Am I Liable If My Dog Bites Someone?

Being a dog owner is a responsibility – that’s something that you need to take into account. You are personally liable for the conduct of your pet and you need to ensure that it’s properly taught to behave. This is especially true when you go ahead and take your pet outside for a walk out in the public. With this in mind, there are quite a lot of things that you might want to take into account when your dog attacks another person or an animal. Read More

6 FAQ’s regarding Long-Term Disability Insurance

One of the more common personal injury claims in the Greater Toronto Area is those for long-term disability insurance benefits.  Disabilities, whether they have developed over a long period of time or are sustained suddenly and unexpectedly, can cause emotional, mental, and physical trauma.  More importantly, they can financially devastate a family.  These are frightening circumstances, especially if the injured person is the sole provider of the household.


The primary benefit of having a personal injury lawyer advocate on your behalf is that they are there to bear your burden so you don’t have to.  You’re already overwhelmed with countless documents and tons of paperwork.  So you certainly don’t need to have any more stress and worry piled on you during your recovery.  An experienced personal injury lawyer in Waterloo can gives you a better chance of getting the compensation you’re entitled to, and can help you navigate through the legal process.


Listed below is a compilation of the 6 most commonly asked questions regarding long-term disability insurance:


·         What is long-term disability insurance? This provides claimants with a percentage of their wages in the event that they are injured or get sick and are unable to work.  Those benefits can help you pay for monthly bills, medical care and treatment, recovery and rehabilitation costs, and other household expenses.


·         Can insurance companies use surveillance legally? Surprisingly, YES they can.  They do this in order to determine if you are really injured as seriously as you say you are.  But mostly, they use surveillance to discredit your case.  The best move you can make is to be 100% honest about everything.


·         How do long-term and short-term disability insurances differ? While long-term disability insurance provides financial coverage over the long-term when you are left permanently disabled and can no longer work.  Conversely, short-term disability covers you when you are temporarily unable to work due to your injuries or sickness. It is temporary financial assistance.


·         How long does it take to resolve my claim? On average, it will take between 1 and 2 years for a long-term disability claim to be resolved.  Remember, long-term disability claims are about compensation, not your pain and suffering. You might need to consider that.


·         What disabilities qualify me for long-term benefits? In most personal injury cases, the type of injury or sickness you’ve sustained really won’t matter provided you lack the ability to perform your job.


·         What if my long-term disability benefits get denied? The first step is to sit down and consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.  The first step is to determine the reason for the denial.  Once the lawyer has narrowed it down to the main reasons you got denied, he or she will develop the game plan.


In any event, this will give you a much better chance of getting your long-term disability benefits and ensure your rights are protected. Talk with a personal injury lawyer in Oakville for better information.

3 Primary Reasons why some Motor Vehicle Accidents are the Basis for a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The primary responsibility of a personal injury lawyer is to advocate on behalf of those individuals that have been injured in an accident caused by another party.  Many of these cases are attributed to the careless, negligent, or reckless behavior of someone else and the injury victim or plaintiff is oftentimes entitled to compensation.  Many of these injuries, especially those resulting from motor vehicle accidents, are oftentimes life-altering and the individual may be permanently disabled as a result.


Consequently, many personal injury lawyers in the Greater Toronto Area feel that more needs to be done in order to prevent needless injuries and fatalities.  Fortunately, the Provincial Government recently passed Bill 31 or the “Making Ontario Roads Safer Act.”  A portion of the bill targets distracted driving and has increased fines from $200 to $490 as a result.  Furthermore, the guilty driver will receive up to three demerit points if they are convicted of distracted driving. This is a serious offence and accidents can turn deadly in minutes.


Where driver distraction is concerned, statistics have clearly revealed that a significant percentage of motor vehicle accidents are attributed to the 3 types of driver distractions that are listed below:


Cell phone/smartphone usage – while certain mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets have an important role in our day-to-day lives, they are one of the 3 most common distractions that lead to motor vehicle accidents.  Even though hands-free devices are available, they still come with certain risks attached.  The key is to finish any important conversation you may be having before you start driving.  Better yet, set your phone on silent or turn it off when you get into your vehicle.


Drinking and eating or grooming – think of all the times you’ve been driving to work and you notice that the driver in the lane next to you is either drinking their coffee with a croissant breakfast sandwich.  Maybe you’ve seen a woman doing her make-up as she is driving.  Granted, these are all important.  However, it’s best to do this at home before leaving.  Stop taking risks.  Set your alarm clock 15 to 20 minutes earlier so you can do these things before getting on the road.


Kids in the car – parents can truly appreciate this one considering there is a separate set of distractions for each child that rides in the vehicle with them.  From riding with a crying infant or toddler to responding to a barrage of:  “Are we there yet’s?”, “He (or she) hit me’s!”, “I need to use the bathroom’s.”, “I’m hungry’s.”, “I’m gonna be sick’s.”, and on and on and on.  If you reach in the bag next to you or your purse to quiet them with a snack or reach around to quell the fight in the back seat, you put everyone at risk.

Understanding More About Different Grades Of Traumatic Brain Injuries

One of the most common types of catastrophic injuries resulting from causes enveloped by personal injury law is those to the brain. However, you have to understand that your brain is a particularly complex organ and it’s impossible to define one type of damage and be done with it. Different injuries are going to have different grades based on the severity. With this in mind, it’s important to know that they would all be looked at differently from the perspective of the law and this is going to have a significant impact on the overall outcome of the trial. So, without any further ado, let’s see the three grades of brain injuries.

Mild Brain Injuries

A mild injury to the brain is one which is usually associated with a loss of consciousness for a few seconds, maximum up to a few minutes. However, if there isn’t a loss of consciousness, mild brain injuries include are indicative if you feel confused, disoriented or dazed, for instance. Other symptoms of this type of brain injuries include drowsiness, dizziness, over sensitivity to sounds and lights or having trouble concentrated. This is usually an injury which results from accidents which aren’t as impactful. They are less likely to receive significant compensation as a result of a trial but they should definitely be addressed.

Moderate brain injuries

A moderate brain injury could be constituted as one which is associated with loss of consciousness for several minutes to a few hours. Of course, there is a fine line that has to be drawn here. There are moderate injuries and then there are traumatic ones which are even more severe. Moderate injuries are characterized with vomiting, sever confusion and terrible headaches. These are usually going to be subjected to considerable compensation and they should most certainly get examined on the shortest notice.

Traumatic brain injuries

These are the most feared ones as they are likely to have a lifelong effect on the victim. Traumatic brain injuries are usually associated with loss of consciousness for more than just a few hours. However, some of the most characteristic symptoms include impaired speech, loss of short- and long-term memory which is also known as amnesia, impaired sight and also impaired healing abilities.

In any case, traumatic brain injuries are almost always going to be accompanied by the respective disability. This is why LTD claims are particularly common in situations of the kind. However, it’s important to note that traumatic brain injuries are usually going to have a considerable impact on the entire life of the victim as recovery is rarely complete. Even if you manage to recover, there are always going to be symptoms such as migraines and severe headaches.

Thus, getting compensated for your or your loved one’s injuries becomes important. Hiring the services of a professionally experienced personal injury lawyer in Oakville becomes an important aspect of winning the case.

Traumatic Brain Injuries and the Impact they can have on the Victim’s Family

When a loved one sustains a traumatic brain injury in an accident, it not only affects the injured person, it can have an impact on their entire family.  While the impact to the victim is typically mental and physical in nature, the family suffers emotionally.  They also feel the financial impact of their loved one’s injuries resulting from:


·         cost of accommodations and travel if your loved one is receiving medical care away from home

·         loss of income

·         medical expenses

·         specialized rehabilitation therapies


Unfortunately, many traumatic brain injury victims in St. Catharines, and Waterloo are not compensated adequately for the damages and losses they have incurred.  In most cases, this is due to either not enlisting the help and representation of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Oakville or hiring a lawyer that didn’t specialize in their personal injury claims and lawsuits.


How can a Personal Injury Lawyer help You?


There are a number of ways that an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in traumatic brain injury cases can help you including:


·         being your strongest advisor and advocate will striving to achieve fair and reasonable compensation for the injury victim and his or her family


·         partnering with the victim’s family members in order to achieve a successful outcome during such a challenging and difficult time


·         proving to the insurance company that the victim’s need for care and support is much higher than what a minimum settlement can pay for


·         seeking full compensation from the negligent or responsible party (defendant) for the lifetime costs attributed to the victim’s traumatic brain injury


·         working hand-in-hand with accountants, healthcare and medical professionals, present and future care specialists, rehabilitation therapists, etc.


You have to remember that the insurance companies in Oakville, St. Catharines, and Waterloo do not have your best interests in mind, even when you are their client.  So imagine what it would be like to battle it out in court with their lawyers and you are not being represented by one. That is why it makes a lot of sense to hire a lawyer before filing for claim.


Helping Family Members during the Recovery Period


Aligning with a personal injury lawyer that specializes in traumatic brain injury claims makes a lot of sense when you consider the impact on the victim.  Their support is vital while injury victims are recovering and they are seeking the maximum compensation for damages and losses.  Remember, experienced personal injury lawyers competently represent their clients in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.


When you are being skillfully represented, the lawyer and his or her staff understand your personal, health, and financial challenges that accompany traumatic brain injuries.  Keep in mind that it can take years to reach a settlement in traumatic brain injury cases.  Unfortunately, you and your family cannot wait that long for financial assistance and that is why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.

Rules of Fault Determination in Car accidents

Now, it’s worth noting that the majority of registered vehicle related injuries in Ontario are all associated with car accidents. This is the most common type of motor vehicle accident, regardless of how many people like to ride a motorbike. In fact, the comparison could be driven even further to determine that car accidents are responsible for more deaths than any other type of transport accident. That’s right – you are much more likely to be involved in a car accident than any other type of transportation device which shatters the common fear of flights, for instance.

There are a lot of orthopedic injuries which are likely to be the result of a car crash. Broken bones, torn ligaments, traumatic brain injuries and many more alike are just on the tip of the toe. However, what’s more traumatic is the suffering related with this particular type of accident. This is one of the most horrific incidents that one could be involved in and it leaves people mentally damaged for life. Some of them can’t travel in a car for a long time without constantly looking over their shoulders. That’s why the regulations set forth by the province of Ontario provide according compensation possibilities for those who’ve suffered traumatic injuries as a result of a car accident.

The province of Ontario is subjected to the Rules of Fault Determination which are set forth by the Insurance Act. These provisions are specifically enacted in order to provide swift reparation of damages – both inflicted to your property or to you bodily. However, when it comes to significant injuries which cause terrible damages, the victim is provided with the chance to file a civil lawsuit against the driver at fault in order to claim compensation over that which is offered by the insurance company as a result of the application of the Rules of Fault Determination.

However, it’s important to note that as per the current legislation of Ontario, if the claimant is awarded with compensation above that provided by the insurance company, there’s going to be a $30,000 deductible from the amount. In any case, the compensation is awarded by the judge and he is the one who should determine the presence of pain and suffering. He’s also the one who’s going to determine the specific amount that corresponds to this pain and suffering.

In any case, there isn’t a universal formula and two identical cases might end with different compensation. The choice is left to the judge and he’s got the final word for it. Of course, the overall conduct of the victim as well as the representation provided by his personal injury lawyer is going to have a great impact on the decision. You might want to discuss the details of this Act with your lawyer to understand more about how it can benefit you in your current situation.


How Are Orthopedic Injuries Compensated Under Different Acts

Orthopedic injuries find a broad application in the field of personal injury law in Oakville. That’s quite logical and only natural. The main reason for this is that personal injury law relates to accidents in Toronto which most commonly result in an orthopedic injury or in even worse consequences such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord traumas. In any case, the accidents that could lead to said injuries are numerous and that’s why it’s important to know which legislative statutes to follow and to navigate by when suffering from an orthopedic injury. This would mostly depend on the type of accident that you’ve been in. Read More

Negotiating a Settlement in Your Personal Injury Case

Most individuals who seek legal representation for their personal injury case in the cities of Oakville, St. Catharines, or Waterloo are unaware of the fact that roughly 90% of all cases are settled out of court.  A settlement is basically an agreement made between the defendant, plaintiff, and their lawyers thereby ending the legal process.  In most cases, a settlement is negotiated by the defendant agreeing to compensate the plaintiff with an agreed upon sum of money.


Prior to the Settlement


The two parties engage in negotiations prior to reaching a settlement at which time the following usually transpires between them:


·         They each state their case

·         They make claims

·         They respond to each other’s claims

·         They make settlement offers


The best case scenario is for settlement negotiations to proceed as quickly as possible.  That is why you need a good personal injury lawyer that is not only competently persuing your case but is not intimidated by the other party. However, this will depend on 3 factors:


·         the circumstances

·         the offers involved

·         the willingness of the parties to settle


Unfortunately, negotiations can oftentimes break down or drag out until both parties wind up in front of a judge and jury because of their inability to reach an agreement out of court.  When it comes to negotiating a settlement in a personal injury lawsuit in Oakville, St. Catharines, or Waterloo, there is no single one-size-fits-all formula coming to a fair and reasonable agreement.  Basically, the defendant’s and plaintiff’s lawyers will negotiate back and forth until they can agree.


The Demand Letter


After a personal injury lawyer has investigated your case in order to determine what exactly happened, they will prepare a demand letter for the defendant and their lawyer.  Keep in mind that an investigation of the circumstances could take days, weeks, or even months.  However, the goal of these efforts is the drawing up of the demand letter.  This is simply a formal, legal document claiming that you sustained injuries because of the defendant’s careless, negligent, or reckless actions.  Furthermore, your lawyer will also ask for a specific dollar amount as compensation for any and all damages.


Negotiating with Insurance Company Adjusters


While the demand letter is, for all intents and purposes, the first settlement offer in your personal injury case, it is rare that a settlement will be achieved without negotiations.  In most personal injury cases, the defendant has an insurance policy that will cover them.  Once your demand letter reaches the insurer, it is turned over to an adjuster who will evaluate the case and determine what they feel is a fair settlement amount.


You should be prepared for a lowball offer.  Your lawyer will make a counteroffer and at that point, the adjuster will either agree to a settlement or propose another settlement amount slightly higher than the initial one.  With any luck, this process will not repeat itself too many times before a fair and reasonable settlement amount if agreed upon.

A Detailed Look at Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Law

In personal injury cases that take place in Ontario Provincial cities such as Oakville, St. Catharines, or Waterloo, plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for what is called “pain and suffering”.  According to the Legal Dictionary, pain and suffering is defined as:


“The physical and mental distress suffered from an injury, including actual broken bones and internal ruptures, but also the aches, pain, temporary and permanent limitations on activity, potential shortening of life, depression, and embarrassment from scarring, all of which are part of the ‘general damages’ recoverable by someone injured by another’s negligence or intentional attack.”


In personal injury law, you may be compensated for what you have endured as well as if your pain and suffering continues.  These are commonly referred to as “non-pecuniary general” damages in a personal injury cases.


Compensation Limits


Nearly 40 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada established limits on the amount of compensation awarded for an individual’s pain and suffering.  With the addition of inflation since that time, the amount is roughly $340,000 but only in the most severe instances.  The cap amount was established because of the Supreme Court‘s opinion that pain and suffering damages were not compensatory in nature and that no amount of money will provide actual restitution.


Consequently, the damages awarded are seen as the provision of additional funds in order to make a person’s life easier to endure.  According to personal injury law, injury victims or plaintiffs will be compensated for future care expenses and lost wages.  The actual reasoning for the establishment of the cap was based on the case of “Andrews v. Grand & Toy Alberta Ltd.”


Meeting the Threshold


If a personal injury claim stems from an auto vehicle accident in the cities of Oakville, St. Catharines, Waterloo, your injuries must meet the threshold (legal requirements) in order to claim pain and suffering damages.  If the threshold is not met, then you won’t be entitled to damages.  In order to meet or pass the threshold, your injuries must have resulted in:


·         Permanent serious disfigurement e.g. amputation of a limb, scarring, etc.

·         Permanent serious impairment of mental, physical, and psychological functions

·         Your death


Unless you meet this threshold, a claim for pain and suffering will not be allowed.  On the other hand, any claims for loss of earning capacity or income are not affected by this threshold.  Furthermore, a deductible amount of $30,000 will be subtracted from the compensation for damages that you are entitled to.  The rules governing pain and suffering claims are oftentimes complex and difficult to interpret.


This is why it is vital that you rely on the experience and expertise of a qualified personal injury lawyer in Oakville, St. Catharines, or Waterloo to represent your case.  Keep in mind that you have a better chance of getting a fair and reasonable settlement for your injuries when you have a lawyer representing you.  Most importantly, your lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

How to file for CPP Disability Claims?

If you have been injured and are need to file for disability claim on a temporary or permanent basis, you can do that through your employers under the purview of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).Although many companies offer long term disability policies, it is best that you have your own personal injury lawyer to look after your legal requirements. The injury lawyer will walk you through the CPP disability claim procedure if you want.

Those filing for the WSIB claims are eligible to sue the defendant for damages, but if you are contemplating it, talk with your lawyer about it.It is important that you complete the application when you are applying for the disability benefits under Canada Pension Plan. If any other documents have to be attached, ensure that you don’t miss any of the paperwork. This is important because it will form the basis of the compensation claim and you cannot afford to go wrong on the information. If you miss out on any information chances diminish of your receiving the maximum compensation. Some of the essential documents that need to be included are:

Medical Reports and documentation

It is important to get the medical reports and related documents from the physicians that have been looking after you or are familiar with your injuries and disability. You might want to schedule an appointment and discuss the CPP disability claim and get the report filled. Check for inaccuracies before you submit it. You might need other supporting documents from orthopedic doctors, physiotherapists and neurologists detailing your medical condition and how it is affecting your life.

Disability benefit forms

You are required to submit the Questionnaire for Disability Benefits along with the medical report. This will determine the outcome of your claim. You are given a chance to describe the disability, how it has affected you, your limitations. It gives you a chance to explain the ill-effects of the disability and its impact on housekeeping, driving, personal care and social activities that you enjoyed. The information that is needed while filing for CPP application is immense and additional documents that are needed is:

·         Consent for Medical Evaluation

·         Authorization to Disclose Information /

·         Child-rearing Dropout Provision form  (this is needed if you have kids and are out of job)

The date of injury or disability will need to be mentioned and when you stopped working and you had to do that. It is essential to mention whether you were terminated due to your disability or could no longer work. Include any information about your disability as mentioned by your doctor.

Under the section “illnesses or impairments”, it is best to write clearly yet mention the exhaustive list of ailments and disability that you suffer with. For descriptive overview of the disability, you can refer to the doctor’s medical reports.

It is essential to mention additional chronic ailments like diabetes, hypertension, depression or others which may not be leading to disability but can lower the quality of your life. It is better to include the listed therapies (massage, acupuncture, occupational therapy) and medications that have been prescribed.