Are Changes Coming to Ontario’s Slip and Fall Laws?

A Progressive Conservative (PC) politician has proposed changes to the rules around slip and fall lawsuits involving snow and ice in Ontario. Bill 118, sponsored by Parry Sound–Muskoka MPP Norman Miller, would update the Occupiers’ Liability Act and compel plaintiffs in slip and fall cases to notify defendants of their intention to sue within 10 days of the accident. The provincial NDPs and several slip and fall lawyers have criticized the proposal.

Today, personal injury victims in Ontario have two years from the time of their accident to initiate a civil lawsuit. This grace period provides time to seek medical care, pursue rehabilitation, assess financial needs, and decide whether a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate. Reducing the grace period puts potentially-traumatized injury victims on the hot seat and may limit their ability to pursue a lawsuit.

“How is the customer who slips and falls in the parking lot of a strip mall supposed to find out the landlord’s name and address within the time frame?” asked Tom Rakocevic, NDP critic for Government Services and Consumer Protection, according to Canadian Underwriter. “That information is not readily, and certainly not publicly, available, as in the case of municipalities, except to a small segment of industry insiders who work in real estate.”

“A 10-day notice to serve is simply not an adequate time frame, especially for those who have been injured and may be dealing with doctors’ appointments and medical treatments,” added NDP deputy leader Sara Singh.

But the Bill’s sponsor believes changes are necessary to protect businesses in the province. MPP Miller argued that snow removal contractors and other seasonal service providers sometimes have difficulty purchasing insurance due to delayed personal injury claims.

“In many cases, as soon as there is compensation involved for clearing snow, a company’s premiums increase significantly,” Miller said. “This comes from the insurance company’s fear of having to cover potential lawsuits as far as one or even two years into the future.”

The plan would allow businesses to maintain records and preserve evidence following an accident, the Bill’s supporters argue. It would also allow plaintiffs who miss the 10-day window to pursue their claim provided they have a “reasonable excuse.”

While private member’s bills are rarely passed into law, slip and fall lawyers and opposition politicians have reason to be concerned in this case. According to Canadian Underwriter, most PC MPPs ‘spoke generally in favour’ of the bill.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Will Davidson LLP today to learn how our team of experienced Oakville slip and fall lawyers can help.

Weather Causes Lawsuit Landslide in Windsor

An “unprecedented” number of damages claims were filed against the City of Windsor last year, with most of the increase attributable to pothole claims and slip and fall injuries. The city awarded very few payouts, however; lawsuits against municipalities are often uphill battles for plaintiffs, as any slip and fall lawyer can attest.

“When we’re assessing a claim and whether or not to pay it, we look at: were we acting reasonably, did we do everything we could have done in the circumstances,” deputy city solicitor Dana Paladino told the Windsor Star in April. Plaintiffs in these cases must prove that the municipality was negligent in its duties, a difficult claim to substantiate.

The City of Windsor received 185 claims for damages relating to potholes in 2018, up from 51 the year before. It also received 37 slip and fall claims, up from 22. The slip and fall claims were of more concern to the city: pothole damages usually range from $500 to $1,000; slip and fall damages are generally much higher.

Indeed, of the $2.5-million that the city paid to claimants last year, 37 per cent went to slip and fall victims and 29 per cent went to trip and fall victims. Just five per cent addressed property damages.

What caused the sudden surge of lawsuits? The city blames the weather.

“We’re unfortunate in that we’re probably in the worse weather zone in North America for freeze/thaw cycles,” city engineer Mark Winterton told the Star. “That’s a recipe for a pothole, numerous freeze/thaw cycles.”

Wild temperature fluctuation in February and March also caused sidewalks to become extremely slippery, which led to the uptick in slip and fall claims.

Even with extreme weather causing hazardous conditions, every slip and fall lawyer recognizes the challenges of lawsuits against municipalities. Ontario’s cities and towns are hard-pressed to maintain roads and sidewalks during the winter. High-density and high traffic neighbourhoods must be prioritized, which leads to safety risks in other areas. If a person is injured due to a slippery sidewalk in a low-priority zone, they have little legal recourse.

If you or a member of your family have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Will Davidson LLP’s Oakville Lawyers to speak with an experienced slip and fall lawyer today. Our team can assess the viability of your claim and lay out your legal options. Contact us today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

Image credit: SmartSign/Flickr

Winter’s over; slip and fall season is not

With winter now over, it’s tempting to assume that slip and fall injuries will decrease across Canada. But as every slip and fall lawyer knows, new risk factors emerge with every season.

The tiny State of Vermont, home to just over 620,000 people, recorded 5,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths due to falls in 2018. The state’s harsh winters contributed to part of that total, but health officials say most falls occur during the spring.

“People don’t necessarily fall in the wintertime,” said Tanya Wells, injury prevention chief at the Vermont Department of Health, to WCAX. “What happens is they stay inside all winter, they get weak, they don’t get the vitamin D from the sun and they come out in the spring and summer and have a fall.”

Other springtime risk factors include unpredictable weather such as heavy rain; dangerous road and sidewalk conditions caused by winter weather and temperature fluctuations; and debris on road surfaces caused by a combination of the two. All of these factors are also common in Ontario.

Another reason for Vermont’s elevated slip and fall numbers is the age of the population. Vermont is a popular retirement destination, and seniors are at increased risk of both falling and sustaining serious injuries from falls. Ontario’s population is also aging, as every slip and fall lawyer knows, and may be fearful of suffering a slip and fall injury.

Worried about a fall? Here’s what to do.

As Wells noted to WCAX, “people who are afraid to fall are actually at a higher risk to fall.”

If you feel at risk of suffering a slip and fall injury, it may be useful to take some precautionary measures. First, arrange a visit to your doctor. They can help assess your fall risk and suggest exercises, procedures, or medications to improve your safety.

Next, develop a plan to follow in case of a fall. Ask neighbours, family or friends to check in if they haven’t heard from you in a while, and make sure you have a way to get in touch with someone if a fall should occur.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you don’t feel confident about descending a flight of stairs in public, ask for a hand from a bystander. If you’re not sure you can walk to the grocery store or post office, ask for a drive from a friend.

Contact Will Davidson LLP if you’re injured in a fall.

If you suffer an injury in a fall, contact Will Davidson LLP to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced slip and fall lawyer. Our team will determine the viability of your claim and assemble a plan to help you access compensation.

In Ontario, summertime is “trauma season”

Winter’s in Ontario are rough, but provincial medical workers know that summer is peak time for serious injuries. A May report from CBC News London confirmed what every catastrophic injury lawyer in Ontario knows: pleasant weather leads to an uptick in personal injury inquiries.

“We consider trauma season from May to September when more people are out on bicycles and in cars enjoying the weather,” Amy Makish, a trauma nurse practitioner at the London Health Science Centre, told the CBC. “We have a trauma registry that goes across Canada and we see what other centres are dealing with and the trends are the same.”

During the winter, motorists are keenly aware of the dangers they face and often drive more defensively. Inclement weather also tends to keep pedestrians indoors and cyclists off the roads. But when summer rolls around, Ontario’s streets and waterways spring to life, leading to a spike in injuries caused by motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, boating accidents, and car accidents.

“During trauma season, we get a lot of brain injuries, rib fractures, long bone fractures and it usually involves injuries to more than one part of the body,” Makish said.

So, how can summertime injuries be avoided? Doctors generally offer the same message as any catastrophic injury lawyer: take simple, common sense steps to protect yourself from grievous harm.

For car drivers, that means avoiding distraction and impairment; adhering to the rules of the road, especially the speed limit; and always wearing a seatbelt. The same goes for motorcyclists, who should also wear as much protective gear as possible.

As recent events in Toronto make clear, cyclists are at particular risk of injury during the summer months. Safety experts advise taking advantage of separated cycling infrastructure; ensuring bicycles are equipped with lights, bells, and reflectors; and always – always – wearing a helmet.

Similarly, boaters should never leave land without a life jacket and avoid boating while impaired at all costs.

Summertime in Ontario is all too short, so it’s natural that Ontarians are eager to get outside and enjoy the sun. By taking common sense precautions, you can ensure that your summer is as safe as it is fun.

If you or a member of your family has suffered a serious injury, contact Will Davidson LLP’s Oakville office today to arrange a consultation with an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer. Our team can help you understand your legal options, suggest proactive next steps, and guide you on your road to recovery.

 

Image credit: Josh Evnin/Wikimedia Commons

Winter has arrived! Here’s how to stay safe.

Oakville, like the rest of Canada, is prone to bad weather during the winter months. And while seasonal variety is part of the unique charm of Ontario living, there’s no denying that winter brings with it certain health risks. Slick roads and holiday driving are a recipe for traffic disaster, and icy sidewalks cause innumerable slip-and-fall incidents between December and March.

There are steps you can take to avoid injuries this season and, if a winter accident can’t be avoided, you can always contact an Oakville personal injury lawyer at Will Davidson LLP.

Driving

Drivers can take a number of precautions to ensure they get through the winter safely, and chief among those is equipping your car with winter tires. Thanks to their far superior traction compared to all-season tires, winter tires allow you to brake, turn, and accelerate more reliably in slippery conditions.

“Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that actually touches road in winter,” Michelin expert Carl Nadeau told the Globe and Mail in a recent article. “Making sure your vehicle is equipped with the right set of winter tires is integral to your road safety.”

Although most Canadians take the installation of winter tires for granted, a significant number fail to equip their cars come December. According to Michelin, as many as one in three Canadian vehicles rely on all-season tires throughout the winter months.

Even with winter tires, drivers should exercise extreme caution on the roads, especially during bad weather. Richard Warrington, an advanced driving instructor from Comox, BC, told the Globe and Mail that simply slowing down can make you significantly safer.

“Everything needs to slow down,” he said. “It’s not just speed, it’s the way you handle the controls. You don’t accelerate as fast on snow or ice. You don’t brake as hard.”

Outside of the vehicle

Drivers aren’t the only ones at risk of injury during the winter months. According to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab), Ontario emergency rooms treat approximately 21,000 patients with slip-and-fall injuries every winter. And while slipping on ice can seem like a minor incident, there can be serious repercussions, especially for elderly people. If you’ve experienced a slip-and-fall injury, you should contact a Will Davidson Oakville personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

“It’s nasty if your break your hip,” said Toronto Rehab research director Geoff Fernie told the National Post. “You may never be mobile again if you’re older. With head injuries, some people die of it.”

Indeed, a recent Toronto Public Health report revealed that more than 40 per cent of people aged 35-39, and 60 per cent of people 60 or older stay indoors more often as a way to cope with dangerous winter weather.

“A lot of elderly people choose not to go out,” Fernie said. “So they get no exercise and they get depressed and isolated.”

In an effort to get more people outside, Toronto Rehab has developed a rating system to measure the slip-resistance of winter boots.

“For the first time, consumers will have winter slip resistance ratings available when they purchase winter footwear,” the Institute announced. The system uses the innovative “snowflake scale” to rate the boots: if the boot can grip an incline of seven degrees, it is rated one snowflake; if it can climb an 11 degree incline, it earns two snowflakes.

“These people are very seriously on to something,” remarked Barry Wellar, emeritus professor of urban transportation at the University of Ottawa, to the National Post. “Not everybody has proper footwear. They may think they have, but they don’t.”

How can an Oakville personal injury lawyer help?

Whether you have been injured in a winter driving accident or a seemingly innocuous slip-and-fall incident, you may be entitled to compensation to facilitate your recovery. If you have been involved in an accident, contact an Oakville personal injury lawyer today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.

Personal Injuries Can Impact The Entire Family

Family Law Claims

When you sustain a personal injury from a car accident, slip and fall or other accident, your injury can be detrimental to your normal lifestyle. However, those close to you may also be gravely impacted due to an injury that you sustained, despite them not being physically injured. It is because of this, that close family members have the option to bring forth a claim under the Family Law Act (FLA) to receive compensation for what they too have been put through because of their loved one’s injury from a car accident, slip and fall or other accident.

For instance, if you are in a car accident and suffer an injury which results in chronic pain, you may not have the same abilities as you once had.  In this example, your spouse may be required to take on extra responsibilities within the home. Additionally, your relationship may suffer or change due to the injuries you sustained in the car accident. If this is the case, your spouse would be able to make a claim under section 61 of the FLA, which can be summarized as follows: This section allows a spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of the person injured to recover damages for expenses incurred by them for their loved one’s injury, travel expenses, housekeeping and nursing services and compensation for the loss of guidance, care and companionship that the claimant might reasonably have expected to receive from the person with the injury, if the injury from the accident had not occurred.

In the recent case of Lee v. Toronto District School Board, et al. 2013 ONSC 3085 (CanLII), a little boy was severely injured in a school ground accident by another child. The boy’s parents and sister claimed under the family law act for an amount to compensate for the loss of guidance, care and companionship that the claimant might reasonably have expected to receive from the person if the injury from the accident had not occurred. The judge fixed the damages for the claimants at $50,000.00 for each parent and $30,000.00 for the sister.

Another example of an FLA claim occurs in the 2009 case of Degenarro v. Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. The plaintiff suffered an injury after an accident in a hospital was caused by a faulty bed. Her condition caused stressed in her marriage and relationships with her children which were unlikely to improve. The plaintiff’s husband was awarded $65,000.00 and her two sons were awarded $25,000.00 each for loss of guidance, care and companionship

Loss of guidance, care and companionship can mean the loss of contribution that the loved one that sustained the injury in an accident can no longer provide. It could also mean that the loved one’s relationships with his or her spouse and children have been negatively impacted. Perhaps a spouse can no longer be intimate with their partner, or a mother can no longer be attentive to their child; these are both examples of circumstances that may warrant an FLA claim. If you have questions about what your options are due to a personal injury that has befallen you or a loved one from an accident, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm about your legal rights and your family members’ legal rights.

 

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Halloween horrors-slip and falls and accidents that lead to frightening injuries

Halloween accidents causing injury

On Halloween, children and adults alike will be wandering about in frightening costumes looking to receive delicious treats and provide a few “scares”. You may expect to jump from an actor causing horror and to see lots of fake blood, but it is important to ensure that you stick to the fake stuff and not have to worry about real injuries and real blood that may occur from a slip and fall or other accident.

A slip and fall can happen at any time or any place and injuries can be quite futile, but also extremely dangerous. Nobody wants to see a true Halloween horror occur, but it is important to understand what may happen if you slip and fall as you are roaming around to different neighbors’ houses collecting goodies. It is not only your neighbor, as an occupier of the property, that has responsibility (a duty of care) to reasonably ensure people on their property are kept safe from a slip and fall, but you the patron, visitor, pedestrian or even the trick-or-treater, have a responsibility to be careful too.  If you are injured in a slip and fall, you must prove that there was a dangerous condition and that dangerous condition caused you to slip and fall. You must also prove that the owner was aware of this dangerous condition and had the chance to reasonably fix the danger. Dangerous conditions can be many of a thing, but some include an uneven sidewalk, ice on the walkway that has not been attempted to be remedied or a dangerous object lying on the ground.

Jack O LanternAnother Halloween horror, that has been an increasing problem, is the danger of haunted hay ride accidents. Whether a horse is spooked, or you are spooked and fall off the hayride, they can be a dangerous activity. Only a couple of weeks ago, 5 teenagers were injured in a hay ride accident in Alabama. There is always a risk of an accident when partaking in these types of rides; however, if there has been negligence on the part of the hay ride owners or drivers, as to the trail they use and the manner in which the ride is operated, there could be a case to be made. Currently, in Michigan, a lady who was operating the hay ride tractor had an accident, fell and became paralyzed. She has begun a law suit for compensation for her injuries from the accident. According to CBS Detroit, the claim may include that the trail the hay ride took was down a dangerous and steep hill with uneven grounds which caused the accident. If this case does not go through workers compensation, this is one of the factors that the Plaintiff will argue was an act of negligence on behalf of the Defendant.

A final Halloween horror can happen as you are being terrified at a Haunted house. In the case of Deborah Mays v. Gretna Athletic Boosters Inc., the Plaintiff went to a haunted house for a fright, but ended up with an injury: a broken and bleeding nose. The Plaintiff got so spooked that she ran directly into a cinder block wall. In this case, the Defendant was not responsible for the Plaintiff’s injury. The haunted house was not unreasonably dangerous, nor was the Defendant’s actions unreasonable, since the Plaintiff presumably went to the haunted house for a good scare, which is what she got.

Whether you are trick-or-treating on your neighbors’ properties, or taking part in Halloween adventures that cause you to have a slip and fall or other accident, it is important for you to take the proper precautions to ensure your own safety. However, if someone else has not taken the proper and reasonable precautions to ensure your safety and a slip and fall or accident occurs, you may have questions about what your legal options are. If you or a loved one has sustained personal injury from a slip and fall or another accident, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury law firm about your legal rights. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

 

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Distracted Driving Accident taken to New Heights

Texting while Driving interferes with driver multitasking

The statistics on distracted driving car accidents throughout North America are quite horrendous.  In the United States it’s estimated that approximately 5,400 people lost their lives in distracted driving car accidents in 2009. It’s further estimated that nearly half a million others suffered injuries in car accidents involving distracted driving.   In a recently released statement by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) we learned that we are 23 times more likely to be involved in a car accident if we text while driving and four times more likely if we talk on a cellphone (hand-held or hands-free) while driving. The IBC also told us that distracted drivers experience the same level of impairment as someone man driving and using cell phonewith a blood-alcohol content of .08 and that distracted driving is estimated to be a contributing factor in eight out of 10 police-reported car accidents. Distracted driving could be described as any type of activity that takes your attention away as a driver which takes away from the responsibility of controlling your car – thereby causing a car accident.  Distracted driving can be caused by a hand held devices such as a cell phone, smart phone or iPod but also caused by hand held GPS’, eating or drinking, watching a video, reading a map on your iPhone or even something as simple as putting on makeup.

In 2011 texting and driving was taken to new heights.  A recent NTSB investigation showed that a pilot that was flying a medic helicopter in Missouri was highly distracted from texting.  The NTSB documented 240 text messages sent and received by the pilot during his day shift leading up to the accident.   Right before the accident there was 20 recorded texts.  The distraction from texting prevented the pilot from taking off without enough fuel and without knowing he did not have enough fuel reserves.  The pilot also failed to properly perform a manoeuvre that could have possibly allowed a soft landing after the engine quit but he was not sufficiently trained to do so.  The NTSB found that the pilot had missed three opportunities or checks to discover that he did not have enough fuel and that he could have possibly made an emergency landing minutes before the crash.  The NTSB was unsure if he was texting during the flight or texting during the moments before the crash.  This unfortunate accident killed a patient that was being transported from one hospital to another as well as a paramedic and flight nurse.  This was the first time the NTSB had recorded a Smartphone device causing or contributing to a fatal commercial accident.

Distracted Driving Accidents

This is an extreme example of distracted driving although quite seminal for the fact that it  was the first recorded air crash which was caused or contributed to by being distracted by texting.  Texting was thought to have interfered with the pilot’s multitasking requirements to ensure flight safety.  Quite similarly distracted driving has become a major threat on Ontario’s roadways and a main contributor of car accidents.  Driving also requires multitasking and those who use hand-free devices, speech-to-text technology, texting while driving or emailing requires a technological “tunnel vision” level of concentration that prevents drivers from taking in the visual information of their surroundings.  Being distracted while driving with a Smartphone or any hand held device causes a fundamental constraint that limits ones ability to drive and cause deadly car accidents.  Unfortunately people are still disobeying the law in droves and car accidents keep happening.

If you have been the victim injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver you have legal rights.  Please contact our Oakville car accident law firm for more information.

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High tech fishing expedition?

Insurance Companies & Plaintiff Facebook Photos – an Argument that Never Ends.

Car accident victims often face an uphill battle when seeking compensation for their injuries. As specialists representing car accident victims we try our best to place our clients injuries within a realistic range of compensation – and then advocate to get our clients into the higher end of the range. Contrarily, insurance companies advocate that the particular car accident victim’s injuries should be assessed in a lower range of compensation. Insurers often advocate that a plaintiff’s injuries may not seem as serious as the victim explains and that the victim does not suffer from a substantial  loss of enjoyment of life. One of the ways insurers do this is to try to often access (by direct access or by undertaking) a plaintiff’s Facebook profile or Facebook photos.

dislike facebook stampIn the recent case of Garacci vs. Ross the insurance company sought production of approximately 1100 photos located on the private portion of a car accident victim’s facebook profile. The plaintiff, Christina, was hit by a car while walking in January 2008. As a result she claimed compensation for serious injuries she sustained her left leg and ankle including a fracture to the ankle.

During her discovery (which is a questioning period under oath – but not in court) the car accident victim told the insurer for the driver that the accident had prevented her from enjoying her life and activities that she previously did before she was hurt. For example, after the accident she was unable to pursue activities such as soccer, waterskiing, competitive dancing and snowboarding. Her recreational and social life was affected. With this, she did not claim that she was totally disabled and did say that she went swimming at her cottage, she went to the gym, she traveled to Mexico and attended concerts.

The insurance company requested photographs that they believe were relevant to the issue of Christina’s loss of enjoyment of life. They argued to the judge that there was about 12 photos of Christina found on her public Facebook profile which showed her socializing with friends, having dinner and drinks, kneeling on the ground, climbing a tree and wrestling a friend to the ground. It was argued that if these pictures were available to the public that there must be other similar photographs depicting Christina doing some of these activities and the other 1100 pictures.

The judge found that the public photographs really didn’t show the car accident victim engaging in any kind of significant physical activity. The judge said that for the most part, Christina appeared to be simply socializing with friends and having a good time. The photos were consistent with her evidence. The judge degree with the insurance company that there may be some relevance to any of Christina’s private photographs that she engaged in significant physical activity, especially of the nature she says she is unable to enjoy. However, the judge also noted that Christina’s law firm reviewed all 1100 photos and there was nothing showing any type of physical activity. In addition, the judge reviewed approximately 10% of the 1100 photographs sought by the insurance company and he also confirmed that none of those photographs depicted Christina engaging in any significant physical activity.  The judge noted that some photos showed Christina socializing with friends, sitting in chairs, fishing, pumping gas, having a beer at a party and other low impact activities. Most of the photos are from the waist up.

It was found by the court that the request by the insurance company amounted to nothing more than a “high tech fishing expedition” and that in his view they simply wanted to rummage through 1100 personal photos to see if something turned up. This was not an appropriate or proportional form of discovery.

 

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Car Accident Victim nets 140K in compensation.

Nurse nets 140k in damages for car accident related injuries

Ms. Guzman was a licensed practical nurse when she was involved in a car accident on April 26, 2011. She was t-boned by a driver that ran a red light. She was alone in her car and wearing her seatbelt at the time of her car accident. She was taken by the ambulance to the hospital and released a few hours later.  car accident emergency crewMs. Guzman testified at her trial that she suffered injuries to her neck, left upper shoulder, left elbow, right forearm, and both of her lower legs in the car accident. What was primarily in dispute was the accuracy ever complained of ongoing pain and discomfort and the extent to which the injuries have affected her ability to work.

At the time of the accident Ms. Guzman was 53 years old, single ended not have any dependents. She lived with her younger sister who is employed as a care worker. She enjoyed cooking, working, socializing with friends and various other social activities. She described that the car accident has had interfered with her work and personal life. She was off work after the car accident for approximately 10 months. She then returned on a gradual return to work program and resume full-time employment. She testified that although she return to full-time work she found that the work was much more difficult than it was prior to her car accident. She no longer had the energy to do many of the things she used to do both at and away from work. She attended rehabilitation therapy for several years until she reached the plateau. She remained anxious about driving and being involved in other car accidents.

Various of friends, coworkers and doctors testified in this case. Most testified that Ms. Guzman no longer display the same energy and enthusiasm for work and happiness for life as she did prior to the car accident.

Various doctors testified that there was a risk that Ms. Guzman would not be a will to continue in her capacity as a nurse for the balance of her work life. Some physicians agreed that it was too early to say definitely as the remained a chance of further improvement.

Recommendations were made that included ongoing physiotherapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture. Psychological counseling was also recommended.

Car Accident Injury Award

The court explained the purpose of non-pecuniary general damages in it’s decision. These damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff’s pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the car accident. The award, as the court explained, was to compensate the plaintiff for the damages they suffered up to the date of trial and for the damages will suffer into the future. There are factors to be considered when awarding non-pecuniary general damages such as (no-nexhaustively) the age of the plaintiff, the nature of the injury, severity and duration of the pain, the degree of disability, the impairment family, marital, and social relationships and loss of lifestyle. It is also influenced by the individual plaintiff’s personal experiences in dealing with injuries and their consequence. The judge in this case found that a fair and reasonable award of compensation for pain and suffering in this car accident case was $50,000.

The court also explored a past economic loss. Past economic loss is to compensate the plaintiff for what he or she actually lost as a result of the car accident. In this case, Ms.Guzman had to use time from her sick bank. The judge found that to only compensate her for the net amount of her sick bank time would result in deductions being taken from her twice – now and then later when she used them in the future. This is because when she does use replenish sick bank time, she will have income tax and other deductions taken from her by her employer and would only receive the net income amount. The judge awarded past wage loss in the amount of nearly $46,000.

The court also considered future wage loss and the loss of future earning capacity. A claim for future loss of earning capacity, as the court explained, raised two key questions. Number one, whether or not the  plaintiff’s earning capacity had been impaired by his or her injuries caused in the car accident and number two, what compensation should be awarded for the financial harm that will accrue over time as a result. The essential task of the court is to compare the likelihood that the plaintiff’s future working life (that she would have had, had the accident not occurred) to the working life and losses that she may reasonably sustain as a result of the car accident. This is a matter of judgment based on the evidence and is not a pure mathematical calculation. The court noted that the appropriate means of assessment will vary from case to case.  The judge found that the plaintiff had proven on a real and substantial possibility basis that her income capacity was impaired by the car accident and awarded her $20,000 in past losses.

The court also explored a claim for future care costs as a result of the car accident. Future care is compensation for the cost of care that somebody would incur in the future as a result of their car accident injuries. The court found that a fair and reasonable award for future care for rehabilitation as well as some counseling was $16,000.

The court also looked at special damages. In this case these were mainly out-of-pocket expenses. The court awarded $6500 to reimburse her for physiotherapy and massage paid out-of-pocket. In total, this car accident victim was awarded $130,000.

If you have been in a car accident you have rights. Unfortunately our Ontario car accident laws place strict timelines on various applications and processes that an injured victim can make. Please talk to one of our lawyers and learn what your rights of recovery may be if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident. We specialize in complex and critical personal injury law and would be pleased to explain your rights to you at no obligation.

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