Safety tips for spring

3 driving tips for Spring Safety

Winter is over in Ontario, which means the most dangerous driving season of the year is behind us. However, as every personal injury lawyer knows, spring presents its own safety challenges. Today, we’ll review some safety tips to prepare you for the warmer months ahead.

More activity

As the weather outside improves, an increasingly diverse assortment of road users will join the daily commute. Car and truck drivers must readapt to sharing the road with vulnerable vehicles, including motorcycles and bicycles.

Drivers must also be aware that children, seniors, and pedestrians of all kinds will emerge in springtime. In Toronto, pedestrian fatalities have already reached a “crisis” point this year, causing significant concern among planners, safety advocates, injury lawyers, and politicians. As the streets become busier, drivers must slow down, avoid distraction, and commit to sharing the road in a responsible, respectful manner.

Changing asphalt conditions

New potholes are a common symptom of Ontario’s harsh winters. According to Global News, road crews repaired well over 110,000 potholes between January 1 and the end of March, which puts the city on pace to far exceed the annual average of 255,855 potholes per year.

In addition to costing the City of Toronto tens of millions of dollars annually, potholes are a common cause of traffic accidents. These accidents are often minor, causing more damage to vehicles than the drivers inside them, but in some cases they can cause serious personal injuries. In these situations, a personal injury lawyer can help you make a claim against the municipality.

Pedestrians should also exercise caution during the first weeks of spring, as sidewalks and walkways can also warp, crack, and chip, resulting in hazardous walking conditions.

Different weather challenges

Though heavy snow is a relative rarity, southern Ontarian springs are defined by turbulent, unpredictable weather, including temperature fluctuations that cause freeze-thaw cycles leading to slick roads. For this reason, many road safety experts advise against removing winter tires too early in the season.

Rapid temperature changes can also cause dense fog patches, which impede visibility. Make sure your car is equipped with fog lights and avoid driving if conditions are too dangerous.

Finally, overland flooding caused by heavy rain and melting snow can create particularly risky driving conditions. If possible, it’s best to avoid areas affected by flooding altogether.

 

If you or a member of your family is injured in a car accident this spring, contact Will Davidson LLP’s Oakville offices to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our team can help you understand the feasibility of your claim and guide you on your road to recovery.

 

Image credit: Caribb/Flickr

American study links age restrictions to reduced ATV injuries among minors

 

Spring has finally arrived, which for many Canadians means a return to the ATV and off-road vehicle trails. ATVing is an exciting way to explore Ontario’s wilderness; reach camping, hunting, and fishing destinations; and spend time with friends. Unfortunately, as any Ontario ATV accident lawyer can attest, ATVs are also the cause of a significant number of injuries, particularly among young people.

In the state of Massachusetts, lawmakers sought to reduce childhood ATV injuries by introducing “Sean’s Law” in 2010. The legislation – named after 8-year-old Sean Kearney, who died in an ATV rollover – banned children under the age of 14 from riding off-road vehicles unless under the direct supervision of an adult, or while preparing for or participating in a race or rally approved by a municipal government.

In 2017, a group of doctors in the state published statistics illustrating the efficacy of the 2010 law. They found that between 2002 and 2013, MassGeneral Hospital for Children processed 3,638 emergency department discharges and 481 inpatient discharges. In the years following the law’s implementation, emergency department discharges fell 33 per cent among children nine and under; 50 per cent among children aged 10 to 13; and 39 per cent among teens aged 14 to 17. It found no similar decline among adults between 25- and 34-years-old.

In other words, Sean’s Law worked. Fewer children and teenagers were injured on ATVs after their use of the vehicles was restricted.

“Our results are the first to show substantial reductions in pediatric injuries after the passage of a state law with an age restriction that included all children up to age 14 on both public and private lands,” the authors wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

The authors of the report have recommended a minimum age requirement of 16 years to operate an ATV unsupervised. In an email to the CBC, co-author Dr. Michael R. Flaherty said that children under the age of 16 are 12 times more likely than adults to be injured in ATV accidents.

In Canada, the Canadian Pediatric Society has also endorsed an age limit of 16 years, a change that every Ontario ATV accident lawyer would happily endorse.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident involving an off-road vehicle, contact Will Davidson LLP’s Oakville office today to speak with an experienced Ontario ATV accident lawyer. Our team can help you understand your rights, assess the validity of your claim, and help you secure compensation to facilitate your recovery.

Survivors of sexual assault can pursue justice through civil claims

 

When the #MeToo movement emerged in October 2017, it helped demonstrate the terrible prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in our society. The courageous individuals – most of them women – who stepped forward sparked an unprecedented wave of acknowledgement, discussion, and empathy that may create a safer society for future survivors.

Despite the movement’s remarkable impact, however, monumental progress is still desperately needed. According to Unfounded, an exhaustive Globe and Mail report on police handling of sexual assault allegations in Canada, as many as 1 in 5 sexual assault claims are dismissed as baseless. Just 34 per cent of claims lead to charges, and fewer still result in convictions. For this reason, many survivors of sexual assault have limited faith in the criminal justice system.

Today, Canadian survivors of sexual assault have options, including contacting a sexual assault lawyer and initiating a civil claim. Will Davidson LLP can help in this regard. Our team is committed to providing compassionate and discreet representation with the goal holding perpetrators responsible and securing compensation that facilitates survivors’ recoveries.

As Canadians have come to better understand the profound and lasting impacts of sexual assault, many jurisdictions have taken steps to improve survivors’ access to justice. In 2015, for example, the Ontario government pledged to eliminate time restrictions on filing lawsuits against perpetrators of sexual assault, bringing the province in line with British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

However, this represents a small step on a long road toward the creation of a more equal and compassionate justice system.

“[Dropping the limitations] is a trend across the country for sure, and Ontario is a bit behind,” University of Ottawa law professor Elizabeth Sheehy told the National Post in 2015. “But I don’t know that women are going to be flooding in to file these kinds of lawsuits. They still need to go through cross-examination, it just won’t be criminal cross-examination.”

Indeed, as every Ontario personal injury and sexual assault lawyer knows, civil cases demand significant time and energy and are subject to numerous rounds of appeals. Plaintiffs may be forced to relive and dwell on experiences that they would rather put behind them. To make matters worse, personal injury cases involving sexual assault seldom lead to large payouts, especially for clients who suffered the injury as adults. The courts must take steps to acknowledge the significant harm caused by sexual assault and adjust damages accordingly.

Despite these challenges, some survivors have benefited from pursuing civil claims. Individuals who have experienced sexual assault can seek compensation for pain and suffering, compensation for economic loss including reduced income potential, and compensation for past and future counseling and other costs. Most importantly, some clients have found closure in the successful pursuit of civil claims.

If you are a survivor of sexual harassment or assault and are interested in launching a civil lawsuit, contact Will Davidson LLP today to speak with an experienced sexual assault lawyer. Our team can assess the viability of your claim, advise you on the challenges you may face, and help you take important steps towards recovery.

 

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