A catastrophic injury is one that substantially affects the victim’s physical and/or mental condition to such an extent that it is life-altering.
A catastrophic injury is one that substantially affects the victim’s physical and/or mental condition to such an extent that it is life-altering. It includes serious bodily injury that significantly impairs a vital bodily function or causes severe disfigurement. It also involves an injury critical enough to prevent the injured party from being able to engage in further employment.
Because of the substantial damages involved in catastrophic injury cases, an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer from Toronto is essential if you are to receive the most compensation available. Do not hesitate to call a skilled Toronto personal injury lawyer from Affinity Law to handle your case.
Examples of catastrophic injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis
- Loss of vision or hearing
- Loss of a limb
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Severe disfigurement from burns or other injury
- Organ damage
- Exposure to toxic chemicals or substances
Accidents that Cause Catastrophic Injuries
For such severe injuries to occur, the accident or condition that led to the injury must have been substantial. These would cover:
- Truck accidents
- Car accidents at high speed
- Swimming pool accidents leading to brain damage
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bite or attack
- Surgical negligence
- Birth injuries
- Structural fires
- Defective household products
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Defective medical devices
- Construction accidents—falls or being struck by objects or equipment
- Medications leading to strokes, heart and liver damage, or birth defects
- Defective consumer products
- Chemical pollution of water and air
- Physical assault
Some of these accidents are caused by corporate, industrial, or medical negligence or individuals acting as employees, agents, or otherwise in their official capacity for these entities. This includes trucking companies, medical device manufacturers, doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, municipalities, chemical companies, contractors, bars and restaurants, and drug companies. If so, then there may be resources available that can adequately compensate the injured victim.
But because of the enormous resources of these entities and the substantial damages that most catastrophic injury victims sustain, you can expect a long or protracted legal battle to get you or a loved one the compensation to which you are entitled. Only a catastrophic injury lawyer from Toronto and Affinity Law should be handling such cases.
The following are some of the more common catastrophic injuries in more detail:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
It does not necessarily take a violent accident to cause traumatic brain injury (TBI). Any blow to the head can result in a concussion that if left untreated can lead to TBI and possible permanent brain damage. A concussion is a jolt to the brain causing it to move from side to side inside your skull cavity, bruising and damaging blood vessels and nerves. If there is bleeding, it can mean hemorrhaging that must be stopped.
Symptoms from a concussion may not be immediate with some not manifesting until days or weeks following the trauma. Symptoms include:
- Lack of balance
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Sensitivity to noise and light
- Memory loss
Concussions are classified as Grade 1, 2 or 3. A Grade 1 is no loss of consciousness where symptoms dissipate or are gone after about 15 minutes. Grade 2 concussions also involve no loss of consciousness but symptoms last longer than 15-minutes. A Grade 3 concussion is loss of consciousness for any amount of time. The majority of concussion injuries are minor and victims are not left with any lingering or permanent injury.
A secondary impact, though, can lead to brain swelling and possibly death. This occurs when a person who is still recovering from a concussion or head injury suffers another traumatic blow to the head.
Long term effects from a concussion can be substantial and severe, including:
- Cognitive defects—memory loss, coma, attention deficit, difficulty problem solving, loss of time and space perception
- Perceptual defects—changes in sense of touch, smell, hearing or vision
- Behavioral—anxiety, depression, mood swings, quick to anger or aggression
- Communication problems—problems reading, speaking, comprehending
- Motor skills—difficulty swallowing, paralysis, weakness, tremors
- Social changes—depression, anxiety, awkwardness in social interactions
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI)
Car accidents make up about 38% of spinal injuries followed by slip and falls that constitute 30%, according to a 2015 University of Alabama study. Motor vehicle accidents are generally the result of speeding, alcohol and drugs, fatigue, and distracted driving. The latter usually refer to the widespread use of smartphones while driving that re-directs the driver’s attention and focus from the road to texting or scrolling on the phone.
Slip and falls are often the result of wet or slippery surfaces from someone’s negligence or carelessness. This includes a failure to clean up spills, ice or debris on floors, driveways, entrances, or parking lot surfaces, poor or no lighting on stairways, loose or torn carpeting, and defective or lack of guardrails.
An SCI results from either a direct or indirect trauma to the spinal cord. Direct trauma is injury that directly to the nerves, while indirect is to the soft tissue, bones and vessels surrounding the spinal cord.
Also, spinal cord injuries are classified as complete or incomplete. A complete injury means that the victim has lost all sensation or ability to move below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury leaves the victim with some function and movement that is below the level or injury.
For severe injuries where the victim suffers a complete or incomplete SCI, the victim will need various degrees of assistance for months or during their lifespan, which includes long periods of physical and vocational therapy. Estimates are that the average annual expenses for a spinal cord injury ranges from US$ 228,500 to US$775,500 for the first year.
Burn Injuries and Serious Disfigurement
Burns are one of the most painful injuries anyone can experience. If you are burned in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, then you are entitled to compensation. Common incidences that lead to severe burn injuries include:
- Defective electrical wiring
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Gas explosions
- Defective household products
- Structural fires
- Construction accidents
There are generally 4 types of burn injuries:
- First degree burns are mild and result in reddening of the skin’s outer layer or epidermis. A mild sunburn is an example These injuries can be treated with aloe vera and antibiotics.
- Second degree burns affect the epidermis and lower layer or dermis, causing swelling and blisters. Treatment is by ointments or antibiotic creams.
- Third degree burns are severe—the burn goes through the dermis and affects deeper tissue resulting in charred or whitened skin. Such burns may require a series of painful skin grafts or use of synthetic skin. Intra-venous fluids and antibiotics.
- Fourth degree burns are the most severe as they damage underlying bones, muscles, and tendons. Nerve endings are destroyed so there is no sensation. Victims may suffer permanent damage and amputation of limbs. There may also be organ damage.
Your compensation in a severe burn case depends on the degree or extent of liability of the defendant, if you may have been comparatively at fault, and the available amount of insurance coverage or recoverable assets of the defendant.
If disfigured, your compensation or settlement will also depend on the extent of the scarring, its permanency despite surgery, your gender, and where the disfigurement is located. Facial disfigurement is obviously more visible and emotionally traumatic than if it appears on your leg, though women may be more sensitive to scarring there or to anywhere else on their bodies.
Defective Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices
Like any other negligence claim, there are elements or certain components of a case that the plaintiff or claimant must prove to have a valid and sustainable cause of action. For defective drugs or medical devices, these come under the principles of product liability, another aspect of negligence law. Negligence law has the following elements:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached its duty of care
- The plaintiff suffered damages
- The plaintiff’s damages were caused by the defendant’s negligence or breach of the duty of care
Drugs and medical devices are consumer products that must meet certain standards of quality and that they do or perform as advertised or intended. If they cause harm because of certain defects, then a product liability claim may be brought. These claims often entail:
- Defective design at a stage of the design process or testing
- Negligent manufacture of the product or process; or which tainted the drug
- Lack of or inadequate warning of the dangers or potential complications of the device or drug
- Failure to recall the device or drug
- Misrepresentation regarding the benefits of the drug or device; i.e., improper marketing
- Insufficient testing of the product
- Falsifying test results of the product.
Product liability claims are difficult and involve complicated issues of liability and causation as it pertains to damages. Trust you claim to a highly skilled and knowledgeable Toronto catastrophic injury lawyer from Affinity Law to handle a claim of this complexity.
Damages in Catastrophic Injury Cases
The effects on your life with a catastrophic injury are far reaching and often affect the families of the victims. The damages are usually far higher than in a typical personal injury case and there may not be enough insurance or personal assets from the liable party to fully compensate the victim.
If your injury was caused in a car accident, you may only collect general damages from the responsible motorist or party if your injuries are permanent and cause a serious impairment of an important physical function. Catastrophic injuries will generally fall within this threshold.
Damages can be a lifetime of lost earnings, lost earning capacity, enormous and ongoing medical expenses, and immeasurable diminution in the quality of life, pain and suffering.
Canadian law limits the amount of non-pecuniary damages, referring to pain and suffering or your diminished quality or enjoyment of life. Currently, the limit is $380,912.00, an amount adjusted for inflation each year. This amount is generally limited to the most extreme injury cases such as quadriplegia.
There is no limit on pecuniary or economic damages that covers past and future loss of earnings, medical expenses and care. Housekeeping and home maintenance is included.
The law also imposes a deductible on injury awards in car accident cases. As of 2019, there is a deductible of $38,818.97 on awards less than $129,395.49. The deductible does not apply for awards exceeding that amount. These amounts are adjusted yearly for inflation.
Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers at Affinity Law
Affinity Law has experienced and seasoned lawyers who have handled numerous catastrophic injury cases with a high success rate and have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for clients.
A dog bite is usually a nip or a small tear to your hand or leg, but in some cases the dog can leave permanent and disfiguring scars,
Dog Bite Claims
A dog bite is usually a nip or a small tear to your hand or leg, but in some cases the dog can leave permanent and disfiguring scars, cause disabling injuries to limbs and muscles or serious infections from a wound, or maul a victim to death. Most dog bite victims, or around 85%, are children under the age of 12. This is likely because children are naturally attracted to animals and are too young and inexperienced to recognize signs of aggression or to be wary of an unattended animal, and not strong enough to fend off an attack.
Most dog attack fatalities in Canada occur in rural areas by packs of dogs. Huskies, Rottweilers, and mixed breeds are usually responsible. Canada has banned or outlawed the sale and possession of pit bulls that are 9-years of age or younger. However, dog bites from any breed still occur in urban and suburban areas because of the negligence of pet owners who fail to adhere to leash laws or to take reasonable precautions to protect persons who are lawfully on their property from being bitten.
Injuries Caused by a Dog Bite or Attack
A dog can inflict numerous types of injuries:
- Sepsis (infection from the wound)
- Muscle damage
- Broken pelvis, limb, or head injury from being knocked down
- Emotional distress
Seek immediate medical care if bitten. If you are able to identify the owner, get information on whether the animal has received all necessary vaccinations.
Dog Owner Liability
A dog’s owner is subject to liability for a dog bite or attack under the Dog Owner’s Liability Act in Ontario. If there is more than one owner, then all owners are subject to joint and several liability, meaning that each owner is independently liable for all damages, though the owner who paid the full damages can seek reimbursement from the other owner(s) for his proportionate share.
Under the Dog Owner’s Liability Act, an owner cannot escape responsibility for an attack by claiming he/she had no prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities or that it had never bitten or attacked anyone before. In other words, an owner is strictly liable for the injury caused by his dog, whether he was exercising ordinary care or not. An exception is if the dog attacked a person who was trespassing on the owner’s property and was committing or had intended to commit a criminal act. For purposes of seeking compensation, the definition of “owner” extends to anyone who was in control of the dog when the incident occurred, such as a paid dogwalker or any other person.
However, the law does allow any damages to be reduced by the victim’s own negligence or conduct that may have provoked the dog to bite or attack him. If the victim has been throwing rocks at the dog, had kicked it, pulled its leash, or was teasing it, this could be evidence of provocation. Another circumstance is where the owner warned the victim that the dog was vicious or did not like to be petted, and took reasonable steps to keep the dog away from the victim who nevertheless ignored the warnings.
In these cases, a court could conclude that the victim or claimant’s conduct in provoking the animal or in ignoring the owner’s warnings, coupled with the owner having taken necessary and reasonable precautions to prevent the attack warranted either no award of damages or a reduction by the percentage of comparative fault by the claimant in causing his/her own injury and damages.
Liability for Death of a Dog or Domestic Animal
The Dog Owner’s Liability Act also provides damages to the owner of a dog or “domestic animal”(a species that is not wild by nature) that was killed or injured by another dog. The responsible dog’s owner is liable for any resulting veterinarian expenses as well as for any emotional distress suffered by the deceased or injured dog’s owner if he had witnessed the attack.
Courts will award damages for emotional distress in egregious cases of death or serious injury to the animal, but likely not for lesser, non-permanent injuries.
What To Do if Bitten
If you are attacked and injured, there are some important steps to follow:
- If you are able to do so, obtain the name, address and contact information of the dog’s owner
- Get any contact information from witnesses
- Obtain immediate medical attention since any wound can become infected and lead to serious complications.
- Call police or animal control about the incident and follow up to determine if the dog has received all required shots including rabies vaccinations
- Take photos of your injuries
- Write down your memory of how the incident occurred, and include time, content of conversations, location, witnesses, weather, and your actions leading up to the incident
- Keep a diary or log of your medical appointments, medications, symptoms, and pain
- Promptly retain a Toronto dog bite lawyer from Affinity Law
How to Prevent Dog Attacks
As a dog owner, you can prevent your pet from attacking others as well as yourself from being bitten with these suggestions:
- Choose a dog that is friendly and compatible with the age of your children
- Train your dog by taking it to a training and socialization class
- Never leave infants or toddlers alone with a dog, regardless of its friendly disposition
- Never approach a dog that is without its owner
- Never pet a dog without the owner’s permission
- If confronted by an aggressive dog, do not make eye contact, run, yell, or try to scare it off with aggressive gestures
How a Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
Few personal injury cases have clear cut liability and where adequate compensation is immediately paid to the injured claimant. In a serious dog bite case, you can expect the owner or whomever was walking or in control of the dog to contend that you provoked the animal by taunting or teasing it, or were warned to stay away.
Also, an attorney for the dog owner may question the nature and extent of your injuries, and that you failed to take steps to mitigate your damages by not seeking appropriate medical care or by ignoring obvious signs of infection. Other arguments presented may cast doubt on the necessity or reasonableness of the medical care you did obtain, that your injuries did not prevent you from working at your usual job or engaging in routine or recreational activities, or that you are malingering (exaggerating or fabricating your symptoms).
An experienced Toronto dog bite lawyer from Affinity Law can address these arguments and can provide the following services:
- Contact the owner for homeowner’s or rental insurance information
- File a claim with the insurer and maintain contact with them
- Obtain witness statements
- Take photographs of your wound
- Collect all medical bills, related expenses, clinic and hospital records
- Retrieve necessary school or employment records if you were unable to return to school or work for a period of time
- Obtain a detailed medical opinion from your medical provider regarding the severity and extent of your injuries and prognosis including future treatment and care
- Record how the injury has affected your daily living activities, work, earning capacity, and enjoyment of life
- Negotiate a reasonable settlement or take your claim to court
Damages in a Dog Bite Claim
Damages in a personal injury claim, including a dog bite, include pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages. Pecuniary refers to economic losses such as:
- Past and future loss of income
- Past and future medical expenses including rehabilitation costs
- Emotional distress—fear of animals, nightmares, sleeplessness, post-traumatic stress
- Permanent disfigurement
- Disability requiring paid assistance from home care workers or nursing care
Non-pecuniary damages refers to pain and suffering, an element of damages that is subjective and depends on the severity of the injury and the extent to which it has diminished a claimant’s enjoyment of life.
Cap on Damages and Deductible
Canadian law has a cap or limit to the amount of pain and suffering you can collect. This amount increases slightly each year to keep pace with the cost of inflation. There is also a deductible on the amount awarded. In Ontario, it is $38,818.97. For instance, if you are awarded $75,000 in pain and suffering, you would receive $36,181.03. You are also limited to the maximum award for pain and suffering of around $340,000. There is no cap on pecuniary damages. No deductible applies to awards of at least $129,395.45.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured by a dog, promptly contact a dog bite lawyer from Affinity Law to handle your case so that you can obtain the most compensation available.
A life-time of chronic back pain, or partial or complete paralysis with its various complications characterize many spinal cord injuries.
Spinal Cord Injury Claims
A life-time of chronic back pain, or partial or complete paralysis with its various complications characterize many spinal cord injuries. These are often life-changing injuries that can require ongoing medical and even home care. To get the compensation you need, retain a Toronto personal injury lawyer from Affinity Law to handle your claim from its onset to resolution.
Don’t let an injury cause you additional stress because an insurer or defendant has denied your claim or made a low-ball offer. Our lawyers have recovered millions in compensation for accident victims, even in the most difficult cases. We also understand that legal fees can be costly, which is why we only take payment upon settlement or verdict.
What is the Spinal Cord?
The spinal cord is a collection or package of nerve fibers and tissue that control and make up our sensory and motor reflexes. Serious spinal injuries can cause life-long suffering and disability, significantly interfering with our customary daily activities and quality of life. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, or assaults can damage the spine in numerous ways and result in substantial and ongoing medical care and expenses.
Spinal injuries are of the following types:
- Whiplash or soft tissue damage to tendons and ligaments from sudden and dramatic acceleration/deceleration motion of your neck that is often seen in rear-end motor vehicle collisions. A whiplash motion can also lead to fractures to the neck vertebrae.
- Disc herniation—this is a disc rupture from trauma whereby the gelatinous material contained in the center of the disc leaks out through a tear and irritates surrounding nerves. In some cases, it canproduceintense pain necessitating surgery.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury—a condition where the spinal cord is partially severed so that the victim may retain some degree of function. About 60% of serious spinal cord injuries are of this type.
- Complete spinal cord injury—the spinal cord is completely severed leaving victims with no discernible motor or sensory functions. Some victimsare able to regain some function from therapy or electrical stimulation.
Medical providers can diagnose a spinal injury through x-ray, CT scan, or an MRI. A neurological exam can verify the level of the injury, and the degree to which your muscle strength, movement, and ability to sense touch has been affected. In the case of a whiplash or soft tissue injury, the diagnosis can be made after a clinical examination based on subjective symptoms, but which correlate with the examination findings.
Whiplash Injuries and Issues
Whiplash injuries are a milder form of spinal injury and are generally treated with rest, ice and immobilization with a neck collar immediately following the trauma. Chiropractic treatment is commonly sought where a chiropractor may perform spinal manipulation or adjustments, do massage, apply heat packs, and subject the patient to a series of rehabilitative exercises.
Soft tissue injuries from a whiplash do not appear on diagnostic tests like x-rays or MRIs, though an x-ray that reveals a straightening of the normal curvature in the cervical spine, called hyperlordosis, along with certain symptoms might be evidence of trauma caused by a motor vehicle accident, fall or other incident where there is a sudden distortion of the neck. Symptoms of a whiplash include:
- Neck pain
- Decreased range of motion in the neck
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
- Sleeping difficulties
- Mood changes
- Trouble focusing or loss of memory
In injury claims where whiplash has been alleged, insurance adjusters for the responsible parties will often profess skepticism that the claimant was injured. In many of these cases, victims do not experience any symptoms for hours or a day or two following the trauma and may have denied any injury at the accident scene. The issue of whether the person was injured at all is compounded by the lack of any visible injury, such as bleeding or bruising. However, a physician or chiropractor trained to identify such injuries should conduct a careful and thorough clinical examination so as to verify the injury and rule out malingering, which is an exaggeration or fabrication of an injury in the interest of monetary gain. It often takes a seasoned Toronto spinal cord injury lawyer to prompt a doctor to definitively state in a report or in testimony that the client was not a malingerer if this is an issue.
Other complicating factors are proving the degree and severity of the injury where the claimants are unable to perform their normal work duties, household duties or engage in recreational activities. Although many reliable and credible studies confirm that even low impact car collisions can result in whiplash injuries, it can be difficult to convince an insurance adjuster or a jury that the claimant has suffered a serious enough injury that has necessitated months of treatment, thousands of dollars in medical expenses, and lost income. Retaining an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer from Affinity Law who has successfully handled such claims is essential if you want a satisfactory resolution of your case.
The most severe spinal injuries are paralysis cases. Though there is no cure, many patients are able to restore some degree of function though occupational and physical therapy or through use of assistive and technological devices. Early intervention is often crucial and, in many cases, can minimize the severity or extent of the paralysis.
Treatments for a spinal cord injury can also entail:
- Surgical removal of bone splinters; spinal fusion, or removal of discs
- Reduction of inflammation by steroid injections
- Transplanting neural stem cells to innervate muscles
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Injury symptoms may include:
- Loss of sensation
- No longer able to sense heat or cold
- Numbness or tingling sensations in hands, fingers, and toes
- Inability to controlbowel or bladder functions
- Urinary tract infections
- Muscle spasms
- Diminished or complete loss of sexual function and sensitivity
- Loss of movement
- Respiratory difficulties
C-1 to C4 Injuries
A serious injury to the cervical or neck from C-1 to C-4 level is crucial, as it likely will result in quadriplegia (tetraplegia), which is paralysis of all four limbs. This condition may require a victim to use a ventilator to breath along with complete assistance in eating, dressing, and bathing and 24-hour care. Victims will need a specially equipped and powered wheelchair to move independently. Upper cervical cord injuries are often fatal.
Death among serious spinal cord injury victims is usually from respiratory complications, typically pneumonia.
C-5 to C-8 Injuries
The nerves in this area of the cervical spine control the arms and hands. An injury can cause partial or total paralysis of the wrist, hands, and legs. Victims will need assistance with most daily living activities.
T-1 to T-5 Injuries
The nerves in the mid-back affect muscles in your upper chest, mid-back and abdominal areas. While function in arms and hands may be unaffected, there can be paralysis in the trunk and legs. A victim can use a manual wheelchair in many cases and may stand while others will need braces.
T-6 to T-12 Injuries
Injuries to this area usually results in paraplegia, affecting the abdominal and back muscles. Upper body movement is unaffected. Victims will generally lose control of bowel or bladder function but may manage with specialized equipment. Sufferers can drive a modified vehicle and may stand or need braces for walking.
L-1 to L-5 Injuries
An injury to the lumbar spine can result in loss of bowel and bladder function and loss of movement in the hips and legs. More severely injured victims will need a wheelchair and may walk with braces.
Recovery and Prognosis
Doctors are often reluctant in many spinal cord injuries to give a firm prognosis. If there will be some recovery, it will be seen in the initial one week to 6-months after the trauma. Some patients will continue to show some improvement over the first 1-2 years.
Modern technologies are providing hope to paralysis victims. Wheelchairs are lighter and more adaptable with electric ones able to climb stairs, traverse rough terrains, and elevate the person to reach higher levels without assistance. Computers with voice commands allow anyone to type and work. More sophisticated devices use electrical stimulation that controls arm and leg muscles to permit paralyzed persons to stand or even walk. Robot technology is quickly advancing to re-train persons to walk following a spinal injury.
Damages in severe spinal cord injury cases can be substantial and ongoing. Retain a skilled Toronto spinal cord injury lawyer from Affinity Law if you or a loved one has suffered such a catastrophic injury.
The Issue of Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
In many cases where a person suffered spinal injuries in a car, bicycle, motorcycle accident or fall caused by the negligence of another person or entity, insurers for the at-fault party mayargue that the claimant had pre-existing degenerative disc disease (DDD), particularly if current or past diagnostic tests indicate that the claimant is suffering from this condition. DDDis often the result of the aging process that erodes the discs between the vertebrae leading to stenosis, which is a narrowing of the disc space between the vertebrae. Millions of people suffer from DDD to some extent.
Those who suffer from this condition may not exhibit any symptoms at all. Others may have sharp back pain,tingling in their hands, fingers and down to their feet, and are unable to or have extreme difficulty performing daily living activities. But trauma as a result of a car accident or fall can also cause DDD.
For all personal injury claims, the plaintiffs or claimants have the burden of proving not only fault by another party but that the accident was the cause of their injuries. You areentitled to collect compensation even if you have a pre-existing injury or condition such as DDD if you can show that the accident exacerbated or worsened your condition, though a medical expert will need to opine as to the degree that it was worsened.Alternatively, your physician can state that the accident was the cause of your condition.
If you had a previous MRI or other diagnostic test that showed the absence of DDD, or of any other pre-existing condition that constitutes the injury you claim, this can be powerful evidence that the trauma caused your injuries. In the absence of prior medical evidence, you can still offer credible proof that the accident was the cause of your symptoms and condition after the accident by demonstrating the lack of documented complaints and symptoms. If you can also show that you had been vigorously engaged in certain daily or routine activities or recreation such as golf, tennis, running, or any other sport, but which you can no longer performsince the accident as verified by your doctor, then this may be sufficient to persuade a jury that trauma was the substantial cause of your injuries.
An experienced serious injury lawyer can have your treating physician, physical therapist, neurologist, or orthopedic doctor provide a detailed medical report or testify as to the nature and extent of your injury, how it has affected your life, and the prognosis for your condition.
Contact Affinity Law
Spinal cord injuries often involve complex issues of coverage and liability issues, causation, and proof of damages. An experienced Toronto catastrophic injury lawyer from Affinity Law can investigate and discover other parties who may have contributed to the accident. Because of the severity and substantial damages sustained by spinal cord injury victims, having a skilled and resourceful Toronto spinal cord injury lawyer on your side can ensure that you receive all the available compensation to which you are entitled.
Call for a free consultation at 1 844 786 LAW 1 (5291).
Medical negligence cases are among the most difficult to prove and are defended vigorously by the medical professionals
Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical professionals are highly trained and skilled practitioners who nonetheless commit negligence when treating or caring for patients. Hospitals and other medical facilities also are guilty of injuring patients through negligent practices or failures of oversight. If you or a loved one was injured and suffered damages due to the negligence of a medical provider, you can bring a tort claim against them, though you will be met by defense lawyers with considerable resources who will aggressively defend the doctors, nurses, chiropractors, and facilities who are accused of injuring you or a loved one.
What is Medical Malpractice?
A physician, nurse or any other medical provider has an obligation to exercise care when treating or caring for a patient and must adhere to a standard of care. In Ontario, this means that the provider must meet “that degree of care and skill which could be reasonably expected of a normal, prudent practitioner of the same experience and standing.” Similarly, a hospital is held to a standard of care that usually involves preventing defects in its system and policies when caring for a patient. However, hospitals are not held vicariously liable for the negligence of physicians in its facility as they are considered independent contractors and not hospital employees under Canadian law, unlike interns and residents.
A medical malpractice claim is one of negligence and the principles of this cause of action apply. The elements of a medical negligence or malpractice claim are:
- Duty of care—the physician must have treated the patient. If so, the provider owes a duty of care to the patient to provide the degree of care and skill that the average medical provider practicing the same specialty would provide
- Breach of the duty of care–the doctor’s conduct fell below or breached the standard of care by not properly diagnosing the patient’s condition, or by otherwise not providing the degree of care expected.
- Causation–the doctor’s error or failure to abide by the standard of care must be the cause of the patient’s injuries and damages or, if not for the doctor’s error or breach of the standard of care, the patient would not have been injured. This can be demonstrated by a showing that the patient’s condition worsened because of the error.
- Damages–the patient suffered damages. This includes medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
As noted, physicians must adhere to a standard of care when treating or caring for patients. This includes taking a thorough medical history, performing a proper examination and ordering applicable lab tests, interpreting and reporting the results, referring and consulting with other physicians, recognizing and acting upon symptoms so as to arrive at the correct diagnosis, disclosing to the patient the risks of a procedure, obtaining informed consent from the patient, prescribing proper medications, doing proper follow-up, and providing proper therapy and treatment options.
The following are other common examples of medical malpractice:
Failure to diagnose
This can include a misdiagnosis as well. If a provider does not correctly diagnose esophageal cancer and instead labels the patient’s complaints as a bad cough and where the correct diagnosis at the time would have vastly improved the patient’s chances for recovery or a longer life, this could be medical negligence. To sustain a claim, the error must have been one that a similar physician exercising reasonable care and skill would not have made. Also, the error must have led to delayed care, improper care, or no care at all which led to a worsening of the patient’s condition.
Similar to a failure to diagnose, a delayed diagnosis means that the condition becomes worse to where surgery or extreme measures must be taken. If a prudent practitioner of the same experience and standing would have diagnosed the patient’s condition under the same set of circumstances, then the subject physician’s omission fell below the accepted standard of care. The physician’s failure to consult with other physicians or to refer the patient to a specialist who could have correctly diagnosed the patient or earlier may also be considered malpractice in certain circumstances.
Errors in the type or dosage of medication are not uncommon. If the dosage was incorrect, severe complications can develop. If delayed, it can lead to death. Medication errors occur as a result of:
- Poorly written or oral communication
- Failure to take proper precautions or follow established protocol
- Inexperienced or ill-trained staff
- System errors
Negligence may be found if the physician or provider:
- Prescribed the incorrect medication
- Administered the wrong dosage
- Delivered an unintended medication
- Failed to take the patient’s history and allergies
- Failed to inform the patient of the risks associated with the medication
- Failed to account for an adverse reaction to mixed medications
Medication error claims also include pharmacists who may have delivered medication to the wrong patient or improperly prescribed it.
Anesthesia is administered during various procedures so that the patient does not feel pain. The medical care provided by the anesthesiologist must meet the accepted standard of care. Errors in anesthesia may include the following:
- Excessive anesthesia
- Too little anesthesia so that the patient may experience pain while not being able to communicate to the doctor or nurses
- A delay in delivering anesthesia
- Delivering the wrong type of anesthesia
- Failing to monitor and recognize severe reactions to anesthesia or to interactions with other medications
- Failing to determine if the patient is allergic to the anesthesia and administering it either accidentally or intentionally
- Failing to take into consideration the patient’s positioning during anesthesia administration that affects the patient’s blood pressure or blood supply to the brain that can result in death or brain damage
- Defective equipment
Complications that can arise due to inadequate delivery or other errors can be catastrophic or fatal. There can be brain damage if there is inadequate oxygen to the brain, a condition called hypoxia. An error can also lead to paralysis, stroke, seizures, malignant hyperthermia, and death.
One of the more devastating consequences of medical malpractice is a child injured before, during or just after birth because of a medical error or omission. Common types of birth injuries are:
- Hypoxia leading to brain damage (umbilical cord compression or strangulation)
- Cerebral palsy
- Skull injuries
- Brachial plexus or Erb’s palsy (nerve damage that can result in arm paralysis)
- Facial paralysis
- Shoulder dystocia
Some of these injuries are the result of a failure to monitor the fetus which may be displaying signs of distress and not receiving enough oxygen. Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors can cause serious injuries. Along with the attending physician or obstetrician, other responsible parties can include the delivery room staff, hospital staff, obstetric nurses, and doctor who negligently provided pre-natal care or failed to anticipate potential complications that a doctor with similar skills and experience would have noted in the exercise of reasonable care.
The symptoms of a birth injury may be apparent at birth or while the child is developing. You may find that the child is not meeting certain milestones such as crawling, standing or walking. The child may also demonstrate a lack of muscle coordination or have learning challenges.
Surgical Equipment Left in Body Cavity
Surveys from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that surgical instruments such as sponges or tools are left in patient bodies in 12% of surgeries or about 6000 cases per year. In Canada, a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found the rate to be 8.6 of every 10,000 hospital discharges.
A patient may begin experiencing discomfort shortly after surgery that if persistent will show that the tool is the culprit after a diagnostic test. Other patients may go for months or even years before the cause of the extreme pain or complications is uncovered.
Hundreds of instruments and tools can be used during a surgery but all must be accounted for. A sponge or tool left in a body cavity can lead to infections, internal hemorrhaging, and death.
Failure to Obtain Consent
Before you are provided certain care such as surgery or other treatment, your provider is obligated to review with you the side effects, potential complications, and risks such as stroke, heart attack, emotional or cognitive changes, and others. Anything that could conceivably occur needs to be reviewed. If your doctor failed to inform you of a certain risk or complication that does occur and you suffer a severe reaction or condition that causes serious injury, you may have a claim for malpractice.
Issues in Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice claim are notoriously difficult to handle, which is why having an experienced and highly skilled Toronto medical malpractice lawyer from Affinity Law is essential. Canadian physicians are protected by the Canadian Protective Medical Association (CPMA), which will vigorously defend the practitioner in a medical negligence claim. Of all medical negligence claims, 55.2% are dismissed or discontinued and 36.7% are settled. Of those claims that do go to trial, around 6.5% are found in favor of the doctor and 1.6% in favor of the patient. However, many of the claims that are dismissed or abandoned are because the legal practitioner failed to adequately investigate the claim, lacked the resources to continue to prosecute or litigate, or simply lacked the skills to pursue them.
If you or a loved one has a potential malpractice claim, there are certain facets of it of which you need to be aware:
- All records need to be obtained. This includes any correspondence with the hospital or doctor, pamphlets that you were given, consent forms, bills, and any other records and documents related from all medical providers whom you saw for this case.
- A team of experts is necessary who will advocate on your behalf. Having second, third and even fourth opinions on your case is beneficial, especially if they all confirm that a preventable error was the cause of your injuries and damages.
- At least one expert is needed to establish the applicable standard of care that your provider was required to follow and to testify or report how your provider deviated from that standard or breached his/her duty to adhere to it.
- There must be a direct connection between the alleged error and the condition or injury. Your experts must demonstrate that the doctor’s deviation from the standard of care directly led to the injury.
- The medical provider will have to show that the error was unintentional and occurred while he/she was providing quality medical care that was consistent with and met the applicable standard of care.
- You have 2-years from the date of the surgery or last time you received care from the doctor to file a lawsuit or it is waived.
- If you are under 18, the 2-year statute of limitations is tolled, or delayed, until 2-years after your 18th
- Even if the physician or staff committed an error, you have a high burden in showing that your injury and damages were the direct result of the error and would not have occurred but for the error.
There is a cap on general or non-pecuniary damages such as pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases of $380,912 with some exceptions in particularly egregious cases. There is no cap on pecuniary damages such as past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, and burial and funeral expenses.
If an error or omission in care or treatment is shown, the doctor can often prevail by introducing defense medical experts who will testify that the condition or injuries were caused by some other condition or would have occurred regardless of the alleged error. If a court determines that the defense experts are more credible or that your experts have not proved to its satisfaction that malpractice occurred or that it was the direct cause of your damages, you will not prevail. A poor result or outcome of a procedure or treatment is not enough to sustain a malpractice claim. Some conditions are difficult to treat and a doctor cannot be considered a guarantor of a favorable outcome. If you were informed of the known risks and complications such as infection or stroke, the provider will not be found liable. If more than one treatment option was available and acceptable by the medical community but which turned out poorly, the provider is not responsible.
Also, unless your condition or injury is severe or serious, few legal practitioners will pursue the claim even if the error clearly constituted malpractice.
For any medical malpractice claim brought to us, you can expect a Toronto medical malpractice lawyer from Affinity Law to:
- Obtain a detailed history from you or family
- Determine if your damages are significant enough to purse the claim
- Accumulate all medical records pertaining to your claim from every practitioner who cared for you or the family member
- Carefully review, identify and analyze the medical issues relating to the standard of care
- Provide the records to medical experts to review and provide opinions on negligence, causation, and damages
Call a Toronto medical malpractice lawyer from Affinity Law if you or a loved one suffered serious injuries and damages from a suspected medical error. We will take the time and effort to explain our procedures for handling such cases and give you an informed opinion about the possibilities for a satisfactory resolution of your claim.
Have you suffered an injury where you are no longer able to work or will be off work for a substantial period?
Has your Short-term (STD) or Long-term disability (LTD) claim been denied?
If you have been denied for Short-term (STD) or Long-term disability (LTD) claim, it’s important to know that you may have the right to sue. The denial of a disability claim can adversely impact your life with dire consequences ranging from social, financial, mental and physical complications. It is always advised to have strong legal representation that can advocate for your rights.
Due to your disability, you may be unable to temporarily or even permanently continue employment. High medical costs and loss of income can also be quite frightening. At Affinity Law, our experienced Toronto disability lawyers can help protect your rights and fight to get you the maximum compensation possible.
The nature of every Long-term disability (LTD) and Short-term disability (STD) claim is unique. Our Toronto long term disability lawyers help you navigate these unique claims and help you in confidently reaching a beneficial settlement.
If you have recently had an LTD claim rejected or stopped receiving payments prematurely, we can help. Qualifying for a disability claim at the time of your claim denial is very important. Connect with our experienced and compassionate Toronto employment lawyers at Affinity Law, who will help fight for your rights.
What are the Most Common Reasons for Denial of a Long Term or Short-Term Disability claim?
There can be various reasons why the disability claims can be denied. The following outline some (not all) of the possible reasons that can lead to a denial.
In many cases, insurance policies have a legal language with a specific definition of ‘total disability’ including but not limited to:
- Incapacity to perform your job without injuring yourself
- Inability to correctly complete your job duties without harming yourself
- Presence of questions such as ‘are you completely disabled?’
- If due to sickness or injury you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of
Your regular occupation
- Have a 20% or more loss in indexed monthly earnings due to that sickness or injury
- Clinical notes and records of your family physician
In such situations, employer/insurer may also deny coverage based on a policy exclusion clause.
Unfair Policy Modifications & Termination
Your insurance company may also unfairly terminate your long-term or short-term coverage. Below are some scenarios that may fall under this umbrella.
- Unfair termination of the policy without the presence of adequate time or sufficient cause
- Modification in particular clauses of the policy without giving you sufficient time or notice
- Disability definitions or requirements may be changed
A qualified long term or short-term disability claim may be rejected due to a lack of complete information or documents. For any disability claim to be considered, complete and valid reasons and supporting documentation (medical or otherwise) is essential.
Disability claim documentation may include but not limited to:
- Complete medical records including the tests, blood work reports, doctor’s diagnosis along with treatment protocols and long-term prognosis
- Complete Employment information – job duties, responsibilities confirmed by employer, nature of the job, duration of employment
- Impact of the injury on your daily life – supported with evidence of you being unable to perform simple daily tasks necessary for living
Every disability insurance policy has certain time limits in which claims need to be filed. Insurance companies can reject disability claims not filed within specified time limits.Not attending medical appointments or providing medical documentation are other reasons that can result in claim denials.
Which Injuries Qualify for LTD And STD?
Coverage of STD and LTD benefits are majorly dependent on your insurance policy. An employee may be entitled to short-term disability benefits if they are considered to be continuously totally disabled for a specific time period.
Injuries arising as a direct result of motor vehicle accidents (car/bike/boat etc.) and slip and fall cases are generally included under the coverage. The treatment time is different for every disability, based on the intensity of injuries and the time required to get back to normal health.
A long term and short-term disability claim can include several types of injuries causing disability including physical and mental disabilities. Chronic pain, fractures, partial or full body paralysis etc. are types of physical disabilities while examples of mental injuries include (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, phobias, Post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), mood swings, irritability and aggression.
These illnesses and injuries can adversely affect your ability to work temporarily or permanently, giving you a valid reason to file a disability claim.
Medical conditions that may qualify for long term or short-term disability claims include but are not limited to:
- Professional Athletes Disability
- CPP Disability
- Mental Health Issues (Depression and Anxiety)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Chronic Pain
- Headaches & Migraines
- Military Disability
- Kidney Failure
- Employment Termination arising from LTD/STD
- Neurological Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Heart Disease & Stroke
- Other Health Issues
What Are the Long Term and Short-Term Benefits That I Am Entitled to Under the Insurance Policy?
Long term and short-term disability insurance policies can be purchased privately by individuals or are provided by employers to their employees.
Generally, the benefits covered under the policy differs based on the issuing company, policy terms, and conditions, duration, and amount of coverage. Typically, disability benefits refer to income given to the
claimant for a specified period until they are unable to work due to an injury or illness.
As a claimant, you may be required to complete a ‘qualifying period’ to be eligible for the disability benefits. On satisfactory completion of this period, you will need to complete a valid disability claim application. The next step is to submit this application along with all the requisite supporting documentation to your insurer.
You may be required to undergo treatment or rehabilitation suggested by the insurance company and any other conditions as per the terms of the policy document. The exact amounts of the disability benefits are determined as per the policy terms and conditions. As a general rule, monthly benefit amounts are between 50-85% of your pre-injury monthly income.
Taxability rules may differ and need to be checked as per specific insurance policy terms.Alternative options include reinstatement into the previous or similarly matched job role with your ex-employer or opting for a lump-sum full and final settlement.
Retaining our expert Toronto disability lawyers can help you navigate the many legal complexities involved in the disability claims process.
What Are LTD/STD Disability Claims Deadlines?
It is of vital importance, to adhere to the noted policy deadlines, if you are planning to make a disability claim. Failing to adhere to these deadlines, gives the insurance companies an exposed reason to deny your request.
Different policies often have varied timelines based on the issuing company, coverage plan, and the amount. It is essential to review your long term or short-term disability policy to avoid missing the vital deadlines. It is advisable to submit the disability claim with supporting evidence and complete documentation within the time limits specified in the policy.
If your disability claim has been denied, contact our experienced Toronto disability lawyers today. Schedule your free consultation to understand the legal options available to you.
How Can I Sue My Insurance Company?
If you have received a disability claim denial, you may have a case against your insurance company. It is very common for the insurance companies to have unfairly breached the contract or denied a disability claim unreasonably. It is important to speak to a Toronto disability lawyer immediately to understand the legal options available to you.
Every case is unique, and we can advise you on the different options available. A few of the methods that can be used are mediation, arbitration, or litigation.
Mediation is a negotiation process that involves a third party. In this process, parties resolve the dispute amongst themselves with the help of the mediator, who is a neutral third party.
Arbitration involves a neutral third party who has the power to make decisions. It is a more formal method as compared to mediation. The arbitrator’s decision is legally binding on both parties.
Litigation involves the courts and is often considered the final approach. Our lawyers have many years of court room experience to advocate on your behalf and protect your interest. We assist you in preparing the claim against your insurer advocating strongly for your entitlements and rights that are being denied.
What are the Costs Involved for a Disability Claim?
At your free initial consult, we answer every question with refreshing honesty and candor and make recommendations that protect your interest. We invest time to understand you. We work on a contingency basis which means that unless we win a settlement, we will not seek any payment.
Call us at your earliest convenience to schedule your free consultation.
Why Do I Need A Lawyer?
At Affinity Law, we help our clients navigate complicated and puzzling legal requirements of disability claims. Our expert Toronto long term disability lawyers help you understand your rights and secure the maximum possible compensation you deserve.
Our lawyers know how to fight for your rights and entitlements that the insurance companies, either partially or completely, are not willing to grant. We can help you secure those rights as we have for hundreds of our clients. If your claim has been denied or not being handled by the insurer properly, call us today; it does not cost you anything to speak to us.
Our lawyers specialize in the following Disability claims in Ontario:
- Long-term Disability
- Short-term Disability
- Bipolar & Mood Disorders
- Depression & Anxiety
- Chronic Pain
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Life Insurance
- Critical Illness
It is of vital importance to be aware of your rights and options with respect to a denial of benefits and to understand that you can pursue a court action against your insurer. We can assist by helping you understand the legal terminology, providing the legal options available and advocating fiercely for your rights.
Contact Affinity Law
Our lawyers have a unique advantage over other law-firms in the practice of disability claims. Our lawyers have previously defended insurers that provide disability insurance. We intimately know the criteria that is applied in the claim denial process and we effectively advocate for our client’s best interests, fighting the very same insurance providers that have denied your disability claim.
If you need help, schedule a free consultation by calling us at 1 844 786 LAW 1 (5291) or reach us by filling out the Consultation Form. We look forward to helping you gain the compensation you deserve. We serve the whole Greater Toronto Area including Hamilton, Caledon and Ajax.
Serious injuries to children are not only tragic but can mean substantial medical expenses for many months or even over a life-time.
Child Injury Claims
TORONTO CHILDREN’S INJURIES LAWYERS
Child Accident Claims
Serious injuries to children are not only tragic but can mean substantial medical expenses for many months or even over a life-time. Injured children may not only be entitled to damages for their pain and suffering and diminished quality of life but also to the loss of income that they could have earned if not for the injury.
In Canada, injury is one of the leading causes of death for not only children, but for all Canadians between the ages of one and 44 according to the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. The three leading causes of injury-related deaths are motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) (17%), drowning (15%) and threats to breathing (11%) (Statistics Canada).
Type of Child Accident Claims
There are several types of claims that can be brought on behalf of the children who are injured by the negligence of a 3rd party. These can include Motor Vehicle Accident Claims, Daycare Negligence, Birth Injuries, Injuries Involving Food, Accidents Involving Other Children, Improper Supervision and Defective Child & Infant Products etc. There are specific rules that oversee negligence against children.
While nearly all licensed caregivers do their best to safeguard children from injury, individuals and organizations sometimes do act negligently and fail to meet their “duty of care” to safeguard the children from harm. Its often reported in the news that some daycare providers intentionally cause harm to the children in their care, resulting in devastating trauma.
Your child can also suffer serious or permanent injuries during labor and delivery by negligence of a medical professional. It is usually difficult to prove such a case by yourself. Moreover, it is your responsibility to prove that malpractice occurred. Without necessary medical and legal expertise, you are at a disadvantage while fighting for what you deserve from the parties at fault.
The experienced Toronto child injury lawyers at Affinity Law passionately fight for the children who have suffered injuries. We have successfully advocated numerous claims against negligent 3rd parties. We are here to defend you and your loved ones in these difficult times.
Defective or Dangerous Children& Infant Products
Parents and caregivers have a reasonable expectation when buying children’s products (car seats, cribs, bike helmets and strollers etc.)for the products to have passed stringent safety tests. They rely on the manufactures for safety of their child’s well being and future by providing the best they can afford for their children. Unfortunately, companies frequently produce ill tested products with serious defects. Also, many products do not include appropriate directions on safe use and necessary warning labels to ensure correct use. These lapses frequently result in children being seriously injured and, in many cases, are left with permeant life alerting injures or even death.
Defective Car Seas, Dangerous Toys and Choking Hazards
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of children’s injuries. Sometimes the improper size of the seat or restraint is used but often it happens due to a defective car seat. This can include bad handles, weak construction, or buckles etc. If your child was injured due to a defective car seat, contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation with a lawyer you can trust. If another driver’s carelessness or negligence caused the car accident, you can count on us to advocate aggressively to prove it and fight for the rightful compensation you deserve.
Choking hazards are very common in children’s products and toys. These can include things like small teethers, un-inflated balloons, small pieces (like buttons on a stuff toy) that can come off with little force, and magnets in toys etc. Many children’s products are recalled due to strangulation, choking, and suffocation. Recently, Ikea agreed to pay $46 million to settle a lawsuit over a child killed by tipped dresser.
Child Injury Lawyer in Toronto & GTA
Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts to protect our children, a defective product will cause them injury. If your child has suffered any type of injury as the result of a defective child or infant product, make sure you discuss your legal options with a product liability lawyer at our firm. We can determine how you can hold the responsible party liable. No matter the particular nature of product liability claim you may have as related to a children’s product, you can count on our knowledge and experience.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury because of another party’s negligence, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Affinity Law can help evaluate your specific case to determine whether you have a valid claim.
We have a remarkable track record of victories in handling cases involving all types of personal injuries and accidents, including catastrophic injuries, motor vehicle accidents, work accidents, slip and falls and industrial accidents.
Contact Affinity Law
Contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 844 786 LAW 1 (5291) for a free consultation. We look forward to helping you gain the compensation you deserve. We serve the whole Greater Toronto Area including Hamilton, Caledon and Ajax.
Although any severe injury can be traumatic and life-altering, sustaining a brain injury might be one of the most devastating.
Brain Injury Claims
Although any severe injury can be traumatic and life-altering, sustaining a brain injury might be one of the most devastating. A victim might not display any visible signs of trauma such as bleeding, scarring or disfiguration but the changes in cognitive abilities, memory, mood, and personality that brain injuries can produce are all too real. Contact a Toronto brain injury lawyer from Affinity Law if you or a loved one has sustained a severe or traumatic brain injury.
Brain injuries can occur in any type of accident:
- Motor vehicle
- Slip and fall
- Gunshot wound to the head
- Struck by object on a construction site
- Negligent medical procedure where oxygen to patient was cut off
- Failure to monitor fetal distress leading to permanent brain injury
- Child abuse
- Nursing home abuse
- Sports activities
Even a simple blow to the head can lead to hemorrhaging in some cases. Because of the invisible nature of many head injuries and the catastrophic consequences they may create, victims need to be examined promptly after any accident where they suffered head trauma. Also, be sure to retain one of our Toronto personal injury lawyers at the outset so that your claim is handled with competence and care.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
The symptoms from a head injury are many and varied:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of balance
- Ringing in the ears
- Sudden depression
- Sensitivity to light
- Memory loss
- Anger or rage from minor provocations
- Changes in behavior and moods
Do not ignore any of these symptoms as they can quickly escalate to more serious consequences.
Types of Brain Injuries
Brain injuries range from mild to catastrophic. They can be minor and resolve after a short time or can be permanent and catastrophic. The most common types of brain injury include:
This is the most common type of brain injury and can occur without a loss of consciousness. When you strike your head or you suffer a violent shaking, your brain moves from side to side, damaging brain cells in the process. The severity of a concussion often depends on whether you did lose consciousness and for how long. If longer than 15 minutes, there may be more complications. If you are out for 6 hours or more, your chances of having suffered permanent brain damage is heightened. Any of the above noted symptoms are common in persons who sustained a concussion regardless if they lost consciousness or not.
Contre-coup injuries are similar to concussions and occur when contusions to the brain occur at the point of impact and on the opposite side. This can cause bleeding in the brain, usually in the frontal and temporal lobe that affects speech, swallowing and balance.
A more serious head injury is a hematoma where blood vessels rupture and bleed into the brain, resulting in swelling that must be relieved by surgery. There are different types of hematomas:
• Epidural—bleeding under the skull but outside the brain and dura (membrane surrounding the arachnoid mater that protects the brain)
• Subdural—bleeding between the brain and dura
• Subarachnoid—bleeding within the dura and under the arachnoid layer
• Intracerebral—bleeding within brain tissue
• Intraventricular—bleeding into the ventricles. There are four interconnected cavities in the brain where cerebrospinal fluid is generated
A blow to the head or a gunshot wound can produce a skull fracture where bone fragments are splintered and become lodged in the brain. These are classified as:
- Simple—minor cracks with no brain damage
- Linear—thin crack(s) in the skull with no brain damage
- Compound—a break in the skin; the bone splinters and carries a high risk of infection
- Depressed—a broken or crushed bone fragment becomes imbedded in the brain leading to abscesses and possible infection
- Penetrating—debris or a bullet pierces the skull with a high likelihood of infection and severe damage to brain tissue and cells
- Basilar—fracture at the base of the skull
Symptoms of a skull fracture are more serious and ominous than those associated with a concussion, and typically include:
- Clear fluid leading from the nose or ears
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headaches
- Slurred or loss of speech
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling in the head
- Ringing in the ears
Diffuse Axonal Injuries (DAI)
One of the most serious types of brain injuries are Diffuse Axonal Injuries. In cases where a victim is unconscious for at least 6-hours, doctors will look for signs of a DAI. If the injury is serious, the victim will generally never regain consciousness. If the victim does recover, there is a high probability that he will suffer some degree of brain damage. A DAI can be diagnosed by MRIs to find lesions that may signal this type of injury. An EKG may reveal abnormal brain wave activity.
Mild to moderate sufferers may have to endure months of speech, occupational, and physical therapy.
Proof of Liability or Injury
Unless liability is acknowledged, the claimant has the burden of proving fault by another party or entity. Insurers will usually try to impose some degree of responsibility on a claimant whom they allege may not have been riding his bicycle in a marked bike lane, who crossed the street outside of a crosswalk, made an unsafe lane change, or was not wearing a helmet. One of our Toronto personal injury lawyers can investigate the circumstances of your accident and if necessary, retain an accident reconstruction expert or expert in human factors to demonstrate that the other party was substantially at fault. An expert in injury biomechanics can further show how the forces of the accident generated by the defendant’s negligence contributed to the head and brain injury suffered by the plaintiff or victim. These experts are often necessary to dispel arguments that if the victim wore a helmet, he would not have suffered the injury or it would have been less severe. If proven, then the compensation awarded to you whould be reduced accordingly.
Use of Experts to Prove Damages
Similarly, in cases where a victim has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and substantial damages are alleged, the testimony of experts is not only essential but necessary to prove damages. These include medical experts in neurology, occupational and physical therapy. Medical experts can explain to a jury how the injury has affected the plaintiff’s ability to engage in daily or recreational activities, as well as her severity of pain, the likelihood of future treatments and therapy, and prognosis.
An expert in forensic economics can verify a plaintiff’s future loss of income and earning capacity as well as the value of household services provided by the injured victim. Retaining a credible expert for your case is essential to proving all your damages. Our highly experienced Toronto personal injury lawyers routinely use such experts to obtain maximum compensation for our clients.
Damages in Brain Injury Cases
Your damages in a brain injury case can be substantial depending on its severity, the victim’s ability to return to work, future treatments, and prognosis. If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident including as a pedestrian or bicyclist, you are entitled to Accident Benefits regardless of fault. These benefits include:
Income Replacement—if unable to work, you can receive up to 70% of your gross income but no more than $400 per week unless you opted for higher coverage that can be as much as $1000 per week.
Non-Earner—if you were not working or are a student and unable to engage in routine daily activities, you can receive up to $185 weekly.
Care-Giver—if you provided care to a dependent and are unable to do so, you may receive compensation to hire a replacement worker. These benefits only cover certain injuries.
Medical-Rehabilitation and Attendant Care—Coverage is up to $65,000 for non-catastrophic injuries and to $1M for catastrophic. These are doubled if you purchased higher coverages. You can also receive assistance at home or at a facility if you sustained a serious injury.
Other benefits can include lost educational expenses, housekeeping and home maintenance, and damage to items such as a computer, glasses, clothing and other personal possessions.
You can only pursue a third-party claim for additional compensation such as pain and suffering in a car accident if your injury was “serious and permanent.” This refers to disfigurement or impairment of an important physical, mental, or psychological function. If you were injured in any other type of accident, your injury need not meet this threshold.
Damages in a brain injury case can include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future income loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Expenses for household and attendant care
- Family claims for loss of the plaintiff’s care, love and guidance and any expenses incurred in caring for her
Damages for pain and suffering are presently capped at below $400,000. There are no limits on other damages, though they must meet the standard of reasonableness. Be sure to retain a Toronto brain injury lawyer from Affinity Law to ensure that you receive all the benefits and damages to which you are entitled.
It is recommended in many brain injury cases that negotiating a settlement be delayed in order to fully assess the extent of the injury and the impact on the victim’s life and that of his/her family. If there is limited insurance or compensation available, though, your attorney may want to demand the policy limits if the injury is obviously serious and permanent. Otherwise, it may take months or even years before the injury has stabilized and the damages can be more clearly assessed.
CONTACT AFFINITY LAW
You have 2-years to file a personal injury claim in the appropriate court. But it is vital that you promptly retain a skilled and resourceful Toronto brain injury lawyer from Affinity Law so that your claim can be professionally handled, and no egregious errors made that could jeopardize the compensation to which you are entitled.
Also called premises liability claims, these are accidents that occur on someone else’s property, whether it is private or public.
Slip & Fall Accident Claims
Slip and fall accidents are a common type of injury claim. Although senior citizens may be particularly at risk because of balance issues and fragile physical conditions, anyone can be the victim of a slip and fall accident because of the negligence of a property owner. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, do not hesitate to contact one of our Toronto personal injury lawyers at Affinity Law.
Injuries from slips and falls can be minor to extremely serious. These can include:
- Sprained ankle
- Torn knee ligaments
- Broken arm, pelvis, leg or ankle
- Facial fractures
- Fractured tailbone
- Kneecap fracture
- Concussion or traumatic brain injury
All property owners, commercial and private, also referred to as “occupiers, “have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe from hazards that could injury anyone lawfully on their property”. The severity of the injury may depend on the condition of the surface where the victim fell as well as the physical condition of the claimant. However, it is irrelevant if the person who fell was in poor physical condition and prone to serious injury from even a slight fall that would not have likely resulted in a serious injury to a person in normal or good physical health.
Slip and falls can occur on any type of property, including:
- Retail stores
- Grocery stores
- Public or private restrooms
- Private residences
- Bars or nightclubs
- Parking lots or garages
By promptly retaining one of our highly experienced Toronto injury lawyers after a fall, you have a greater opportunity for obtaining the most compensation available for your claim.
Causes of Slip and Falls
There are numerous factors that can lead to a serious slip and fall accident:
- Slick or icy surface
- Torn carpeting
- Uneven surfaces or steps
- Wet entrance mat
- Broken step
- Protruding objects
- Lack of handrail or a defective one
- Object or debris on the floor
- Poor lighting on a stairway or other commonly used passageway
Many slip and fall accidents occur in the winter months when sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and residence and store entrances are slippery from ice and snow. In grocery stores, liquid from a broken bottle, a dropped piece of fruit, or freshly mopped or waxed floor can present hazards that store owners must warn patrons about or take steps to remove. In a residence or office building, there may be faulty steps, torn carpeting, or a defective handrail that can lead to severe injuries.
What is Reasonable Care?
Ontario law requires that property owners take reasonable measures to ensure that those persons lawfully on their property are free from harm due to slick surfaces, broken steps, uneven surfaces, or any other condition that could reasonably cause harm to someone. If a person does suffer an injury from a slip and fall, the court will look at what measures or practices the landowner undertook to fulfill his or her duty of reasonable care. For example:
- Did the property owner maintain a routine procedure for inspecting the property?
- Was there a schedule for inspecting and cleaning the property?
- If a hazard was found, what steps were taken to warn persons of the risk?
- How long had the hazard been present before the accident occurred?
- Had the owner been previously alerted to the hazard?
- Did the owner clearly post a warning to others about the hazard?
Obviously, a commercial business owner who invites and encourages people to come onto the property will be scrutinized to see what safety measures were taken to ensure the property was free of hazards. For instance, were the food aisles in a grocery store inspected on a routine or standard basis such as every two hours? If a floor surface was uneven or slick, were there signs warning patrons of the risk? Is there a record of the inspections? Landlords of rented apartments also have a duty of care toward their tenants to keep common areas safe and to warn of hazard within leased units or in the common areas.
In case of a trespasser, the landowner’s duty of care is only to “…not create danger with the deliberate intent of doing harm or damage to the person or his or her property and to not act with reckless disregard of the presence of the person or his or her property.” Occupier’s Liability Act. In other words, the landowner may not set a trap or set out to purposely create a dangerous condition that physically injures the trespasser or person committing a criminal act on the property.
However, a person who trespasses willingly accepts the risk of injury from hazardous conditions as does a person who signs a waiver of liability. Signed waivers are routinely seen in situations where people undertake certain recreational activities for a fee. But if you are engaging in a recreational activity for which no fee was charged, such as walking or playing in a park, wilderness area, or forest trail, then you have also willingly assumed the risk of harm. However, the risk of harm is not assumed where there is an unexpected hazard that the landowner knew or should have known about and failed to remedy. An example is that of child who is injured from a swing in a public park that broke because the metal chains holding it were worn out.
Other circumstances where a landowner or occupier could be held liable include:
- Not cleaning a spill within a reasonable time
- Not posting clear warnings about hazards such as uneven steps, holes, broken stairs, or other hazards
- Failing to remove ice from a driveway or walkway that the occupier knew of or should have known about
- Neglecting to inspect the property before visitors arrive to a residence
- Inadequately maintaining stairways or walkways (rotten railing or structure)
- Providing alcohol to visitors that results in a foreseeable injury (intoxicated person wanders off an unprotected balcony during the evening)
For municipalities, their degree of responsibility is found in the Ontario Municipal Act (2001). In cases of municipal liability for slip and falls on a sidewalk, the municipality must have been “grossly negligent,” which is a higher burden of proof for the claimant to show. Also, If you are injured on city or provincial property, you have only 10-days to give notice of your injury unless circumstances prevented you from giving timely notice. For all other slip and fall claims, you have 2-years from the date of the injury to file your claim in court.
Your Toronto slip and fall lawyer from Affinity Law can demonstrate liability on the part of the occupier by reviewing inspection reports, if any, and having experts examine the floor, sidewalk, step, handrail, balcony, or other defect or condition that caused the accident. In some cases, witnesses can attest to how long the defect or hazard had been present.
Responsibility of the Claimant
Anyone who was injured in a slip and fall accident in Ontario also has a duty to look out for his or her own safety. You can be held fully or partially responsible for your own injuries if you were less than responsible for your own safety. These situations might include:
- Being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs unless alcohol was supplied by the landowner and the injury reasonably foreseen to the owner
- Wearing inappropriate footwear for the type of surface where the fall occurred
- Failing to notice an open and obvious hazard
- Running on a known icy or slick surface
- Ignoring a prior warning of a hazard
If you are determined to be partially responsible, your damages will be decreased by your percentage or degree of fault. Because most insurers in slip and fall cases will attempt to lay some or all of the blame for the accident and injuries on the claimant, you will need a knowledgeable Toronto slip and fall lawyer to prosecute your claim.
Damages in a Slip and Fall Accident
Damages in a slip and fall accident can be substantial. Typically, they may consist of the following:
- Past and future loss of income
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Housekeeping and home maintenance expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Family members claim for loss of the injured person’s care, companionship, and guidance and other financial losses
Contact Affinity Law
Your Toronto slip and fall lawyer from Affinity Law can obtain all documentary and testimonial evidence to support damages, including your medical records, billing and paystubs or employment records. A medical report from your treating physician or health care provider can detail the history of your injury, symptoms, your physical condition before the fall, the severity of the injury, rehabilitation period, complaints of pain, and your inability to perform work, routine daily activities, or recreational activities. Because demonstrating proof of your damages can be as complex proving liability, it is vital that you consult with one of our experienced Toronto slip and fall lawyers from Affinity Law as soon as possible to avoid submission/notice related delays in filing your claim.
Bicyclists and pedestrians have the same right to the roadways as motorists and in many instances have additional protections.
Bicycle & Pedestrian Accidents
Cyclists and pedestrians have the same right to the roadways as motorists and in many instances have additional protections. Motorists who unlawfully turn into bike lanes, who fail to give a bicyclist enough space, or who neglect to stop or notice pedestrians legally crossing the roadways are liable for the often catastrophic injuries and damages caused by their negligence. Retain a Toronto personal injury lawyer from Affinity Law to represent your interests if you have a bicycle or pedestrian injury claim.
Bicycles are a wonderful and healthy mode of transportation. However, if you ride on city or suburban streets, you should be as conspicuous as possible to motorists and obey all traffic laws since you are obligated to do so. Wearing colorful clothing, having lights on your bike for night riding, staying within marked bike lanes and obeying the traffic laws can reduce your risk of being in an accident.
Also, be aware of the common causes of bicycle accidents by motorists:
- Dooring (motorist opens door in pathway of bicyclist)
- Driving in a bike lane
- Passing a cyclist too closely
- Failure to yield to bike at an intersection
- Distracted driver
- Impaired driver
- Turning in front of cyclist at light or stop sign
- Poorly designed bike lanes
Other factors that lead to accident are road and weather conditions and a defect in the bike that affects the tire or it braking.
Drivers should maintain at least 3-feet of space between them and bicyclists and not drive in bike lanes unless making a turn. Before entering a bike lane, the motorist should signal and ensure that no bicyclists are at risk. Motorists in parked vehicles also have a duty to safely open their car doors so as not to interfere with an approaching cyclist.
In some cases, a poorly maintained road surface or defectively designed bike lane could leave a municipality liable for a cyclist’s injuries. If the bicycle was negligently manufactured or serviced, the manufacturer or the bike shop that performed the service could also be found responsible. These cases are usually brought if the injuries are severe and permanent since insurers for these parties will vigorously defend their insureds, and negligence can be difficult to prove. Consult a Toronto bicycle accident lawyer from Affinity Law if you were injured in a bicycle accident from the fault of another party.
Proof of Negligence
Typically, in a third party injury claim, the onus is on the plaintiff or injured party to prove that another party’s negligent conduct caused the accident. However, where a bicyclist or pedestrian is the one injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, there is a “reverse onus” pursuant to Section 193(1) of the Highway Traffic Act. This section presumes that the motorist was negligent so that the burden of proof is upon the motorists to demonstrate that they acted reasonably. If they present evidence of their reasonable conduct, then the claimant must present evidence that rebuts it. In many bike accident cases, liability or the degree of fault is challenged so that having an experienced Toronto bicycle accident lawyer from Affinity Law is essential so that you can pursue a third-party claim against the responsible motorist.
Currently, only minors are required to wear bicycle helmets in Ontario. But you could be found comparatively negligent in an accident even if it was caused by a motorist if you suffered a head injury that evidence shows could have been prevented or minimized if you had worn a helmet. In such cases, your compensation would be decreased by your own degree of fault.
Accident Benefits are available to injured parties in motor vehicle accidents regardless of who was at fault. Injured bike riders can look to their own auto policies for benefits, or to that of a household member such as a parent who possesses a policy. If no policy is available, the injured rider can obtain benefits from the involved vehicle’s insured. If the motorist was uninsured, then the last resort for benefits is through the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.
A claimant needs to notify the insurer from whom benefits are sought within 7-days of the accident. You will receive an Application from the insurer for which you have 30-days to complete and submit. The form Includes a Disability Certificate to be completed by a health provider along with a Treatment Plan if you are unable to return to work or to normal or household activities for any period of time.
Your Accident Benefits include:
- Income replacement (up to the first 104 weeks if employed and you suffered a substantial inability to perform your work. You may receive more than 104 weeks if you are totally unable to perform work). The maximum payable is $400/week but you may receive more if you paid a higher premium.
- Non-earner benefit of $185 per week if you suffered a total inability to carry on a normal life. Payments begin after 26-weeks have passed. You can receive $329 per week if a student or you had completed education in the year before the accident but were not yet employed.
- Caregiver benefits if you were a caregiver at home and suffered a catastrophic injury, and you were not being paid.
- Medical and rehabilitation if not covered by OHIP or other health and disability plan. You can receive up to $50K over 10-years, but only $3500 if it is a minor injury. In a catastrophic case, you may obtain up to $1M over your lifetime.
- Housekeeping benefit in catastrophic injury cases or if you are substantially unable to perform household services that you actually had performed for up to $100 per week.
Third Party Claims
As an injured rider receiving Accident Benefits, you can also pursue compensation against the responsible party for pain and suffering as well as for lost income and future medical expenses that were not covered under your Accident Benefits. To have a valid third-party claim, your injury must meet a threshold standard, which is that your injury be a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function, or a serious and permanent disfigurement.
A $30,000 deductible remains with the responsible motorist’s insurer if your award for pain and suffering is less than $100,000.
Your claim for additional compensation if you meet the threshold injury standard may include the following damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality or enjoyment of life
- Past and future medical expenses
- Psychological impairment
- Past and future income loss
- Family Law Act claim by close family members
You have 120-days from the date of the accident to notify the other party of your intention to claim damages, and 2-years from the accident to file your claim in court.
A pedestrian is any person on foot, a scooter, long board, wheelchair or bicyclist. When lawfully crossing the street, a pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle is presumed under the law to have had the right of way and fault is ascribed to the motorist pursuant to Section 193 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, referred to as the “reverse onus’. In other words, the motorist has the burden of proving that he/she was not negligent or responsible for causing the accident. In the typical injury case, the plaintiff or victim has the burden of proving the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. Once the pedestrian demonstrates that she was hit by the motorist, the driver has to prove that he acted lawfully and reasonably under the circumstances.
Any age group is vulnerable to motorists when crossing the street or being on the roadway attending a disabled vehicle or for any other reason, though seniors 65 and older seem particularly at risk probably due to moving more slowly across the street or in not being aware of approaching cars from poor eyesight or hearing. They may also be more likely to cross against the light.
Injuries in a pedestrian accident can be catastrophic, even if the impact was slight since you can be thrown to the pavement and suffer a traumatic head injury. Other injuries include:
- Broken limbs
- Fractured pelvis
- Internal organ injuries
- Spinal injuries, including paralysis
Factors in Pedestrian Accidents
The factors that lead to pedestrian accidents are numerous:
- Distraction—cell phone use by driver or pedestrian
- Poorly lit or illuminated intersections or roadways
- Motorist turning at intersection and not seeing pedestrian in crosswalk
- Failing to yield to pedestrian
- Passing car that had stopped to allow pedestrian to cross
- Failing to stop at signal light or stop sign
A motorist might argue that the pedestrian was at fault for causing his own injuries. If he can prove the pedestrian was crossing outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk, was impaired, distracted, or created a dangerous condition such as running into the street, then a court might determine that there is no liability on the part of the motorist or impose a degree of comparative liability on the pedestrian. If the pedestrian was jaywalking, the court will want to determine if the person did not keep a proper lookout before crossing, or if the motorist should have seen the pedestrian in any event and avoided the accident.
If the pedestrian is found to be partly at fault, the damages awarded would be reduced by his degree of comparative fault. Ontario’s comparative negligence law can be characterized as a “pure” standard. In the US, many states have a modified comparative negligence standard where the plaintiff’s own negligence cannot be more than 49% or the claim will be dismissed. In Ontario, any degree of comparative negligence will not be fatal to an injury claim, even if it is 99%. It only reduces the damages awarded by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
Compensation in Pedestrian Injury Claims
A pedestrian injured by a motorist can collect Accident Benefits from their own auto liability police if they have one, or from the at-fault driver’s policy. All auto liability policies in Ontario are required to have these benefits.
You can collect non-pecuniary damages, or pain and suffering, if your injury was serious and permanent, a serious disfigurement or loss of a limb, or a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function
A claim for Accident Benefits must be submitted within 30-days of the accident. Eligible recipients may recover the following benefits:
- Income replacement –Pays up to $400 weekly if your injuries prevented you from working. You can purchase optional benefits for increased payments up to $1,000 per week.
- Non-earners—Compensates you for up to 26-weeks if disabled from engaging in normal daily activities at $185 per week
- Caregiver—If you are the main caregiver for a dependent and unable to no longer care for them, you can be compensated for hiring someone else. This only covers certain injuries but you can purchase optional coverage that includes all injuries
- Medical and rehabilitation—Pays for reasonable and necessary expenses not covered by a government or supplementary health plan
- Attendant care—Expenses for hiring a caregiver for yourself due to the injuries caused by the accident
- Other—Covers possible lost educational costs, housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, and items damaged in the vehicle
- Death and funeral expenses–$25,000 is paid to your spouse, $10,000 to each dependent, and up to $6,000 for funeral costs. Optional coverage can increase these amounts to $50,000 for your spouse, $20,000 to each dependent, and up to $8,000 for funeral costs.
In serious cases, your insurer will often attempt to settle your Accident Benefits claim though a settlement cannot be offered until one year from the date of the accident. Once you settle, you can no longer claim these benefits. A settlement can also affect any other claim for additional compensation that you may bring against the motorist who struck you. Be sure to consult with a Toronto pedestrian injury lawyer from Affinity Law if you have been offered a settlement.
Limits on Medical Payments
Medical payments are limited to $3,500 for care not covered by OHIP and if your injuries are deemed “minor” by the insurer. For injuries between “minor” and “catastrophic,” you may claim medical benefits up to $50,000. You are covered for up to $1M for catastrophic injuries such as loss of a limb, vision, paraplegia, or traumatic brain damage.
Pain and Suffering
Under Canadian law, you are limited in the amount of non-pecuniary damages you can receive, which includes pain and suffering or your diminished ability to enjoy life as you did pre-injury. The cap on these damages is raised annually per the rate of inflation and is currently at $380,912.00. Only the most egregious injuries are awarded the maximum amount.
There is no limit on pecuniary or economic damages that covers past and future loss of earnings, medical expenses and care.
The law also imposes a deductible on injury awards in car accident cases. As of 2019, there is a deductible of $38,818.97 on awards less than $129,395.49. The deductible does not apply for awards exceeding that amount. These amounts are adjusted yearly for inflation.
Hit and Run Accidents
Unfortunately, a high number of pedestrian accidents result in the motorist fleeing the scene without stopping to offer assistance, call for help, or to provide the required identification. Many drivers flee for a variety of reasons:
- They are on probation for a prior criminal offense
- Intoxication or other impairment
- Driving a stolen vehicle
- Unlicensed or driving on a suspended license
- Possess or transporting contraband
- Undocumented immigrant
- Unaware of accident
If the driver remains unidentified, the pedestrian can still claim Accident Benefits under the unidentified or uninsured provision of their own auto liability policy or one that covers them. If they do not have a policy, they can still collect benefits under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF). They may still bring a tort claim against the MVACF as well. Third party claims brought under the unidentified or uninsured provision or against the MVACF are limited to $200,000.
CONTACT AFFINITY LAW
Pedestrian accidents are not always clear-cut cases of liability. Also, there are often other issues such as collection of Accident Benefits and bringing a claim against the responsible motorist or an uninsured claim. To be sure you are compensated to the fullest extent possible, consult and retain a Toronto pedestrian accident lawyer from Affinity Law.
Car, truck, RVs, or motorcycle accidents are the most common injury claims since there are millions of motor vehicles that travel on our roadways each day.
Motor Vehicle & Car Accident Claims
Car, truck, RVs, or motorcycle accidents are the most common injury claims since there are millions of motor vehicles that travel on our roadways each day. Every driver has a duty to exercise ordinary care while driving, which means obeying the traffic laws and keeping a lookout for road hazards. But even car accidents where liability appears evident can have issues that can prevent you from realizing the full value of your claim. Having a Toronto car accident lawyer from Affinity Law on your side gives you the best opportunity for a satisfactory resolution of your motor vehicle accident claim.
It is relatively easy to get a driver’s license and to obey the traffic laws, such as stopping at stop signs and red traffic signals, not speeding, not drinking and driving, not using a smartphone, and generally being focused and attentive to driving. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore commonsense, drive well over the posted speed limit or what is safe for conditions, and violate basic traffic laws. The most common causes of car accidents are:
- Following too closely in traffic
- Unsafe lane changes
- Impaired driving—alcohol and drugs
- Distracted driving
- Defective road design
- Poor road maintenance
- Defective tire, steering, braking or other mechanical failure
Despite decades of public campaigns and stricter laws, penalties and enforcement measures, drunk and drugged driving remain a major cause of serious and fatal car accidents. Distracted driving, which usually means use of a smartphone while driving, has become as serious a menace as impaired driving.
In some cases, the condition or design of the road where the accident occurred may have been a contributing factor in the accident. For example, a curve did not meet industry standards regarding its design; a sign was missing that could have warned of a hazard or it was obscured by overgrown vegetation. In other cases, a defective roadway barrier may have failed to keep a car from leaving the roadway or traveling into the opposite lane of traffic.
No-Fault or Accident Benefits
Ontario has a no-fault insurance or Accident Benefits system whereby you can claim certain compensation from your own auto insurer in an accident regardless of who was at fault. Benefits include medical treatment, costs of rehabilitation, replacement of lost wages, caregiver benefits, and others.
In non-catastrophic cases or where your injuries are not life-altering, you can receive up to $100,000 in benefits over 10-years in med/rehab benefits. For catastrophic cases, you can receive up to $1,000,000 over the course of your lifetime. Income replacement means you may receive 80% of your net pre-accident income as averaged from the 26 of the 52-weeks that preceded the accident. You may not receive more than $400 weekly, though you can receive more if you paid a higher premium on your insurance.
To recover additional compensation from the at-fault driver such as for pain and suffering or for emotional distress, you must demonstrate that your injuries were “serious and permanent.” This includes disfigurement or impairment of an important physical, mental, or psychological function.
Damages in a Toronto car accident claim may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future income loss
- Diminished enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Family members’ claims under the Family Law Act
Pain and suffering, or non-pecuniary damages, are cappedwith yearly increases. The cap is currently at $340,000 in Ontario.
Motorcycles are fun to ride, are economical, and take up little space on city streets or garages. However, riders are vulnerable to any minor mishap that can cause them to lose control or be propelled from the bike, easily causing fatal or catastrophic injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, severely broken limbs, permanent disfigurement, and other life-altering injuries.
About 80% of all motorcycle accidents result in injuries as compared to just 20% for passenger vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Riding a motorcycle also increases your risk of being in a fatal accident by at least 15 times over that of driving or being a passenger in other motor vehicles.
You may take all necessary precautions including wearing protective clothing and a helmet and driving defensively, but still be at the mercy of reckless and inattentive motorists.
The most common factors leading to motorcycle accidents include:
- Left turns at intersections
- Unsafe lane changes by drivers
- Motorists’ failure to see motorcyclist when entering a roadway from side road or driveway
- Poor weather
- Slick road surface
- Uneven pavement
- Roadway defects or objects on the road
- Rider inexperience
- Failure to maintain a proper distance
- Rear-end accidents at stop lights and stop signs
- Motorcycle design and manufacturing defects (fuel system leaks)
- Poor service or maintenance of the bike
- Alcohol or drug impairment by rider or motorist
Motorcycle riders are generally perceived as reckless individuals and their version of the facts are often dismissed as not credible if challenged by that of an involved driver of a passenger vehicle. It is not uncommon for an experienced Toronto motor vehicle accident lawyer to use experts in accident reconstruction or human factors in order to prove liability.
Trucks, or large commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, or semis, can easily cause catastrophic or fatal injuries to occupants of smaller vehicles. These road behemoths can easily weigh 80,000 pounds or more, depending on its load, as compared to a typical passenger vehicle that weights 4,000 pounds. Although there are far fewer of these vehicles on our roadways, 1 in 5 fatal crashes on Ontario highways involves a large commercial truck, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.
There are numerous causes of a truck accident:
- Impaired driving from drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving such as texting while driving
- Unsafe loading
- Faulty tires
- Unsecured loads
- Defective hitches
Trucking companies and drivers are heavily regulated. For example, drivers are limited in the number of hours they can drive in a day and over a period of time, must pass physical examinations, and be subject to drug testing. Truckers must maintain logs that contain data on the loads they carry, the number of hours they are driving, rest periods, fuel, and inspections among other things. Most trucks have so-called black boxes on-board monitors that contains this data and other mechanical and operating information that can contain clues to how or why an accident occurred.
Finding and holding the responsible party to account is not always so simple. For example, the truck and its trailer may be owned by different parties. Some other party might have improperly secured the load. If there was a steering or brake issue, still another party might have negligently overlooked or serviced the problem or produced a defective part. Compounding the liability issue is that each party may have different insurers who will seek to impose fault on anyone other than their own insured.
Contact Affinity Law
Having a diligent, resourceful and knowledgeable Toronto accident lawyer from Affinity Law is essential if you want your injury claim diligently and professionally handled so that you can obtain the most compensation available for your injury.