Dashcam Footage in Personal Injury Claims

Every year, hundreds of people are killed and tens of thousands are injured in car accidents in Canada. The impact of these accidents extends far beyond the people who are directly involved: families, friends, coworkers, and more are also affected. This far-reaching impact is why it’s so important for accident victims to work with an experienced car accident lawyer. If, for example, the person injured in the accident is the sole breadwinner for a family of four and is no longer able to work full-time, a car accident lawyer can help negotiate compensation that addresses the needs of the entire family.

But securing compensation isn’t as simple as submitting a list of expenses to an insurance company and waiting for a check to be delivered. Your car accident lawyer must establish who is liable for the accident, whether the accident was the cause of your injuries, and how much compensation is owed for those injuries.

Dashboard Cameras

Recently, dashboard cameras have become popular among the Canadian general public, with support from insurance providers, law enforcement, and personal injury lawyers. Often, they are adopted by people who have been involved in, or know someone who has been involved in, a traffic accident or insurance dispute.

Dashboard cameras are considered a reliable third-party witness in disputes over motor vehicle accidents, meaning they can help your car accident lawyer establish liability in a crash and, in some cases, prove causation of injuries. There are no privacy issues associated with dashcam footage, because roads are considered public places in Canada. As such, the footage is generally admissible in court. High-end cameras also record GPS positioning and speed, which can support liability claims.

Insurance providers favour dashboard cameras because they simplify the process of proving liability and reduce insurance fraud. In fact, some providers have considered offering discounts to drivers who use dashcams. Still, some members of both the insurance and personal injury fields believe the technology has flaws, not least of which is the risk of distraction.

“Dashcams may, like GPS devices, be a distraction if they’re not properly used,” said Pete Karageorgos, Insurance Bureau of Canada director of consumer and industry relations for Ontario, told the Canadian Press. “On the other side of the coin, if someone is involved in a crash or they witness something, the good thing about having dashcam video is it really is an impartial and unbiased witness to the events.”

It is also worth noting that although dashcam footage is admissible in general, it is unlikely to be accepted if it has been edited, cut, or manipulated in any way. From the moment of your accident, you should be careful to preserve it intact.

Even in cases where a car accident lawyer is not involved – hit and runs involving another vehicle, theft, vandalism, etc. – dashcam footage can help law enforcement identify suspects and make arrests.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

With the help of your dashcam footage, a car accident lawyer can identify the parties who are liable for your injury and pursue compensation to cover the cost of your recovery. As mentioned above, car accident injuries can be extremely serious. Recovery can involve months of medical care, rehabilitation, and therapy, as well as extended and perhaps permanent attendant care. In some cases, home renovations and mobility equipment may also be necessary.

These costs can add up quickly. Accident benefits obtained through your insurance provider can address some expenses, but it may be necessary to pursue additional compensation through a civil claim against the individuals who are responsible for your injuries. Dashcam footage, in addition to evidence collected at the scene of the accident, witness testimonies, police and medical reports and more, is essential to proving liability in your personal injury claim. An experienced car accident lawyer can review this evidence and offer advice on how to proceed.

Contact Will Davidson LLP

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a serious accident, contact Will Davidson LLP to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. Our team will assess the viability of your claim and provide guidance as you consider your legal options.

Will Davidson LLP has represented seriously injured Ontarians for several decades. During that time, we have come to understand the serious mental, physical, emotional, and financial challenges that accompany a traumatic injury. Although we know that no amount of money can make up for the pain and suffering you have experienced, we also understand that financial compensation can relieve some of the pressures associated with your recovery. For that reason, in addition to free consultations, we are proud to offer our services on a contingency basis, which means you will not be asked to pay legal fees until your claim has been successfully settled. If we cannot secure compensation, we will not accept payment.

Brain injury survivor shares story to promote understanding

For some doctors, non-profit employees, personal injury lawyers, and the family and caregivers of survivors, brain injury is a daily fact of life. Yet despite it being the leading cause of death and impairment in Canadians under the age of 44, and even though roughly 1.5-million people currently live with acquired brain injuries nationwide, many Canadians don’t fully understand the challenges faced by brain injury victims.

Christie McLardie of Oshawa, Ontario, wants to change that. In August, she spoke with DurhamRegion.com about the significant struggles she has overcome during her two-year recovery from an acquired brain injury. By discussing her recovery and the challenges still to come, she hopes to inspire hope in fellow survivors and improve awareness in the wider community – an aim that is sure to be lauded by personal injury lawyers.

McLardie suffered her injury when she was struck by a line-drive during a softball game in September 2016. Not yet 40, she was professionally successful, athletic, and the mother of two children.

“I was hit on the right side of my head – I don’t remember much and a lot of traumatic brain injury people don’t remember immediate times (before the hit) – but what would have happened is that line drive was coming and I knew I wouldn’t be able to react and catch the ball so I must have turned my head and as I turned my head the line drive hit me smack in the temporal area of the right side of my brain,” she told DurhamRegion.com.

McLardie was transferred to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto for emergency craniotomy surgery to remove shattered bone fragments, address brain bleeding, and replace a large section of skull with a titanium plate. Walking was difficult following the surgery, and she had trouble communicating due to slurred speech. However, McLardie was cognitively intact.

“I was slow, but Christie was there, I was just a lot slower,” she said.

After six weeks in and out of hospital, McLardie returned home to face a new challenge: the emotional journey that often accompanies recovery from a serious personal injury.

“You’re in shock for a long time, that shock turns to complacency and you feel like this is it,” she said. “Then you go into that anger mode, why is this happening to me, and they you go into a mourning so it’s like you morn the old self, and then after that – and this is where I’m at right now – I’m into acceptance and that journey to acceptance has taken me almost two years.”

If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury or other serious injury in an accident, contact Will Davidson LLP today to speak with our experienced team of personal injury lawyers. We can help you understand your legal options and provide guidance as you seek compensation.

Safer boating in Ontario starts with two simple steps

 

Residents of southern Ontario are blessed with convenient access to an extensive network of lakes and rivers that are perfectly suited to summertime boating. Unfortunately, as every Ontario boating accident lawyer knows, many of the province’s boaters fail to adhere to basic safety principles, which causes accidents, injuries, and in some cases, deaths.

In late May, CBC News Toronto reported that a 25-year-old North York woman had died in a boating accident on Lake Couchiching, near Orillia. The story broke on the second day of North American Safe Boating Awareness Week and at the onset of boating season in Ontario. The circumstances of the accident appear benign: two women were paddling a canoe just 100 metres from shore. However, neither was wearing a life-jacket, a fatal and all-too-common mistake in this province.

“[Life-jackets] will save your life,” André Mollema of the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition told CBC Ottawa. “If you fall in, even though you’re an experienced swimmer, you never know. You can knock your head on the boat on the way in, and then if you don’t have that life saving device on, you will drown.”

Transport Canada requires every boat to carry a life-jacket or flotation device for each person on board. Failure to do so can result in hundreds of dollars in fines.

An experienced Ontario boating accident lawyer can tell you that intoxication is another prevalent risk factor on Canadian waterways.

“Alcohol is a contributor in nearly 100 per cent of cases of boating fatalities in Manitoba and in 90 per cent of them they were not wearing life jackets,” Kevin Tordliffe of the Livesaving Society’s Manitoba branch told CTV Winnipeg. “These are two easy things that we can address quickly to address those statistics.”

Tordliffe is absolutely correct. Last year, boating deaths in Ontario reached an eight-year high of 31, up from 23 in 2016. CBC Ottawa reports that there have been more than 12,000 water-related deaths in Canada between 1991 and 2014, 82 per cent of which were boys and men. Reducing alcohol consumption and promoting life jacket use could go a long way in reducing those elevated numbers.

If you, a member of your family, or someone you know has been injured in a boating accident, contact Will Davidson LLP today to speak with an experienced Ontario boating accident lawyer. Our team can help you assess your legal options and decide whether to launch a personal injury claim.

BC brain injury group publishes video game to boost awareness

BrainTrust Canada, a British Columbia-based non-profit organization working in the brain injury field, is launching an online video game aimed at improving youth awareness of brain injuries. The game was developed by CREW Marketing Partners and has three themes: skateboarding, hockey, and workplace safety.

Check out Global News’s short article about this innovative initiative:

A not-for-profit association is launching an online video game to increase awareness about brain injuries for youths.

The game is found online and has three themes: skateboarding, hockey and workplace safety.

CREW Marketing Partners (previously GOODSIR Creative) developed the game for BrainTrust Canada.

The game was tested with the help of youths at the Okanagan Mission Secondary Interact Club and the Boys and Girls Club.

The launch of the game is accompanied by a contest that runs from Feb. 27 to March 19 for young people between 11 and 18 years old and who live in the Okanagan region.

Kids who play the game can enter to win a Domino’s pizza party for their class and tickets to both Kelowna Rockets and Vernon Vipers games for next season.

“We aim to be inventive when it comes to youth and our prevention programs,” Magda Kapp, director of communications & Prevention Services for BrainTrust Canada said. “Our hope is that up to 80 per cent of youth in the Okanagan play the new game, learn something along the way and have the chance to win prizes! If we can prevent even one brain injury, it’ll be worth it, as the estimated cost for one serious brain injury over a lifetime is in excess of $4 million,” she added,“not to mention the immense personal costs of a life changed forever.”

The game can be played by going to www.protectyourhead.com

Back to School Safety Tips Refresher

 

Back to school season has arrived, and with it, bright-eyed and bushy tailed children make their daily commute. Here are some tips to keep our children, roads and communities safe and accident-free.

Stop for Flashing Lights: It’s the Law!

According to Transport Canada Statistics, school buses are one of the safest modes of transportation.1 However, maintaining this high standard of safety requires your help as a driver. Have you ever been late for work only to get caught behind a school bus with its lights on? Your foot is on the pedal, and you’re tempted to pass the stopped bus. Under the provincial Highway Traffic Act, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped with its’ red signal lights flashing.2 When approaching a bus with the signal lights flashing, stop before the bus. Do not proceed until the bus driver has turned off the lights, stowed its stop sign and begins to move. Failure to comply with this law can result in a substantial fine and three demerit points.3 Subsequent offences can result in prison time.4 Obeying this important rule of the road helps to keep children safe while crossing the road to board the bus.

Crossing at Intersections

Traffic engineering studies show that pedestrians will usually choose the shortest distance route when crossing a road to get to their destination.5 As a driver, this means you must be vigilant when approaching an intersection. Scan both sides of the intersection for pedestrians who might be jay-walking. Where crossing guards are present and displaying a stop sign, the law requires that you stop prior to reaching the crossing and remain stopped until all pedestrians including the crossing guard have cleared the road.6 As a parent, instruct your children to only cross at the appropriate crosswalks after checking both ways to ensure it is safe to do so. Requiring your child to obey the directions of crossing guards will help to ensure the safety of all. Teach your child to refrain from jaywalking. Research shows young children have difficulty judging speed and distance, have a limited sense of danger and fail to understand or see complex traffic situations.7 Educating your child on the use of crosswalk signals and their meaning can help make for a safe and enjoyable commute to and from school.

Commuting to College or University? Stay Sober, Stay Safe

Young drivers between the ages of 16 to 24 are statistically more likely to be involved in alcohol and or/drug related fatalities while driving than any other age group.8 The American Brain Injury Society reports that young drivers are also more likely to drive while fatigued, drowsy or distracted.9 Further, even when they are not impaired, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse notes that 16-19-year-olds have a fatal crash rate four times higher than drivers aged 25-34, and nine times higher than those aged 45-54.10 Preventing the problem of youth drug and alcohol impaired driving requires concerted efforts from parents. Educate your child on the dangers of impaired driving before going off to school. Taking the time to have this conversation could save lives.

Have you or your loved one been injured in a motor vehicle accident?

Despite our most concerted efforts, accidents do happen. If you or your loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, our Oakville personal injury lawyers at Will Davidson LLP are here to help. Our lawyers are well equipped to assist you with your needs, and we are conveniently located at 1464 Cornwall road. Call us today at 905-337-9568 to schedule your no-obligation consultation.

References

  1. https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/tp-tp2436-rs200702-menu-133.htm
  2. Highway Traffic Act s 175(11)
  3. http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/handbook/section2.5.2.shtml
  4. HTA s 175(17)
  5. https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/publications-53.htm#5
  6. HTA 176(3)
  7. Supra: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/railsafety/publications-53.htm#5
  8. https://canadasafetycouncil.org/news/national-safe-driving-week-drugs-and-driving-deadly-combination
  9. https://canadasafetycouncil.org/news/national-safe-driving-week-drugs-and-driving-deadly-combination
  10. Holmes, E., Vanlaar W., and Robertson, R., The Problem of Youth Drugged Driving and Approaches to Prevention: A Systematic Literature Review (2014) Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse at 1.

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.

Personal Injury Awards in Canada

Personal Injury

While we are used to seeing sky-high personal injury awards in the United States, Canadian courts occasionally award personal injury awards in the millions. In an article published by the CBC here, a number of large court awards were discussed.

So what kinds of claims get these high personal injury awards? Keep reading…

Justice pillar

 

Marcoccia v. Gill, Purba Furniture Ltd. and Ford Credit Canada Ltd.

$16.9 million personal injury award by jury in 2009

Robert Marcoccia, 20, collided head on with a furniture delivery truck that entered the intersection on the amber was trying to turn left on the red at Rexdale and Humberwood in Toronto.  The driver of the furniture truck, Bhupinder Singh Gill, was found 61% at fault because he failed to make his left turn safely. Mr. Marcoccia suffered personal injury to the frontal and temporal lobes of his brain. This affected his behavior, social abilities, emotional regulation, ability to plan and ability to understand the consequences of his actions.  He will never be able to  He requires 24/7 care for the rest of his life due to this personal injury.

 

Sandhu v. Wellington Place Apartments

$14.2 million personal injury award by jury in 2008

On June 5, 1997, Harvinder Sandhu, 2, fell five stories through a damaged window at his relative’s apartment on Martin Grove Road in Toronto. He landed on concrete and suffered multiple fractures and a permanent frontal lobe brain personal injury. The landlord of the unit was found 90% liable, as it had not fixed a broken screen through which Harvinder fell, although it had been requested many times. Harvinder will function at the level of a 12-year-old child for the rest of his life and requires 24/7 care as a result of his personal injury.

 

Gordon & Morrison v. Greig

 $11.37 million for Derek Gordon and $12.33 million for Ryan Morrison personal injury awards by judge in 2008

In September 2003, Corey Greig was driving up to a cottage weekend with his friends Ryan Morrison and Derek Gordon.  Mr. Greig was intoxicated and while driving at a high speed, swerved to miss an oncoming car and lost control of the vehicle.  The vehicle rolled and Mr. Morrison and Mr. Gordon were thrown into the ditch. Both suffered serious personal injury: Mr. Morrison was rendered a paraplegic and Mr. Gordon sustained a catastrophic brain injury. Both require 24/7 care for the rest of their lives.

 

MacNeil v. Bryan

$18.4 million personal injury award by judge in 2009

On August 2, 2002, Katherine-Paige MacNeil, 15, was a backseated passenger in the car of 16-year-old Trevor Bryan. Mr. Bryan went through a stop sign on a rural road in Adjala-Tosorontio Township and the car ended up smashed in a ditch. Ms. MacNail suffered a skull fracture and catastrophic brain injuries.

 

MacNeil v. Bryan

$18.4 million personal injury award by judge in 2009

On August 2, 2002, Katherine-Paige MacNeil, 15, was a backseated passenger in the car of 16-year-old Trevor Bryan. Mr. Bryan went through a stop sign on a rural road in Adjala-Tosorontio Township and the car ended up smashed in a ditch. Ms. MacNail suffered a skull fracture and catastrophic brain injuries.

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury, you have rights. Contact our personal injury law firm confidentially for more information.
 

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