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A Long-Term Disability Lawyer Can Help You Access Benefits from Your Insurer

A Long-Term Disability Lawyer Can Help You Access Benefits from Your Insurer

Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers has represented seriously injured Ontarians for over 40 years. Some of the most discouraging cases we’ve managed in that time involved insurance providers denying benefits to individuals whose lives had been seriously disrupted by an accident. Our long-term disability lawyers work tirelessly to protect clients who require financial benefits to fund their recoveries and provide for their families.

What is a Long-Term Disability and how are they Caused?

In general, a long-term disability (LTD) is an injury or illness that prevents you from working and earning a living. Long-term disabilities can come in many forms, from physical conditions like paraplegia, quadriplegia, and chronic pain to mental health issues such as PTSD and anxiety.

Long-term disabilities can be caused by any traumatic injury or illness. Many of our LTD clients were injured in motor vehicle accidents, but we have also represented clients injured in boating accidents, bicycle accidents, slip and falls, and by medical errors.

What Are Long-Term Disability Benefits?

Long-term disability benefits are available to Ontarians who own long-term disability insurance, which can be acquired through an insurance broker, directly from an insurance provider, or through some workplace policies. Disability insurance is a form of income replacement that generally covers 60-85 per cent of your regular income, up to a maximum amount.

If you have been injured and are no longer able to work, you have every right to file a long-term disability benefits claim with your insurer. A long-term disability lawyer from Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers can help you file your claim and resolve any disputes with your insurer.

Insurance Disputes

Filing an LTD claim with your insurer does not guarantee access to LTD benefits. Insurance providers are reluctant to pay out large sums of money and may contest your claim by suggesting that you are not disabled, not sufficiently disabled, or have mispresented your condition.

In this situation, a long-term disability lawyer may be able to defend your claim and help secure access to fair and reasonable benefits. A person should not be punished for being unable to work following an accident. Denial of a seriously injured accidents victim’s LTD claim puts that victim and their family in an extremely vulnerable position. Recovery from a traumatic personal injury can be costly; LTD benefits help pay for medical care, rehab, therapy, home renovations, lost income, and a wide range of other costs and expenses.

Contact an Experienced Long-Term Disability Lawyer

If you’ve been injured and are having difficulty accessing long-term disability benefits from your insurer, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team will assess your claim and provide guidance and support throughout the legal process.

Catastrophic Impairment and the Interplay between Psychological and Physical

This article was originally published by The Lawyer’s Daily

Components of a Brain Injury: Apportionment, Double Counting and Allen

By: Michelle Kudlats and Mike Wolkowicz

Under both the old and new legislation, an Applicant will meet the legal definition of catastrophic impairment pursuant to the SABS if it is determined that he/she has suffered a combination of physical and psychological impairments that amount to a whole person impairment (WPI) in excess of 55%.

The AMA Guides provide direction when assigning impairment ratings to calculate a WPI. When combining physical and psychological impairment ratings for brain injury, the relevant chapters are Chapter 4 (nervous system) and Chapter 14 (mental and behavioural disorders).

The Overlap of Psychological and Physical Injuries in Brain Injury

The inherent difficulty with brain injury is the interplay between the physical and psychological components of the injury. To simplify, it is clinically indistinguishable to determine whether an applicant’s brain injury causes depression or whether the depression results from other symptoms of brain injury such as sleep deprivation or headaches.

In the 2014 decision Moser and Guarantee, the Arbitrator commented on the overlapping analysis of determining impairment ratings:

“In Chapter 4, the evaluator assesses activities of daily living, daily social, and daily interpersonal functioning. In Chapter 14, the evaluator assesses activities of daily living, social functioning, concentration, persistence and pace, and adaptation (at page 320). The wording, descriptors, and text anchors suggest that the assessment of Chapter 14 is indeed wider than that of Chapter 4.”[1]

In Moser, the arbitrator subtracted 2% of the Applicant’s cognitive impairment due to closed head injury and then combined the remainder with the WPI based on the applicant’ s mental and behavioural disorders.

This type of apportionment of brain injury impairment has not been followed by LAT decision makers or the divisional court in subsequent decisions.

In fact, the case law has explicitly allowed for separate impairment ratings under chapters 4 and 14 where an injured individual suffers both a physical brain injury and a separate psychological impairment resulting in mental and behavioural issues. In the 2016 LAT decision of 16-00013 and Peel, the Arbitrator did not reduce WPI ratings because of any possible overlap:

“[55]I acknowledge that it can be difficult to tease out psychological causes from neurological ones when assessing a mental status impairment. The overlap between Chapters 4 and 14 raises the possibility of double counting, and therefore overestimating the impact of an impairment. However, in this case I find the specific diagnosis of Cognitive Disorder as well as distinct psychological disorders supports a conclusion that the applicant’s mental impairments should be accounted for and rated under both chapters, as long as the ratings are apportioned between the two chapters. In this case, I find not including the 8% mental status impairment under Chapter 4, as Dr. Valentin has done, amounts to ignoring — and underestimating – the contribution of the concussion to her mental status impairment.”[2]

The Peel decision is authority that the difficulty separating the effects of brain injury from those emanating from mental or behavioural disorders should not be construed as double counting.

The decision of Allen and Security National[3], further clarified the question of double counting in a case where an injured individual suffers both a physical brain injury and a separate psychological impairment.

In Delegate Blackman’s decision, upheld by the Ontario Divisional Court, the following was stated with respect to the question of double counting:

“A significant issue in this catastrophic impairment appeal concerns an insured person injured in a motor vehicle accident who suffers both a physical brain injury and a separate psychological mental and behavioural disorder. If both the organic brain injury and the psychological disorder separately result in emotional or behavioural impairments, are both the physical brain injury and the psychological disorder each to be rated for such impairments and then combined as provided for in the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation ofPermanent Impairment, 4th edition, 1993 (the “Guides”)?

My answer is yes.”

Allen therefore stands for the principle that where there is both a psychological disorder and a brain injury, those issues are to be separately rated and combined for the purpose of determining WPI.

Chapter 14 Impairments Should not be Apportioned

While the Divisional Court has provided some clarity with respect to combining chapter 4 and 14 impairment ratings, the issue of apportionment remains live. Particularly, when an applicant is provided impairment ratings in Chapter 4 Table 3, Chapter 4 Table 2 and Chapter 14.

However, an analysis of the Pastore decision stands for the proposition that Chapter 14 impairments should not be apportioned:

“In Pastore, the mental or behavioural disorder in question was a pain disorder associated with both psychological factors and a general medical condition. In that case, I was not persuaded, regarding a “mental or behavioural disorder,” that it was necessary to tweeze out of the mental or behavioural disorder those parts that were purely psychological from those that were not, when the pain disorder encompassed both.”[4]

Brain injury cases are analogous to pain disorder cases in that there are overlapping mental/behavioural and neurological causes to impairment. Thus, following Pastore and Allen, to the extent that there is overlap between traumatic brain injury and a psychological disorder, there should be no requirement to distinguish them in Chapter 14. Doing so would be to underestimate the extent of an Applicant’s impairments from traumatic brain injury.

Pastore confirmed that the very definition of “catastrophic impairment’ was intended by the legislature to be “inclusive and not restrictive. “[5] Given the first party contract and associated duty to adjudicate an Applicant’s claim in good faith, it is incumbent on insurers to assess impairment ratings fairly.

Counsel for an Applicant must advocate for fairness and proportionality when asking Arbitrators to determine impairment ratings for brain injured applicants with overlapping psychological and physical impairments.

 

[1]Moser and Guarantee FSCO A 13-000812 at page 43

[2]Applicant and Peel Mutual Insurance Company 16-000013/AABS

[3]Security National Insurance Co. v. Allen, 2017 ONSC 6779

[4]Pages 16 and 17 ofAllen quoting Pastore

[5]2012 ONCA 642

September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month in North America. As Toronto spinal cord injury lawyers, we are always eager to educate the community about the dangers of these injuries, the many ways that they can occur, and the best ways they can be avoided.

What is the Spinal Cord?

Many people assume that the spinal cord and the spine are synonymous. In reality, the spine encloses and protects the spinal cord, a long bundle of nerves running from the base of the brain to the lower back. The spinal cord is the superhighway through which your brain sends messages and receives information from the rest of the body.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal Cord Injury Ontario (SCIO) defines a spinal cord injury as “sustained damage to the spinal cord at any part of it, or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal.” In other words, a spinal cord injury disrupts the flow of information along the spinal superhighway. As spinal cord injury lawyers know, these injuries can be extremely traumatic, affecting a person’s strength, motor ability, and sensation.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are two main types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. As its name suggests, an incomplete spinal cord injury disrupts communication between the brain and the body but does not cut it off completely. In these cases, the injury survivor may experience some feeling or limited movement in the affected parts of the body.

Complete spinal cord injuries cut off all communication between the brain and the affected areas of the body. The area that is affected depends on the location of the injury. For example, a complete spinal cord injury toward the base of the cord may only affect movement and sensation below the waist, while an injury closer to the neck could affect the whole body.

How Common are Spinal Cord Injuries in Canada?

According to the Rick Hansen Institute, approximately 86,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury in Canada, a number that is expected to rise to 121,000 by 2030. There are roughly 4,300 new spinal cord injuries in Canada each year, with males aged 20 to 29 being the most at-risk group.

Canadians with spinal cord injuries are 2.6 times more likely to be re-hospitalized than the general population, 2.7 times more likely to require contact with a physician, 30 times more likely to require home care, and live 15 to 30 fewer years.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

The Rick Hansen Institute calls spinal cord injuries “one of the greatest survivable catastrophes experienced by a human being.” A traumatic spinal cord injury can present massive challenges to the victim and his or her family: in addition to the obvious physical impacts, spinal cord injury victims also face mental, emotional, and financial hurdles. Experienced spinal cord injury lawyers can help address some of these challenges by pursing compensation through a personal injury claim. If you or a member of your family has suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

What Causes Boating Accidents in Canada?

What Causes Boating Accidents in Canada?

Canada’s Safe Boating Guide estimates that 100 people die and many more are seriously injured in boating accidents across the country every year. Most of these accidents are completely avoidable, much to the frustration of law enforcement officials and boating accident lawyers.

A better understanding of what causes boating accidents, and what can be done to avoid them, could prevent numerous deaths and serious injuries on Canadian waterways. With boating safety in the headlines recently, this is the perfect time to review risk factors and safety practices for Canadian boaters.

Risk Factor #1: Impairment

 Alcohol-impairment is a factor in roughly 40 per cent of boating fatalities in Canada, according to the Canadian Safe Boating Guide. Drug-impairment is also a common factor. Impaired boating is just as risky as impaired driving, and offenders face stiff penalties, including significant fines and possible prison sentences. However, boaters who operate under the influence of drugs and alcohol don’t face the same social stigma as drunk drivers, and the activity is still commonplace across Ontario.

The best ways to avoid impaired boating accidents are to a) never operate a boat while drug- or alcohol-impaired and b) refuse to boat with someone who is under the influence. However, it’s impossible to control the actions of other boaters on the water – if you are injured in an impaired boating accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss the possibility of compensation.

Risk Factor #2: Inattention and Dangerous Boating

 Just like with impairment, distraction and inattention are as dangerous on the water as they are on the roads. Drivers must maintain their focus at all times, and so too should boaters. If you’re on a boat with friends and family, do your best to maintain an atmosphere where the driver can navigate free from distractions.

 

Many of the cases that boating accident lawyers address involve dangerous and reckless boating. Just like on the highway, boating channels have strict speed limits designed to mitigate risk and limit injuries. Boaters who ignore the rules of the water put themselves, their passengers, and other boaters at risk.

Risk Factor #3: Weather and Unpreparedness

 Before heading out on the water, check the local forecasts to avoid heavy winds, dense fogs, sudden rain, or other risky weather. And, even when the forecast is clear, make sure your boat is equipped with necessary safety and communication equipment to survive an accident. Roughly 90 per cent of people who drown in boating accidents aren’t wearing lifejackets – common sense preparation could reduce this number significantly.

Contact an Experienced Boating Accident Lawyer

 If you or someone you know has been injured in a boating accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of boating accident lawyers can assess the viability of your claim, explain your legal options, and provide guidance and advice as you embark on your recovery.

Back to School Road Safety Tips

Back to School Road Safety Tips

September is here and kids are back at school across Ontario! Every year, the return to school prompts an influx of pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and other traffic, which increases the risk of collisions involving children. Understandably, this is a nervous time of year for car accident lawyers and safety advocates. Here are a few steps you and your kids can take to avoid danger and stay safe this school year.

School Bus Accidents

Transport Canada research shows that school bus travel is roughly 16 times safer than travelling in a family car. However, mishaps involving school buses can and do occur, and the results can be devastating.

There are two categories of school bus injuries to consider: those that happen inside the bus, and those that happen outside of it. Remind your kids to sit still and remain quiet while travelling on the bus. The dangers of distracted driving are well understood these days, and a bus full of screaming, fighting kids is about as distracting as it gets. If your child’s school bus driver is able to remain focused on the road, their chances of arriving home safely will be much higher.

Perhaps more importantly, remind your child to be cautious while exiting their school bus and crossing the street. By law, cars must remain stopped behind school buses during drop-offs – but not all drivers obey the rules of the road, as car accident lawyers know well. Instruct your child to be vigilant around their school bus and remain cautious until they are safely on the side of the road.

Driving to School

 The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re driving your child to school is that you are a source of danger to his or her classmates. School drop-off zones are hectic places. Drive as slowly as possible in school zones, avoid distractions of any kind, and be prepared to break suddenly for children darting across the street. Treat every child on the road as if they were your own.

Walking or Biking to School

 Walking or biking to school is a great way for your child to get some exercise and learn important life skills. But don’t let them travel to school independently until you’re sure they can handle it. Design a route that avoids major arteries and walk or ride with them several times before they travel alone. Make sure they are aware of pedestrian and cycling safety basics: always wear a helmet; always obey the rules of the road; always be aware of the traffic around you; etc.

Contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers

 If you or your child is injured in a traffic accident this school year, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of car accident lawyers can explain your legal options and provide guidance and advice as you consider a personal injury lawsuit.

Montreal Police Handed Out Thousands More Cycling Tickets Than Toronto Colleagues

Montreal Police Handed Out Thousands More Cycling Tickets Than Toronto Colleagues

Cycling safety is a major concern in cities across Canada. In Ottawa, for example, activists and bicycle accident lawyers are calling for change following the deaths of three cyclists since May. In Toronto, road safety protestors recently transformed a strip of The Danforth to reduce risks to vulnerable road users.

As Canada’s cities grow and become denser, the number of people who choose cycling as their primary mode of transportation will surge. Lawmakers, activists and lawyers all have different ideas about how to address this change, and every city is taking a unique approach.

In Montreal, for example, police enforce cycling laws more strictly than elsewhere. The city handed out nearly 13,000 tickets for cycling infractions in 2018, compared to less than 300 handed out in Toronto. Cycling is slightly more common in Montreal – a 2015 Pembina Institute report found Montrealers took 115,000 cycling trips per day, while Torontonians took 96,000 – but the vastly higher ticketing rate reflects a tactical gap between the two cities.

“In Montreal, what we’ve done in the last couple of years is really put the emphasis on road safety, and when you look at the annual reports year after year you can see that the results pay off,” SPVM Insp. André Durocher told the CBC. There have been no cycling deaths in Montreal this year; there were three in 2018 and four in 2017.

According to the Toronto Star, five cyclists were killed in Toronto in 2018 and four were killed in 2017. The Pembina Institute report showed that Toronto had the highest cycling crash rate (5 per 100,000 trips) of Canada’s five largest cities; Montreal was tied with Vancouver for the lowest (2 per 100,000 trips). In other words, Toronto may be the most dangerous city for cyclists in Canada.

That would come as no surprise to Toronto bicycle accident lawyers. With the city’s rapid growth has come a steady stream of personal injury inquiries related to cycling accidents. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Toronto police should follow the lead of their colleagues in Quebec, however. It might make more sense to close the cycling infrastructure deficit first; Montreal has more separated bike lanes, which safety activists unanimously endorse, and more kilometres per capita of on-street and off-street bike paths. The ideal approach would be to marry strict enforcement of traffic laws with improved road designs, lower speed limits, and increased cooperation among all road users.

If you’ve been injured in a cycling accident in Toronto, Ottawa, or any other Ontario city, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of experienced bicycle accident lawyers will assess the viability of your claim and explain your legal options.

 

Image credit: freewheelinbiker/Wikimedia Commons

Provincial Government Commits to Southern Ontario Road Safety Changes

Provincial Government Commits to Southern Ontario Road Safety Changes

Last April, we discussed situations in which governments are liable for car accident injuries. As our article emphasized, human error is the most common cause of motor vehicle accidents, but in rare cases car accident lawyers may pursue compensation from governments for negligence relating to road maintenance and design.

The article focused on Highway 3 in Essex County, Ontario. Serious accidents are common along this southern Ontario route: between 1993 and 2015, 11 fatal car accidents occurred on a single five-kilometre stretch. Road safety experts believe most of the accidents were caused by human error but exacerbated by the fact that the busy stretch has only two lanes to accommodate high volumes of traffic, per CBC Windsor. Despite understanding the safety risks associated with the route, successive provincial governments failed to consider changes.

The Province’s inaction compelled accident survivors to explore legal options. They believed the government’s unwillingness to pursue safety improvements made it liable for injuries. If the road had been widened, they said, their accidents might have been avoided or less severe.

Changes Coming

In August 2019, the provincial government finally announced plans to widen Highway 3 between Essex and Leamington. The news was applauded by Ontario car accident lawyers, even if work won’t begin for several years.

“Widening and improving safety on Highway 3 is a priority for this government,” said Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney at the announcement. “From day one we have been committed to improving road safety and making life easier for families and businesses by delivering on transportation projects in every corner of the province.”

There are a number of hurdles the government must clear prior to construction, including land acquisitions, engineering studies, and environmental assessments. However, the Transportation Minister’s announcement is seen as an important first step towards safer roads in southern Ontario.

“The best time to have done this would have [been] five to 10 years ago,” one car accident lawyer told CBC News Windsor. “The next best time to do it is today.”

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a member of your family has been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of car accident lawyers can help you understand your legal options and provide representation if you choose to pursue a claim. Our team also works on a contingency basis to ensure that all Ontarians have equal access to justice.

 

Image credit: Ken Lund/Flickr

Slow Progress in Toronto’s Fight for Road Safety

Slow Progress in Toronto’s Fight for Road Safety

Yet another cluster of car accidents involving vulnerable road users rocked Toronto last week and reignited the conversation around road safety. On July 30 alone, a 50-year-old man was seriously injured by an impaired driver in the downtown core and three pedestrians were struck by vehicles in under two hours in the city’s north end. For Toronto’s car accident lawyers, these events have become depressingly commonplace – but hope may be in sight.

Vision Zero 2.0

 City Council unveiled a revamped “Vision Zero 2.0” road safety plan in July. The strategy includes several measures endorsed by road safety experts, including creating more mid-block crosswalks, installing more red-light cameras, installing a photo radar system to catch speeders, redesigning certain roads, and lowering speed limits on several arterial routes.

However, critics believe the city’s plan doesn’t go far enough. Speed limit reductions have wide support among road safety advocates, but their target is a city-wide 30 km/h limit. Vision Zero 2.0 will lower limits to 40 or 50 km/h.

“We’re maintaining fatal speed limits,” Friends and Families for Safe Streets spokesperson Jess Spieker told the CBC. “When you’re struck by a driver at 50 kilometres, that’s an 85 per cent risk of death.”

New Bike Lanes

 The city also announced a new bike lane strategy last month that includes extending the Bloor Street West bike lanes from Shaw Street to High Park, launching a pilot project for bike lanes on The Danforth, and considering bike lanes on bustling University Avenue. A proposal to reinstall bike lanes on Jarvis Street was denied.

The plan received wide support in City Council, including from suburban councilors who generally vote against downtown bike lanes. It even earned praise from cycling advocates. Cycle Toronto executive director Jared Kolb called the strategy “a major milestone in resetting the Toronto cycling network,” according to the Toronto Star.

Cycling lanes, especially those that separate cyclists from motorists via a physical barrier, are proven to reduce serious injuries and fatalities among vulnerable road users. For this reason, they enjoy wide support among safety activists and car accident lawyers, despite occasionally contributing to longer commutes.

Slow Progress

The stated goal of Toronto’s original Vision Zero strategy was to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2021. Three years later, serious accidents involving vulnerable road users have actually increased. But by approving a revamped road safety strategy and new bike lane plan, City Council has shown that it is serious about reducing injuries on the street – even if it can’t always agree on how.

If you’ve been injured in a Toronto traffic accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of accident lawyers will assess the viability of your case and provide advice and guidance as you advance your claim.

Slip and falls are common among Canadian seniors

Slip and falls are common among Canadian seniors

Slip and fall lawyers tend to worry that people underestimate the potential severity of slip and fall accidents. Although most falls are fairly innocuous, particularly among healthy young people, they are still a common source of serious injuries and hospitalizations, especially among Canadian senior citizens.

Recently published research from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows that 81 per cent of the roughly 138,000 seniors who were admitted to hospital between April 2017 to March 2018 were injured in falls. The fact that seniors accounted for more than half (51 per cent) of all hospitalizations in the country during that period means that slip and fall events caused a significant percentage of Canadian hospital stays. At a time when hospital overcrowding is a hot-button issue across the country, slip and falls should not be dismissed as harmless events.

“We do have an aging population, so we really wanted to focus on what’s happening to our seniors,” explained CIHI manager of clinical administrative databases operations, Nicholas Gnidzieiko, to CBC Health.

Hip fractures and concussions are the two most common direct injuries from falls, but seniors are also susceptible to a slew of complications, as slip and fall lawyers understand.

“Falls are the scourge of growing older,” said Geoff Fernie, falls prevention officer for the University Health Network and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. “If you get older and you get admitted to hospital, it doesn’t take long before you can’t get up. You don’t have the strength, you don’t have the muscle mass. You also become depressed and isolated, and your gut stops working.”

So, what can seniors do reduce their risk of falling? Fernie provided the following helpful advice to the CBC:

  • Always wear shoes or boots with proper traction during bad weather
  • Consider wearing running shoes rather than socks or stockings on tile or wood surfaces in your house
  • Install bannisters on both sides of stairways in your house
  • Use handrails whenever they are available
  • Focus on lifting your feet rather than shuffling them when walking

Fernie also suggests taking a falls prevention class, which are available across Ontario. These classes focus on improving strength and balance, stair safety, healthy eating, confidence, and how to recover from a fall.

If you or someone you know has been injury in a slip and fall accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of slip and fall lawyers can help you understand your rights, assess your legal options, and proceed with a claim if necessary.

Pedestrian, cyclist collisions on the rise in York Region

Pedestrian, cyclist collisions on the rise in York Region

Road safety continues to be a major concern for car accident lawyers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), as governments fail to implement effective measures to decrease serious injuries and deaths. The failures of the City of Toronto’s Vision Zero initiative are well-documented (experts are unconvinced that Vision Zero 2.0 will be more effective), and in York Region collisions with pedestrians and cyclists have spiked since 2008.

That’s according to the recently-released York Region Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Study, conducted by EXP Services Inc. on behalf of the municipality. The report shows that pedestrian and cyclist collisions in the region jumped from 196 in 2008 to 290 in 2016, before falling to 243 in 2017.

These figures take into account only accidents on regional roads, which means they do not reflect the full scope of the issue. For example, 52 pedestrians and 32 cyclists were hit by cars on Markham regional roads between 2015 and 2017, but closer to 90 pedestrians and 60 cyclists were struck in the city as a whole, according to Markham’s Cycling and Pedestrian Advisory Committee vice-chair Peter Miasek.

“That’s basically a collision involving a vulnerable user every second day in Markham,” Miasek told the Toronto Star.

The report showed that most collisions occur in urban areas, especially around intersections with traffic lights. It also found that “inattentiveness of drivers” is a growing risk factor, and that young adults and senior citizens are most likely to be struck by cars.

These are familiar trends for car accident lawyers, who work with injury victims to access compensation through insurance claims or civil lawsuits. They are also familiar to road safety experts who have grown weary of stubborn trends in Ontario.

“The trend does not have to continue,” Miasek told the Star. “Countries in Europe like the Netherlands have much higher share of active transportation, yet have a low collision and injury rate due to better infrastructure.”

Toronto’s new Vision Zero plan will seek to improve some of these infrastructure deficits, as will a York Region pilot project aimed at improving safety at key intersections in Richmond Hill, Thornhill, and Vaughan. But as Cycle Newmarket member and cycling accident survivor Stephen Harper told the Star, sustainable road safety improvements will require drivers to rethink their responsibilities on the road.

“The amount that a cyclist’s damage can do on an automobile is minimal but the amount of damage a motorist can do – I know, I’ve lived through it – to a cyclist is immense,” he said. “It’s about sharing the road. A lot of people don’t get the sharing-the-road concept.”

If you or someone you know has been injured in a collision, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers can help you understand your options and provide a path to compensation for your injuries.

 

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