What are your options after a sports league injury?

Community sports leagues are a great way to stay fit and meet new people, both for kids and adults. Parents enlist their children in organized sports to teach them about teamwork, sportsmanship, and getting along with others, and adults often join after-work leagues as a means of including social activity in their busy work weeks. For all the benefits of participating in organized sports, however, there are risks involved; if you suffer a serious injury you should immediately contact an Oakville personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.

Injuries

The likelihood of you – or your kids – suffering a particular injury depends on the activity you’re participating in. Concussions, for example, are quite common among football and hockey players, to the point where both major professional leagues, the NFL and NHL, are facing class-action lawsuits from former players. Lawsuits related to these injuries are becoming more common among amateur athletes as well, and your Oakville personal injury lawyer will likely have a sophisticated understanding of their nuances.

Concussions are a form of brain injury, and are particularly damaging in young people. Last year, the Ontario legislature passed Rowan’s Law, a bill aimed at curbing the prevalence of concussions among young athletes. The law, named for Rowan Stringer, an Ottawa-area high school rugby player who died after sustaining multiple concussions in a short span, aims to improve awareness and understanding of the injury.

Other sports and activities, from basketball to swimming to kickball to skiing, each present their own unique injury risks, and organizers or these activities have a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of participants.

Waivers

Community sports and recreational organizations generally require individuals to sign waivers as a pre-condition of participation. These contractual clauses are specifically designed to prevent participants from initiating legal action against the league. In addition to sports leagues, they can be found at water parks, rock-climbing gyms, bungee jumping sites, and any venues that host high-risk activities.

While these waivers likely succeed in discouraging injury victims from launching personal injury lawsuits, Ontario’s courts do not generally recognize and enforce these waivers in situations where activity organizers have not taken reasonable steps to protect participants.

Individuals assume a heightened risk of injury when they join sports leagues, and as such, Ontario’s courts do not mandate that either leagues or athletic facilities prevent all injuries. However, if an organization or facility neglects to take reasonable actions to prevent injury, they make themselves vulnerable to lawsuits.

As such, you may be entitled to compensation for you injuries regardless of whether you’ve signed a waiver. Talking to an Oakville personal injury lawyer can help you better understand your rights and most prudent steps forward.

If you or a member of your family has suffered an injury while participating in an organized sports league, contact Will Davidson LLP today. Injuries involving waivers are often complicated, and an Oakville personal injury lawyer can help advise you on your best actions to take.

Spring Is Here, Look Out For Cyclists!

With spring weather upon us, we can expect to see many seasonal cyclists back out on the road. All users of the road need to exercise extra care as they share the road with others. Unfortunately, not all drivers take the caution they should around cyclists. As a result, the law requires that a motor vehicle operator who is involved in a collision with a cyclist prove that they were not negligent.

In 2013, four cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the City of Toronto. That same year, the website BlogTO published a list of the 10 worst intersections for cyclists in Toronto. This list was compiled by Adrian Verster by crunching more than 25 years of GPS tagged statistics from the Toronto Traffic Safety Unit on injuries involving cyclists. The intersections where the most cyclists suffered personal injury are:

  1. Lake Shore Boulevard East & Carlaw Avenue;
  2. Queen Street West & Niagara Street;
  3. Queen Street East & River Street;
  4. Bathurst Street & Davenport Road;
  5. Avenue Road & Lonsdale Road;
  6. Bloor Street West & Brock Avenue;
  7. Bloor Street West & St. Thomas Street;
  8. Lake Shore Boulevard West & Jameson Avenue;
  9. Bloor Street East & Castle Frank Road; and,
  10. Bloor Street East & Parliament Street.

(source:

Another danger facing cyclists is poor road conditions. Roads may have eroded during the winter.  If you are involved in a cycling accident due to poor road conditions that results in personal injury and wish to bring a claim against a city, province or agency, you will have to prove the following elements:

  1. You must show that the poor road conditions actually caused the personal injury. In doing so, you will have to show that you were driving safely given the conditions of the road;
  2. You must show that the city, province or agency, or a contractor that they hired, had a duty to maintain the road in question and keep it safe; and,
  3. You must show that the city, province or agency was negligent in maintaining the road in a safe condition for cyclists.

So how can you protect yourself from personal injury as a cyclist? Here are our top safety tips for preventing personal injury as a cyclist:

  1. Wear a helmet – it could save your life;
  2. Stick to cyclist-friendly roads with wide shoulders or bike lanes;
  3. Approach parked vehicles with caution – cyclists have sustained personal injury and even perished due to drivers opening their car doors;
  4. Be visible – wear reflective materials, bright colours and use lights at night; and,
  5. Obey the rules of the road – treat other road users with respect, obey traffic signs and signal your intention to other road users.

If you are a loved one has suffered personal injury as a cyclist, please contact our Oakville personal injury law firm. At Will Davidson LLP, our expert personal injury lawyers have helped many cyclist personal injury victims receive compensation they deserve.

 

Uber car accidents: Are you covered?

With the increasing popularity of ridesharing services such as Uber, there may be a corresponding increase in car accidents

In October 2014, the Insurance Bureau of Canada warned wannabe ridesharing drivers that their personal car insurance won’t cover them if they are involved in an Uber car accident or a passenger is injured. If drivers want coverage, they will have to pay for commercial insurance coverage.

However, Uber released the following statement in response to the Insurance Bureau’s concerns, assuring potential customers it has a $5M USD policy for motor vehicle accidents:

“Every ride on the uberX platform in Canada is backed by US$5,000,000 of contingent auto liability insurance covering bodily injury and property damage. In the event of an accident during an uberX trip, passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, and the community at large can rest assured knowing that ridesharing partners are well covered by commercial auto insurance in addition to any insurance coverage maintained by the driver. This US$5,000,000 of coverage is more than two times the standard requirement for taxi and limo insurance in Toronto and is written by an insurance company rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best”

Also in October 2014, Luigi Dilorenzo, a private investigator and former Toronto police officer, posed as an interested UberX driver applicant. He was hired by the City of Toronto as part of their ongoing investigation into Uber’s driver-screening process. The City of Toronto is fighting to stop UberX in Toronto, arguing that they are flouting the City’s taxi licensing regulations.

Uber Logo
Uber is a popular ride sharing service

 

If a loved one has died in an Uber car accident, it is important that you contact a specialized lawyer immediately. The laws concerning fatalities due to Uber car accidents and auto insurance are quite complex.

There are also certain issues that a specialized lawyer will be able to assist you with. There may be certain financial benefits available to a person who was injured or killed in an Uber car accident to cover death and funeral costs. There is also the availability of a wrongful death claim which would seek compensation to all eligible surviving family members entitled to financial compensation and recovery for their loss. There may also be death and funeral benefits that a family may be entitled to, as well as financial income losses to help compensate the surviving spouse or child for financial losses they suffer due to increased family responsibilities or perhaps even the loss of a dual family income. Our Oakville Uber car accident lawyers can provide you the specialized representation you need to bring claims for fatalities and injuries due to Uber car accidents. Please contact us for a free consultation.

 

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To read another interesting article from our blog, click here.
If you have been injured in an Uber car accident, contact us for more information.

Holiday Season Brings More Car Accidents

Holiday Season Brings More Car Accidents

A study done by All State Insurance shows that in the past 20 years, most car accidents have happened on three days: December 21, 22 and 23. The study counted insurance claims for car accidents in 50 separate communities in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and New Brunswick.

 A separate Global News study showed that December 23 is the worst day for car accidents in Toronto. An interesting chart showing the average amount of car accidents each day for 2001-2011 can be found here.

 

police at car accident scene
In Toronto, pedestrians accounted for almost 2/3 of all car accident fatalities in 2013.

Data for car accidents occurring on December 23 in Toronto shows that the top locations for car accidents were Scarborough Town Centre and Dufferin Mall. If you include the rest of the week, the top locations for car accidents also include Yorkdale Mall, Sherway Gardens and Fairview Mall.

Why the spike in car accidents? Clearly there is a link between last minute holiday shopping, rushing and car accidents. Other possible reasons include more people on the roads visiting friends and family, as well as poor weather conditions typical of the winter months.

In 2013, there were 63 total car accident fatalities in Toronto. Of those car accident fatalities, 40 were pedestrians, 7 were drivers, 7 were motorcyclists, 5 were passengers and 4 were cyclists. On a positive note, only 3 car accidents were attributable to drinking and driving.

The car accident fatality rate for Toronto is 2.26 deaths per 100,000 people, which is lower than Edmonton (3.30), Winnipeg (3.12), Ottawa (3.10), Calgary (2.86), Vancouver (2.85), Hamilton (2.62) and Montreal (1.76).

A large part of our practice is representing the families of loved ones that have been killed in car accidents while walking, jogging, running or cycling. More people have died on Canada’s roadways due to car accidents in the past 50 years than the number of Canadian soldiers killed in both world wars.

If a loved one has been died in a pedestrian or bicycle car accident, it is important that you contact a specialized lawyer immediately. The laws concerning pedestrian and cyclist fatalities due to car accidents and auto insurance are quite complex. For example, the Highway Traffic Act tells us the rules of the road and how to obey those rules, however, they do not mandate for or against pedestrians crossing at uncontrolled intersections. Also, when a pedestrian is hit by a car, the law imposes a reverse onus, meaning the driver must prove that he or she was not at all negligent – at all. Every motorist has a duty to be observant of the conditions surrounding them while operating their vehicle and this duty includes keeping a lookout for pedestrians. When the driver of a car ignores safety, there is negligence.

There are also certain issues that a specialized lawyer will be able to assist you with. There may be certain financial benefits available to a person who was hit or killed in a car accident to cover death and funeral costs. There is also the availability of a wrongful death claim which would seek compensation to all eligible surviving family members entitled to financial compensation and recovery for their loss. There may also be death and funeral benefits that a family may be entitled to, as well as financial income losses to help compensate the surviving spouse or child for financial losses they suffer due to increased family responsibilities or perhaps even the loss of a dual family income. Our Oakville car accident lawyers can provide you the specialized representation you need to bring claims for pedestrian or cyclist fatalities due to car accidents. Please contact us for a free consultation.

To see an old post about car accident statistics in Toronto, please click HERE.

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Please contact our law firm for representation in car accidents.

New Developments in Personal Injury Cases: Fitbit Now Being Used to Prove Personal Injury Losses

New Developments in Personal Injury Cases

 Proving Damages in Personal Injury Matters Using “Fitbit”

fitbit tracker
Source: www.fitbit.com

 In Calgary, new developments in personal injury law permit personal injury lawyers to prove their client’s claims with quantifiable data.

Fitbit, a popular fitness tracker, is being used by a Calgary law firm to show a client’s diminished physical activity levels in a personal injury claim. The client was a personal trainer who suffered injuries that prevent her from being as active as she used to be. This is apparently the first time that Fitbit data will be used in a personal injury case in Canadian court, or any other case for that matter.

What does this mean for personal injury law? A more quantifiable way to prove a client’s loss due to personal injury. However, it also means that insurers may attempt to get orders for the production of this information from Fitbit’s owner, Vivametrica, in order to show that a plaintiff did not in fact suffer the personal injury to the extent they alleged.

Read more about this interesting development in personal injury law here.

If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury, whether it be from a car accident, slip and fall, or any other cause,  you have legal rights.

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Please contact our Oakville personal injury law firm for more information about bringing a claim for personal injury damages and scheduling a free consultation.

Wicked Winter Ahead: Safety Tips for Preventing Car Accidents

Winter is coming and with it, an increased risk of car accidents

Holiday season is fast approaching, and with it, winter weather and more car accidents.

Car accidents are common sights on our roadways during the winter. In an effort to reduce car accidents, we’ve put together this list of tips to keep you safe this winter.

 
tire on the snow

 

1. Check coolant levels: Coolant is responsible for making sure the engine warms up properly. Many people are unaware that coolant should be changed every two years. Reduce your risk of getting into car accidents by keeping proper levels of coolant in your vehicle.

2. Warm-up your car: Letting your car idle for a minute after starting allows fluids to move throughout the engine, ensuring that it is protected. This too can prevent car accidents.

 3. Check and change your tires: Winter snow tires should be placed on cars when the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius. Winter snow tires are important for preventing slippage on ice and snow, a major cause of winter car accidents. Check your tires for wear, as worn down treads increase the risk of car accidents.

4. Keep your speed down: While it’s always important to drive cautiously to prevent car accidents, in the winter it’s important to drive at an appropriate speed given the weather conditions. Speed is a leading cause of car accidents. Never use cruise control and accelerate with caution.

5. Keep ice off: Keep a window scraper and brush in your car to keep your windows clear of ice and snow. You may also want to consider keeping a small shovel in your trunk in the case your car becomes stuck in a snow bank. Snow and ice on the windshield, mirrors and windows can cause car accidents.

6. Keep your fuel tank full: In the unfortunate case you end up getting into one of the many car accidents that will happen this winter or other situation where you are stranded, having extra fuel in the tank can keep you idling and warm for hours.

7. Don’t be distracted: Texting and driving is a leading cause of car accidents anytime of the year, so put down the phone to lower your risk of car accidents. Nothing is as important as the safety of you and your passengers.

Claims for Car Accidents

Every driver in Ontario is required by law to have an automobile insurance policy in the case that they are involved in car accidents . If you have been injured in a car accident or multiple car accidents, you have legal rights to sue the at-fault driver. Contact our Oakville personal injury and car accidents law firm for more information and a free consultation about your claim. The statute of limitations to start a law suit, including car accidents lawsuits, is two years from the date of the car accident. If you miss this limitation period, you will not be able to bring a claim for injuries sustained in the car accident or car accidents. Our Contact our Oakville law firm respecting car accidents.
 

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Ins-and-outs of e-bikes

The Regulation of E-bikes in Ontario

E-bikes (electric bicycles) are an increasingly common sight on Ontario roads and sidewalks. They can be the cause of significant personal injury.

Many people wonder – are e-bikes regulated the same as motor vehicles?

e-bike
An E-bike

For all regulatory purposes, e-bikes are treated the same as non-motorized bicycles. Riders must be 16 years of age or older, wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet and follow the rules of the road applicable to cyclists. Fines for riding an e-bike without an approved helmet range from $60 to $500. E-bike riders are subject to the same laws and penalties under the Highway Traffic Act and other legislation applicable to cyclists.

E-bikes are required to have pedals are not permitted to travel faster than 32 kilometres per hour. It is also an offence to modify an e-bike to operate at speeds faster than 32 kilometres per hour. It is up to each individual city or town to decide where e-bikes can be operated – whether it is on municipal streets, bicycle lanes or walking trails. In Toronto, e-bikes are not permitted to ride on bicycle paths or in bicycle lanes if they are making use of the motorized. E-bikes with over 24 inch wheels are not permitted to ride on Toronto sidewalks. E-bikes are not permitted on any 400-series highways or expressways anywhere in Ontario.

What is concerning about e-bikes is the fact that e-bike owners and operators do not need to hold a valid drivers license or insurance. E-bikes are frequently seen weaving in and out of vehicular traffic on busy city streets. Many owners remove the pedals from their e-bikes. However, removing the pedals will classify the e-bike as a motor vehicle, and riders of such modified e-bikes will then run the risk of being convicted under the Highway Traffic Act for driving without a license or driving without insurance.

If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury due to an accident with an e-bike, please contact our Oakville personal injury law firm for more information about personal injury sustained due to e-bikes.

 

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Ontario considers tougher distracted driving sanctions for cell phone use

Distracted driving penalties will likely toughen up this fall

 

texting cell by steering wheel

We’ve all seen it multiple times – a driver fiddling with their cell phone while behind the wheel. Distracted driving (specifically cell phone use while driving) has become a huge issue in recent years and is responsible for many car accidents and deaths across the country. According to Alberta Transportation, distracted drivers are three times more likely to get into an accident than their focused counterparts.

Distracted driving has become the number one killer of people in car accidents

The Ontario Provincial Police report that in 2013, 78 people died in car accidents where distracted driving was a factor. Compare that to 57 deaths in impaired driving-related car accidents and 44 deaths in speeding-related car accidents. In 2013, the Ontario Provincial Police laid 19,000 distracted driving charges. This is an increase of 3,000 from 2012. Toronto Police laid a whopping 55,000 distracted driving charges between 2010 and 2012 and cite cell phone use while driving as a factor in at least three car accident deaths.

The current penalty structure is not discouraging drivers from using their cell phones while driving. According to the 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, 46% of grade 12 students admitted to texting while driving on at least one occasion.  While public awareness campaigns have brought attention to the cell phone use while driving issue, it has not decreased this dangerous and potentially fatal behaviour.

The current penalty for cell phone use while driving is a $280 fine and no demerit points. This came into effect in February 2013 after a judicial order of the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice Annemarie Bonkalo, who recognized that distracted driving is responsible for many car accidents. The previous fine was merely $155.

Distracted driving fines set to increase

This week, Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced that a bill to change the law regarding distracted driving will be tabled this fall. This bill would significantly stiffen penalties for distracted driving. The proposed bill would increase fines to range between $300 and $1,000 and add three demerit points per infraction. This is specifically to target cell phone use while driving behind the wheel. With the addition of demerit points, perhaps a reduction in cell phone use while driving will be achieved.

If you or a loved one has been the victim injured in a car accident where distracted driving or cell phone use was a factor, you have legal rights.  Please contact our Oakville car accident law firm for more information about personal injury sustained due to distracted driving.

 

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Have you been hit by a city streetcar or bus?

Have you suffered a personal injury in an accident with a Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Oakville Transit, Mississauga Transit, Brampton Transit or other city streetcar or bus?

TTC City Bus

If you were involved in an accident that resulted in personal injury with a vehicle owned and operated by a city, such as the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Oakville Transit, Mississauga Transit or Brampton Transit, you may have legal rights to seek financial compensation for your injuries. The legal process may seem daunting, but with the help of our personal injury law firm, you can get the just and fair compensation which you deserve. 

A personal injury lawyer can help you to understand your legal rights and the complicated process of obtaining financial compensation for a personal injury sustained due to an accident with a Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Oakville Transit, Mississauga Transit, Brampton Transit and/or other city streetcar or bus. Depending on the type of personal injury and your role in the accident, you may be entitled to statutory accident benefits coverage, which provides financial compensation for your personal injury. You may also have a civil personal injury tort claim against the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Oakville Transit, Mississauga Transit, Brampton Transit or other city agency involved in the accident. A lawyer at our personal injury law firm will be able to give you more information about your legal rights to compensation for your injury.

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury due to a collision with a Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Oakville Transit, Mississauga Transit or Brampton Transit city vehicle, please contact our personal injury law firm for a free consultation if you would like more information on your legal rights against the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), Oakville Transit, Mississauga Transit or Brampton Transit.  You may have legal rights due to your personal injury.

 

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Taking on big companies in big ways!

Class actions vs. Mass Tort Litigation

judge gavelThere are many reasons why class actions may commence. The basic reason is that a group of people have all been harmed in a similar way. This could be, but not necessarily,  as a result of product, company, or environmental issues. All of these may require a class action or mass tort litigation for those impacted to receive compensation.

 

When a person purchases something, whether for medical reasons or simply “just because”, there is a certain trust we as consumers have that the product will not be defective. On many occasions, a defective product is not the end of the world. One may simply need to call the company and request a new product. On the other hand, there are times when a defective product can cause serious health, economic and psychological issues, in which the consumer deserves compensation accordingly, which is when a class action or mass tort litigation action may be necessary. A class action or mass tort litigation action can arise when it is not only one consumer that has been impacted by the defective product.

One of Will Davidson’s defective product experiences is with allegedly defective pelvic mesh devices, where hundreds of plaintiffs have come forward with claims. Will Davidson had to decide the best way to proceed for their clients and the claimants of this action. Therefore, the following is an important question: What is the difference between a class action and mass tort litigation?

In class actions, the plaintiffs involved need to fall under a strict “commonality” requirement, amongst other things. Remember that class actions are tried together-as one. An example of the consequences of this, is the following: When a settlement is paid out, it is split between the parties. Therefore, you may not get as much as you feel fair in class actions. In class actions, all plaintiffs are in it together and there are many restrictions and court proceedings that need to be followed to ensure a proper class action. Despite the complications, certification, which is the ability to begin a class action, is a lot less difficult in Canada than it is in the States. This is a positive reason to proceed under this umbrella.

Mass Tort Litigation: Mass tort litigation allows for individuality. The commonality requirement is not there as it is in class actions. Defective products, although they might injure many people, may not cause the exact injury and therefore, a commonality requirement is difficult to satisfy. This is one of the positive reasons why one should proceed under mass tort litigation.

In the end, individual circumstances are the deciding factor as to whether a case proceeds in a class action or individually with mass tort litigation. As courts get more and more comfortable with these types of cases, either the class action route or the mass tort litigation route, may come out as the winner. Despite the “newness” of these types of class action legal proceedings in Canada, do not be afraid to take on who you need to, to get the compensation you deserve! If you have sustained personal injury from a defective product, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm to find out about your legal rights.

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