Is improper car seat usage contributing to children’s car accident injuries?

There are few things more distressing for car accident lawyers than litigating injury claims involving children. Unfortunately, these cases are a reality of the job: according to Transport Canada, more than 2000 Canadian children between the ages of 1 and 4 are injured or killed in car crashes each year. Quebec’s auto insurance board, SAAQ, recently reported that car accident injuries to children had risen by 8 per cent between 2012 and 2016, even while injuries and fatalities fell across the general population. According to an SAAQ spokesperson, improperly used car seats may have played an important role in this trend.

With that in mind, the car accident lawyers at Will Davidson LLP would like to offer an overview of proper car seat and booster seat use, and answer some frequently asked questions.

What type of car seat does my child need?

Your child’s age and size generally dictates which car seat is best suited for them. Infants should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least one-year-old, and weigh at least 22 lbs. Even if your child is over one year of age, you should abide by the car seat’s instructions: if your child fits the seat’s recommended height and weight, keep them in it. There’s no need to rush to a front-facing seat.

At a certain point, however, your child will outgrow the rear-facing seat and will need something bigger. Children between 22 lbs. and 40 lbs. will generally be well-suited to a front facing seat. This stage usually lasts until the child is around four years old.

When your child gets too big for a front-facing car seat, it’s time to graduate to a booster seat, which they will occupy until they grow taller than 4’9”, or older than 9-years-old.

Proper rear- and front-facing car seat use

New car models must be equipped with a Universal Anchorage System (UAS), which facilitates the installation of both front and rear-facing car seats. Before you install your car seat, however, be sure to carefully read the manual and check that your child fits its specifications.

For rear-facing car seats, make sure the seat is positioned at a 45° angle. If the slope of your seat does not allow for this, you can use a firm towel roll or pool noodle to ensure the seat is positioned safely.

Front-facing car seats must be secured with a tether strap, which is attached at the top of the car seat. If your car doesn’t come equipped with tether anchors, consider asking your automotive dealer to install them.

Booster seats

Once your child has graduated to a booster seat, they will begin using your car’s installed seatbelt system. The seatbelt should fit your child like it does an adult: make sure the shoulder strap lays over the middle of your child’s collarbone rather than the neck, and that the lap belt lays over the hips, not the stomach.

Even with a properly installed car seat or booster seat, some automotive injuries are unavoidable. If you or your child has been injured in an accident, contact the car accident lawyers at Will Davidson LLP to find out how we can help.

 

Photo credit: Lars Plougmann/Flickr

Friends and families of traffic accident victims band together

In late October, a group named Friends and Families for Safe Streets (FFSS) launched in Toronto. The organization is comprised of relatives and loved ones of traffic victims who want to ‘put a human face’ on the issue of road safety, according to the Toronto Star. They are the first group of their kind in Canada.

Last year, 64 people died in traffic accidents in Toronto, 38 of whom were pedestrians. It was the highest number of traffic fatalities in the past five years, leading Toronto Police Const. Clint Stibbe to tell the CBC: “We are becoming worse drivers. We are not doing anything to make ourselves better drivers.”

Stibbe, it appears, was correct: as of FFSS’s Oct 25 meeting on the roof of City Hall, 65 road users had been killed in Toronto this year. Thirty-five of those fatalities were pedestrians, and one was a cyclist. If you or a member of your family has been injured in an motor vehicle accident, make sure to contact an Oakville automobile accident lawyer as soon as possible.

“The hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries we’ve seen over the years were all preventable,” said SSFF’s Kasia Briegmann-Samson, who lost her husband, Tom, in a cycling accident in 2012. “These are not numbers. These are lives. And for each individual killed there are scores of family members and friends who are also shattered.”

FFSS is calling for safer road design, tougher penalties on bad drivers, and lower speed limits in an effort to make the city’s streets less dangerous. In July, the City of Toronto announced an $80-million plan to improve road safety which incorporates some of these measures. After originally aiming to reduce injuries by 20 per cent over a decade, the plan now aims to eliminate traffic casualties altogether in accordance with the Vision Zero system, a multi-national road safety project originating in Sweden.

Toronto’s plan includes expanded use of “watch your speed” radar signs, street lighting improvements, m-right-turn-on-red provisions, longer pedestrian crossing times, and the creation of “pedestrian safety corridors,” the Star reported.

“The reality is this was a particularly tough year on our streets. And we need to make sure that we’re actually trying to achieve that Vision Zero,” Toronto City Councillor Mike Layton said at FFSS’s launch. “And if we’re not getting there – and obviously we seem to be going in the opposite direction – then we need to do something about that.”

As an experienced Oakville automobile accident lawyer will understand, a serious personal injury can impact all facets of a person’s life. Besides advocating for improved road safety regulations, Friends and Families for Safe Streets will also provide emotional support to people who have lost friends or family to traffic accidents. Losing a loved one under sudden circumstances presents a litany of challenges, including navigating Ontario’s complicated legal and insurance landscapes.

How can an Oakville automobile accident lawyer help?

Traffic accidents are extremely common: there have been approximately 60,000 traffic collisions in Toronto this year, each with the potential to cause serious injury or death. When you or a member of your family is injured in a traffic accident, it is important to immediately contact an experienced Oakville automobile accident lawyer to discuss the protections and potential compensations available to you. A personal injury lawyer can help you access funds to cover lost wages, medical treatment and rehabilitation services and, if necessary attendant care. Because of the complexity of Ontario’s legal and insurance landscape, accident victims can benefit greatly from the help of an injury lawyer.

If you or a member or someone you love has been hurt in an traffic accident, contact an Oakville automobile accident lawyer at Will Davidson LLP today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

Why Hire an Oakville Personal Injury Lawyer?

As Toronto grows into a world class metropolis, individuals living outside the city’s core are flocking downtown in search of the best quality legal representation. However, the best representation can often be found closer to home: if you or someone you love has suffered a serious injury, consider hiring a local Oakville personal injury lawyer for the following reasons:

Location and Cost

When a person suffers an injury, they will often seek out a sense of resolution or closure, which can be achieved, in part, through a monetary award. Effective legal representation is essential to reaching this sense of resolution, but high-quality representation can be expensive: disbursement fees, which clients are ultimately responsible for paying, are incurred throughout the legal process, and can have reduce the sense of satisfaction that a positive outcome might bring. By selecting a lawyer located nearby a local courthouse, clients can ensure minimal travel times on motions, hearing, and other court proceedings, thereby keeping costs low. Will Davidson’s Oakville offices are ideally located within a half-hour commute to courthouses in Milton, Brampton, Toronto, and Hamilton.

Convenience

Unfortunately, personal injury claims require more from injury victims than simply retaining a lawyer and waiting for their case to be resolved. Rather, litigants’ involvement is often required throughout the proceedings, including during initial client intake interviews, examinations for discovery, settlement meetings, mediation, and arbitration. Between these stages, clients often meet regularly with their lawyers to assess changes, prepare for different stages of litigation, and discuss the status of their case. Clients can save time and money by selecting a local Oakville personal injury lawyer.

Familiarity with Court Procedures

Procedures for attendance at different stages of litigation such as trial scheduling, motions, pre-trials, and filing materials may vary by courthouse. Failure to properly comply with relevant court procedures can result in costly mistakes, and can hurt the client’s chances of obtaining an expeditious judgment. An Oakville personal injury lawyer is more likely to be familiar with local courthouses’ unique procedures, ensuring your case is litigated in the most efficient and effective possible manner.

Investigating your Case

A strong personal injury case requires a thorough investigation of the parties involved and the circumstances leading to the injuries, and identifying who should be held responsible. A local Oakville personal injury lawyer is more likely to be familiar with the location and parties involved in the dispute, and is therefore better positioned to earn their clients the resolution they seek. By hiring a local lawyer, injury victims are also hiring the unique experiences and relationships that lawyer has within the community.

Personal Injury Experience

In the legal world, your reputation is everything. When commencing a lawsuit in a small legal community like Oakville, hiring an experienced, well-respected personal injury lawyer is critical. A local Oakville personal injury lawyer with a strong reputation will be able to command greater authority when advocating on your behalf.

If you or a member of your family has been injured and is considering bringing a personal injury claim, contact an experienced Oakville personal injury lawyer at Will Davidson today. We will be pleased to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation.

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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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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Will Davidson: Personal injury law firm in Oakville.

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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When Poor Road Conditions Cause Car Accidents: What You Can Do

Poor road conditions, potholes and prevention

Have you been in a car accident caused by poor road conditions?

Poor road conditions cause up to 10% of car accidents.

Pothole Dufferin St Toronto
Pothole on Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario

While 90% of car accidents are caused by driver error, the other 10% are caused by poor road conditions such as potholes, erosion, shoulder drop-offs, missing guardrails, lack of maintenance and bad design. These accidents can cause car damage, serious personal injury and even death. In situations where poor road conditions led to a car accident, who is responsible?

In Ontario, responsibility for road conditions is shared between municipalities and the province. Municipalities are responsible for maintaining city streets. The Province of Ontario is responsible for maintaining provincial highways, such as the 400-series highways (401, 400, QEW, etc.) and smaller numbered highways (11, 35, 169, etc.). Provinces and municipalities are permitted to hire agencies and contractors to maintain roads and deal with poor road conditions. If your car was damaged or you suffered personal injury as a result of poor road conditions, it may be possible to bring a claim again the entities the city or province hired to complete the maintenance as well.

If you were involved in a car accident caused by poor road conditions a number of elements will have to be proven in order for liability to be found:

  1. First, it will be essential to show that the poor road conditions actually caused damage to the car and/or personal injury. In doing so, any arguments that the driver’s poor driving or other condition (such as weather) caused the accident will have to be dispelled.
  2. Second, it must be shown that the municipality or province (or the agency they hired) had a duty to maintain the road in question and keep it safe.
  3. Third, you must demonstrate that the municipality, province and/or agency were negligent in preventing and/or dealing with poor road conditions and maintaining the road. In some situations, it may also be incumbent on the plaintiff to show that the municipality, province and/or agency had a duty to warn drivers of poor road conditions where they presented a danger to drivers.

If you are considering suing a municipality, province or agency for damages for personal injury or damage to your vehicle due to poor road conditions, is very important to remember that there is a two year limitation period within which you must bring your claim. The two year limitation period generally starts on the day the car accident occurred. After this two-year period is up, you will not be permitted to make a personal injury claim.

One way we can all make the roads safer for everyone is to report poor road conditions to the municipality or province, as the case may be. Most municipalities have a 311 number people can call to report poor road conditions such as potholes, missing guard rails and road erosion. When calling about a pothole, be prepared to give the exact location of the pothole and a description of it. You can also report potholes to your local CAA branch or online at their website.

If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury or damage to a vehicle in a car accident where poor road conditions are a factor, please contact our Oakville personal injury law firm for more information about personal injury sustained due to poor road conditions.

 If you’re curious, here are the Top 10 Worst Roads in Ontario (2014), according to a CAA poll:

  1. Dufferin Street (Toronto)
  2. Stanley Avenue (Niagara Falls)
  3. Kipling Avenue (Toronto)
  4. Finch Avenue West (Toronto)
  5. Burlington Street East (Hamilton)
  6. Bayview Avenue (Toronto)
  7. Carling Avenue (Ottawa)
  8. Markham Road (Toronto)
  9. Lawrence Avenue East (Toronto)
  10. Wilson Avenue (Toronto)

Source: CAA

 

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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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