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Common Causes of Car Accidents in Canada

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Canada

In some respects, Canadian roads have never been safer. Motor vehicle fatalities per 100,000 people and per billion kilometres travelled reached all-time lows in 2017, the last year for which Transport Canada provides data. Fatalities dropped from 1,895 in 2016 to 1,841, a 2.8 per cent decrease, and serious injuries fell from 10,760 in 2016 to 9,960, a 7.4 per cent decrease.

And yet, despite positive trends, any personal injury lawyer will tell you that road safety remains a major concern in our country. Too many motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians continue to die or suffer catastrophic injuries in accidents on Canadian roads, accidents which are overwhelmingly caused by human error.

Here are a few of the main causes of motor vehicle accidents in Canada:

Impaired Driving 

Drunk driving rates have consistently fallen over the past several decades in Canada, but impaired driving remains a serious safety risk. Even as anti-impaired driving laws become harsher and stigma around impaired driving grows, drugs and alcohol remain a common cause of serious accidents. As every personal injury lawyer knows, marijuana legalization has complicated this already fraught subject.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving today shares many characteristics with drunk driving several years ago: it is pervasive, extremely dangerous, and rarely taken seriously enough. Though law enforcement agencies and different levels of government have recently launched awareness campaigns addressing smartphone use behind the wheel, distracted driving is too often thought of as a technology problem. In reality, distraction can come in many forms, including passengers in the vehicle, navigation and entertainment systems, and scenery. What’s important is to remain focused on the road at all times.

Aggressive and Dangerous Driving

Speeding, the most common form of dangerous driving, is involved in roughly 27 per cent of fatal crashes and 19 per cent of crashes causing serious injuries. Speed kills, which is why road safety programs like Vision Zero support enacting blanket speed limits in downtown cores.

Other forms of dangerous or aggressive driving include running red lights or ignoring traffic signs; tailgating; weaving in and out of traffic; and disregarding crosswalks.

Driver Fatigue 

We’ve all been there: you’re driving home from a long day at the office; it’s cold and dark outside but warm in your vehicle; talk radio drones through the sound system; suddenly, you find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open. Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of serious accidents on Canadian roads. Tired drivers are more likely to drift between lanes, fluctuate their speeds, and be irritable towards fellow motorists. Much like impaired drivers, fatigued drivers have slower response times and worse judgement than their sober, alert counterparts. If you find yourself nodding off, find a safe place to pull off the road and take a quick nap.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to learn how we can help. Our experienced team can help you access compensation to fund your recovery.

Long Term Disability: Frequently Asked Questions

Long Term Disability: Frequently Asked Questions

Imagine losing the ability to interact with friends and family, to work to support your spouse and kids, to enjoy your favourite pastimes. This is the life of a person who has suffered a long term or permanent injury, the type of client that Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers works so hard to support. An experienced long term disability lawyer can help seriously injured accident victims access coverage to address long term healthcare costs, rehabilitation expenses, and home renovations to accommodate a new way of life. It is the job of a long term disability lawyer, in other words, to help accident victims reclaim control of their lives.

Who Can Access Coverage?

Long term disability insurance can be purchased in a variety of ways, including individually via an insurance broker or directly from an Ontario insurance company. It may also be available through your benefits package at work. Contact your employer or insurance provider for more information.

What Sort of Injury Qualifies for Long Term Disability Coverage?

When most people think about long term disability, they envision a person who is paralyzed or suffering from partial paralysis caused by a brain or spinal cord injury. This is not inaccurate, but there are various other forms of long term disability, including chronic pain, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Simply put, anyone whose injuries prevent them from working and earning a living has the right to apply for long term disability coverage. The source of the injuries is generally irrelevant; whether you are hurt in a car accident, a boating accident, a medical mishap, or a slip-and-fall, you are entitled to seek benefits through your insurance provider.

How Can a Long Term Disability Lawyer Help? 

Applying for long term disability benefits can be a complex and challenging process at the best of times. When you’re dealing with a new and life-altering injury, it can seem nearly insurmountable. Personal injury lawyers with expertise in long term disability claims have experience with this process. Their trained eyes will ensure that your application proceeds smoothly.

A long term disability lawyer can also represent you in disputes with your insurance provider. These disputes are, unfortunately, not uncommon. As your representative, it’s our job to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled. We’ll manage this process from beginning to end while keeping you informed and up-to-date along the way. Our aim is to shoulder the burden of the legal process while you focus on your recovery.

Contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to Learn More 

If you or a member of your family has suffered a serious injury in an accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to learn how our experienced team of long term disability lawyers can help. When you experience a life-changing injury, it helps to have a seasoned representative by your side. Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers has helped catastrophically injured Ontarians access compensation for decades. Call today to arrange a free no-obligation consultation for more information.

Do I have a personal injury case?

Do I have a personal injury case?

Getting seriously injured in an accident is a traumatizing, sometimes life-changing event. A serious injury can profoundly affect a person’s life in a variety of ways, including physically, mentally, and financially. It can also affect the lives of the victim’s friends and family members.

In some cases, there is nothing an accident victim can do to mitigate the far-reaching impacts of their injuries. But in others, the victim and their family may be able to pursue financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. This compensation can help the victim access rehabilitative care, long-term medical and home care, therapy, and home renovations. In other words, a personal injury lawyer can help an injury victim fund his or her recovery.

Learn more about how to find a personal injury lawyer that is right for you and your case.

Do I Have a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

In order to successfully pursue a personal injury claim, the injury victim and his or her personal injury lawyer must prove the following:

  1. That the claimant has indeed suffered an injury. Common forms of injury include brain or spinal injuries; burns; broken bones; lacerations and contusions; or amputations. Injuries may also be psychological or emotional in nature, including pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and diminished quality of life.
  2. That another party was responsible for the injury due to negligence. Example: if a person is injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, the drunk driver will be liable for the victim’s injuries.
  3. That the injury caused recoverable damages. If an injury victim did not suffer a loss as a result of their injury, then their claim will have no monetary value. Forms of loss or damages include medical costs, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering other emotional damages.

If you believe that your case meets each of these criteria, consider reaching out to an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area. At Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers, you can arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our reputable team. At this meeting, you and a lawyer will discuss the viability of your claim and determine what steps to take next.

Personal injury lawsuits are often expensive to litigate, which is why Neinstein works on contingency, meaning our clients are not asked to pay legal fees until their case has been successfully resolved. This approach allows us to offer access to justice to injury victims across Ontario, even those who would not ordinarily be able to fund a complex or lengthy legal battle.

Contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about how we can help.

 

Image credit: Highway Patrol Images/Wikimedia Commons

Are your insurance premiums high? Check your postal code

Are your insurance premiums high? Check your postal code

Ontario’s auto insurance system is flawed, to put it mildly. Despite paying some of the nation’s highest premiums and driving on some of its safest roads, Ontarian accident victims often struggle to get by on the benefits they receive. Many personal injury lawyers in the province believe reforms to lower premiums and improve coverage are necessary.

A private member’s bill working its way through the Ontario legislature could be a step in the right direction. Ontario Bill 42, introduced by Conservative MPP from Milton Parm Gill, would prevent insurance providers from using postal code data as a primary factor to calculate rates. Under current legislation, insurance providers are able to divide the province into a maximum of 55 territories, up to ten of which can be in the City of Toronto. If you happen to live in a high-risk territory, your premiums will be higher than those of a driver with a similar record who happens to live in a lower-risk territory.

For example, the Toronto Star spoke with Pankaj Sallh, an engineer who recently moved from Mississauga to Brampton and saw his insurance rates jump from $237 to $350 a month.

“To me, it’s unexplainable,” Sallh told the Star. “Why should I pay more just because of the change of address?”

Geography isn’t the only factor determining premiums. Insurers also consider drivers’ records, age, gender, marital status, vehicle make, and usage patterns. But postal codes are a defining factor. As a result, a person with a clean driving record will pay more in Brampton than a person with a clean driving record in Mississauga, without access to additional benefits.

“My bill will create a fairer market, encourage more personal responsibility, foster more competition and ultimately benefit good drivers in our province,” Gill wrote in a Toronto Star op-ed.

However, the insurance industry steadfastly believes that geographic information must play a role in determining rates. Indeed, industry experts believe more robust data is the key to reducing premiums for safe drivers.

“Insurers have been asking the government for years for a system where the very specific location of an individual matters significantly more than it matters now,” wrote Kim Donaldson, Ontario region vice-president for the Insurance Bureau of Canada in an op-ed responding to Gill’s piece.

This would allow “a good driver with a good record, who happens to live in a neighbourhood that has lots of claims,” to avoid “paying as high a premium as their neighbor who has a poor driving record.”

For Ontario’s personal injury lawyers, the issue at the heart of this debate is value. Good drivers with clean records paying elevated premiums due to their home address are emblematic of a much larger problem: that Ontarians are not receiving good value for the cost of their insurance.

Having worked for decades with seriously injured accident victims across the province, Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers understands that motor vehicle injuries can present devastating physical, mental, and financial problems. If you’ve been injured and are concerned with access to accident benefits through your insurance, contact Neinstein today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

Image credit: Floydian/Wikimedia Commons

This was an unusually harsh winter for slip-and-falls

This was an unusually harsh winter for slip-and-falls

Most of Canada has emerged from winter’s grip, but many Canadians are still grappling with the fallout from a long, cold, stormy season. In 2016-2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available, almost 9,000 Canadians were hospitalized due to falls on ice, according to Canadian Underwriter and the Canadian Institute for Health Information. And, as some Toronto slip-and-fall lawyers could predict, data from across the country suggests this winter may have been even worse.

An unusually harsh winter

In Montreal, the McGill University Health Centre reported a significant year-over-year increase in hospitalizations due to falls on ice, with a notable surge occurring near the end of January. The city recorded 191 centimetres of snowfall during January and February, equal to the average annual total. That time span also featured heavy rains and dramatic temperature fluctuations. Mary Stark, the executive director of Montreal’s Contactivity Centre for senior citizens, told Canadian Underwriter unpredictable weather was a season-long issue.

“It’s been difficult for everyone, but it has been difficult for seniors in particular,” Stark said. “Some of the things we’ve recommended in the past in countering that kind of situation just don’t cut it.”

Slipping and falling on ice is a rite of passage in Canada. It happens to all of us from time to time; in fact, it is the nation’s leading cause of winter injuries. For vulnerable individuals – people with mobility issues, the elderly, etc. – it can be a serious, even life-changing event. Common injuries like wrist and ankle fractures or head trauma can have a devastating impact on seniors’ quality of life.

It wasn’t only Montrealers who had to grapple with an unusually severe winter. In Ottawa, suburban residents said they felt neglected by city cleanup crews as they struggled to maintain the downtown core. Toronto was also under strain, as local slip-and-fall lawyers know: the city received more than 1,700 service requests for icy sidewalks during December, January, and February, a 120 per cent increase over 2017-2018.

Legal options for slip-and-falls

 Slip-and-fall victims have the right to pursue compensation when they sustain injuries on municipal property, but history isn’t on their side. Canadian Underwriter reports that just two of 147 Toronto claims for icy sidewalk slip and falls were paid out in 2017; just three of 173 claims were granted in Montreal last year.

As one Toronto-area personal injury lawyer told the publication: “They’re not going to be held to a standard of perfection. They city or the municipality – they are afforded generous protections. It’s kind of impossible for (the municipality) to get every single speck of ice off the ground when they’re covering so much area.”

“It’s Canada,” the lawyer concluded, “you’re not going to stop winter.”

Contact an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer

 If you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team of experienced personal injury and slip-and-fall lawyers can assess the viability of your claim and provide guidance as your work toward recovery.

 

Image credit: U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Luke Waack

Chronic pain is not a “minor injury,” LAT chairwoman rules

Chronic pain is not a “minor injury,” LAT chairwoman rules

Chronic pain is a common but misunderstood form of injury. It often materializes in the weeks and months following a traumatic accident and can be a heavy burden during recovery. In serious cases, chronic pain can be debilitating and can dramatically damage a person’s quality of life. Despite this, it has been considered a minor injury under Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, a designation that some personal injury lawyers dispute. However, a recent ‘reconsideration decision’ on a Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) ruling is likely to change how benefits disputes related to chronic pain are handled.

What is Chronic Pain?

 Chronic pain can be broadly defined as pain lasting for a long period of time, generally more than 12 weeks. It most often appears following an injury: a car accident, a slip-and-fall, a surgical error, etc., and is often referred to as an “invisible” disability due to its difficulty to diagnose. Individuals suffering from chronic pain may not appear unwell and may not bear the hallmarks of a traumatic disability.

Nonetheless, chronic pain can hinder a person’s ability to work, to interact with friends and family, to be physically active, to engage in intimate relationships, and to generally enjoy a full, happy life. For this reason, many chronic pain patients and personal injury lawyers believe it is insufficient to label chronic pain as a “minor injury.”

The Reconsideration Decision

 In July 2018, Linda Lamoureux, executive chairwoman of Tribunals Ontario, reversed the LAT’s decision in T.S. v. Aviva General Insurance of Canada. In the case, Aviva awarded T.S. $3,500 in benefits, the maximum available according to the Schedule’s Minor Injury Guidelines, to cover medical treatment following a January 2015 accident.

T.S. used the full amount and requested more, stating that he had developed chronic pain that could not be considered a minor injury. Aviva denied the request and the LAT agreed. T.S. applied for a reconsideration, according to Law Times.

In her decision, Lamoureux wrote: “The Tribunal made significant errors when rendering its decision. The Tribunal did not adequately consider the context and purpose of the Schedule, and ultimately adopted a narrow interpretation of the relevant provision at issue. In doing so, the Tribunal failed to recognize T.S.’s chronic pain exceeds the Schedule’s definition of a ‘minor injury.’”

Lamoureux ordered Aviva to pay T.S. a further $9,863.45.

Good News for Injury Victims

 Lamoureux’s decision recognizes how chronic pain can impact a victim’s life. For personal injury lawyers representing chronic pain victims, the ruling makes it possible to secure more reasonable compensation.

“This will allow people who really need the treatment, who are experiencing chronic pain, to get more treatment that they need to help them with their recovery,” one personal injury lawyer told Law Times.

Contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers

 If you or a member of your family is suffering from chronic pain as a result of an accident, contact Neinstein’s team of experienced personal injury lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our team will assess the viability of your claim and offer advice as your travel the road to recovery.

 

Image credit: Alpha Stock Images – http://alphastockimages.com/

Stay safe on your bike this spring

Stay safe on your bike this spring

The arrival of spring is the traditional start of cycling season in Ontario. For the province’s city-dwellers, this means an influx of vulnerable road users on already busy streets. Cycling is a healthy, efficient and affordable way to get around congested cities, but for all its benefits there are also risks, as every cycling accident lawyer understands. In Toronto last year, five cyclists were killed and many more injured on the city’s streets.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before heading out on your bike this spring.

Check Your Bike

 Make sure your bike is in working order before heading out for your first ride. Perform a general check for basic issues: is your tire pressure okay? Are your spokes intact and secure? Are your brake pads and levers working? How about your chain and derailleurs? Identify issues and decide whether to address them yourself. You may be able to reload your chain or replace a flat tire, but more complex problems should be handled by a professional bike shop.

If you’re unsure whether your bike is in good condition, bring it into a shop just in case – many offer deals on spring tune ups.

Safety Equipment

 Safety equipment is important throughout the year, but perhaps never more so than in the spring. The combination of unpredictable weather, lingering winter debris, and a general lack of comfort between cyclists and motorists makes spring a tough time to be on the road.

As any cycling accident lawyer will tell you, the helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment a cyclist can own. It’s not illegal to ride without them in Ontario – not for adults, anyways – but it is highly dangerous. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of concussions and more serious brain injuries.

In terms of preventative safety gear, visibility is key. Equip your bike with reflectors and wear bright, reflective clothing whenever possible. If you’re planning to bike in the early morning or evening, make sure your bike is equipped with powerful, eye-catching lights. Avoid biking at night at all costs.

Hit the Road

 Once your bike is tuned up and tricked out with safety equipment, it’s time to hit the road. Be cautious during your first weeks of riding. You won’t feel as comfortable on the bike in April as you do in September, so give yourself extra time to get from point A to point B.

Remember: riding in the spring can be perilous. Road are often slick with rain and snow melt. Reduce your speed around metal, wood, painted or brick surfaces, as they become slippery when wet. Try also to avoid large puddles, which can push you off balance and obscure hazards.

If You’re Injured, Call an Accident Lawyer

f you or someone you know suffers a cycling injury this spring, don’t hesitate to call Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced cycling accident lawyer. Our team will be here to guide you on your road to recovery.

 

Image credit: Hallgrimsson/Wikimedia Commons

Should lifetime driving bans be more common in Canada?

Should lifetime driving bans be more common in Canada?

Stats published by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police for Canada Road Safety Week last May show that road safety in Canada has generally improved over the past several years. As some car accident lawyers are likely aware, fatalities and serious injuries both declined between 2001 and 2016 even as the number of vehicles grew.

However, the stats also revealed several disturbing trends including the continued prevalence of dangerous and aggressive driving. According to the most recent available data, speeding contributed to 27 per cent of fatalities and 19 per cent of serious injuries on Canadian roads, more than drug or alcohol impairment.

Government bodies, safety advocacy groups, car accident lawyers and law enforcement agencies have gone to great lengths to warn the public about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving, with mixed success. But how can we reduce aggressive and reckless driving?

Globe and Mail contributor Andrew Clark proposed a novel solution in a February 2019 opinion piece: lifetime driving bans for serious offenders.

“Why shouldn’t people who drive dangerously be banned from driving for life?” he mused. “We’re not cutting off a limb. We’re not sending them to prison. We’re just saying “from now on, take the bus.”

Are lifetime bans necessary? To bolster his position, Clark offers several examples of convicted dangerous drivers who will, at some point, drive again. A 19-year-old Ontarian was caught going 246 km/h in a friend’s car; his licence was suspended for seven days and the car impounded for a week. Another driver was caught going 180 km/h on Southern Ontario’s Queen Elizabeth Expressway (QEW); he was fined $4,000 and received a 12-month driving ban. In Alberta, an individual serving an 11-year manslaughter sentence for a fatal hit and run recently had his lifetime driving ban reduced to 10 years. The reasoning? According to the judges of Alberta’s Court of Appeal, a lifetime ban for a person in their 20s was not realistic and served no “compelling” purpose.

“It does not depreciate the magnitude of his offence to recognize that the appellant will be a different person in the years to come and should be encouraged to live a constructive life then,” the decision read.

Not having a driver’s licence would be a major inconvenience for many Canadians, but it should not prevent a person from living a “constructive life.” Is it more important to ensure that dangerous drivers have a comfortable commute than to protect fellow road users from their potentially lethal behaviour?

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident our team of experienced car accident lawyers can help. Contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer

Recovery from a serious personal injury can be a lengthy and expensive process. That’s why personal injury lawyers exist: to help victims access compensation for the damages they have incurred to fund the medical and therapeutic services they need to enable their recovery.

Most people don’t think about serious injuries on a daily basis. Injuries, we think, are something that happens to someone else. For that reason, most people are unclear about what steps to take when an injury does occur. Who do I call for help? How do I find a personal injury lawyer?

Don’t be afraid to ask

 Your first step to finding an experienced personal injury lawyer should be to ask for referrals. Contact friends, family, or acquaintances who have used a personal injury lawyer in the past. Ask about their experiences: were they treated well? Were they kept informed throughout the process? Did they receive fair and reasonable compensation for their injuries?

Ask for the guidance of any lawyers you know or work with. Even if that lawyer doesn’t work in the personal injury field, they may be able to recommend a reputable lawyer or law firm.

If you don’t have access to lawyers or friends with legal experience, consider consulting an online legal directory. These resources are plentiful and are a good starting point for your search. Adjust the parameters to narrow your search to lawyers in your region with expertise pertaining to your needs.

Do your research

 Once you’ve compiled a list of lawyers that you believe could help, do some initial research. First, make sure the lawyers on your list have experience with your type of claim. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, check each firm’s website to ensure they take car accident cases. The same goes for boating accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, etc.

Look for someone with a sterling reputation – through resources like Google Reviews, it’s never been easier to find out what past clients think of a law firm’s services. Once you’ve identified a number of lawyers that work in the necessary field, type their names into Google and read some honest client reviews.

Consider financing as well. The harsh reality of the legal world is that personal injury cases take time, energy, and financial investment. Most reputable personal injury firms offer contingency fees – wherein you do not pay until your case has been successfully resolved – in order to ensure access to justice for all injury victims.

By now, you should have narrowed your list to two or three law firms. Call each one and arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation. At this meeting, a representative will review your case and provide guidance on how to move forward. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for the firm. Can you trust this personal injury lawyer to represent your interests in court?

How to Pick a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to help you access compensation. Contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team. Your recovery starts here.

 

 

Neinstein has been nominated for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s Top Ten list

Neinstein has been nominated for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s Top Ten list

Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers has once again been nominated for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s 2019 list of Top Boutiques: Personal Injury & Arbitration Chambers! This is the fourth time we have been nominated for this prestigious recognition.

Canadian Lawyer’s biennial list recognizes law firms from across Canada who have delivered exceptional service to their clients. Over the last 45 years, Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers has worked hard to establish our reputation as a leading personal injury law firm offering strong, compassionate representation to seriously injured Ontarians. We’re very proud to once again be recognized for our commitment to delivering results that help clients on their road to recovery.

We need your help to make the final list of Top Boutiques: Personal Injury & Arbitration Chambers. Voting takes less than five minutes. The deadline is Monday, February 25. Please fill out the following ballot: https://www.canadianlawyermag.com/survey/top-boutiques-personal-injury-and-arbitration-chambers-2019-22/#tab_1

Best of luck to our fellow nominees and thank you to our supportive clients and colleagues!

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