Halloween horrors-slip and falls and accidents that lead to frightening injuries

Halloween accidents causing injury

On Halloween, children and adults alike will be wandering about in frightening costumes looking to receive delicious treats and provide a few “scares”. You may expect to jump from an actor causing horror and to see lots of fake blood, but it is important to ensure that you stick to the fake stuff and not have to worry about real injuries and real blood that may occur from a slip and fall or other accident.

A slip and fall can happen at any time or any place and injuries can be quite futile, but also extremely dangerous. Nobody wants to see a true Halloween horror occur, but it is important to understand what may happen if you slip and fall as you are roaming around to different neighbors’ houses collecting goodies. It is not only your neighbor, as an occupier of the property, that has responsibility (a duty of care) to reasonably ensure people on their property are kept safe from a slip and fall, but you the patron, visitor, pedestrian or even the trick-or-treater, have a responsibility to be careful too.  If you are injured in a slip and fall, you must prove that there was a dangerous condition and that dangerous condition caused you to slip and fall. You must also prove that the owner was aware of this dangerous condition and had the chance to reasonably fix the danger. Dangerous conditions can be many of a thing, but some include an uneven sidewalk, ice on the walkway that has not been attempted to be remedied or a dangerous object lying on the ground.

Jack O LanternAnother Halloween horror, that has been an increasing problem, is the danger of haunted hay ride accidents. Whether a horse is spooked, or you are spooked and fall off the hayride, they can be a dangerous activity. Only a couple of weeks ago, 5 teenagers were injured in a hay ride accident in Alabama. There is always a risk of an accident when partaking in these types of rides; however, if there has been negligence on the part of the hay ride owners or drivers, as to the trail they use and the manner in which the ride is operated, there could be a case to be made. Currently, in Michigan, a lady who was operating the hay ride tractor had an accident, fell and became paralyzed. She has begun a law suit for compensation for her injuries from the accident. According to CBS Detroit, the claim may include that the trail the hay ride took was down a dangerous and steep hill with uneven grounds which caused the accident. If this case does not go through workers compensation, this is one of the factors that the Plaintiff will argue was an act of negligence on behalf of the Defendant.

A final Halloween horror can happen as you are being terrified at a Haunted house. In the case of Deborah Mays v. Gretna Athletic Boosters Inc., the Plaintiff went to a haunted house for a fright, but ended up with an injury: a broken and bleeding nose. The Plaintiff got so spooked that she ran directly into a cinder block wall. In this case, the Defendant was not responsible for the Plaintiff’s injury. The haunted house was not unreasonably dangerous, nor was the Defendant’s actions unreasonable, since the Plaintiff presumably went to the haunted house for a good scare, which is what she got.

Whether you are trick-or-treating on your neighbors’ properties, or taking part in Halloween adventures that cause you to have a slip and fall or other accident, it is important for you to take the proper precautions to ensure your own safety. However, if someone else has not taken the proper and reasonable precautions to ensure your safety and a slip and fall or accident occurs, you may have questions about what your legal options are. If you or a loved one has sustained personal injury from a slip and fall or another accident, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm about your legal rights. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

 

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Overseas adventure gone bad: Do you have legal recourse?

Having an accident overseas in a foreign jurisdiction can happen.

Resort trips down south can be full of fun and adventure, however accidents can happen that cause injuries anywhere, including on your 5 star resorts in the middle of Cuba or Mexico (for example).  If you get injured overseas, will a Canadian province have jurisdiction to enable you to commence an action against the foreign defendant where the accident occurred? What are your options to commence an action against those that have caused or contributed to your injury overseas in another jurisdiction? Unfortunately, due to a new case, it is harder for Canadians injured while traveling to get compensation for those injuries.

Prior to the case of Club Resorts Limited v. Van Breda, Canadians could successfully bring an action forward if there was a real and substantial connection between the foreign defendant and the forum asserting jurisdiction (Canada). This allowed for more lenient arguments to be made, but Van Breda has made the test for jurisdiction over a foreign defendant that much harder.  The following has to be determined, and at least one of these has to be proven, for a Canadian province to deem jurisdiction over a foreign defendant:

overseas accidentsa)           the defendant is domiciled or resident in the province;

(b)         the defendant carries on business in the province;

(c)         the tort was committed in the province; and

(d)         a contract connected with the dispute was made in the province.

Even more recently, in the case of Haufler v. Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, a young women was injured while on an ATV excursion in Mexico. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice decided Ontario did not have jurisdiction to bring an action against the Riu resort and the ATV company involved, as the foreign defendants did not fit within any of the above connecting factors. The parties all admitted that the only factor to be argued was whether or not the defendant(s) carries on business in Ontario, and thus allow Ontario jurisdiction over the case against the foreign defendant(s). Despite this, the court found that despite the defendant(s) carrying on a considerable amount of business with Ontarians, that did not mean that the defendant(s) actually carries on business in Ontario.

Do not cease to take part in adventures while in a foreign jurisdiction, but when you are snorkeling with the dolphins, hiking a mountain, riding an ATV or even lounging on a beach chair, realize that legal action from Canada may not be a possibility for you. Do not count on being able to bring a law suit against a foreign defendant, without understanding the factors that will allow Ontario jurisdiction over the defendant. Always have travel insurance and ensure that you are careful. Most of the time your travels will be injury free, but if an accident does occur in a foreign jurisdiction, it may not be as easy to bring a lawsuit against a foreign defendant as it once was. Despite this, it is important to remember that the four factors allow for some cases to be brought forward and Ontario will sometimes assume jurisdiction over a foreign defendant. If you have questions about what your options are due to a personal injury that has befallen you in Canada or afar, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm about your legal rights.

 

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Distracted Driving Accident taken to New Heights

Texting while Driving interferes with driver multitasking

The statistics on distracted driving car accidents throughout North America are quite horrendous.  In the United States it’s estimated that approximately 5,400 people lost their lives in distracted driving car accidents in 2009. It’s further estimated that nearly half a million others suffered injuries in car accidents involving distracted driving.   In a recently released statement by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) we learned that we are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident if we text while driving and four times more likely if we talk on a cellphone (hand-held or hands-free) while driving. The IBC also told us that distracted drivers experience the same level of impairment as someone man driving and using cell phonewith a blood-alcohol content of .08 and that distracted driving is estimated to be a contributing factor in eight out of 10 police-reported car accidents. Distracted driving could be described as any type of activity that takes your attention away as a driver which takes away from the responsibility of controlling your car – thereby causing a car accident.  Distracted driving can be caused by a hand held devices such as a cell phone, smart phone or iPod but also caused by hand held GPS’, eating or drinking, watching a video, reading a map on your iPhone or even something as simple as putting on makeup.

In 2011 texting and driving was taken to new heights.  A recent NTSB investigation showed that a pilot that was flying a medic helicopter in Missouri was highly distracted from texting.  The NTSB documented 240 text messages sent and received by the pilot during his day shift leading up to the accident.   Right before the accident there was 20 recorded texts.  The distraction from texting prevented the pilot from taking off without enough fuel and without knowing he did not have enough fuel reserves.  The pilot also failed to properly perform a manoeuvre that could have possibly allowed a soft landing after the engine quit but he was not sufficiently trained to do so.  The NTSB found that the pilot had missed three opportunities or checks to discover that he did not have enough fuel and that he could have possibly made an emergency landing minutes before the crash.  The NTSB was unsure if he was texting during the flight or texting during the moments before the crash.  This unfortunate accident killed a patient that was being transported from one hospital to another as well as a paramedic and flight nurse.  This was the first time the NTSB had recorded a Smartphone device causing or contributing to a fatal commercial accident.

Distracted Driving Accidents

This is an extreme example of distracted driving although quite seminal for the fact that it  was the first recorded air crash which was caused or contributed to by being distracted by texting.  Texting was thought to have interfered with the pilot’s multitasking requirements to ensure flight safety.  Quite similarly distracted driving has become a major threat on Ontario’s roadways and a main contributor of car accidents.  Driving also requires multitasking and those who use hand-free devices, speech-to-text technology, texting while driving or emailing requires a technological “tunnel vision” level of concentration that prevents drivers from taking in the visual information of their surroundings.  Being distracted while driving with a Smartphone or any hand held device causes a fundamental constraint that limits ones ability to drive and cause deadly car accidents.  Unfortunately people are still disobeying the law in droves and car accidents keep happening.

If you have been the victim injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver you have legal rights.  Please contact our Oakville car accident law firm for more information.

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