Safety tips for the new ATV season

This April, the CBC reported on the death of a four-year-old girl in Marchand, Manitoba who was killed when the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) she was riding flipped backward while climbing a hill. These sorts of incidents are all too common: ATVs are an extremely popular pastime in Canada, but also a fairly dangerous one. According to the Canada Safety Council, about 182 people lose their lives in off-road vehicle accidents each year, meaning ATV injury lawyers are sadly familiar with stories like the one out of Manitoba.

Luckily, there are a number of easy precautions you can take to stay safe on the trails this spring and summer. Let’s have a look at a few:

Basics

To begin with, most ATVs in Ontario must be registered and have rear license plates (exceptions exist in a few Northern regions), and must be insured. These measures promote accountability and provide coverage to injured ATVers.

ATV-riders should also abide by their vehicle’s specifications: in particular, two people should not ride a one-person vehicle, and three people should not ride a two-person vehicle. Doing so can greatly increase your risk of injury.

Age restrictions

ATV age restrictions are fairly flexible, though as this April’s Manitoba tragedy shows – and as all ATV injury lawyers would agree – very young children on ATVs are inherently at risk.

Children younger than 12 are permitted to ride child-specific ATVs, but only off-road and only under direct adult supervision. Older children are allowed to ride adult ATVs, but only while an adult is present.

To share a road with other automobiles, ATVers must be at least 16 years old and have a G2 or M2 driver’s license. In both on-road and off-road scenarios, an approved helmet is required.

Driving on shared roads

Both car accident and ATV injury lawyers understand the correlation between speed and injury. Because they lack other vehicles’ fundamental safety precautions, ATVs are subject to restricted speed limits. For instance, if a road’s posted speed limit is less than 50km/h, an ATV must travel no faster than 20km/h; if the posted speed limit exceeds 50km/h, an ATV must not travel more than 50km/h.

General tips

Do not drink and ATV! This rule needs no explanation; alcohol consumption dramatically increases your risk of serious injury or death.

ATVers should also be sure to plan their routes ahead of time and communicate those plans to a family member or friend. Regularly checking in via cell phone can also help you be found in the case of an accident.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an ATV accident, contact the ATV injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP to find out how we can help you access compensation and aid your recovery. Call today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.

Who is responsible for damages caused by a borrowed car?

As summer approaches, Toronto residents are bracing for an annual influx of tourists; last year, the city welcomed a record number of visitors. While those of us living in GTA cities like Oakville won’t experience the summer rush as acutely as our downtown neighbours, many of us will be visited by friends and family intent on exploring the region – and that means lending out your car.

If you’re thinking about letting a friend or family member borrow your car this summer, there are a few things your GTA car accident lawyer would like you to consider.

Liability

The owner of a car is nearly always responsible for damages caused by that vehicle, including when it is driven by someone else. Even in situations where the borrower has their own insurance policy, the primary policy is likely to be that of the vehicle’s owner.

“When you lend your auto, you also share your auto insurance,” writes the Insurance Bureau of Canada on its website. “Typically, a guest driver is also covered under your policy. Should the guest driver cause a collision while driving your vehicle, your premium may increase.”

That means that collisions or accidents caused by the driver of your borrowed car could result in increased insurance rates or liability payments. A GTA car accident lawyer can help you assess your level of responsibility.

With that in mind, there are a few precautions you should take before you lend anyone your car.

  • Look up the number of an experienced GTA car accident lawyer and have it on file – when an accident occurs, it’s important to consult with a lawyer as quickly as possible.
  • Make sure the borrower has a valid driver’s license. This might seem obvious, but if you lend your car out to an unlicensed driver, you will likely by on the hook for damage or injuries they cause.
  • Ensure the borrower has access to the vehicle’s registration and proof of insurance.
  • Determine where the car is going and agree upon how the car will be used.
  • Make sure you know exactly who will be driving your car – if you lend it to a group, single out a designated driver.
  • Ensure the car is in good working order. Signals, brake lights, and other functions should be running smoothly.

Contact a GTA car accident lawyer

If your vehicle has been involved in an accident or if you have been hurt in a collision, contact a GTA car accident lawyer at Will Davidson LLP to set up a no-obligation consultation. Accidents involving borrowed cars can lead to complicated liability and benefits claims, and our team of experienced lawyers can help you through the legal process.

Ontario researchers close in on groundbreaking concussion test

Concussions are perhaps the most common form of brain injury: they can occur at any time and to anyone, from high-level athletes to retirees walking from their car to their front door. While a single concussion is unlikely to cause lasting damage, these injuries become more dangerous as they reoccur. Unfortunately, because concussions are notoriously difficult to diagnose, victims often do not realize they are vulnerable and leave themselves susceptible to additional injuries. The effects of multiple concussions are life-changing; brain injury lawyers can help victims access compensation.

Concussions are most commonly seen in contact sports like hockey and football; athletes suffer a blow to the head, shake it off, and get back into the action because no fast and simple diagnostic test exists.

However, a team of researchers in London, Ontario is aiming to change this. They have developed a blood test that they say can determine whether an individual has suffered a concussion with between 90 and 95 per cent accuracy, easily surpassing the medical community’s generally accepted 70 per cent threshold.

The development has generated excitement among researchers, athletes, and brain injury lawyers.

“For the last 10 years or so it’s kind of been the Holy Grail in traumatic brain injury research,” said Dr. Douglas Fraser, the project’s lead researcher and a physician in the London Health Sciences Centre’s Pediatric Critical Care Unit, to the CBC.

Today, doctors generally rely on two tools to diagnose concussions: medical imaging, which often produces inconclusive results; and physical testing to assess the presence of a variety of observable physiological symptoms. Blood tests have also been used, but generally focus on one or two molecules at a time. Dr. Fraser’s test ‘focuses on the levels of metabolites in the blood, a waste product generated by the body that acts as a set of chemical fingerprints,’ the CBC reported in November.

“By measuring all of these things it gives you a very good idea of what’s going on in the body at any given time, including an injury,” Fraser said. “We were very pleasantly surprised to find out that the pattern of change for 174 metabolites was really quite dramatic with an injury. It got to be quite easy to separate who had had an injury and who had not based on those patterns.”

The researchers’ concussions blood test remains in its infancy, and today can only be performed in the confines of a high-tech laboratory. However, the team believes it could soon require much more accessible equipment and be performed for as little as $40. Brain injury lawyers believe this accessibility could help reduce concussion’s troubling prominence.

“This is something with today’s technology would be the size of a toaster and could sit on a bench somewhere,” Fraser explained. “This is something that could be in an emergency room, in an athletic locker, it could be on the front lines of a military conflict.”

Until such time as Dr. Fraser’s test becomes more widely available, the brain injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP urge head injury victims to remember the risks of incurring multiple concussions. If you’ve received a blow to the head and are unsure whether you’ve suffered a concussion, err on the side of caution and avoid risky behaviour. Contact Will Davidson LLP today for more information.

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