posted on the Facebook page.
In the month formerly known as November, Rod Ferguson, Mike Laplante and Patrick Sloan will be raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer by leaving their razors out of their morning routine. Team Ferguson Barristers LLP has set a fundraising goal of $1000.00.
The Movember movement encourages men and women across the globe to join together to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues. For 30 days, men grow a moustache (or Mo) to become billboards for the cause. Women can engage in the cause by supporting their “Mo Bros” and organizing events.
With this being our first year participating in the campaign, we are looking forward to receiving the support of both the local and legal communities as we “let it all grow” for a great cause.
Funds raised go to programs run directly by Movember and Prostate Cancer Canada.
Who pays for my medical treatment after a car accident in Ontario?
The short answer, it depends. Certain medical expenses will be covered by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, others may be covered by private insurance, others will be covered under the no-fault scheme in Ontario while others can only be recovered from the at-fault party in a civil action (in certain limited situations). Today, we are going to talk about those expenses that should be covered under the SABS and the reduced amounts available under the Standard Auto Policy with the introduction of the new SABS in September of 2010.
What Medical Benefits are Covered under the SABS?
According to Ontario accident legislation, the insurance company will pay for all reasonable and necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses incurred as a result of an impairment as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
Examples of the types of expenses covered include:
- chiropractic services
- physiotherapy services
- psychological services
- transportation to and from treatment sessions.
Of course, there are restrictions, qualifications and procedures which must be followed in order to access these benefits. These are set out in great detail in the SABS legislation as well as in the accompanying Guidelines and Bulletins.
In general however, the following comments apply if a Standard Auto Policy has been purchased:
- For injuries which are covered by the Minor Injury Guideline , a maximum of $3,500.00 is payable for all medical and rehabilitation treatments, including the costs of any assessments and reports. In order to access these benefits an OCF-23 Treatment and Confirmation Form needs to be submitted.
- For non-catastrophic, non-minor injuries, a maximum of $50,000.00 is payable for medical and rehabilitation treatments, including the costs of any assessments and reports. In order to access these benefits an OCF-18 Treatment and Assessment Plan needs to be submitted.
- For catastrophic injuries, a maximum of $1,000,000.00 is payable for all medical and rehabilitation treatments, including the costs of any assessments and reports. In order to access this limit, an OCF-19 Application for Determination of Catastrophic Impairment must be submitted.
- If you have access to a private or group insurance plan (e.g. from work) which may cover the costs associated with any particular treatment, you must try to get those expenses paid by that insurance before your no-fault insurance company will consider paying them.
- You cannot receive both WSIB and no-fault benefits for medical treatment following a car accident. Read more about whether or not the WSIB system applies in our previous blog post , “Injured on the Job – Can I Sue for Personal Injury Damages?”
Knowing how to get your medical expenses covered following a car accident is vital and can affect your financial well-being. In addition to your medical expenses, you may have other questions about how the Ontario no-fault benefits system works. Read our previous posts in this series to learn more about:
Our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the no-fault benefits available to you and would be pleased to speak with you one on one to answer any questions you may have about getting your medical expenses paid.
Call 1-800-563-6348 or contact an Ontario Injury Lawyer today.
Hallowe’en will arrive on Monday with all of the usual excitement and fun you would expect to be associated with a celebration of candy and costumes. If you are like many homeowners, you probably make a little extra effort to make sure that when the door opens to greet little trick or treaters, things inside look neat and tidy.
Take extra precautions on Hallowe’en to prevent slips, trips and falls
It is important to remember that beyond looking neat and tidy, our property needs to be safe for neighbours and their children to visit. Reduced visibility, wet surfaces on rainy evenings and distracted visitors can be a potentially dangerous combination, resulting in trip and fall accidents. It only takes a matter of seconds for a slip, trip or fall to result in minor injuries, broken bones or even head injuries.
The following Hallowe’en safety tips from our team of Ontario Injury lawyers are just a few for you to consider:
- If driving, be aware of pedestrians. Reduced visibility and an increased number of pedestrians on the roads means you may need to reduce your speed.
- Be sure your child’s costume is short enough to avoid tripping, and that their footwear is suitable for climbing up and down stairs safely.
- Homeowners need to make sure their property is well lit and clear of any tripping hazards.
- Consider using flameless or battery operated tea lights in pumpkins instead of candles to prevent a fire hazard.
- Keep pets indoors and away from visiting guests to reduce the potential of an unexpected dog bite to a small child. Excess noise and unfamiliar visitors at the door can be disturbing to some pets.
Above all, practising common sense and considering the safety of neighbours and little ones will go a long way to making sure this Hallowe’en is enjoyable for everyone. Happy trick or treating!
On the job accidents can happen to anyone at anytime, even in jobs many consider safe. Last year, 184,000 Ontario workers reported workplace injuries to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
Ontario’s workers’ compensation system, administered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), is designed to get your life back on track after an injury at work. Workers covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, (WSIA) may be entitled to receive health care benefits, lost wages and/or have an adjusted work schedule, depending on the circumstances.
Can I Sue for Personal Injury Damages?
You cannot receive WSIA benefits and also sue in court for personal injury damages. Depending on your individual set of circumstances, one of the following three scenarios will apply to you:
- You are barred from suing and have to proceed under the WSIB scheme;
- You are not covered by WSIA and therefore, can sue to recover any personal injury damages; or
- You have the option to sue or proceed under the WSIB scheme.
There are important timelines whether you are proceeding under WSIB or if you are suing in Court . As well, if you have the option to proceed under WSIB or sue, the legislation states that this election must take place within 3 months of the accident.
If you are involved in a workplace accident, it is important for you to know your rights. Furthermore, if you have the option of making an election to claim WSIB benefits or sue for personal injury damages, you need to be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each of these options.
Talking to one of our Ontario Injury Lawyers is a first step you can take to better understand your options. Our lawyers are familiar with the WSIB legislation and are available to speak to you in person or in a one on one free, no-obligation consultation.
Call 1-800-563-6348 or contact an Ontario Injury Lawyer today.
This past week has seen a tremendous amount of on-line discussion about how the recent changes to no-fault insurance have affected ordinary Ontarians who are involved in car, truck, motorcycle or SUV accidents. One of the major changes was the introduction of the Minor Injury Guideline (MIG).
Minor Injury Guideline
According to FSCO , these guidelines were designed to speed access to rehabilitation, provide certainty around payment to insurance companies and provide immediate access to treatment without the insurance company’s approval. As defined in the legislation, minor injuries include, among other things, sprains, whiplash associated disorder and even a partially dislocated joint.
How are my Benefits Affected?
If your injury is covered by the MIG, your access to medical treatment and rehabilitation benefits is limited to $3,500.00, even if you have purchased Optional Insurance . As well, the legislation anticipates that your treatment will typically not exceed 12 weeks. Other benefits, such as the availability of Attendant Care, will also be impacted if your injuries are subject to the MIG.
There are circumstances in which a motorist who has suffered a minor injury will not be subject to the MIG. Given the dramatic reduction in amount and typical duration of benefits available under the MIG, it is imperative you speak with a person knowledgeable about the MIG if you have suffered what is considered to be a minor injury in a car accident.
View previous posts in our No Fault Series:
- Understanding no-fault benefits in Ontario
- Understanding no-fault benefits in Ontario – Standard vs. Optional Benefits
Our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the no fault benefits available to you and would be pleased to sit down with you in your home town for a free initial consultation.
Born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario, Sheila Minnie obtained her Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto in 1992. Sheila then attended law school at the University of British Columbia and was called to both the Ontario Bar and the British Columbia Bar in 1997.
Midland, Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer Offers Perspective
Being a successful lawyer entails a lot more than passing the bar and knowing the law by rote. Although it has been more than a few years since I graduated from law school and articled, there are a few skills which I found extremely important in my early years, especially when I was articling.
Time Management Skills are Critical for New Lawyers
No matter how well you know the law, if you do not manage your time effectively, you are going to run into problems. It is imperative to implement and follow a system for keeping track of your assignments, their status and deadlines. Prioritizing your work is probably one of the most difficult skills you will need to develop; but also one of the most important.
Organized Files Key to an Organized Approach
As an articling student or new lawyer in Ontario, you will likely be working on a number of different matters for a number of different lawyers. In addition to keeping track of all of your assignments, it is important to familiarize yourself with the file you are working on as well as any applicable legislation. This will impress any lawyer. Seek clarification from the lawyer early on if you do not understand the assignment in order to avoid wasting precious time. Having said that, make sure you have read the file first because in many cases the answer to your question will be in the file material or the legislation. If you are not going to be able to make a deadline, tell the lawyer as soon as possible. Waiting until the due date to spring this on the lawyer will not win you any points.
Respect the Support Staff to Develop a Reputation as Fair and Good Lawyer
As in any profession, a successful lawyer is only one member of a well functioning team. Legal secretaries, assistants and paralegals are vital to a successful practice. As an articling student, support staff are your best resource for how things really get done around a law firm as well as all the procedural matters. By respecting and appreciating the support staff, not only will you make your life easier in terms of getting things accomplished, but you will also help to develop your reputation as a fair and good lawyer. And in the end, a good reputation is one of a lawyer’s best assets.
Optional Benefits Available for Ontario Auto Insurance Policy Holders
When you renew your automobile policy today, your broker or insurance company should be explaining to you that you can purchase optional benefits for an increased insurance premium as outlined by FSCO guidelines to insurance companies.
Optional Increased limits for No-Fault Benefits
In some cases what these optional benefits do is provide increased limits for the various categories of no-fault benefits. For example, there is the ability to purchase additional insurance to increase the maximum amount of weekly income replacement benefit available to you from the standard $400.00 per week to $600.00, $800.00 or $1,000.00 per week.
Optional Additional Benefits
In other cases, these optional benefits provide benefits that used to be included under the old SABs (for accidents occurring between November 1, 1996 and August 31, 2010) that are no longer included with the standard policy. Housekeeping and Home Maintenance benefits used to be available up to a maximum of $100.00 per week under the old SABs. Now, you must have purchased optional benefits in order to receive any Housekeeping and Home Maintenance benefits for any injuries apart from catastrophic ones.
Review your Ontario auto insurance policy to be sure of your coverage
Clearly, it is very important for you to discuss with your broker or insurance company what benefits you are paying for and whether it makes economical sense for you to purchase Optional Benefits. Optional Benefits must be purchased prior to any accident for which they are claimed. So, take the time when you renew your policy to carefully consider your various options to ensure there are no surprises later on.
In the event that you are involved in a serious car accident , it is critical that you are aware of what no-fault benefits you are entitled to receive, whether you have the standard policy or optional benefits.
Learn about the Minor Injury Guideline and how this may affect your accident benefits in our next post in the no-fault series from Sheila Minnie.
Our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the no-fault benefits available to you and would be pleased to sit down with you in your home town for a free initial consultation. Contact us to book a one on one appointment with a car accident lawyer in Ontario.
Call 1-800-563-6348 to speak to an Ontario Injury Lawyer today
We are pleased to welcome the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario to the Ontario Injury Lawyer Blog. Gillian Lynne-Davies, Communications and Marketing Co-ordinator for CPA Ontario has provided the following guest post to share more information about the organization and how they are providing helpful resources to people with spinal cord injuries.
For those blog visitors with a spinal cord injury who may not be aware of Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) Ontario, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our organization and the programs and services we offer.
CPA Ontario has a fascinating history. The growth and expansion of our organization reflect changes in policy, healthcare and social attitudes toward disability issues. To get to know our history briefly, please visit CPA Ontario Milestones.
CPA Ontario has offices across the province that provide consistent, holistic, individualized and quality-assured services in the core areas of Peer Support, Regional Services, Membership, Employment Services, Advocacy, Information Services and Attendant Services.
Please feel free to contact our offices if you feel you would benefit from our services by linking to: Local CPA Ontario Offices.
For a list of our Board of Directors, and to find out more about Board duties, please refer to: Board of Directors 20011/12.
CPA Ontario’s most recent annual report is available for downloading. Check it out to see what CPA Ontario has done in the last year. Past years’ annual reports are also available at CPA Annual Report.
This past year, we have started a new initiative: CPA Ontario TV. The TV show is a great way to get a glimpse of the types of activities we are involved in at CPA Ontario.
We’ve got your back. You’ve got your future!
Editor’s Note: Ferguson Barristers’ personal injury lawyer, Lisa Belcourt was honoured in 2007 by the Canadian Bar Association for her work with CPA Ontario pro bono clinic.
The no-fault insurance benefits available to Ontario motorists changed in September of last year. What this means is that for any auto policies renewed after September 1, 2010, there are significant changes to the standard policy. Going forward, these new provisions apply to all car, truck, motorcycle and SUV accidents occurring after September 1, 2010.
This is the first in a series of discussions on what no-fault benefits are and what the recent changes mean to you if you are involved in a car crash or motorcycle accident in Ontario.
What are no fault benefits?
First, the jargon. In Ontario, no-fault benefits are set out in a Regulation under the Insurance Act. The current Regulation is called “Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Accidents on or after September 2, 2010”. The prior Regulation applied to accidents on or after November 1, 1996. Lawyers and insurance professionals routinely refer to these Regulations as the SABs and to the benefits available as Accident Benefits.
In general, no fault benefits are available to Ontario motorists and passengers involved in car accidents in Canada and the United States. These benefits are available to all personal injury victims in Ontario whether they are at fault for the accident or not. For example, a driver who runs a red light and is involved in a serious car crash or accident, is entitled to make a claim for Accident Benefits.
When should I apply for Ontario Accident Benefits?
The short answer is as soon as possible. The sooner you apply and get your paperwork in order, the sooner you will begin receiving any benefits you are entitled to receive. The Regulation itself mandates that:
- You must notify your insurance company that you intend to apply for Accident Benefits within 7 days of the accident
- The completed application form must be submitted within 30 days after receiving the forms from your insurance company.
What no-fault benefits are available to me if I am injured in a car accident in Ontario?
The primary types of benefits available are as follows:
- Income Replacement, Non-earner and Caregiver Benefits
- Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits
- Attendant Care Benefits
- Other Expenses
- Death and Funeral Benefits.
Whether you are entitled to any of these benefits and the amount of the benefit available will depend on a number of factors, including whether your injury is classified as a “Minor Injury” and whether you have purchased optional insurance.
Log on next week for our discussion on Standard vs. Optional Insurance. In the meantime, if you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident it is important to speak with a lawyer knowledgeable in the area of Accident Benefits.
Our team of experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers have the expertise to ensure you are accessing all the benefits available to you and would be pleased to sit down with you for a free initial consultation.
Sometimes, bad things happen to good people, which is why dog bites in Ontario are governed by the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (DOLA). Under the DOLA, the biting dog’s owner is automatically liable for damages resulting from such incidents.
Ontario’s personal injury lawyers can help you through the personal injury process, to make sure you get fair compensation for your injuries.
What should I do if I am bitten by a dog?
In Ontario, if you are bitten by a dog, get the name of the dog’s owner and immediate proper medical care for yourself. Report the details of the incident as soon as possible to your local Health Unit , Animal Control and/or the police. Take detailed photos of your injuries, including those to the face, neck and hands, which are often a dog’s target areas.
As the dog bite victim, you are not required to prove that the dog owner was negligent in order to recover damages. All you have to establish is that 1) you were bitten or attacked; and 2) that the dog was owned by the defendant. An exception to a dog owner’s liability is if the victim was bitten or attacked by a dog protecting the owner’s property during the commission of a crime.
How does the court determine damages?
When calculating damages, the court will first look at the usual factors, such as the severity of your injuries as well as the impact of these injuries on your day to day life, including any time off work. Under the DOLA , any damage award will then be reduced by the degree to which your own fault or negligence contributed to the damages. An example of a victim’s contributory negligence might include kicking or teasing the dog just prior to the attack. If you are the owner of a dog who has bitten someone else, and you have concerns about your liability, see our previous post Ontario Dog Bite Laws – When Your Best Friend is in the Doghouse
Dog bites are generally covered by the owner’s home insurance policy so it is not uncommon for the owner to simply pass any notice letters on to their insurance company.
Ontario’s personal injury lawyers can help you with every step of the civil litigation process to make sure you get fair compensation for your dog bite injuries.
Call us today at 1-800-563-6348 to speak to an Ontario personal injury lawyer directly for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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.
In small towns across Ontario, the smell of cotton candy and fried food is in the air, while parking lots become a maze of thrilling midway rides and carnival games. With all that fun and excitement going on, people may not think about the potential risk of injury on amusement rides.
Sudbury, Ontario teen injured on midway ride
Lisa Belcourt was recently interviewed by Jason Turnbull on CBC Radio One’s talk show, Points North, to provide comment on an incident in Sudbury, Ontario that resulted in a teenage girl being injured on a midway ride at a local carnival.
During the interview, I was asked to discuss a recent incident in Sudbury, Ontario involving a young girl being injured on a midway ride. While not a frequent occurrence, I think most listeners would be surprised to learn that injuries on amusement rides actually happen more often than most people would expect.
As an Ontario personal injury lawyer, I have had experience meeting clients with injuries from many different types of accidents including car accidents , motorcycle accidents and boating accidents. One thing they all have in common is that their injuries were unexpected and unplanned for.
Amusement ride injuries can include spinal cord injury and broken bones
While the vehicle is different, the injuries someone can suffer on a midway ride can be similar to those from a car accident or motorcycle accident. Shoulder and neck injuries, broken bones, head injury and spinal cord injury can result if a person is ejected from a ride. Typically, for an event like this to occur, faulty or defective equipment or lack of proper maintenance of the ride would be the cause.
In a case like the one in Sudbury, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority will be called upon to investigate. TSSA is a not-for-profit organization set up by the provincial government that regulates amusement rides and other devices such as elevators and ski lifts, in Ontario. Their findings can help determine who is responsible in these situations. The incident in Sudbury serves to highlight the role of the government in licencing and inspecting amusement rides in Ontario in order to protect the public.
Ontario regulations hold amusement parks accountable
The regulations that cover amusement rides apply to the rides you would typically find at the carnivals that travel throughout Ontario during the period of May through October. The regulations also apply to permanent parks, such as Canada’s Wonderland. The regulations do not apply to devices that are for private use only at a dwelling (i.e. a birthday party).
The TSSA has broad powers to licence, inspect and prosecute. Prosecutions can result in hefty fines and/or imprisonment. In the case of a corporation, the directors and officers can be prosecuted in their personal capacity in certain circumstances.
Bringing forward a personal injury lawsuit in Ontario
The TSSA does not have the ability to award damages to an individual injured by an amusement ride. That individual would have to start a personal injury action and a personal injury lawyer is recommended to ensure that all potential parties responsible are included in the action. Potential parties could include the owner of the property where the event took place, the organizer of the event, the company providing the ride, the manufacturer of the rides, and the actual operator of the ride.
Ultimately, most riders know there is some level of risk involved in amusement rides. However, no one should have to consider the purchase of their ticket as an agreement to forfeit their safety entirely.
Ontario’s injury lawyers provide legal representation to accident victims and people with serious injuries in 35 communities across Ontario. Call 1-800-563-6348
If we build it they will come. How to Attract Young Ontario Lawyers to Practice in Rural Communities
Adapted from Mark Baker’s Article “If we build it, they will come” featured on the Canadian Bar Association website.
You can read Mark’s full post about attracting young lawyers to rural communities here.
Mark is an Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer and Specialist in Civil Litigation. Ferguson Barristers LLP founded the Ontario Referring Lawyer Network to deliver personal injury law services and civil litigation expertise to 35 communities across rural Ontario.
Ontario Injury Lawyer Engages Osgoode Hall Law Students
At this year’s Osgoode Hall Law School’s job fair, I conducted research on one of the largest issues that small law firms and rural communities are currently facing; the inability to draw in young lawyers that have recently graduated. This issue has been building because of many factors, I decided to draw conclusive information from the students to see what their opinions are on the reasons behind this trend.
Not surprisingly, a key issue for many is the debt load a student is operating under on graduation. Of those willing to give up some of the city salary, job security was a key element in deciding to move out of an urban area.
Ontario Law Students Weigh in On Ontario Rural Law Practice Pros and Cons
When the students gave their opinions on the matter, I found many different views on the matter. One student made the excellent point that no one he knew of has really worked out the extent to which the (assumed) lower cost of living in a rural area offsets the (expected) lower income. While this isn’t much help to a small firm in an urban area, it’s likely worth exploring the reality of this theory in a more rural area.
A few felt that quality of life would be higher, because of the opportunity for a better work-life balance. Another student hoped that a benefit of working in a small firm would be the access to more senior counsel, with the opportunity that presented for mentoring and support. A deterrent to leaving a city noted by some was the perceived lack of a social life caused by the lack of urban culture in a rural society. However, several of the students pointed out that a smaller area practice may appeal more to young counsel with a new family, both for cost of living and quality of living. A student in his final year pointed out that upper year students were looking for a steady commitment in terms of work and salary to start their career. First year students, however, might be more willing to explore opportunities further afield.
Ontario residents have faced an unprecedented week of natural disaster. Earlier this week, the beautiful community of Goderich, Ontario was devastated by damage from a tornado.
Several areas experienced effects of an earthquake and across Ontario tornado watches were issued yesterday. It has been an uncertain and scary week for many, and it is our hope that those who have experienced the disaster first hand are able to get the assistance they need to get life back to normal as soon as possible.
Ontario Injury Lawyers can provide help with insurance claims
Our team of Ontario Injury Lawyers is experienced in handling insurance claims concerns and has the knowledge to understand what your policy covers in the event of a disaster, including fire or flooding of your home or business. We are able to listen to your story, answer your questions and assess what action you will need to take next in order to receive the fullest possible settlement to be able to rebuild with.
For this reason we’d like to help provide some of the most recent information available, including where you can call for answers and what you can expect to be covered by your insurance following a tornado. The following article was posted on Canadian Underwriter.ca and explains how Ontario insurance companies are preparing to respond to the resulting property damage and loss claims.
As posted on Canadian Underwriter.ca 2011-08-23
The Canadian insurance industry is springing to action in the wake of the F3 tornado that devastated the Southwestern, Ontario town of Goderich on Aug. 21.
Companies and associations are releasing statements detailing their respective activity in the area affected by the storm.
Crawford & Company (Canada) adjusters in the area, along with Crawford’s National Catastrophe (CAT) team, are on stand by preparing for the influx of claims expected to result from this event, a Crawford release says.
Crawford’s Global Technical Services adjusters are also prepared to assist with any large complex property losses resulting from the tornado.
Cunningham Lindsey Canada Claims Services Ltd. also has adjusters on the ground in the area, responding to calls.
“It’s absolute devastation,” said Brad Arnold, CLC’s local adjuster in the area. “There is extensive damage to a large percentage of businesses in and leading to the town square. Homes from the lake (Huron) to the east end were directly in the path of the tornado and were devastated as well. Some businesses and homes will be repaired, some will not. Debris removal will continue for days and many businesses will not be accessible due to safety.”
The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario also issued a statement, encouraging affected consumers to contact their local insurance broker to discuss their situation, to call IBAO directly at 1-800-268-8845 for more information.
IBAO added that most standard insurance policies cover the perils of tornadoes and hurricanes, and lightening and hail are classified as named perils.
What will my insurance policy cover in the event of a tornado in Ontario?
In a related release, Insurance Bureau of Canada issued a statement with reminders for consumers in the wake of such a storm.
•Most debris and business insurance policies will cover damage caused by wind, including broken windows and removal of debris;
•Auto policies cover wind damage if comprehensive coverage has been purchased;
•Marine insurance policies will usually cover damage to boats from wind;
•Homeowner’s and tenant’s policies usually provide coverage for additional living expenses if a home is uninhabitable.
“First and foremost, those affected should ensure they and their families are safe,” said Ralph Palumbo, vice president, Ontario, IBC. “The property damage to homes and personal property, businesses and public buildings is extensive. Ontario’s home, car and business insurers will be there to help residents and businesses recover from this disaster.”
Ferguson Barrister’s team of Ontario Injury lawyers has the experience, education and knowledge required to assist you with questions related to your Ontario Insurance claim.
Call 1-800-563-6348 or contact an Ontario Injury Lawyer today for help with your Ontario insurance claim concerns.
How Long Will It Take to Settle My Personal Injury Case?
Remember that every case is unique. There are many variables that will impact the time frame and final settlement for your settlement. But, if you are working with an Ontario injury lawyer, then you are on the right track.
Our team is going to work hard to understand your needs and bring you a fair settlement. We can and will help you through the process, but you must also take part where you are able. Some simple things you can do to help are:
- Document conversations with adjusters, doctors, and anyone else you see without your lawyer.
- Keep receipts and copy your Ontario personal injury lawyer on all correspondence. This will also prove to be an effective way to get you to the quickest and fullest settlement possible.
- Remember, following your accident, you may feel that this is one of the toughest experiences you’ve been through, and many who have experienced the personal and physical challenges following and accident have also felt this way. Be sure to reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed. Our team is in touch with a number of organizations who can provide you with support.
To talk to a personal injury lawyer today call: 1-800-563-6348 or contact a personal injury lawyer for answers to your questions during a free no obligation consultation.
Increasingly, we are living in a time where our online privacy is every bit as valuable as our time and money. The use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have made sharing the events and daily activities of our lives with hundreds of others online commonplace.
For an accident victim involved in a personal injury lawsuit, the details you share online could wind up having an impact on your case. The following posts are a series designed to help you understand why you need to be cautious online, what your online privacy rights are and how this information has been used in recent cases.
From January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The PIPED Act is new legislation implemented by the federal government to protect the privacy of Canadians in the private sector. It sets out ground rules for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. It ensures that an organization’s legitimate need for personal information can be balanced with the privacy rights of individuals. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
I was brought up to believe that sharing is a good thing to do. More often than not, it still is. That said, social media sites such as Facebook have created a world in which we share more than ever before. Pictures, our day to day activities, our relationship status and conversations with others are now being shared with hundreds of our “friends” online every day on Facebook and other networks.
For car accident victims, or anyone wishing to make an insurance claim or claim for accident benefits, all of this sharing can potentially impact your case if the statements and images you share online are relevant to your lawsuit.
Understanding your privacy rights when you are in litigation with an insurance company following an accident can be an important part of managing your claim for accident benefits and tort damages in Ontario.
If you make a claim, insurance companies have the right to request a variety of types of records, that may include your medical, hospital, and prescription records, and employment and income records, in addition to others. They also have the right to conduct surveillance of you.
When an order of preservation is imposed on a Facebook page, it means that the court will have access to all of the information contained within your profile. Pictures, your daily activities and your interactions will be subject to review. This leaves your private life open for discussion as it applies to your personal injury lawsuit. How much information has to be shared? How can it be used in a personal injury lawsuit?
Guest blogger, Dave Bilinski, shares some interesting insights into the intricacies of preservation orders as they were issued in the Leduc v. Roman case.
After suffering a serious accident, there are many details to be considered and a great deal of administration to be undertaken while you are healing and getting back on track. Seeking compensation for your injuries can be a process that can require a great deal of your time and energy to administer. Within our firm, we have been able to create an efficient system that can save time and money for the client over the long run, by encouraging clients to use the services of our paralegal team.
A licensed paralegal in Ontario can help reduce the cost of your personal injury lawsuit
A licensed Ontario paralegal can assist with your case and help to reduce the expense of managing your personal injury lawsuit. Just like our Ontario Injury lawyers they are governed by the Paralegal Rules of Conduct by the Law Society of Upper Canada. The Law Society of Upper Canada became responsible for regulating the paralegal profession as a result of amendments to the Law Society Act brought about by Bill 14 on May 1st, 2007. These regulatory bodies allow us to offer clients peace of mind knowing that our team is professional, recognized and working daily with a personal injury lawyer or certified specialist in civil litigation to bring a swift and satisfactory resolution to your claim.
Finding a paralegal in Ontario for your personal injury case
You can confirm if your paralegal is a licensed professional by checking the LSUC website here:
Law society directory of licensed lawyers and paralegals
A thorough, detail oriented and professional paralegal can help reduce the cost of your personal injury or civil litigation lawsuit, and can perform the following tasks to facilitate your case:
- administration of documents
- coordinate activities, timelines and meetings
- help to settle insurance claims for smaller amounts
- ensure all of your documents are properly submitted
When hiring a paralegal, making sure they work within and operate under a lawyer’s supervision can save you time and ensures that your case is being observed throughout the process by an experienced lawyer as well. This system has proven time and again to be effective and rewarding for our clients.
Consult with one of Ferguson’s paralegals in Ontario or call us at 1-800-563-6348
Your Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer can help you improve your chances at recovering not only from your financial and medical loss, but also from the difficulties you may face in your personal life, by getting you the help and resources you need to cope.
Major Concerns for Accident Victims
Initially, financial concerns can seem to be the greatest burden following a serious accident.
How Can an Ontario Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
What Factors Determine Your Claim Settlement?
What Can You Do to Help Your Ontario Injury Lawyer?
You can contact an Ontario injury lawyer today by calling 1-800-563-6348 or contact a personal injury lawyer in Ontario through this site.
Everyone who owns and drives a vehicle in Ontario knows you need car insurance to protect you from liability and help cover any costs incurred if you are involved in a car accident.
What some may not realize, is that that there are some important aspects to making an insurance claim that may require the help of your Ontario personal injury lawyer to complete.
The following posts will shed some light on how your Ontario injury lawyer can help, what deadlines could affect your claim, and how to talk to your insurance adjuster to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
If you are involved in a car accident and sustain injuries because of the accident, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer.
In fact, anyone who has been involved in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, boating accident, recreational vehicle accident such as ATVs, pedestrian or bike accident, and accidents involving public transit or transportation vehicles, should contact a personal injury lawyer. The sooner the better.
A limitation period is the period of time that a person has between an event, such as the accident or the denial of a benefit, and when he or she must take a step to protect a right. These limitation periods are extremely important. If your claim is not submitted in time, before the limitation period expires, your right to sue could be lost.
After a car or motorcycle crash occurs, one of the first calls we make is to our insurance company. While it is certainly necessary and required that you inform your insurance company of the auto accident, you may want to contact an Ontario personal injury lawyerif you have suffered any injuries.
A personal injury lawyer can help you when you are dealing with insurance adjusters, either from your own company or from the company of someone else who was responsible for harming you through an accident.