Questions and Answers

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Questions and Answers2018-11-09T16:29:49-04:00

We have listed below some initial questions which in our experience many clients have when they first contact our experienced injury lawyers.

The questions below can address many initial concerns you may have.

If you don’t find the answers here, you may contact us for answers to more complex questions or questions specific to your case. Consultations are always free.

Don’t see your question below? Feel free to e-mail us your question directly at: mquinn@ottawalawyers.com.

Important Note: The information contained on this web site including the articles and Q&A questions and answers are provided solely for information purposes only and is not legal advice. Since the law changes frequently, the information contained on this site should not be accepted as up to date current law. To obtain current information and advice on your specific situation, you should consult an injury lawyer.

Avoiding Trials and Reaching Settlements in Ottawa Injury Cases2019-02-05T16:26:26-04:00

In pre-litigation and during litigation, when can a personal injury file be settled?

In reality, providing the injuries and affects of those injuries on a person’s life are known, all personal claims can be settled without going to Court.

While it is important to always be ready and prepared for the possibility your file will proceed to a trial, our personal injury lawyers will always consider ways to resolve your case in advance of court if possible. Litigation is stressful, time consuming, risky and can be a very emotional experience.

Settlement with the Insurance Adjuster

In many cases, there will be insurance covering the losses claimed. The insurance company will appoint an insurance adjuster to adjust the file and sometimes an insurance defence lawyer will be assigned the file. After the adjuster reviews the file, assesses liability and damages issues, they may be open to settlement prior to litigation being commenced. Reaching settlement at the adjusting phase occurs fairly regularly.

If settlement is not possible at the adjuster stage, litigation will need to be commenced. In the litigation context, there are a few steps during which it may be possible to settle your court action.

Defence Lawyer Review

In some cases, after the defence lawyer has reviewed the file, they may recommend settlement to the insurance company. This happens infrequently in our experience, but it is possible and sometimes happens.

After Examinations for Discovery

Examinations for discovery is a step in the litigation process where all parties meet at an official examiner’s office and can ask the opposing parties questions about the court case. It is an important step that allows everyone involved to gain a better understanding about all aspects of the case. Often, after examinations for discovery are completed, it affords the lawyers and parties an opportunity to have a frank discussion about the value of the claim and discuss settlement. In some cases, court actions are settled at this stage.

Mediation

In many jurisdictions, the Rules of the Court mandate that parties must attend a mediation to canvass settlement. In our experience, at least half of all cases are settled with the assistance of a trained and experienced mediator.

Pre-Trial

If the court action is not settled at mediation, the parties will attend a pre-trial conference and an experienced judge will assist the parties in reaching a settlement if possible. Many cases are settled at this stage.

Eve of Trial

After preparing for trial, the parties and the lawyers have a very detailed understanding of the case, the issues in the case, the fair value of the case and the risks involved in proceeding to trial. It is not unusual for the parties to discuss settlement immediately prior to a trial commencing and reach a settlement avoiding the risks associated with a trial.

Offers to Settle

At any stage of the litigation process, parties can exchange formal offers to settle. Offers to settle are important and helps the parties put their mind to settlement. The Rules of Civil Procedure and judges highly encourage exchanging offers to settle.

Our lawyers take every opportunity available to settle files. Avoiding the risks and stress of trials is something most of our clients appreciate. If a fair settlement is possible, it is often a better option to settle and avoid the possibility of a negative outcome after a lengthy trial.

Ottawa Injury Lawyers
Marc N. Quinn
613-315-4878

Long-Term Disability Claims and Limitation Periods in Ontario2019-02-05T15:48:31-04:00

Long-Term Disability Claim and Limitation Periods in Ontario

On January 1, 2004, the Limitations Act of Ontario came into force. The Limitations Act limits the period of time during which a person may commence a court action in Ontario in respect of a claim.

The Ontario Limitations Act sets out limitation periods for all types of claims in Ontario. In Ontario, the basic limitation period is two years meaning that a person must commence a court action within two years of when they first knew that a claim could be made. In most cases, this would be two years after the injury victim suffered an injury or damage that was the subject of the claim.

When advancing a claim for long-term disability benefits, the two year limitation period applies. The question always is: when does the two year limitation period start to run? From the date of the denial of benefits, the date of decision on an internal appeal or from the date of disability? What is the impact on the limitation period when pursuing internal appeals to the insurance company in the face of denial or termination of benefits?

A recently released Divisional Court decision (Western Life Assurance Company v. Penttila, 2019 ONSC 14 (CanLII)), the Court addressed the issue of limitation periods in the context of long-term disability claims. The disabled person’s application for benefits was approved and then later benefits were terminated when the definition of “disability” under the policy changed. The disabled person indicated to the insurer an intention to appeal the denial decision, delivered medical documents and appealed the decision. The disabled person further supplied additional medical documents requested by the insurance company. The insurer then maintained its decision on termination of benefits. The disabled person then commenced a court action. The issue was raised that more than two years had passed since the date of the termination of benefits. The insurance company argued that the disabled’s person’s claim was statute barred under the Limitations Act. The insurer filed a motion seeking summary judgment.

In Western Life Assurance Company v. Penttila, on a motion, the motions judge found that the limitation period did not start to run until the delivery of the insurer’s last denial letter related to the appeal or from the date of the insurer’s “final letter”.

On appeal, the Divisional Court found that the motion judge was correct in holding that the triggering event for the commencement of the two year limitation period was the date upon which it would be legally appropriate to commence legal proceedings to seek payment of disability benefits that the insurer refused to pay. The policy allowed for a right to appeal the insurer’s denial directly to the insurer. The Court said therefore that it would be premature to commence legal proceedings until that process ran its course. As a result, the Divisional Court upheld the Motion Judge’s decision and the disabled person was able to continue with the court action.

This decision supports the position that the limitation period for commencing a court action claiming disability benefits only begins to run once there is a final, clear, unequivocal denial of benefits. In this case, the limitation period started to run only after that appeal process is completed. That makes sense given that otherwise rights of appeal would have no value or meaning. It should be noted that not all disability policies have internal appeal rights and in many cases even if there is a right to appeal to the insurer internally, the insurer makes its clear either in the policy or letters respecting appeals that the insurer does not waive its rights under the Limitations Act. Waiting until a decision on an internal appeal to the insurer before commencing a court action is always risky.

If you are disabled and have been denied benefits, it is important to ensure that limitation periods applicable to your case are properly assessed, met and a court action is commenced before expiry of the limitation period. It is crucial to consult and retain an experienced disability law lawyer to review the circumstances of your case to determine what the limitation period is and a court action is, in fact, commenced before the limitation period expires.

Ottawa Disability Law Lawyers representing injury victims throughout Ontario.
613-315-4878
Marc N. Quinn
Ottawa injury lawyer and mediator

Intentional Infliction of Mental Suffering (or Distress) – Tort Law2019-02-05T14:57:48-04:00

The tort of intentional infliction of mental suffering is something personal injury lawyers consider as a possible claim when representing injury victims. The test to meet in obtaining a favourable outcome in such a claim is quite high but courts award damages for this tort in the right circumstances.

What is the tort of intentional infliction of mental suffering?

The tort of intentional infliction of mental suffering (sometimes called the tort of intentional infliction of mental distress) allows an individual to recover damages for severe emotional distress caused by another person who intentionally or recklessly inflicted emotional distress, usually by behaving in an extreme and outrageous way.

What is the legal test to meet to succeed in a claim for intentional infliction of mental suffering?

In 2014, the Ontario Court of Appeal (Boucher v Wal-Mart Canada Corp., 2014 ONCA 419) set out the elements of this tort. An injured person must show that the wrongdoer’s conduct was flagrant and outrageous; the conduct was calculated to harm the injury victim and the conduct caused the injury victim to suffer a visible and provable illness. This tort means that the injury victim must demonstrate a certain level of intent on the wrongdoer. In all cases, for the injury victim to establish intentional infliction of mental suffering, they must show that the wrongdoer intended to produce the kind of harm that occurred or knew that it was almost certain to occur (Piresferreira v. Ayotte, 2010 ONCA 384).

In Raposo v. Dasilva (2013), the Court set out the test this way: The three elements necessary to prove intentional infliction of mental suffering are:

  1. An act or statement by the defendant that is extreme, right flagrant or outrageous;
  2. The act or statement is calculated to produce harm; and
  3. The act or statement causes visible or provable harm.

Persistent verbal abuse and aggressive behaviour from one person to another has been found to justify a finding of intentional infliction of mental suffering. This is important to know as being subjected to constant and persistent abuse in a workplace environment can result in a finding that the employee suffered injury as a result of intentional infliction of mental suffering and in some cases, employers who do nothing to address the abuse in the work force can be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees.

If you have been subjected to behaviour that is extreme, flagrant or outrageous and have been harmed in the result, we can help. Our consultations are free and we work on the basis of being paid only if you win your case.

Ottawa Injury Lawyers representing injury victims throughout Ontario.
613-315-4878
Marc N. Quinn
Ottawa injury lawyer and mediator

How are expert witnesses used in Ottawa personal injury actions?2018-11-23T11:29:39-04:00

Experts are regularly hired in personal injury cases. Reports produced by experts are used to facilitate settlement of personal injury claims or support an injured person’s case at trial. The injured person can hire experts to complete medical assessments, conduct medical reviews, recommend treatment and produce medical-legal reports which provides opinions, findings and conclusions about a person’s injuries or damages. If an action has been commenced, the defendant can also request that the injured person (the plaintiff) attend a defence medical examination, sometimes referred to as a DME or independent medical examination (IME). In complicated injury cases, there can be several defence medical examinations and many experts hired by both sides.

Rules of the Court about experts

The Rules of the Court, called the Rules of Civil Procedure provides direction as to how experts are retained and how experts testify in Court.

Rule 4.1 deals with duties of experts:

RULE 4.1 DUTY OF EXPERT
DUTY OF EXPERT
4.1.01 (1) It is the duty of every expert engaged by or on behalf of a party to provide evidence in relation to a proceeding under these rules,

(a) to provide opinion evidence that is fair, objective and non-partisan;

(b) to provide opinion evidence that is related only to matters that are within the expert’s area of expertise; and

(c) to provide such additional assistance as the court may reasonably require to determine a matter in issue. O. Reg. 438/08, s. 8.

Duty Prevails

(2) The duty in subrule (1) prevails over any obligation owed by the expert to the party by whom or on whose behalf he or she is engaged.

 

Rule 31.06(3) provides the following as it relates to discovery or disclosure of expert opinions:

Rule 31.06(3)
Expert Opinions

(3) A party may on an examination for discovery obtain disclosure of the findings, opinions and conclusions of an expert engaged by or on behalf of the party being examined that are relevant to a matter in issue in the action and of the expert’s name and address, but the party being examined need not disclose the information or the name and address of the expert where,

(a) the findings, opinions and conclusions of the expert relevant to any matter in issue in the action were made or formed in preparation for contemplated or pending litigation and for no other purpose; and

(b) the party being examined undertakes not to call the expert as a witness at the trial.

In some cases, Judges can order that expert reports be produced at pre-trial conferences, parties be allowed to examine experts in advance of trial or that experts meet. The Court can order that any experts engaged by or on behalf of the parties in relation to the action meet on a without prejudice basis in order to identify the issues on which the experts agree and the issues on which they do not agree, to attempt to clarify and resolve any issues that are the subject of disagreement and to prepare a joint statement setting out the areas of agreement and any areas of disagreement and the reasons for it if, in the opinion of the court, the cost or time savings or other benefits that may be achieved from the meeting are proportionate to the amounts at stake or the importance of the issues involved in the case and, (I) there is a reasonable prospect for agreement on some or all of the issues, or (ii) the rationale for opposing expert opinions is unknown and clarification on areas of disagreement would assist the parties or the court.

Use of experts at trial

There are Rules governing use of experts at trial. For instance, Rule 53 provides the following:

EXPERT WITNESSES
Experts’ Reports

53.03 (1) A party who intends to call an expert witness at trial shall, not less than 90 days before the pre-trial conference scheduled under subrule 50.02 (1) or (2), serve on every other party to the action a report, signed by the expert, containing the information listed in subrule (2.1).

(2) A party who intends to call an expert witness at trial to respond to the expert witness of another party shall, not less than 60 days before the pre-trial conference, serve on every other party to the action a report, signed by the expert, containing the information listed in subrule (2.1).

(2.1) A report provided for the purposes of subrule (1) or (2) shall contain the following information:

1. The expert’s name, address and area of expertise.

2. The expert’s qualifications and employment and educational experiences in his or her area of expertise.

3. The instructions provided to the expert in relation to the proceeding.

4. The nature of the opinion being sought and each issue in the proceeding to which the opinion relates.

5. The expert’s opinion respecting each issue and, where there is a range of opinions given, a summary of the range and the reasons for the expert’s own opinion within that range.

6. The expert’s reasons for his or her opinion, including,

I. a description of the factual assumptions on which the opinion is based,

ii. a description of any research conducted by the expert that led him or her to form the opinion, and

iii. a list of every document, if any, relied on by the expert in forming the opinion.

7. An acknowledgment of expert’s duty (Form 53) signed by the expert.

Schedule for Service of Reports

(2.2) Within 60 days after an action is set down for trial, the parties shall agree to a schedule setting out dates for the service of experts’ reports in order to meet the requirements of subrules (1) and (2), unless the court orders otherwise.

Types of Experts

There are medical and non-medical experts routinely used in personal injury cases. Expert witnesses are common in personal injury cases. The parties can use medical experts, accountants, engineers, economists, occupational therapists and any other type of expert that may given assistance to the parties and to the Court. In many cases, experts charge thousands of dollars for producing medical-legal reports and ask to be paid to testify in Court.

The duty of experts are outlined in Rule 4 – see above. This means that the duty of an expert is to the Court and not to any party. Therefore, experts must be fair and honest no matter who pays them for their reports. In reality, some experts are not “independent” and often routinely prepare reports for one side, either the defendant or plaintiff.

Who pays for the experts?

Our lawyers pay to retain experts and produce reports. The cost is often in the thousands of dollars. If the case settles, the costs of experts is recovered from the settlement. Our injury lawyers will review your case very carefully and recommend the types of experts needed to provide opinions on your injuries and your losses. Our lawyers deal with experts regularly and so are able to locate the best experts to suit your case.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa injury lawyer

Tel: (613) 315-4878

How to win your LTD (long term disability) claim?2018-11-22T11:47:05-04:00

How to convince your disability insurance company that you are disabled and entitled to disability benefits.

Common Story

You purchase long term disability insurance hoping never having to use it. You pay your premiums each month and honor your commitment to the insurance company. You filled out your application for insurance truthfully and trust that the disability insurance will be available if ever needed.

One day, you become disabled. You fill out the application for long term disability benefits, you send it to your insurance company, you answer their questions and provide them with all the medical records they ask. You wait. It takes forever for your insurer to respond. You are treated badly.

The insurance company denies your claim and your life is in turmoil. You have no income and are unable to work. You don’t know how you will be able to pay the rent or your mortgage, pay for medical treatment or feed your kids. You fear losing your home. You turn to friends, family and credit to support your living expenses. This causes you stress and anxiety and your disability worsens as a result. You feel desperate and alone.

If this sounds familiar, welcome to what thousands of people have to go through with their insurance company. You are not alone. If you have been denied long term disability insurance, you have rights and we can help you win your long term disability case.

What do you need to prove when applying for long term disability benefits?

Assuming you paid your insurance premiums, most policies of disability insurance will require you to do a few things when disabled:

1. Complete and submit an application for benefits to your insurer.
2. Provide medical records supporting your claim that you are disabled.
3. Meet the definition of “disabled” as outlined in the policy of insurance.

Most policies of insurance will define “disability” triggering insurance coverage. Most policies of insurance will have two definitions of “disability” contained in the policy. One definition (sometimes called short-term disability) is also called “own occ”. This means own occupation and in that case, you must be unable to do the usual tasks of your own occupation by reason of your disability. The other definition is often referred to as long-term disability or “any occ”. Any occupation usually means you are unable to work at any job that you are qualified to do by reason of your education, training or experience.

Typical definitions found in many disability policies of insurance are similar to this example:

Totally Disabled
An Employee is Totally Disabled if he/she is in a continuous state of incapacity due to illness which:
1. while it continues during the Elimination Period and the following 24 months, prevents the Employee from performing each and every duty of his/her regular occupation or employment.

2. while it continues thereafter, prevents the employee from engaging in any commensurate
occupation for which he/she is or becomes reasonably qualified by education, training or experience.

Some disability policies have more detailed definitions of “disability”. Whether or not you meet the definition of “disability” will depend in large part on the medical evidence.

The medical evidence is the key to winning long term disability cases.

The Key to Winning Long Term Disability Claims

The primary reason people get denied disability benefits is lack of medical proof of the disability or lying in their initial application for insurance. In many cases, insurance companies will not simply accept your own doctor’s letter or the completed form your doctor sends in. They should accept it but often do not and deny the claim.

In most cases, we recommend obtaining a copy of your entire medical file from all treating physicians. Those files are reviewed and a summary of your medical history and current medical conditions is prepared. Next, depending on your type of disability, experts are hired to assess your medical condition and provide an expert medical-legal report. If your disability is physical, then an expert in the specific field of your physical disability should be hired to write a medical-legal report. If your disability is emotional or psychological, a psychologist or psychiatrist should be hired to assess, treat and provide an expert opinion on your disability.

In all cases, the expert should be given your medical file and a copy of the policy of insurance with specific reference to the definition of disability. The expert should be asked to specifically provide an opinion on whether or not you meet the definition of disability as defined in the policy with specific reference to the definition itself in their report.

Faced with an expert report, the insurance company will need to either reverse their denial decision, maintain their denial position or send you to their own experts to assess you and obtain their own expert reports. If the insurer maintains their denial in the face of a report from your own doctor and your expert and does not retain their own expert, that could be considered bad faith and entitle you to punitive damages against the insurance company.

Objective Medical Evidence

Another important consideration is the medical evidence provided by independent medical tests. This is called objective medical evidence. Objective evidence includes measurable, visible test findings obtained by a medical examination (physical or psychological), tests, or diagnostic imaging. For example, an x-ray showing a fractured bone or a blood test showing cancer.

Medical evidence is arguably the most important component of your disability claim. Without medical support for your claim, your insurer cannot confirm that your illness or injury prevents you from working. A lack of medical evidence is the number one reason insurers deny claims. The onus is not on the insurance company to obtain the medical evidence, the onus is on you to provide it to the insurance company. Little or no medical evidence will usually result in an automatic denial of your claim for disability benefits.

Ongoing Medical Evidence

Most policies of insurance will require ongoing proof of medical disability and so it is important that you continue to see your health care providers regularly and participate in treatment as recommended by your health care providers.

It is important to also note that compliance with your treating physician (or expert’s) treatment plan and recommendations and even attempts at different treatments without success is good evidence of your willingness but inability to get better and work.

What to do if your disability cannot be proved by objective medical tests?

In these situations, the use of experts is key. Disabilities such as chronic pain or depression are difficult to prove through objective testing and requires the opinion of experts.

To receive disability benefits, you need to prove your disability prevents you from working. How do you prove you suffer from depression or have chronic pain for instance?

In cases such as this, in addition to medical experts, functional capacity assessments and occupational capacity assessments are useful ways to determine your level of disability. This assessment will reveal specific activity limitations.

However, there are some medical conditions that are difficult or impossible to measure. In many cases, the diagnosis is made on the information provided by the client with no objective medical test results available to support the information and self-reporting. Examples include fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome, and mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. Evaluating these types of medical conditions is difficult. You will need to retain experts to provide medical-legal reports.

How can we help?
Our lawyers help many disabled clients win their disability claims every year. Our experienced disability lawyers will help you properly and comprehensively prepare your case and fight the insurance company. We find and hire the top medical experts to produce the best most comprehensive medical-legal reports and we obtain all medical files relevant to your case. We submit your medical evidence and will sue the insurer if they continue to deny your claim.

It is always advisable to speak with an experienced long term disability lawyer before making any decisions on your application for disability benefits.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa disability law lawyer
613-315-4878

How will my medical records be used by my Ottawa injury lawyer at trial and during the settlement process?2018-11-22T10:38:22-04:00

Medical Records in Ottawa Personal Injury Cases

In all cases of person injury, there will be a significant amount of medical records involved. In personal injury litigation, parties have an obligation to exchange copies of all relevant documents, including medical records. The obligation is set out in the Rules of Civil Procedure which states that a “document” includes a sound recording, videotape, film, photograph, chart, graph, map, plan, survey, book of account, and data and information in electronic form; and (b) a document shall be deemed to be in a party’s power if that party is entitled to obtain the original document or a copy of it and the party seeking it is not so entitled.

Rule 30.02 (1) provides that every document relevant to any matter in issue in an action that is or has been in the possession, control or power of a party to the action shall be disclosed, whether or not privilege is claimed in respect of the document.

Document includes all relevant medical documents. Medical records provide evidence of medical diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, medical recommendations, test results and medical recovery.

 

Types of Medical Records

The types of medical records that are obtained include ER records, hospital records, physician files, massage therapist files, choripractor files, physiotherapist files, occupational therapy files, third party test results etc… In most cases, the defendant will ask for medical records dating back 5 years prior to the accident. In doing so, the defendant wants to determine whether your current injuries and symptoms are as a result of the accident in question or because of a pre-existing medical condition, a prior accident or prior injuries.

Your personal injury lawyer will arrange to obtain the following medical documents on your behalf:

1. Clinical notes and records of all your doctors, including test results.
2. Hospital files.
3. Expert files.
4. Treating health care provider files.

Categories of medical records

Medical records can be generally split up in three main categories, expert medical-legal reports, treating physician clinical notes and records and third party test results (blood tests, x-rays, etc…). Your lawyer may hire an expert medical practitioner such as an orthopedic surgeon or physiatrist (pain management specialist) to meet with you, assess you and write a medical-legal report. If you call an expert at trial, there are specific requirements contained in the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Evidence Act that must be adhered to. Your injury lawyer will make sure the documents are filed and served in the proper way and on time.

How are the medical records used at trial?

At trial, your injury lawyer will refer to and file your clinical notes and records as “business records” and so the records can be referred to as part of your case; as evidence in support of your case. Those clinical notes and records will help prove the treatment you received, the medications you took, your prognosis and provide opinions of your treating doctors.

Your injury lawyer will likely call your treating doctors to give evidence at trial and your doctors will refer to their notes and their file. Your doctors can explain their notes and records produced. It is helpful for your doctor to explain their notes to the court. In some cases, based on the treatment and personal observations, your treating doctors can provide the Court with opinions within the field of their treatment.

Prior to trial, your lawyer will review your medical records with you so that you are familiar with them and that your testimony at trial is consistent with the records. If the records are inaccurate, you will be able to deal with that during your testimony. If the records contradict what you say at trial, this could be problematic because it will call into question your credibility. Therefore, by reviewing the records in advance of trial, you can better prepare for any contradictions or inaccuracies in the notes and records. Better to deal with them while you testify than during cross-examination.

If the notes of your doctors show inconsistencies in what you said to your doctor and what was written and what you say in your testimony, this can be problematic. Therefore, by reviewing the medical records, you can explain the inconsistencies. There may very well be a valid explanation for the inconsistencies.

The other medical evidence that will be used at trial is the oral testimony of experts. Your injury lawyer will likely hire experts to meet with you, assess your medical condition and provide a written medical-legal report outlining their opinions, findings and conclusions. Your experts will give evidence at trial and will be allowed to refer to their medical-legal report. The defendant may also hire their own experts to meet with you and prepare their own expert reports. In that case, the defendant would call their own experts to give their own evidence. It is important to be honest and truthful in all meetings with your treating health care providers and when meeting with experts. In honesty there will generally be consistency.

Medical records play an extremely important role in personal injury actions. In most cases, medical records are provided to the defendant prior to litigation and this helps the defendant’s lawyer and insurer assess your case and determine if settlement is possible.

Our personal injury lawyers handle all aspects of obtaining, sharing and filing the relevant medical records, including hiring experts when needed.

Why Hire an Ottawa dog bite lawyer?2018-11-20T10:19:41-04:00

Why Hire an Ottawa dog bite lawyer?

Injuries in dog bite cases

Victims of dog bites and attacks experience physical, emotional and financial trauma. The experience is often overwhelming.

Every part of a person’s body is vulnerable in a dog attack and so almost any type of injury is possible. Dogs have strong jaws and teeth and their bites can cause serious and sometimes deadly injuries. Dogs can target any part of the body and so the types of injuries suffered by victims can be severe or minor, depending on the attack.

The types of injuries that may occur from a dog bite or dog attack range from minor cuts to serious and even deadly injuries. Some of the most common injuries we have seen in cases we have handled include the following:

  • Scratches
  • Bruises
  • Hematomas
  • Puncture wounds
  • Lacerations
  • Abrasions
  • Contusions
  • Infections
  • Scarring on the body
  • Nerve injuries
  • Tendon injuries
  • Amputations
  • Crushed bones
  • Fractured arteries
  • Facial scarring
  • Dislocations
  • Disfigurement
  • Concussions
  • Head injuries
  • Bleeding wounds
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Bacterial infections such as Rabies, Capnocytophaga, MRS, tetanus and Pasteurella

While we have seen plenty of physical injuries arising from dog bites or attacks, often there are also emotional and psychological injuries associated in such cases. It is not uncommon, especially with children as victims, to suffer from a severe emotional reaction from the dog bite or attack. In some cases, while the physical injuries heal over time, the emotional injuries last a life time and require psychological counseling and treatment. It is also not uncommon for victims of dog bites to develop fear of dogs, anxiety, stress and depression. In many cases, the victim develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and can suffer from nightmares, flashbacks, constant thoughts about the attack, overwhelming sense of fear.

Because in most cases dog bites cause an open wound, the victim can come into contact with the dog’s saliva which can cause dangerous and sometimes lethal infections. Medical treatment immediately after a dog bite should be obtained.

In many cases, the dog attack has left permanent scarring on the victim. We have seen many cases of dog attack victims receiving bites to the face which in most cases leaves permanent facial scarring, requiring plastic and reconstructive surgery to reduce or remove the scars. The cost of surgery is often in the thousands.

 

What types of damages can be ordered in dog attack or dog bite cases?

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog attack or dog bite, you may be entitled to various damages including the following:

  • Damages for pain and suffering including damages for mental and/or emotional suffering.
  • Damages for past and future medical treatment expenses.
  • Damages for out of pocket expenses.
  • Damages for loss of past and future income.
  • Damages for loss of earning capacity.
  • Damages for home care services.

 

Does insurance cover dog bite cases?

There are many types of insurance policies that may cover dog bite or dog attack cases. Insurance is purchased to cover unexpected losses and in many cases we find that the dog owner has an insurance policy to cover the claim. That policy can cover all types of damages. Our dog bite lawyers will quickly write to the dog owner and request a copy of any relevant insurance policies, review the policies and determine if coverage is available and how much is covered (usually at least 1 million dollars). If insurance does not cover the loss, you can still claim damages directly from the dog owner and if the dog owner has a job or assets, you can seize their assets or garnish their wages after obtaining a judgment.

The types of insurance policies that may cover dog bite cases include tenant’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, excess insurance policies, umbrella insurance policies, commercial liability insurance policies and in some cases car insurance policies.

 

What law applies to dog bite cases in Ontario?

In Ontario, dog bites are considered strict liability torts and are subject to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act. Tort means wrongful act. Strict liability means the victim does not need to prove that the dog owner was negligent. The victim will need to simply prove the following to win:

  • Identify the dog owner (the defendant).
  • The defendant owned the dog that bit the victim.
  • The victim suffered injuries.
  • The injuries suffered by the victim was caused by the dog.

Because Ontario is a “strict liability” province. The dog owner will likely be held liable whether or not the dog bit before or attacked before and it does not matter that the dog owner did not think their dog was dangerous or took reasonable precautions to prevent a dog attack or bite.

 

Why hire an Ottawa dog bite lawyer?

The list of benefits in having a dog bite lawyer fight for you is long.

Our dog bite lawyers will complete many tasks including the following:

  • Meet with you for free.
  • Discuss your case with you for free.
  • Provide a free assessment of your case.
  • Provide you with an opinion on your dog bite case.
  • Provide you with an explanation about the process of making a claim.
  • Be the contact person with the dog owner, the insurers and the lawyers so you don’t need to.
  • Offer you peace of mind that your case is being properly handled.
  • Ensure notice periods and limitation periods are met.
  • Obtain statements from witnesses.
  • Conduct a full damages assessment.
  • Arrange for the retention of medical and economic experts.
  • Give you helpful hints on how to properly document your case, including documenting your losses and injuries.
  • Conduct legal research to maximize your recovery.
  • Pay for up front medical expenses and expert reports.
  • Not charge a fee until you win your case.
  • Deal with the insurance companies and their lawyers.
  • Document your expenses and damages.
  • If necessary, hire private investigators to locate witnesses or the dog owner.
  • Collect important relevant evidence.
  • Leverage years of experience as a dog bite lawyer against the insurance company and their lawyers.
  • Gather all documents necessary to put together a settlement proposal.
  • Negotiate an out of court settlement.
  • Give you peace of mind that your case is well handled with an experienced dog bite lawyers.
  • Never give up on you.

If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog and suffered injuries, you have the right to claim compensation from the dog owner. In Ontario, dog owners are strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dogs and insurers understand the risks involved in defending these cases. If you can identify the dog owner and the dog that bit or attacked you, your claim will succeed. You need not prove that the dog owner was negligent and it does not matter if the dog never bit anyone before.

 

Free Consultations

If you’re unsure how you should proceed, call us and speak with one of our experienced dog bite lawyers who will protect your rights. Our dog bite lawyers will make sure the dog owner is held responsible for their dog. We will advance your claim aggressively so you will obtain the maximum compensation the law allows. Our Ottawa dog bite lawyers have helped hundreds of dog bite and dog attack victims and have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Our injury lawyers will meet with you for free, assess your case and provide you with options for pursuing the dog owner.

During our initial meeting, our lawyers will discuss with you the facts of the case, discuss your concerns, assess the merits of your case and discuss a plan of action to best suit your needs. Our lawyers will discuss any concerns you have in relation to your relationship with the dog owner. All of your questions about the process of claiming compensation will be answered.

What does it mean when an insurance company acts in “bad faith”? Ottawa disability claims denied arbitrarily and unfairly.2018-11-19T11:05:47-04:00

What does it mean when an insurance company acts in “bad faith”? Ottawa disability claims denied arbitrarily and unfairly.

Insurance companies sell policies of insurance to cover losses in the event of an accident (disability, car insurance, property insurance, fire loss insurance, critical illness insurance for example). The policies are sold on the basis that claims will be fairly assessed and if valid, paid. In many cases the process of making an insurance claim goes smoothly. However, in other cases, claims are denied arbitrarily and unfairly. Just because an insurance company has denied a claim does not mean it acted in bad faith. However, if in denying a claim an insurer has acted arbitrarily, unfairly and has denied your claim without any legal justification while acting patently unfair in the way they have processed your claim, you may have a bad faith claim against your insurer. Bad faith may entitle you to damages in addition to payment of the actual claim made.

In general terms “bad faith” means the intentional dishonest act by not fulfilling legal or contractual obligations, misleading another, entering into an agreement without the intention or means to fulfill it, or violating basic standards of honesty in dealing with others (https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/bad+faith).

The Supreme Court of Canada has dealt with the issue of insurance companies acting in bad faith. In one case, the Supreme Court of Canada defined “bad faith” as “conduct involving ‘malicious intent’ or that ‘exceeds the limits of discretion reasonably exercised.'”

What constitutes bad faith will depend on the facts of the specific case. There is no solid definition of what “bad faith” is but Courts do consider all of the facts when assessing whether an insurance company acted in bad faith and what damages should be awarded as a result.

In Canada, insurance companies must act with good faith. This means that they must act honestly and fairly when investigating claims, assessing claims and in paying out claims.

The duty of good faith owed by an insurer to an insured includes paying out claims in a timely manner and to investigate claims quickly, fairly and diligently.

When an insurance company’s behaviour becomes high handed, arbitrary or malicious, the Courts could make a finding that it acted in bad faith and require the insurance company to pay punitive damages and aggravated damages. In some cases, damages for emotional distress may be ordered.

In general terms, the following is a guideline of the law as it relates to bad faith and insurance companies:

  • What constitutes bad faith depends on the facts of the specific case.
  • A mere denial of a claim, even of the claim eventually succeeds in Court, is not necessarily bad faith.
  • As long as the insurance company acted reasonable in assessing and denying the claim, there is no bad faith generally.
  • Insurers cannot arbitrarily deny claims.
  • Insurers cannot dismiss relevant information and documents that supports an insured’s claim.
  • In investigating, assessing and paying out claims, insurers must act honestly and with the utmost good faith.

Insurance companies often employ bad faith tactics when denying claims. They unduly delay claims and deny claims without justification, blindly ignore relevant information and documents and over-rely on other documents. There are many ways in which insurers can act in bad faith in order to avoid paying a valid claim. In Ottawa, we have come across many cases of injury victims being denied insurance proceeds by insurers who were in our clients’ view, acting in bad faith.

What types of behaviours can lead to a finding of bad faith?

Here are some examples:

  • Unreasonable interpretation of an insurance policy.
  • Failure to make a decision about a claim in a timely fashion.
  • Not investigating a claim.
  • Not fully investigating a valid claim.
  • Delaying in paying a claim in a timely manner.
  • Denying a claim based on prior claims.
  • Requiring documentation that is irrelevant.
  • Ignoring relevant evidence such as expert reports.
  • Relying on information that is irrelevant or misleading.
  • Misleading the insured.
  • Ignoring claims entirely.

Cases where insurers have acted in bad faith include denying disability benefits, denying accident benefits in car accident cases or in fire losses claims where the insured is accused of arson.

If an insurance company has acted in bad faith, the Courts can award punitive damages against the insurance company in addition to payment of the actual claim. However, such damages are generally awarded in only the worst of cases, where the insurer has acted especially egregiously.

There is no uniform standard for identifying when an insurance company has acted in bad faith because it depends on the facts of each case. If you believe your insurance company has acted in bad faith, you should consult one of our Ottawa injury lawyers for free. Our lawyers will assess your case and assist you in determining the best course of action to take to pursue your claims.

If your insurance claim has been denied or not resolved fairly, you don’t have to simply accept the decision made by your insurer. We can review your situation for free and provide you with advice so you can make an informed decision on how best to proceed.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn

Insurance bad faith lawyer

613-315-4878

Are insurers allowed to hire private investigators to follow you (Ottawa Injury Victims Want to Know)?2018-11-19T10:01:17-04:00

Are insurers allowed to hire private investigators to follow you?

Why do insurance companies hire private investigators?

Insurance company regularly hire private investigators who conduct investigations about the injury victim. They conduct surveillance, obtain background information, take pictures, take photos and review an injured person’s online profile such as Facebook posts and photos. In doing so, the insurance company is looking for any information that might damage the injury victim’s case. In particular, the private investigator is looking for evidence that is inconsistent with what the injury victim alleges to be  the nature and extent of their injuries and the extent of the affect of those injuries on their daily activities. Insurers also use private investigators to determine if the allegations are fraudulent.

The fact that insurance companies conduct surveillance is a reality in personal injury cases. Insurers have come to rely more and more on surveillance as a means to help them defeat personal injury cases. While it may seem like an invasion of privacy, the insurers have the right to investigate and conduct surveillance with restrictions imposed on them in law. For instance, in Ontario, private investigators are governed by the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005, S.O. 2005, c. 34 and regulations enacted under that statute.

Under section 34 of the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, private investigators must identify themselves as such when asked. Section 34 reads as follows:

Identification as private investigator

34 (1) Every person who is holding himself or herself out as a private investigator shall,

(a) carry his or her licence;

(b) on request, identify himself or herself as a private investigator; and

(c) on request, produce his or her licence.

However, be mindful of section 2(2) and 2(3) of Ontario Regulation 363/07 which states as follows:

No individual licensee shall:

(d) misrepresent to any person the type, class or conditions of his or her licence.

(3) Clause (2) (d) does not apply to an individual licensee who is concealing his or her identity as a private investigator or security guard in order to carry out his or her duties.

 

Is it Legal?

Clients often ask me if insurance companies have the right to conduct surveillance. The answer, as indicated, is yes, with certain professional and legal restrictions. The conduct and actions of private investigators must also be in compliance with the Criminal Code of Canada.

What types of things can a private investigator do:

Private investigators can:

  • Follow you around.
  • Conduct background checks using publically accessible databases and by speaking with people.
  • Record videos of you in a public setting.
  • Take photos of you in a public setting.

Private investigators cannot:

  • Record you in a private settings like your home.
  • Take photos of you in a private setting, like in your home.
  • Wiretap your telephone.
  • Harass you, your family or friends.

Must the insurance company provide you with a copy of the surveillance?

This is a legally complicated question and the law is developing in this area. At the moment, the surveillance product (reports, photos, etc…), must be listed in an affidavit of documents but the insurer (the defendant) can claim litigation privilege over the documents meaning that while they have to disclose they have the surveillance, they need not produce a copy of it. You are entitled to basic information such as the dates and authors of the reports and the gist of what is contained in the surveillance documents. However, if the defendant wishes to use the documents at trial or call the private investigator as a witness at trial, all documents must be produced in advance of trial.

What to do if you believe you are being followed?

The truth will set you free. In the end, if your allegations are truthful, surveillance will not harm your case unless the insurer and private investigator try to mislead the Court. If you suspect that you are being followed and videotaped, we recommend that you do nothing different from what you normally would do. Engage in your usual activities and go about your day. Do not try to exaggerate your behaviour or your injuries. If the activities you engage in cause you pain, make sure you meet your doctor and report it. Stay within the recommendations of your doctor in terms of types and extent of activities you do. That way, there is little that an insurance company can record that will be useful to them.

In the end, there is little an injury victim can do to stop surveillance.

Admissibility Of Surveillance Evidence At Trial

The Courts act as the gatekeepers of evidence at trials and will apply a legal test to the admissibility of surveillance evidence.

In a recent case, Rolley v. MacDonell, the defendant filed a motion seeking leave of the Court to rely on surveillance video recordings as substantive evidence. The plaintiff had been on surveillance over the course of a year. In determining whether the surveillance could be admitted as substantive evidence, the Court applied a legal test as follows:

To be admissible as substantive evidence, the surveillance must satisfy the following three-part test:

  1. Accuracy in truly representing the facts;
  2. Fairness and the absence of any intention to mislead; and
  3. Verification on oath by a person capable of doing so.
    (See Iannarella v. Corbett, 2015 ONCA 110, 331 O.A.C. 21, at para. 94 and Nemchin v. Green, 2017 ONSC 1321, at para. 16.)

In addition, the probative value of the evidence must outweigh its prejudicial effect. This is a general rule of evidence test applied to all evidence.

Because there were gaps in the video recordings, the videos depicted only part of the surveillance time, the recordings could be considered fair, accurate, and representative of the events purported to be depicted in the recordings. In that case, the judge dismissed the defendant’s motion and denied any entitlement to rely on any portion of the surveillance video recordings as substantive evidence.

If you have been injured in an accident, consult one of our lawyers for free. Our lawyers can explain what to do in case you believe you are being followed.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn

613-315-4878

Ottawa injury and accident lawyer.

Winning a Slip and Fall Case in Ottawa, Ontario – Occupiers Liability2018-11-12T14:32:14-04:00

Winning a Slip and Fall Case in Ottawa, Ontario – Occupiers Liability

Slip and fall and trip and fall cases fall under what is called Occupiers Liability torts. Tort is a legal term and means a wrongful act (assault, negligence for example) or infringement of a right (charter breach for example). Occupiers’ liability is a field of tort law. Occupiers liability is concerned with what duties of care are applied to property owners and occupiers as it relates to persons who use property owned or leased by others. If a duty of care is established, the court will apply a standard of care to the property owner or occupier when determining liability. The court will hear evidence and make findings of facts. If those facts support there being a duty of care owed and a breached of the standard of care owed, the Court will award damages to an injured person who can prove that the breach of the standard caused them injury.

What evidence is needed to win your slip and fall personal injury case depends on the facts of your particular case and specifically what caused the slip and fall.

In general terms however, the Courts have interpreted and applied the provisions of the Occupiers’ Liability Act of Ontario and those cases provide some guidance in slip an fall liability cases. In Ontario, the Occupiers’ Liability Act is the main statute that creates a duty on property owners and occupiers (such as tenants) to ensure their properties are safe.

In a recent slip and fall case, the Court set out some basic principles to be applied in Occupiers Liability cases. They include the following:

  1. To succeed in a claim against an occupier for injuries sustained in the slip and fall, a plaintiff must “pinpoint some act or failure on the part of the occupier that caused the plaintiff’s injury”;
  2. The duty of care on the occupier does not extend to the removal of every possibility of danger;
  3. The Occupier’s Liability Act does not impose strict liability;
  4. The standard of care is not perfection, but rather reasonableness;
  5. The duty of care established by the Occupier’s Liability Act must not be confused with a presumption of negligence; and
  6. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to show that the defendant was in breach of a positive duty of care.

The specific section of the decided case [ Hamilton v. Ontario Corporation #2000533 o/a Toronto Community Housing Corporation, 2017 ONSC 5467] is as follows:

“D. The Duty of an Occupier

[30] The duty of the TCHC as an occupier of the Building derives from the Act, section 3 of which states as follows:
Occupier’s duty

3. (1) An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.

[31] To succeed in a claim against an occupier for injury sustained in a slip and fall, the plaintiff must “pinpoint some act or failure on the part of the occupier that caused the plaintiff’s injury”: Nandlal v. Toronto Transit Commission, 2014 ONSC 4760 (CanLII), 2014 ONSC 4760 (Ont. S.C.J.) per Perell J., at para. 8, citing St. Louis-Lalonde v. Carleton Condominium Corp. No. 12, [2005] O.J. 2721 (Ont. S.C.J.), at para. 27; Gemelus v. Ecole Secondaire Catholique Renaissance, 2010 ONSC 4232 (CanLII), 2010 CarswellOnt 6802 (Ont. S.C.J.), at para. 21 [“Gemelus”]; Miltenberg v. Metro Inc., 2012 ONSC 1063 (CanLII), 2010 CarswellOnt 1588 (Ont. S.C.J.) [“Miltenberg”]; Gohm v. York, 2013 ONSC 7118 (CanLII), 2013 CarswellOnt 15704 (Ont. S.C.J.), at paras. 20—21 [“Gohm”]; Whitlow v. 572008 Ontario Ltd, [1995] O.J. No. 77 (Ont. Gen. Div), at para. 33, which states as follows: “[a] plaintiff must still be able to point to some act, or some failure to act, on the part of the occupier which caused the injury complained of, before liability can be established.”

[32] The duty of care on the occupier does not extend to the removal of every possibility of danger. The Act does not impose strict liability. The standard of care is not perfection but rather reasonableness: see George v. Covent Garden Market Corporation, 2007 ONSC 29276, [2007] O.J. No. 2903 (Ont. S.C.J.), at para. 35; Garofalo v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [1998] O.J. No. 302 (Ont. S.C.J.), at para. 28 [“Garofalo”]; Gohm, at para. 22; Nandlal (Ont. S.C.J.), at para. 10; Miltenberg, at para. 33. As stated in Waldick v. Malcolm, 1991 CanLII 71 (SCC), [1991] 2 S.C.R. 456, at p. 472:
After all, the statutory duty on occupiers is framed quite generally, as indeed it must be. That duty is to take reasonable care in the circumstances to make the premises safe. That duty does not change but the factors which are relevant to an assessment of what constitutes reasonable care will necessarily be very specific to each fact situation — thus the proviso ‘such care as in all circumstances of the case is reasonable’.

[33] The duty of care established by the Act must not be confused with a presumption of negligence: see Gohm, at para. 20; Gemelus, at para. 21. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff: “The onus is on the plaintiff to prove on a balance of probabilities that the defendant was in breach of a positive duty of care”: Garofalo, at para. 30; see Canada (Attorney General) v. Ranger, 2011 ONSC 3196 (CanLII), 2011 CarswellOnt 3697 (Ont. S.C.J.), at para. 33, which states: “[o]f course, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that, nevertheless, the burden of proof of a breach of the statute rests with the plaintiff.””

To read the actual wording of the Occupiers’ Liability Act, click here (Occupiers’ Liability Act of Ontario).

In the end, simply because a person was injured as a result of a slip and fall does not necessarily mean that the property owner or occupier will be held liable. However, if an injured person can prove all the necessary elements of their case, damages will be awarded. The elements in general terms are: a duty of care existed, the standard of care applicable was breached, the breach of the standard of care caused the injuries alleged, the result of the breach of the standard of care was foreseeable.

As personal injury lawyers, our job is to gather the evidence to prove the elements of your case. We work hard with experts such as engineers and accident re-constructionists who often are needed to prove negligence.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall incident, or a trip and fall incident, we can assess your case for free.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa slip and fall lawyer
613-315-4878

In Ottawa personal injury cases, what is joint and several liability and what is contribution and indemnity?2018-11-09T16:25:30-04:00

In Personal Injury Cases, What is Joint and Several Liability?

What is contribution and indemnity?

“Contribution and indemnity” is a means by which a Judge or a Jury can determine which defendant is liable and for what amount when a plaintiff alleges more than one person is responsible for an accident that caused them injury. Contribution and indemnity is intertwined with principles of joint and several liability.

In a personal injury court action, there are situations where more than one person may be responsible for the injuries the plaintiff suffered. In cases where there are more than one defendant, the Court can hold each defendant severally liable or jointly liable. A defendant that is held severally liable must pay an amount in proportion to their liability (25% severally liable, must pay 25% of total damages). Where two or more defendants are held jointly liable, the injured person can recover 100% of the damages from any of the defendants.

Joint and several liability is a principle of law that applies where more than one person is at fault for the accident that caused someone else to suffer injury. In law, persons who are joint and severally liable are equally responsible to pay the full amount of damages awarded to an injured person, even if they are only 1% at fault. This legal principle applies most often in car accident cases. For instance where the driver of the vehicle in the injured person was a passenger was speeding and collided with another vehicle who ran a red light.

Why is contribution and indemnity important?

In applying the joint and several liability principle, the law seeks to ensure that the injured person is wholly compensated for their injuries. In cases of serious injuries suffered in a car accident for instance, one of the defendants may have limited insurance coverage. The injured person can trigger additional insurance coverage by proving more than one person was responsible to different degrees for the accident and injuries and so can look to more than one insurance policy to satisfy a judgment for compensation.

Before the injured victim is awarded damages from more than one defendant, they must prove that each of the defendants were responsible for the accident. The burden is on the injured person to prove negligence in most cases.

Principles contained in the Negligence Act of Ontario

In Ontario, th principle of joint and several liability is embodied in the Negligence Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. N.1. That Act sets out the following:

Extent of liability, remedy over

1. Where damages have been caused or contributed to by the fault or neglect of two or more persons, the court shall determine the degree in which each of such persons is at fault or negligent, and, where two or more persons are found at fault or negligent, they are jointly and severally liable to the person suffering loss or damage for such fault or negligence, but as between themselves, in the absence of any contract express or implied, each is liable to make contribution and indemnify each other in the degree in which they are respectively found to be at fault or negligent. R.S.O. 1990, c. N.1, s. 1.

Recovery as between tortfeasors
2. A tortfeasor may recover contribution or indemnity from any other tortfeasor who is, or would if sued have been, liable in respect of the damage to any person suffering damage as a result of a tort by settling with the person suffering such damage, and thereafter commencing or continuing action against such other tortfeasor, in which event the tortfeasor settling the damage shall satisfy the court that the amount of the settlement was reasonable, and in the event that the court finds the amount of the settlement was excessive it may fix the amount at which the claim should have been settled. R.S.O. 1990, c. N.1, s. 2.

Plaintiff guilty of contributory negligence
3. In any action for damages that is founded upon the fault or negligence of the defendant if fault or negligence is found on the part of the plaintiff that contributed to the damages, the court shall apportion the damages in proportion to the degree of fault or negligence found against the parties respectively. R.S.O. 1990, c. N.1, s. 3.

Where parties to be deemed equally at fault
4. If it is not practicable to determine the respective degree of fault or negligence as between any parties to an action, such parties shall be deemed to be equally at fault or negligent. R.S.O. 1990, c. N.1, s. 4.

Adding parties
5. Wherever it appears that a person not already a party to an action is or may be wholly or partly responsible for the damages claimed, such person may be added as a party defendant to the action upon such terms as are considered just or may be made a third party to the action in the manner prescribed by the rules of court for adding third parties. R.S.O. 1990, c. N.1, s. 5.

Jury to determine degrees of negligence of parties
6. In any action tried with a jury, the degree of fault or negligence of the respective parties is a question of fact for the jury. R.S.O. 1990, c. N.1, s. 6.

When plaintiff may be liable for costs
7. Where the damages are occasioned by the fault or negligence of more than one party, the court has power to direct that the plaintiff shall bear some portion of the costs if the circumstances render this just. R.S.O. 1990, c. N.1, s. 7.

How do defendants apportion damages among themselves?

Where an injured person alleges that two or more defendants are jointly and severally liable, any defendant may claim contribution and/or indemnity from the other defendants.

Indemnification

Indemnification is the right of one defendant to collect from another defendant all the damages awarded against them in favour of the injured party.

Contribution

Contribution applies to have the defendants share the damages awarded. Where two or more defendants are held jointly liable, one defendant can seek contribution from another defendant. By applying the principle of contribution, one defendant can ensure that another defendant pays their fair share of the damages.

In personal injury court actions, contribution will allow one defendant to pursue another defendant for part of the total damages awarded. A defendant will do this when they believe they are only partially at fault for the accident.

In personal injury court actions, by claiming indemnity, one defendant can pursue another defendant for the entire amount of the damages awarded. This applies when one defendant believes they are not at fault for the accident at all.

It is important to retain an experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyer who understands legal principles that apply to your case such as contribution and indemnity claims among defendants. We offer free consultations. We work on a no fee until you win basis.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
613-315-4878

Why Do Dogs Bite or Attack? Top 15 Reasons Why Dogs Attack2018-11-06T13:14:04-04:00

Dogs are animals and like all animals their behaviour can not be predicted in many cases. Dogs will attack or bite someone for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons we have experienced in Ottawa dog bite cases are as follows:

  1. The dog was trained to attack by its owner.
  2. The dog was playing and the bite was part of the play but caused injury.
  3. A person interfered with the dog while eating.
  4. The dog is abused by its owner and has a propensity to attack in self defence.
  5. The dog was defending its territory.
  6. The dog was defending an object such as a toy or food.
  7. The dog was defending its owner.
  8. The dog was provoked by aggressive behaviour of the victim.
  9. The dog suffers from anxiety or stress.
  10. The dog was frightened.
  11. The dog was startled.
  12. The dog felt threatened in some way,
  13. The dog is sick.
  14. The dog is injured.

In Ontario, pursuant to the Dog Owners Liability Act, dog owners are strictly liable for their dogs and any injury caused to a person or damage to property. If you can identify the dog and dog owner and also prove that dog injured you, you will receive compensation. If you have been injured by a dog, we can help. Contact is for a free consultation at 613-315-4878.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa personal injury lawyer – Ottawa dog bite lawyer
over 20 years of experience

What is an Infant Settlement Motion?2018-10-31T17:35:39-04:00

What is an Infant Settlement Motion?

When a settlement has been reached that involves a person under the age of 18, that child must be represented by a “litigation guardian”. A Litigation Guardian is a person over the age of 18 who has authority to instruct legal counsel throughout the litigation and make decisions about the child. The Litigation Guardian is presumed to make all decisions in the best interests of the person under disability and is usually a child’s parent or trusted family member.

In personal injury litigation, it is not uncommon that the injured person is under the age of 18 and is represented by a Litigation Guardian. When the child’s claim is resolved and a settlement is reached, the Litigation Guardian and the other side will sign “minutes of settlement” which will likely state that the settlement is “subject to approval by the Court”. This is a normal condition since under the Rules of Civil Procedure which governs the conduct of and steps in litigation, all settlements involving minors must be approved by the Court. Therefore, while the Litigation Guardian is able to make decisions in the litigation and agree to a settlement on behalf of the child, the settlement requires approval by the Court. No settlement involving children is binding without court approval.

Since the majority of cases settle before reaching trial, it is likely that an infant settlement motion will be required if you have started a court action on behalf of a child. If no litigation was commenced and the settlement was reached prior to initiating a court action, then the approval would be filed by way of a court application as opposed to a court motion.

The motion to approve settlement must be filed under Rule 7.08 of the Rules of Civil Procedure which states as follows:

APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT
Settlement Requires Judge’s Approval

7.08
(1) No settlement of a claim made by or against a person under disability, whether or not a proceeding has been commenced in respect of the claim, is binding on the person without the approval of a judge.

(2) Judgment may not be obtained on consent in favour of or against a party under disability without the approval of a judge.

Exception

(2.1) This rule does not apply to a settlement or judgment respecting the appointment under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 of a guardian of property or guardian of the person.

Where no Proceeding Commenced

(3) Where an agreement for the settlement of a claim made by or against a person under disability is reached before a proceeding is commenced in respect of the claim, approval of a judge shall be obtained on an application.

Material Required for Approval

(4) On a motion or application for the approval of a judge under this rule, there shall be served and filed with the notice of motion or notice of application,

(a) an affidavit of the litigation guardian setting out the material facts and the reasons supporting the proposed settlement and the position of the litigation guardian in respect of the settlement;

(b) an affidavit of the lawyer acting for the litigation guardian setting out the lawyer’s position in respect of the proposed settlement;

(c) where the person under disability is a minor who is over the age of sixteen years, the minor’s consent in writing, unless the judge orders otherwise; and

(d) a copy of the proposed minutes of settlement.

(4.1) If there is no litigation guardian and the settlement that is the subject of the motion or application is in respect of a matter under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 to which this rule applies, the affidavit referred to in clause (4) (a) shall be provided by the moving party or applicant (as the case may be), and the affidavit referred to in clause (4) (b) shall be provided by his or her lawyer.

Children’s Lawyer or Public Guardian and Trustee

(5) On a motion or application for the approval of a judge under this rule, the judge may,

(a) direct that material filed on the motion or application be served on the Children’s Lawyer or on the Public Guardian and Trustee; and

(b) direct the Children’s Lawyer or the Public Guardian and Trustee, as the case may be, to make a written report stating any objections he or she has to the proposed settlement and making recommendations, with reasons, in connection with the proposed settlement.

MONEY TO BE PAID INTO COURT
7.09 (1) Any money payable to a person under disability under an order or a settlement shall be paid into court, unless a judge orders otherwise.

(2) Any money paid to the Children’s Lawyer on behalf of a person under disability shall be paid into court, unless a judge orders otherwise.

The motion seeking approval of the settlement will be filed at court and a judge will review the motion. The motion is usually done in writing and simply filed for a judge to review. The judge will either approve the terms of the settlement or not approve it and give directions on what additional information is needed to approve the settlement.

After the judge approves the settlement, the settlement funds are typically paid into court to be administered by the accountant of the Superior Court of Justice. It is possible to obtain an order to have the settlement funds administered in trust by someone other than the accountant of the Court (such as an investment advisor). In such a case, evidence will need to be provided to the judge as to why that option would be in the child’s best interests. The judge may also release some of the funds to pay for the child’s care such as medical expenses or school related expenses.

There are significant differences in procedure when representing a child. You should seek the assistance of an experienced injury lawyer that has experience dealing with child injury cases.

We offer free consultations.
Call us at 613-315-4878.
Marc N. Quinn – Ottawa child injury lawyer

What can I do as a parent of a child who is pursuing damages for an injury suffered in an accident?2018-10-31T17:14:23-04:00

What can I do as a parent of a child who is pursuing damages for an injury suffered in an accident?

As a parent of a child who has suffered injuries as a result of an accident, there are many things you can do to assist your child in receiving help and compensation needed to recover from the incident. Here is a list of things that you can do:

  • Let your child know you love them, care about them and that they are safe.
  • Take care of your child’s medical needs by ensuring the child attends all of the medical appointments recommended by the family physician. In our experience, you have to take charge of the medical care your child gets because doctors are too busy to keep track of all their patients’ needs.
  • Ask the family physician if there are any specialists that should be consulted to assist in your child’s recovery or for assessing any other possible injuries.
  • Let the treating physicians know about all of your child’s symptoms and complaints.
  • Keep a diary of your child’s medical treatments, with dates, times, names of the doctors and their contact information.
  • Keep a diary of the symptoms your child has exhibited, with dates and times.
  • Keep receipts for any medical expenses, including prescription and over the counter medications, medical devices, travel, parking and other expenses associated with your child’s treatment and care.
  • Take photos of your child’s injuries as soon as possible after the incident.
  • Keep taking photos of the injuries as time passes by to show how your child’s injuries have healed, or to document permanent scarring.
  • Be mindful of emotional and psychological injuries that might not at first be apparent. Talk to your child’s doctor about the possible need for a psychological assessment or referral.
  • Obtain the names and addresses of any witnesses.
  • Take photos of the location where your child was injured as soon as possible after the accident.
  • If the injuries were caused by a criminal act, contact police and report the crime.
  • If the injuries were caused by a dog bite or attack, try to identify the dog owner and obtain their address.
  • If the matter involves a dog bite or attack, contact the local by-law department of your municipality and report the incident.
  • Let your child’s school know about the incident and ask the school staff to keep a look out for your child at school who may be showing signs of anxiety, stress or post-traumatic stress disorder, etc…
  • Do not sign any statements if asked by anyone except the police.
  • Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer about your child’s rights. An experienced and qualified child injury lawyer will be able to provide you with guidance and advice about your child’s possible claims and offer legal representation.

Our child injury lawyers have helped thousands of children in Ontario know their rights and obtain fair compensation for their injuries. Our lawyers are compassionate and understand that representing a child requires sensitivity to the particular needs of the child and their family. We offer free consultations.

Call us at 613-315-4878.

Marc N. Quinn – Ottawa child injury lawyer

Do I need an experienced child injury lawyer if my child is injured?2018-10-31T13:49:23-04:00

Do I need an experienced child injury lawyer if my child is injured?

The injury or death of an infant or child is what parents fear the most. Accidents do happen and sometimes no one else is at fault. However, in cases where the accident is as a result of negligence, carelessness or intentional act of another person, the child has the right to sue for damages and be represented by informed experienced legal counsel.

In some cases, the injuries sustained by a child is because of a lack of supervision or inadequate safety measures being put in place. Our lawyers have helped hundreds of children pursue their rights. When a child is seriously injured through no fault of their own, that child has the right to seek compensation from all persons who might have caused or contributed to the accident.

There are many situations where children can suffer injuries. Examples of cases we have handled are as follows:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Clergy sexual abuse
  • Foster care neglect
  • School bullying accidents leading to injuries
  • Defective toy or product accidents
  • Drowning accidents
  • Slip and Fall accidents
  • Cuts and bruising accidents
  • Poisoning accidents
  • Animal Bites and Attacks
  • Burn accidents
  • Motor vehicle Accidents
  • School trip incidents
  • Faulty equipment accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Day care accidents
  • Playground accidents
  • Wrongful death accidents
  • Shopping mall accidents
  • Grocery store accidents
  • Escalator accidents
  • Bicycle accidents

 

Child Injury Cases are Complex

Representing children involves complex legal procedures and there are certain specific requirements and restrictions in place when representing a child in a court action or when advancing a claim for compensation involving a child. Children must be represented by a litigation guardian appointed by the Court, which is usually a parent. Any settlements obtained relating to the child must be approved by a Judge. Settlement monies obtained for the child must be held in trust by the court (accountant of the court) until the child reaches the age 18, unless the litigation guardian applies for release of some or all of the settlement funds to assist the child. For example, the need to pay for expensive medical or rehabilitation expenses or school expenses.

Our lawyers have experience dealing with all of the special and intricate aspects of representing children in and out of court.

Our lawyers are trained to obtain the best possible settlement for our injured clients and are mindful of the special needs of our child clients. Our lawyers work with medical and financial experts to assess and determine what the child’s needs are currently and moving into the future. Future expenses are considered and all needs of the child during their lifetime are considered. The true long term impact of injuries suffered by a child often requires expert investigation, assessment and opinion.

It is difficult to deal with knowing your child was injured because someone else was negligent, reckless or careless. We understand that parents go to great lengths to protect their children from all types of harm. We understand that despite taking every precaution, your child might have nevertheless suffered an injury because of the negligence, carelessness or recklessness of someone else.

 

You Need More than Empathy – You Need an Experienced Ottawa Child Injury Lawyer

If your child has suffered an injury as a result of an accident, your family needs more than empathy, your family needs understanding, compassion, well informed experienced legal advice and representation in order to obtain compensation and financial security. Our lawyers provide your family with the necessary legal advice to secure justice for your injured child.

Our experienced legal advocates will explore every possible avenue of compensation for you and your child. We will negotiate with all involved lawyers, adjusters, wrongdoers, insurers and since litigation and trials are stressful, we will take your child’s case to trial only if absolutely necessary. Our lawyers will work hard to hold those responsible for your child’s injuries accountable and seek justice for your child.

Our Ottawa child injury lawyers are committed to representing your child. Our lawyers are sensitive to the delicate impact on a child who could be involved in the legal process and work closely with the parents to ensure the impact is minimized.

If your child has sustained an injury in an accident and you want compassionate experienced child injury lawyers on our side, contact us for a free consultation at 613-315-4878.

We will assist and support you at every stage of the claims process. We promise to keep the interests of your child at the forefront of everything we do to assist your child and your family.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa Child Injury Lawyer
613-315-4878

My child was injured in an accident. Can I pursue a claim for my child?2018-10-31T13:06:59-04:00

My child was injured in an accident. Can I pursue a claim for my child?

Every year children are injured in accidents. When someone else’s carelessness or negligence has caused your child to suffer an injury, you have the right to pursue compensation for your child. As a parent, you would act as your child’s agent by being appointed a “litigation guardian” and you would make decisions involving your child’s claim. In Ontario, the Rules of Civil Procedure allow parents to be appointed litigation guardians so their children may pursue their claims. As the litigation guardian and parent, you can pursue a personal injury claim for compensation for your child.

Other than there being a litigation guardian, the process to advance a child’s claim is the same as for an adult. The main differences are that the child is represented by a litigation guardian (usually a parent), any settlement reached must be approved by a Justice of the Superior Court of Justice and the settlement funds are held in trust by the Court until the child turns 18, unless an order is obtained releasing the funds to a parent, for instance to pay for the child’s medical needs.

Representing a child who is injured does require an experienced injury lawyer who knows the complexities of injuries suffered by children. Often, the injuries are psychological or emotional and there can be long lasting consequences for the child. This element should be fully investigated by the right medical experts for a fair assessment of possible damaged to be completed. In some cases, economists and actuaries must be hired to calculate long term losses of income and future care costs.

Our lawyers are qualified child injury lawyers and can meet with you free of charge to discuss your child’s case. All of your answers can be answered in the meeting. At the end of the meeting you can decide what is best for your child. Our lawyers take on child injury cases on contingency which means that no fees are charged until and unless there is a settlement.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa Child Injury Lawyer
613-315-4878

How Long Does It Take To Get A Settlement Cheque After A Settlement is Reached?2018-10-30T17:37:14-04:00

How Long Does It Take To Get A Settlement Cheque After A Settlement is Reached?

Most personal injury cases are settled. In most cases, it will be an insurance company paying the settlement as most injury cases involve a situation where there is a liability insurance policy which covers the claim.

Once you have settled your personal injury case, you will be likely asked to sign a form called a “release” (sometimes called a “full and final release”) promising among other things never to sue over the accident again and acknowledging that the settlement is full and final. This is normal.

If you commenced legal action, you will be likely asked to consent to a court order dismissing your court action. This is normal.

There will be a waiting period after settlement is reached as the insurance adjuster will need to report to their superiors and requisition the settlement cheque. The insurance adjuster will then send the settlement cheque to their lawyer and their lawyer will send your lawyer the settlement cheque with a release for you to sign and likely a draft order and consent form dismissing your court action if one has been commenced.

Once your lawyer has received the settlement cheque, the cheque will be deposited into your lawyer’s trust account and usually, seven days are needed for the insurance cheque to clear. Your lawyer can then prepare his or her account and release the settlement funds to you after deducting their legal fees, disbursements and HST. At that time, your lawyer will provide you with your documents, a reporting letter, the account for legal services rendered and your settlement cheque.

Although all cases are different, the period of time it takes for all of the above to occur is about 30-45 days from the date the settlement is reached.

Here are some things to think about when settlement is reached:

  • Your lawyer will need to review the “release” the insurer wants you to sign. Sometimes there may be a dispute over the wording of the release and it may take some time for the lawyers to work out an agreement on what should be contained in the release. Insurers may want you to keep the settlement confidential and if there are confidentiality provisions contained in the release, your lawyer will need to explain to you what this means. When you are given a copy of the draft release, you should read it very carefully and ask your lawyer questions about anything you do not understand. Releases are final and they are legally binding contracts.
  • If an order dismissing your court action is required, documents must be prepared and submitted to the Court. There may be a short delay in the Court processing the documents.
  • Most banks require funds to be held for at least seven business days to make sure the cheque deposited has cleared and is not a fraudulent cheque. This is unfortunately a fact of banking and while the delay is frustrating, it is a necessary step in the process.
  • When you deposit your cheque, you can expect that your bank will not allow you to access the funds for at least seven business days as well. You can ask your lawyer to certify the cheque issued to you and this will reduce the waiting time for you to have access to your funds. There is usually a banking charge (ranging from $10-$25) for certifying cheques.

Our lawyers do all they can to make the final steps of your case easy and efficient. While there are necessary steps involved after a settlement is reached, you eventually receive compensation and can feel confident that your case was resolved amicably and no further litigation is needed.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa Accident Lawyer
613-315-4878

What Does a Free Consultation With a Lawyer Mean?2018-10-30T17:13:04-04:00

What Does a Free Consultation With a Lawyer Mean?

In general, a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer means the following:

  • The lawyer will meet with you at his or her office and sometimes at your home or hospital if you are unable to travel.
  • The lawyer will answer your questions.
  • The lawyer will obtain important information about the facts of your accident and also ask several background information questions.
  • The lawyer will provide you with information about the legal process involved in pursuing any claims you might have.
  • The lawyer will explain what law applies to your case.
  • The lawyer will provide you with information about how your case may be settled. Many personal injury claims resolve without going to court.
  • If your case is not settled, the lawyer will explain what “litigation” is and the various steps involved in the litigation process.
  • The meeting will result in you obtaining valuable information about your options after being injured in an accident.
  • The lawyer will explain how hiring a personal injury lawyer, you increase your chances of recovering compensation and improve your chances of succeeding in your claim.
  • If you have no realistic chances of winning your case, your lawyer will explain why.
  • At the end of the meeting, you will be given an option to retain the lawyer. Our lawyers will be up front with you about how legal fees are charged.
  • If you chose to retain the lawyer, you will be asked to sign a contingency fee retainer agreement.
  • The agreement will be explained to you prior to signing it and you can ask as many questions as you like about the agreement.
  • You can decide not to retain the lawyer, retain the lawyer or take some time to review the contingency fee retainer at home and then make a decision.

Our lawyers provide hundreds of free consultations each year and in the vast majority of cases, our lawyers are retained at the end of the meeting. Our Ottawa injury lawyers have represented thousands of injury victims all over Ontario and take the initial consultation meeting very seriously. It is an opportunity to gain a good understanding of your situation, provide you with valuable legal advice and answer common questions people have after an accident.

If you retain one of our lawyers, our legal team will immediately start the comprehensive evaluation of your claim and determine the best course of action moving forward. The plan of action will be explained to you and you will be given an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. You will be asked to provide information and sign documents such as directions allowing us to speak with your doctors and obtain important documents like income tax returns, witness statements and medical records.

At each step of the process, your lawyer will explain what is happening with your claim. You are free to contact the lawyer regularly to get updates about your file.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa Accident Lawyer
613-315-4878

Optional and Standard Car Insurance in Ontario – Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) – Coverage that Matters!2018-10-30T13:34:24-04:00

Optional and Standard Car Insurance in Ontario – Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) – Coverage that Matters!

Motor vehicle accidents often cause significant and catastrophic injuries. It is only when you have a car accident in Ontario that you think about insurance coverage. Like most people in Ontario, you likely purchased standard insurance coverage and have basic accident benefits available to you.

No fault benefits are called accident benefits in Ontario. In Ontario, insureds have the right to buy additional accident benefits insurance (called optional coverages) and that matters when you have been seriously injured in a car accident and need rehabilitation and medical care. Every car insurance policy issued in Ontario must have accident benefits. That is the law and it is mandatory to have car insurance in Ontario. Those accident benefits cover things like income replacement, medical treatment, rehabilitation and other expenses. Expenses quickly add up and not having sufficient insurance can be devastating to a family who is left with having to pay for needed medical care and insufficient income replacement to pay usual living expenses.

Like most people, you hope you never have to claim insurance coverage. However, car accidents happen regularly and if you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident, you will benefit greatly from accident benefits and will be thankful if additional optional coverages were purchased. If injured in a tragic car accident, you are entitled to claim accident benefits coverage from your own insurer. The injuries sustained in car accidents can be catastrophic and require tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical and rehabilitation costs. In many cases, car accident victims are left with life-long debilitating disabilities, needing medical care for life.

If you sustained a serious injury, your benefits may not be adequate to pay for all of your needed medical and rehabilitation expenses. Buying optional benefits at a relatively low cost could provide much more security to you and your family.

Mandatory Coverage in Ontario

To legally drive a vehicle in Ontario, your auto insurance policy must include: Third Party Liability; Accident Benefits coverage; Uninsured Automobile coverage; and Direct Compensation-Property Damage coverage.

Where to claim Accident Benefits?

If injured in a car accident as a driver, passenger or even as a pedestrian or cyclist, you should first claim accident benefits through your own motor vehicle insurance and if you don’t have motor vehicle insurance, you may claim accident benefits from the insurance company of the driver of the other motor vehicle involved in the accident. If that other driver does not have insurance as well, you could apply for benefits through the Ontario government’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund -MVACF (where no person involved in the accident has car insurance).

So, what is covered in standard accident benefits, where no optional coverage has been purchased?

The SABS sets out the maximum amount of coverage available as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The SABS separate injuries into categories as being minor, non-catastrophic and catastrophic. Coverage depends on where your injuries fall within each definition of category of injury. Benefits available are typically as follows: Medical & Rehabilitation, Non-Earner Benefits, Income Replacement, Housekeeping & Home Maintenance, Attendant Care, Caregiver and cost of Medical Examinations.

Why is it important to purchase optional accident benefits coverage?

In case of serious injuries, the basic coverage can quickly be used up, leaving you with huge medical bills. Not all medical treatments in Ontario are covered by OHIP and buying the minimum income replacement benefits and insufficient medical coverage may leave you unable to pay your usual bills and living expenses. Life can become difficult and spin out of control.

What are the optional coverages?

In Ontario, insurers must offer you optional coverages.

There are other optional coverages that you could buy, but these are the major ones:

Third Party Liability:

Coverage may be increased to $500,000, $1 Million or $2 Million.

Income Replacement Benefits:

Weekly benefits maybe be increased to $600, $800 or $1,000

Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits:

Non-catastrophic Injuries (examples: sprains, broken bones, whiplash) and Catastrophic Injuries (examples:, loss of limb, quadriplegia or paraplegia, traumatic brain injury):
Non-catastrophic Injuries: May be increased to $130,000 or increase $1,000,000 for all injuries, for a total of $2,000,000 for Catastrophic Injuries and increase combined all injury benefit to $1,000,000 and increase Catastrophic Injuries to $2,000,000.

Caregiver Expenses:

Benefits may be extended to include all injuries.

Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Expenses:

Benefits may be extended to include all injuries.

Death and Funeral Expenses:

Benefits may be increased to $50,000 to your spouse, $20,000 to each of your dependants, and $8,000 for funeral expenses.

Dependant Care Benefits:

Covers care for your dependants if you’re employed and injured in an auto accident up to $75 per week for the first dependant, and $25 per week for each additional dependant.

Indexation:

This optional coverage provides for an annual adjustment of your benefits to account for inflation. Adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index of Canada (CPI).

In our law practice, we regularly come across cases where our clients have sustained serious injuries and the SABS coverages are insufficient to pay for all of the needed expenses associated with the injuries sustained. Buying optional coverage is always recommended.

Added Security

As added security, buying disability insurance through a private insurance company is also recommended.

Tort Claims

In many cases, motor vehicle accidents allow the injured to pursue the driver responsible for the car accident. This is called a tort claim. In tort claims, injured parties can claim additional compensation which is not available in accident benefits claims, such as compensation for pain and suffering also called general damages. Other claims such as income loss and medical costs can also be claimed in tort law suits.

To read the SABS, go to our government link on sabs: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/

The content of this article is intended to provide information only and is not legal advice. SABS change frequently and so you really need to consult a lawyer to know what your rights are in respect of car accidents and coverages that may apply to you.

Ottawa Injury Lawyer
Marc N. Quinn
613-315-4878

How do I prove a dog bite case in Ontario?2018-10-30T13:37:47-04:00

How do I prove a dog bite case in Ontario?

Dog bite cases fall under what is called strict liability law. The strict liability rule provides that liability that does not depend on proving actual negligence or intent to harm. While dog bite victims don’t need to prove the dog owner was negligent, the courts will however review the circumstances to determine of the dog bite victim was in part responsible for the incident.

Statutory Authority for Liability

In Ontario, the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (as at October, 2018) sets out the law as it relates to holding dog owners and others responsible for injuries sustained by dog bite or attacks. That Act states as follows:

Civil Liability

Liability of owner

2 (1) The owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal.

Where more than one owner

(2) Where there is more than one owner of a dog, they are jointly and severally liable under this section.

Extent of liability

(3) The liability of the owner does not depend upon knowledge of the propensity of the dog or fault or negligence on the part of the owner, but the court shall reduce the damages awarded in proportion to the degree, if any, to which the fault or negligence of the plaintiff caused or contributed to the damages.

Contribution by person at fault

(4) An owner who is liable to pay damages under this section is entitled to recover contribution and indemnity from any other person in proportion to the degree to which the other person’s fault or negligence caused or contributed to the damages.

The Act in essence provides that a dog bite victim does not need to prove that the dog owner acted negligently or even carelessly. In simple terms, once the victim proves that they were injured by a dog and identifies the dog owner, the owner will be held liable and compensation will be ordered for the injuries sustained by the victim.

If the dog owner is able to establish based on the evidence that the victim did something that contributed to the dog attack incident, under section 2(3) of the Act, the Court can reduce the amount of compensation ordered. This usually involves the victim having provoked the dog attack in some way (overly exciting the dog, taking food away from the dog, hitting the dog etc…). Each case is decided based on their own facts.

Who can be held liable in dog attack cases?

Generally speaking, the dog owner will be held liable. In some cases, property owners and landlords can be held liable under the Ontario Occupiers Liability Act. It is rare but it is possible. In other circumstances, the person who was in possession of the dog at the time of the attack or who “harboured” the dog may be held liable. Each case will be assessed based on its own facts.

Can I still obtain compensation if I contributed or caused the dog attack?

In short, generally yes. The amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. For instance, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages and were found 25% at fault, your damages would be reduced to $75,000 (25% reduction).

Can I claim damages if my dog or other pet was injured by a dog?

Yes, compensation can be awarded for injuries sustained to your dog or other pet if attacked and injured by another person’s dog.

Also, dog owners may be held responsible for damage to property caused by their dogs.

The dog owner says they own the dog jointly with someone else, who do I sue?

In such a case, the Act provides that all dog owners are liable and so you would sue all dog owners. They are each liable to pay your damages and the Court will determine to what degree each is responsible. However, you can claim the full amount awarded from any of the dog owners. The dog owners will claim contribution and/or indemnity from each other.

The dog owner was unaware that their dog would attack and there was no prior history of aggression by the dog, can I still get compensation?

Yes. The fact that the dog owner had no prior knowledge that their dog would be aggressive or if there is no history of prior aggression, it is irrelevant because dog owners are strictly liable in dog bite or attack cases. It also does not matter of this was the first time the dog attacked anyone.

Why is it important to hire a lawyer in dog bite or attack cases?

Dog bite liability cases can be complex. It is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after the incident so that important evidence can be obtained and preserved. It is important for your lawyer to obtain witness statements, identify the dog owner and anyone else that may be responsible in the eyes of the law. Your lawyer will quickly obtain police reports, incident reports and a copy of the by-law officer’s file. Your lawyer will quickly mail out notice letters.

Your lawyer will be able to comprehensively assess all the types of damages you may be entitled to receive and work hard to obtain all the documents needed to support your claims, including medical records and expert reports from treating physicians.

Your lawyer can ensure that you meet any important deadlines and limitation periods that may apply to your case.

Your lawyer can also investigate the availability of insurance coverage for your damages.

Your lawyer can guide you on what to do to better your chances of success in your case and what evidence you should gather to support your claims.

If you have been injured in a dog bite or dog attack case in Ottawa or anywhere in Ontario, we can help. Call us for a free consultation, or send us an email with any questions you may have about your situation.

Marc Quinn
Ottawa Dog Bite Lawyer
613-315-4878

How Do I Find The Perfect Ottawa Dog Bite Lawyer to Handle My Dog Attack Case?2018-10-30T13:37:48-04:00

How Do I Find The Right Dog Bite Lawyer to Handle My Dog Attack Case?

The handling of a dog bite or dog attack case requires a certain level of experience that not all lawyers possess. In Ontario, the Dog Owners’ Liability Act is the statutory law that applies to dog bite and attack cases. There are also local municipal by-laws that may impact a dog liability case, but those by-laws do not displace the Dog Owners’ Liability Act which is the primary law in Ontario. If you’ve been injured by a dog bite or dog attack, it is important that the injury lawyer you select has experience dealing with dog bite and attack cases. The provisions of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act have been interpreted by judges and it is important to know about and understand those rulings, called “case law”. The law changes frequently and so knowledge of the new leading cases is important. Our injury lawyers keep well informed about new cases regarding dog bite and attack matters and regularly attend personal injury seminars and conferences.

As a victim of a dog bite or an attack, your likelihood of being fairly compensated often rests in the hands of your injury lawyer who should be able to understand the law of animal attacks – dog bites and also understand the intricacies and complexities of the injuries suffered by dog attack victims. For instance, while physical injuries heal over time, the psychological and emotional impact of the dog attack incident can last a lifetime and in many cases the damages and compensation awarded for emotional and psychological injuries can far exceed the damages one would expect from the physical injuries alone.

Knowing if and what specific type of experts are needed in dog attack and bite cases is an important element. In many cases, experts include surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, future care assessors, lost of income and opportunity experts, actuaries and economists. An experienced dog bite lawyer can navigate through the evidence and provide important and vital advice on which experts to retain and when to retain them.

The cost of experts can sometimes be in the tens of thousands and so it is important to know that your dog bite lawyer can afford to pay for these experts and thus has the financial resources available to process your case through to the end. Hiring experts, completing the investigations, completing examinations and other steps can be expensive and it requires that your dog bite lawyer can afford the cost of the litigation. Your dog bite lawyer’s ability to afford and take a case to trial is important.

In dog bite cases, like most injury cases, an experienced injury lawyer will take many steps to protect your rights and interests including the following:

  1. Meet with you and discuss your options and explain the law.
  2. Gather important information.
  3. Gather vital documents to support your claim.
  4. Interview witnesses as soon as possible and secure witness statements.
  5. Place the dog owner on notice in writing right away.
  6. If the owner is unknown, take steps to identity the dog owner.
  7. Obtain and review your medical records.
  8. Hire needed experts.
  9. Secure other vital evidence.
  10. Take photographs of the injuries.
  11. Identify persons, other than just the dog owner, that may also be liable for the incident.
  12. Solicit and obtain incident reports such as police reports and the entire police file.
  13. If the local municipality was involved, secure their entire file.
  14. Complete case law research to support your claims.
  15. Investigate all applicable heads of damages you may be entitled to.
  16. Make contact with insurance companies.
  17. Establish a good working relationship with the assigned insurance representative or lawyer involved in the case.
  18. Etc…
  19. The outcome of a dog bite case is often directly related to the level of experience of your dog bite lawyer. When interviewing a dog bite lawyer, ask them how many similar cases they have handled and what steps they intend to take to increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact one of our dog bite lawyers for a free consultation at 613-315-4878.

For more information on dog bite law in Ontario, read my article by clicking the link here: dog bite law in Ontario.

Marc-Nicholas Quinn
Ottawa Dog Bite Lawyer

Do I need a lawyer to settle a small injury case?2018-10-30T14:05:14-04:00

It is true that you do not always require a lawyer for every injury claim involving a slip and fall or other type of injury case, where the injuries are very minor. However, there is always value in consulting a lawyer. In some cases, if the injury is small and damages are limited, it may be possible to settle an injury case without a lawyer.  We would, however, never recommend finalizing any settlement without at least consulting a lawyer. While a smaller personal injury case may generally not have significantly impacts on a person’s quality of life, small injuries can sometimes develop into long term problems – only the appropriate health care professional can make the adequate assessment. A personal injury lawyer can investigate the issues relating to consequences of any injury, even smaller ones, with the assistance of medical experts.

If you have determined that you want to settle your small injury case yourself and do not want to consult a lawyer, these are things to keep in mind before making that decision on a final basis:

  • While an experienced injury lawyer may not take on a truly very small injury cases, you may be able, for a small fee, to have a lawyer review the terms of settlement to see if the settlement is at least fair.
  • Adjusters working for insurance companies are not there to increase your compensation, they work for insurers and their job is to limit the amount the insurer will pay to compensate victims of injuries.
  • There are some considerations you should be aware of before accepting an offer from an insurance company, such as the finality of the settlement, regardless of any changes in your medical condition in the future.
  • When reaching a settlement, if you require future care, you will not be able to make another claim since you will be asked by the insurance company to sign a full and final release.  Therefore, you need to know the full nature and extent of your injuries and whether any further medical treatment will be necessary before agreeing to a settlement.
  • The purpose of a full and final release is to forever bar any further payment, even should your medical condition become worse or be far more serious than originally believed.
  • Therefore, do not settle unless you are absolutely certain you will not require any further medical care and you have fully healed from your injuries.
  • You should consider whether the amount of money you agreed to settle your injury case is enough to properly compensate you for all your damages such as physical and emotional pain, suffering, scarring, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of the enjoyment of life, loss of income and out of pocket expenses, etc..
Types of personal injury2018-10-30T13:58:49-04:00

At Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers, we deal with personal injury everyday.  We have the skills and knowledge needed to maximize your recovery.

In Ontario, there are many types of personal injury which may result in a compensable claim in which an injured person can obtain fair and reasonable compensation.

Here are a few different types of personal injury in which persons can obtain compensation:

Bodily Injury 
Bodily injuries are the most common injuries from which persons claim compensation. This type of injury allows a person who has suffered injuries to his or her brain, spine, skeletal system, organs, body or even suffered from a disease as a result of someone else’s negligent behaviour.

Economic Injury
There are certain acts and omissions which can lead to someone suffering only economic damages such as loss of income. However, economic injuries usually form part and are a result of someone suffering a bodily injury as well. In some cases, the person doesn’t actually suffer physical injury. For instance, if someone’s negligence leads to another’s real property being worthless (i.e. trees cut down in error), this situation would be considered an economic injury.

Injury to Reputation 
This is the area of personal injury law where cases such as slander and libel claims would be classified. Some consider these economic injury cases. In libel and slander cases, generally, the person who has suffered the loss most show actual harm to his or her reputation and that this harm has led to actual physical or economic loss in order for a claim to be successful.

Intentional Injury
In these cases, negligence is really not the substance or foundation of the claim. Rather, the person who is injured advances a claim based on someone’s intentional act such as assault and battery or the person was grossly negligent (i.e. driving very carelessly) such that intent could be assumed. Examples of claims under this classification would be assault and battery. Often, the act can be classified as both an intentional act and negligent act.

Injury Claims and Limitation Periods
There are several different types of personal injury cases. The above is only a small summary of the types of injury cases we handle. In the end, if you’ve suffered any type of injury or damages as a result of an act or a failure to act by someone else, you need to contact us immediately to protect your rights and interests.

Your first consultation is free of charge. There are limitation periods in Ontario which provide that you only have a specified amount of time to commence a claim before the law prevents you from doing so. Delay on your part can result in your claim being statute barred.

Types of compensation and damages2018-10-30T13:58:51-04:00

Our Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers investigate all possible types of damages to obtain fair compensation for our clients.

Injured Persons are entitled to many types of compensation and damages. This is a summary of what is available.

These damages are classified as non-monetary losses:

Pain and Suffering Compensation
You can receive compensation for the physical pain you are suffering and will suffer in the future, and for extreme psychological stress.

Loss of a Body Part 
If a person loses a body part, they can receive money for the physical loss and also for the psychological impact of having a missing body part.

Reduced Life Expectancy 
If an injured person can prove that their life expectancy is reduced because of the accident, he or she can be compensated for the lost years of life.

These damages are classified as monetary or economic losses:

Loss of Earnings or Income
In the event you suffer a loss of wages or other income (such as business or professional income or opportunity) because of an injury, your losses from the time of the accident projected for the rest of your life, can be recovered. This is usually calculated on the basis of past and future loss of income.

Cost of Medical Care and Rehabilitation
An injured person is entitled to recover the costs of all medical care or rehabilitation costs and expenses because of your injury sustained.

Costs of Living with a Disability 
Someone who has suffered an injury that requires an adjustment to lifestyle, such as renovating a home to accommodate a wheelchair for example, the cost associated with this adjustment is compensable. Home care or extensive care assistance is also another good example.

Out of Pocket Expenses
Any out of pocket expenses such as travel costs, medication costs and health care product costs are also compensable.

The insurance adjuster is asking me for information and wants to meet, why?2018-10-30T13:54:05-04:00

Think meeting the insurance adjuster wihout a lawyer is a good idea?  Think again.  Why do they want to meet?

It is the insurance adjuster’s job to find ways to reduce the value of your case or get rid of it entirely. The more documents they have the more chances they will find something to hang their hat on in order to deny or reduce your claim.

Insurance adjusters much prefer dealing with injured persons who don’t have a lawyer. Why do you think they call you the same or day after you are injured, sometimes only a few hours after the accident? They want to get to you before you know your rights and interests and definately BEFORE you speak to a lawyer. They want to control the file and specifically, control the evidence. They are not your lawyer and have minimal legal duty to you. They give you a card stating that they represent the opposing party’s insurer, not you! Their job is not to give you legal advice, but to investigate the accident. Adjusters know how to manipulate you they will not necessarily manipulate the evidence, but they can take a completely different interpretation of the, against your favour. The moment you retain an experienced personal injury lawyer, that manipulation ends.

Don’t believe us? Try this. When the adjuster calls to meet with you and obtain a written statement and authorization to obtain information from your doctors and your employer, ask them if you can meet with the owner of the property where you fell or the driver that hit you so you can ask them questions and obtain a written statement. Ask the if the meeting can be held completely on a “without prejudice” basis, meaning whatever you discuss and give them  by way of documents can never be held against you.  The answer may be – are you crazy? No way. It’s a one way street.

The less an adjuster pays on a claim, the better their worth to their insurer.  Their value increases with less pay-outs.  When you think about it, in a commercial – profit goal world, this makes perfect sense.  Adjusters can hardly be blamed for this.  It is, after all, their job.

Insurers make millions and millions of dollars in profit every year. They are corporations who’s primary focus is profit. The longer you don’t know your rights and interests, the more serious damage can be done to your claim – the more interaction with an adjuster, without a lawyer, the worse your case can become.

Our experience is that, if you have held meetings with and have had discussions with the insurance adjuster and have provided them with documents and information, without the assistance of a lawyer,  by the time the insurance adjuster is willing to make an offer to settle your claim, they offer pennies on the dollar.  Alternatively, the situation could be even worse, no offer at all.

Why? You dug your own grave – provided the insurer with a written statement or recorded statement – provided the insurer with access to all your records, medical, financial or otherwise – you took no steps to obtain and preserve your evidence – you took no steps to obtain your own witness statements – you took no steps to obtain a lawyer to know your rights, interests and risks – and so on… Your case has been destroyed. By the time an offer is made, if one is even made, the insurance adjuster has ample documents, information and reasons to justify making no offer or making a ridiculously low offer.  Do yourself a favour.  Meet with one of our lawyers, free of charge and in complete confidence.

Should I tell the truth – Always?2018-10-30T14:05:36-04:00

Absolutely – Always! The truth will always set you free.

If you don’t lie, you can rest easy. Lawyers, judges, adjusters etc… are all trained in cross-examination and ability to judge character and credibility. It is a rare case that a liar is not found out, through skillful cross-examination.

10 things an insurance company may not tell you2018-10-30T13:54:10-04:00

1. If you are injured in any accident, you have the right to sue and seek compensation.

2. If you intend to sue, there are limitation periods that can prevent you from suing and you must therefore start a court action within the set time limits, otherwise, you will forever lose your right to sue and seek compensation.

3. You should consult a lawyer as soon as possible after you are injured. Many personal injury, accident and disability law lawyers offer free consultations and will take on cases on a No Fee Until You Win basis. At the initial meeting, the injury lawyer will explain all of your rights and interests, assess your case, and describe your options relating to your claim.

4. Insurance adjusters, while regulated with standards of practice, work for an insurance company and their job is to investigate claims and obtain evidence that will assist the insurance company to limit or deny claims. Only your personal injury, accident and disability law lawyer will work to protect your rights and work to maximize your recovery. Although insurance companies are government regulated, they are in the end private businesses and their focus is not on paying you compensation.

5. Statements given to insurance adjusters and companies can and will be used against you in a Court action.

6. You can obtain witness statements and talk to all witnesses. You have just as much right as insurance companies to interview witnesses and obtain witness statements.

7. If you are partly at fault for the accident, you can still claim and receive compensation. The amount of compensation may be reduced, but compensation will nonetheless be paid.

8. If you are totally at fault for the accident, you can still obtain some compensation. For instance, in car accidents, regardless of fault you can apply for and receive accident benefits to pay for medical and rehabilitation expenses and receive some lost earnings. Also, many private extended health care plans will pay benefits regardless of fault. Also, disability policies often apply and pay benefits regardless of fault.

9. You do not need to go to Court to receive compensation, most cases settle out of Court.

10. Lawyers charge too much and require down payments. Most personal injury lawyers do not charge for the initial consultation and assessment of your accident case. Also, most personal injury lawyers will take on cases on a No Fee Until You Win basis, meaning that they charge nothing until you win. They receive a percentage of the settlement instead, at the end of the case.

To learn more about how a personal injury lawyer, accident lawyer and disability law lawyer can assist you, contact us at 613-315-4878 or 613-315-HURT. Marc-Nicholas Quinn, Ottawa personal injury lawyer, mediator and law instructor. One phone call can change everything!

How to lose your case – 10 things not to do!2018-10-30T13:54:12-04:00
  1. Take no time to document what happened at the accident, as soon as you are able.
  2. Take no time to take notes during your recovery so that you remember how much you suffered.
  3. Don’t listen to your treating physicians, especially regarding treatment needed.
  4. Fail to seek needed medical treatment at all.
  5. Meet with the insurance adjuster and sign a statement or agree to a settlement without obtaining legal advice.
  6. Retain a lawyer who does not focus on personal injury cases.
  7. Lie to your lawyer.
  8. Mislead, be dishonest or exaggerate your injuries or pre-existing injuries or how the injuries affect your life.
  9. Don’t cooperate with your lawyer.
  10. Don’t provide the documents your lawyer requests.
What is Spoliation of Evidence in Injury Cases?2018-10-30T13:58:55-04:00

What if spoliation? Spoliation in general terms is the intentional destruction of relevant evidence. If a court finds that a party intentionally (and sometimes unintentionally) destroyed relevant evidence, the opposing party be entitled to certain remedies.

Spoliation is a rule of evidence. Courts are sometimes mandated to deal with the issue of spoliation of evidence at trial. The types of evidence that are sometimes destroyed include physical evidence, electronic evidence, video evidence or other types of evidence that may be relevant to an issue in the case. The Supreme Court of Canada has dealt with the common-law principle of spoliation of evidence and has said that the destruction of evidence carries with it a rebuttable presumption that the evidence destroyed would have been unfavorable to the party who destroyed it. This presumption can be rebutted by evidence that spoliator did not intend by destroying the evidence to affect the rights of any party in the litigation.

The law in respect of spoliation was summarize by the Alberta Court of Appeal as follows:

Spoliation refers to the intentional destruction of relevant evidence when litigation is existing or pending.

The principal remedy for spoliation is the imposition of a rebuttable presumption of fact that the lost or destroyed evidence would not assist the spoliator.

The presumption can be rebutted by evidence showing the spoliator did not intend by destroying the evidence to affect the litigation.

Other possible remedies include things like the exclusion of expert reports and denial of costs.

In general, the issue of spoliation and whether or not it has occurred is left to the trial judge who can consider all of the evidence before making a ruling on the issue.

Generally, the criteria that must be met for the court to draw an adverse inference from the destruction of evidence is as follows: that there be an intentional destruction of relevant evidence, that the destruction occurred when litigation was existing or pending, and it is reasonable to draw the inference that the evidence was destroyed to influence the outcome of the litigation.

If you have been injured as a result of the negligence of another person and there has been destruction of relevant evidence that may have assisted you in proving your case, the role of evidence of spoliation can assist you. Contact one of our lawyers for free consultation in relation to your injury. Our lawyers work on a no fee until you win basis.

Can a parent be held liable for the acts of their children?2018-10-31T13:07:01-04:00

Parents must take reasonable steps to properly supervise their children. Failing to do so could result in the parents being liable for the results of wrongful or negligent acts of their children.

For instance, if a child bullies another causing harm to another person, parents could be held liable for the result of the bullying if they did not take reasonable steps to supervise their child. In many cases, insurance will not cover the claim made against the child who is the bully and his/her parents,

Generally, a parent will not be held vicariously liable for the acts of their children simply because there is a parent – child relationship. Vicarious liability is a tort doctrine that imposes responsibility upon one person for the failure of another, with whom the person has a special relationship such as parents and children or employers and employees.

In Ontario, parents can be held liable for the acts of their children through the usual principles of negligence law. In such a case, a parent could be held legally responsible for damage or injury caused by their child if the parent failed to supervise or instruct their child and that failure caused or contributed to the injury or damage allege to have been caused by their child.

As an example, imagine a child uses a bow and arrow owned by their parent and injures another child. The parent could be held liable for failing to properly instruct their child not to use the bow and arrow that was meant to be used by adults or children under supervision in hunting.

As another example, imagine a child bullies another child and the parent is aware that the bullying is occurring. The child being bullied becomes depressed and is unable to attend school and requires treatment for the effects of the bullying. The parent could, under the laws of negligence, be liable for the acts of their child by virtue of the fact that they were aware their child was bullying and took no reasonable steps to prevent it from happening, such as taking disciplinary steps against their child, educating their child, supervising their child’s activities etc…

So, if you are a parent, you have a duty to take reasonable steps to supervise your children’s behaviours. Otherwise, you may be held liable for any injury or damage caused by your child and your insurance policy may not cover the damages claimed against you and your child.

If you have been involved in an incident involving liability of children or parents, we can provide you with a free consultation. Call us at 613-315-4878.

Ottawa child and parent liability lawyers.

What type of car accident cases do you handle? – All Types.2018-10-30T14:05:37-04:00

Hiring the wrong accident lawyer can cost you tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation!

The lawyers of Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP have extensive experience handling cases for individuals who have suffered personal injury as a result of car accidents. We handle all types of car accident cases and all types of motorized vehicle accident cases. Motor vehicle law is without a doubt the most complex area of personal injury law. There are countless substantive and procedural pitfalls. Inexperienced lawyers can make mistakes which can cost their clients tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation.

Most of our clients come to us referred by other lawyers or our former clients.

There are many different types of car accidents. There are single vehicle collisions that only involve one car or another vehicle. There are multi-vehicle accidents which involve two or more vehicles.

Our Ottawa law firm handles virtually any type of accident or collision involving a motor vehicle, including collisions with other cars, objects, pedestrians or cyclists.

Some common car accident cases we handle include the following:

  • Rear-end accidents
  • Head-on collisions and accidents
  • Intersection accidents
  • Parking lot accidents
  • Side-impact accidents
  • T-bone accidents
  • Rollover accidents
  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Accidents involving distracted drivers
  • Car-truck accidents
  • Car-bicycle accidents
  • Car-motorcycle accidents
  • Car-pedestrian accidents
  • Car-bus accidents
  • Minor accidents
  • Fender bender accidents
  • Freeway or highway accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Taxi accidents
  • Accidents involving auto product liability
  • Etc…

Our lawyers have significant experience handling complex personal injury and wrongful death cases, including complex car accident cases. Our firm has the experience, the knowledge and the resources to best handle any car accident case resulting in personal injury or wrongful death.

Initial consultations with our law firm are always free, and our cases are handled on a no fee until we win your case basis (called contingent fee basis). Please call us at 613-315-4878 or 613-563-1131

Choosing the right personal injury lawyer who has experience with these cases is vital to successfully obtaining compensation. Personal injury is our specialty, which is all we do, every day. We are considered one of the best personal injury Boutique law firms in Ontario.

Ottawa Car Accident Injury Lawyers of Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP (Marc N. Quinn). There is no fee until we recover money for you.

What types of motor vehicle accident claims can a person in Ontario advance?2018-10-30T13:34:26-04:00

In Ontario, car accident victims can receive compensation from two main sources, claims for accident benefits and tort claims.

Accident Benefits

Car accident injury victims (including passengers, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists) can claim accident benefits from their own motor vehicle insurer under their own motor vehicle insurance policy. With Ontario’s no fault auto insurance system, accident benefits are available to victims regardless of who is at fault in a car accident. The benefits include medical and rehabilitation expenses, compensation for income loss and care services. If you have no insurance, you can claim the benefits from the at fault party’s insurer.

Accident benefits are available even in cases where victims are injured by under-insured, uninsured or by unidentified drivers.

Tort Claims – The Legal Threshold

In addition to accident benefits, car accident victims can claim compensation in what is known as a Tort claim, meaning a claim against the at fault party. Injury victims can claim compensation from the at fault party or parties on the basis of negligence. A tort claim can provide compensation for additional income losses not covered by accident benefits, such as, medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, out of pocket expenses, financial losses, pain and suffering damages and more.

While every person who is injured in a car accident in Ontario has an accident benefits claim, not every accident victim will have a tort claim. The person advancing the tort claim has the onus of proving that the at fault party was negligent and then also that they meet the threshold set out in the Insurance Act that they are seriously and permanently injured.

The car insurance system in Ontario is intended to limit tort actions to more serious claims. The Insurance Act provides that a deductible is applied against awards of general damages for pain and suffering. The amount of this deductible is significant (currently $30,000). The deductible does vary depending on some factors such as the date of the accident and the amount of the award is relevant since if the amount of general damages award exceeds a stated amount (currently $100,000), the deductible does not apply.

The threshold means that the injured person must have met a certain high level of impairment from the injuries sustained in the accident before they can receive damages for pain and suffering. In general terms, the “threshold” requires the injured person to have suffered an injury that results in serious and permanent impairment. The interpretation of the threshold definition in the Insurance Act is constantly evolving as a result of judge made laws and cases coming out of the Ontario courts. The test also changes when the regulations under the Insurance Act are amended from time to time.

If you meet the threshold, you can claim pain and suffering damages and advance a tort claim for other losses such as income loss, medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, health care expenses, house keeping costs, home maintenance expenses and various other out of pocket expenses.

Limitation Periods and Notice Periods

There are strict time lines applicable to anyone who wishes to commence a tort action. Currently (2013), if an injured person intends to advance a tort claim against an at-fault driver, they must start the court action within 2 years of the date of their accident. There are also notice requirements to be met and the limitation period changes if you are suing your own insurance company.

If you have been injured in a car accident, regardless of the type of motor vehicle accident, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer to determine your interests and rights.

We offer free consultations and no fee until you win retainers.

What are statutory accident benefits?2018-10-30T13:34:28-04:00

Motor vehicle accidents, car accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian / car accidents and any other type of motor vehicle accidents – Statutory Accident BenefitsMotor vehicle accidents, car accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian – car accidents and any other type of motor vehicle accidents can have long lasting and devastating financial, social, emotional and psychological consequences for the injured person and their family. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should obtain legal advice from a personal injury lawyer and get to know your legal rights and interests. Your personal injury lawyer should be knowledgeable in motor vehicle law.

What is the difference between statutory accident benefits and a tort claim?

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to apply for Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS) regardless of fault. You are also entitled to claim tort damages, meaning compensation (damages) from the person at fault for the accident. A tort claim is a law suit in which you claim monetary damages as compensation against the persons responsible for your accident and injuries. In order to claim compensation from the negligent person who caused you injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you must meet a legal test. Under the current “no-fault” insurance system in Ontario, in order to successfully sue someone for damages / compensation, you must meet two criteria, known as the “threshold” which means that: You must have sustained a serious and permanent impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function or have sustained a serious and permanent disfigurement and your injuries must exceed the statutorily prescribed deductible which is currently $30,000.00.

We can help you obtain compensation for pain and suffering, lost income, medical expenses, expert expenses and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

What does no fault mean?

No-fault insurance means that if you are injured or your car is damaged in an accident, then you deal with your own insurance company for coverage and indemnification (compensation), regardless of who is at fault in the accident.

What are Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS)?

Statutory accident benefits (which is also referred to as “no fault-benefits”), are statutory benefits provided to persons in Ontario injured by the use or operation of a motor vehicle. They are governed by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, which is a regulation made under the Insurance Act of Ontario.

Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS) are the no fault component of the Insurance Act when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. These are accident benefits which provide compensation for expenses incurred to treat you, to provide care for you and also to replace your income while recovering from an accident. You are entitled to all of the benefits from your own insurance company. The types of benefits include: income replacement, non earner benefits, disability benefits, caregiver benefits, housekeeping benefits, attendant care benefits, home maintenance benefits, medical benefits, rehabilitation benefits and other expenses related to the injuries you sustained in a car accident.

The accident benefits in Ontario are set by the provincial government by amendments to regulations made under the Insurance Act of Ontario. While you can purchase additional optional accident benefits, for most people, the benefits are what is governed by the standard motor vehicle insurance policy. It is definitely worth reviewing the optional accident benefits because in many cases, the cost is minimal compared to the benefit. The additional optional insurance must be purchased before an accident occurs. The types of increased coverages you can buy include, more caregiver benefits, more income replacement benefits, more medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits and more death and funeral benefits.

Who can claim Statutory Accident Benefits?

Every person who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario is entitled to claim accident benefits. Accident benefits / “no-fault” benefits are claimed from your own motor vehicle insurance company.

What if I do not have motor vehicle insurance?

If you do not have motor vehicle insurance (not insured), you are entitled to claim accident benefits from the motor vehicle insurer of the other person involved in the motor vehicle accident.

If there is no available insurance at all, you may advance a claim for accident benefits to the government’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund which provides accident benefit coverages for uninsured situations.

What are the different types of Statutory Accident Benefits?

Currently, the accident benefits available include:

Income Replacement Benefit: 80% of net weekly income up to maximum of $400.00 per week to a maximum period of 104 weeks. A 7 day deductible applies.

Non-Earner Benefit: The entitlement is $185.00 per week to a maximum period of 104 weeks. A 6 month deductible applies.

Caregiver Benefit: $250.00 per week for 1st child and $50.00 per week for each subsequent child to a maximum period of 104 weeks. Th benefit only applies for children under the age of 16.

Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefit: $100.00 per week to a maximum period of 104 weeks.

Attendant Care Benefits: $3,000.00 per month maximum to a maximum period of 24 months. The monthly amount payable is determined in accordance with a Form 1, as prescribed under the Insurance Act of Ontario.

Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits: $100,000.00 maximum. There is a 10 year maximum period.

Other Benefits: Depending on your circumstances, you may also be entitled to other benefits. For example, benefits to pay for visitors’ expenses, repair or replacement of eyeglasses or clothing damaged in the accident, or case manager services.

If I am injured in an accident, do I automatically qualify for all accident benefits?

You do not automatically qualify for accident benefits. Each benefit has its own qualifying criteria. Examples of needed qualifications needed are as follows:

Income Replacement Benefit: This benefit is for insured persons who were employed for at least 26 out of the last 52 weeks prior to the motor vehicle accident and who, as a result of the accident, suffer a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks of their employment.

Non-Earner Benefit: This benefit is for insured persons who were not employed at the time of the motor vehicle accident and who suffer a complete inability to carry on a normal life as a result of the motor vehicle accident.

Caregiver Benefit: This benefit is for insured persons who are the primary caregiver of a child or children under 16 years of age and who, as a result of the motor vehicle accident, suffer a substantial inability to engage in the care giving activities in which they were engaged in at the time of the accident.

Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefit: This benefit is for insured persons who incur expenses as a result of an accident for housekeeping and home maintenance services and are payable if the insured person suffers a substantial inability to perform the housekeeping and home maintenance services that they normally performed before the accident.

Attendant Care Benefit: This benefit is for insured persons who incur expenses as a result of an accident for services provided by an aide or attendant.

Medical and Rehabilitation Benefit: This benefit is for insured persons who require treatment as a result of a motor vehicle accident such as physiotherapy, chiropractic services, etc.

Motor vehicle law experts

At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, we can handle your accident benefits claims and deal directly with your insurance company, help complete the many forms required and guide you through the maze of procedures, forms and details needed to obtain the benefits you are entitled to receive.

As soon as possible following an accident, you should consult a lawyer who will fight for your rights. Do not rely on the insurance company or adjusters to assist you. Their job is to benefit the insurance company, not you. Only your personal injury lawyer will look out solely for your rights and interests.

How do I pursue a claim against an unidentified or underinsured motor vehicle driver?2018-10-30T13:34:28-04:00

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario and the at-fault party is not insured, you can still receive compensation.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario and the at-fault party is under or insufficiently insured, you can still receive compensation.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario and you cannot identify the at-fault party, you can still receive compensation.

Under Ontario law, where the at-fault party is not insured, under-insured or un-identified, you can still seek compensation. In some cases, the compensation will be paid by your own motor vehicle insurer while in other cases, it will be your own motor vehicle insurer and the at fault driver’s motor vehicle insurer (under insured cases) both contrinuting; while in other cases your compensation will come from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.

According to their web site, the MVACF provides the following (http://www.fsco.gov.on.ca):

The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) is considered to be the “payer of last resort” as it provides compensation to people injured in automobile accidents when no automobile insurance exists to respond to the claim.

The major functions of MVACF are:

  • to provide statutory accident benefits directly to persons involved in an automobile accident, who have no recourse to automobile insurance;
  • to provide compensation for personal injury or property damage to victims involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured or unidentified driver or a stolen vehicle when no liability insurance exists; and
  • to recover from the owners and drivers of uninsured vehicles monies paid out on their behalf, where legally permissible.

If you are not sure about your options and would like a free consultation, contact one of our experienced car accident lawyers at 613-315-4878. Free consultations and no fees charged unless you win.

Do I need to file a police report to make a claim with my insurance company?2018-10-30T13:59:03-04:00

While you do not require a police report to file a claim with your insurer or start a personal injury claim, a police report is usually very useful and provides vital information that can assist you pursue remedies for your injuries. For instance, it will likely provide the name and address of the other driver and owner of the vehicle that collided with you or your vehicle in an accident, their insurance particulars and the name of the investigating police officer.

Your insurer will not require a police report but will ask for one if one has been prepared. Our recommendation is to always contact the police for any accident and always obtain a police report. If someone is hurt in the accident, if the accident is serious, if there is any damage to any vehicle or if there is suspicion of wrongdoing such as drunk driving, racing or criminal act of any kind (i.e. dangerous driving), you should call the police. If you do not call the police, you should report the incident to a local police accident centre and obtain a case number. Even if you do not report the accident to police, you should report it to your insurer. Your insurer may want you to report it to the police for technical and legal reasons. Always obtain the name of the other driver and obtain his/her insurance information regardless of police involvement. Your insurer will ask for this information.

Is interest paid on litigation loans recoverable from the Defendant?2018-10-30T13:59:04-04:00

A recent New Brunswick Court of Appeal decision allows an injured person to claim interest on a litigation loan to be recovered as a disbursement in the court action. In Leblanc v. Doucet 2012 NBCA 88, a plaintiff was seriously injured when he lost control of his motorcycle due to another vehicle crossing the center line. The injured person was not able to finance his lawsuit claiming compensation as a result of his injuries. Accordingly, he approached a litigation lender who loaned him more than $26,000 to finance his court action. The loan incurred interest exceeding $12,000. The injured plaintiff sought to recover the interest from the defendant.

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal held that interest could be recoverable as a disbursement item in a court action. In reaching this conclusion, the Chief Justice, writing for a unanimous panel wrote: “the appellant, Francis Leblanc, lacked the means to finance his action in damages against the respondents. His impecuniosity compelled him to take out loans from an independent third party to cover litigation expenses, all for the purpose of securing access to justice. While there is no provision in the rules of the court that expressly allows interest on such loans as a “disbursement”, sub-para 2(14) of the Tariff “D” of Rule 59 fills in the gap. It suffices that those loans were necessarily incurred to secure the just determination of the proceeding and that the interest rates were “reasonable”.

This case represents a move in the right direction in allowing injured parties to recover reasonable expenses incurred in the normal and usual conduct of a personal injury action.

At our Ottawa accident law firm, our clients occasionally seek funding from lenders to support their court actions. Our lawyers routinely seek to recover the interest paid on the loans from the defendants.

Our law firm focuses on personal injury and accident cases and provides free consultations to victims of accidents. We work on a contingency fee basis which allows any injured person access to justice with our qualified and experienced personal injury lawyers. For a free consultation and to learn more about our no fee until you win retainer agreements, call us at 613-315-4878.

What are future loss of income assessments?2018-10-30T13:59:09-04:00

Let us presume that a victim suffers an injury to her wrist in a slip and fall accident. The resulting fracture is severe and recovery from the injury takes about a year. During the year that it took to recover, the victim was unable to work as effectively in her job. Nevertheless she forced herself to go to work as she was self employed and staying home was not an option. Consequently, her income dropped by 30% The drop in income was calculated by comparing her immediate pre-injury annual income with the immediate post accident annual income. Other evidence demonstrates that she was unable to work as much nor as effectively due to the injury.

In the second year, post accident, income levels returned to normal levels as compared to pre-accident earnings and based on income earned, it appears that the victim was back to “normal”. Does this mean that the ability to recover damages for loss of future income is concluded? The argument against recovery of additional damages is that there is a full recovery from the injury, income levels have returned to normal, and any future losses are speculative in nature.

Why then does the victim still want to pursue future income loss after a full recovery? The answer lies in the fact that full recovery from a severe injury is unlikely. Even if recovery is such that for a period of time there is little or no apparent impact of the injury (i.e. the victim seems fine), the reality of most serious injuries is that there is a risk of reoccurrence of impairment from the injury at a future date. A prime and common example is the occurrence of arthritis some time after the healing of broken bones.

The risk of reoccurrence of impairment from the injury and the loss of income that it may cause is a matter that must be compensated when resolving a claim.

The legal test in determining whether there is a compensable prospective future income loss (in the circumstances described in this post) is whether there is a real and substantial risk that future pecuniary loss will occur. The argument for loss of future income loss will not be successful if the exercise is purely speculative.

Given the legal test of real and substantial risk, it is imperative that in preparing a claim that time is taken to obtain expert evidence establishing what may arise in the future as a result of the injury a well as the likelihood of that happening. To successfully claim future income loss (as discussed herein) it is critically important to consider the elements of the real and substantial risk test and to marshal evidence that squarely addresses the evidentiary burden in proving that the injury will have symptoms that will likely materialize and those symptoms will cause an impairment that causes damage (i.e. income loss). The goal in presenting this evidence is to assist the Court in assessing the severity and likelihood of the risks that may materialize from the injury in the future.

Plant Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki PC Mineault Grodzki PC considers the availability of damages for this kind of loss in each case. Injury victims should not be deprived of these types of damages just because it seems like there has been a full recovery from the injury. For this reason it is important to work closely with an injury victim’s doctor(s) and to seek expert medical opinion with respect to not only what has happened, but indeed what may happen in the future. By: Michael K.E. Thiele.

What are future care costs, needs assessments and life plan assessments?2018-10-30T14:02:34-04:00

Serious illness or personal injury can present a significant financial burden to an individual and/or their families. Future care expenses can often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in the worst of cases, sometimes millions. In order to assess the costs of future care, personal injury lawyers turn to experts who complete thorough assessments of the associated costs an injured person is likely to incur in the future. Future care cost and needs assessments are completed based on published standards of practice for Life Care Planning. The assessments provide assessment and support of the costs of future care for an injured person’s current and projected services, medical treatment, medical needs, equipment, therapies, interventions etc… The assessments are usually completed on the basis of attempting to assist an injured person to maximum independence, prevent functional deterioration and provide replacement services for those tasks the injured person is no longer able to complete.

The reports solicited summarizes a client’s future medical needs and expenses. Future care costs and needs assessments are valuable tools your personal injury lawyer can use during negotiations with opposing counsel, insurers and adjusters in or out of Court, at settlement conferences and in mediation sessions. The report, in addition to other valuable information, synthesises valuable medical and expense information from all data sources, including medical documents and quantifies recommendations to establish a comprehensive life care plan.

Costs of future care assessments involve a detailed assessment of the client’s functioning in areas such as medical needs, rehabilitation requirements, equipment needs, home support needs, renovation needs, attendant care requirements, medical devices needs, adaptation needs, vocational needs and environmental modification requirements.

Cost of Future Care Assessments consist of a comprehensive report based on a full functional assessment. They often involve full in home evaluation and consultation by health care professionals who help determine an appropriate plan of future care with all associated costs that entails. In turn, as personal injury lawyers, our job includes using the reports as one tool to obtain fair and reasonable compensation for our injured clients.

At Plant Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki PC Mineault Grodzki PC, we are committed to providing expert advice on the legal issues relating to our injured client’s matters and when needed, we will retain the services of medical experts, rehabilitation and consulting services experts to assess the needs of the clients who retain us. Our team of legal professionals has extensive experience in planning and providing excellent legal services including the value of consulting other experts needed to maximize our client’s financial recovery and well being.

Future care cost and needs assessments and life planning reports are used for settlement and rehabilitation planning purposes. Our law firm is able to provide a unique and valuable service to our clients by locating and retaining experts who can complete the assessments and reports.
We refer such needed expert assessments to reputable multi disciplinary experts who consist of any combination of the following: social workers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and other medical experts. These experts can provide valuable expert opinions and guidance based on their experience, training and research Our law firm provides reliable access to outside expert health care specialists who provide consultation, assessments, opinions and reports.

To learn more about how Plant Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki PC Mineault Grodzki can assist you contact us by e-mail at mquinn@ottawalawyers.com or call 613-315-4878 / 613-315-HURT. We offer free legal consultations and No Fee Until You Win arrangements where we charge nothing unless you win your case.

What do I need to prove to win my personal injury case?2018-10-30T13:59:12-04:00

In order to succeed in your personal injury claim, you must be able to prove to the court that the person who caused your injuries was negligent. Specifically, you must prove the elements of negligence which are established on the basis of evidence. The elements of negligence are as follows:

Duty of care: A reasonable person is held to a legally recognized duty of care. Such a person must take reasonable steps to prevent harm to another by their actions or inactions.

Breach of duty: The duty of care is breached when the person responsible for the harm has failed to meet the standard of care. The failure is fact specific. Examples are failing to apply salt to ice which causes a slip and fall, failure to install proper lighting or handrail causing a trip and fall, speeding causing a motor vehicle accident, failure to warn of a danger or otherwise failing to keep the injured person or any other conduct or omission that caused the injury.

Causation: Causation is likely the most difficult element to prove. An injured person must prove that the acts or omissions of the person responsible for their injuries was the direct or “proximate” cause of their injuries. Courts often use the “but for” test to make this analysis which means: the injuries would not have been caused “but for” the act or omission of the person who caused them.

Damages: An injured person must prove that as a result of the breach of the duty, they suffered harm and suffered damages, expenses and losses. For example, in special damages like loss of income, this is done by providing documents proving lost wages, business income etc…

If I am partially to blame for an accident, can I still receive compensation?2018-10-30T13:59:12-04:00

Contributory negligence is a common law defense to a claim based on allegations of negligence, applied in the area of tort law. It applies to circumstances where a Plaintiff (person injured) through his/her own negligence in part causes or contributed to the accident and harm suffered. A good example is not wearing proper footwear in winter and falling as a result of unattended accumulated snow or ice on someone else’s property.

If a person is contributory negligent, the amount of the compensation will be decreased proportionate to the level of contribution. However, compensation can nevertheless be paid.

Can I receive compensation for a dog bite or dog attack, whether I suffered a mental, physical OR psychological injury?2018-10-30T13:40:22-04:00

If you have been bitten by a dog or attacked by a dog in Ontario and you have suffered a dog bite mental, psychological or physical injury, you are protected by the law in most cases. In addition to provincial and local prosecution pursuant to local by-laws and the provincial Dog Bite Owners’ Liability Act, you are entitled to seek compensation for injuries sustained in dog bite cases. The remedies available include compensation for pain and suffering, reimbursement of medical expenses, reimbursement for out of pocket expenses, reimbursement for medical treatments such as counselling and reimbursement for loss of income. These remedies can be exercised with the involvement and support of one of our personal injury lawyers.

After being attacked or bitten, it is vital that you identify the dog owner. Identifying the responsible person means that the police and local municipality can prosecute the dog owner. Also, it allows your lawyer to immediately contact the dog owner and place them on notice of your claim so that any policies of insurance that may cover the loss is triggered. Sometimes, identifying the dog owner is an onerous task, especially if the incident occurred in a public place and you do not know the owner. It is important that you speak to witnesses on the scene right away, as dog owners have a habit of disappearing.

Once you have obtained medical attention, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who deals with dog bite and dog attack cases. Special legislation applies to dog bite and dog attack cases and special rules of law apply as well. Your dog bite liability lawyer will want to obtain a description of the dog attack or bite, photographs of the injuries and the name and address of the owner of the dog or dogs in question.

In Ontario, legal responsibility and liability for dog bites and attacks are generally governed by the provisions of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act . As the case law as interpreted the provisions of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, dog owners are held to a high standard and they can be liable on the basis of strict liability, which provides dog owners with very limited defences to claims for compensation by victims.

This standard protects victims of dog bites and attacks. A person who has suffered any type of injury by reason of a dog bite or attack simply has to identify the dog and its owner and prove that the dog caused the injuries and the dog owner must pay compensation.

It is important to note that, in most cases, claims for compensation arising from injuries sustained as a result of dog bites or dog attacks are generally covered by the owner’s home insurance policies or tenant’s insurance policies.

Once notified of the claim, the dog owner merely places their insurer on notice and the insurer appoints an adjuster to resolve the claim or a lawyer to defend the claim. The insurance coverage applies whether the dog bite or dog attack occurred at the dog owner’s property/home or somewhere outside their home.

In terms of prosecution, the dog owner can face many consequences, including having the dog put down, fines, penalties, muzzle orders, jail time and other protective orders.

In simple terms, if you have been injured by a dog bite or dog attack, the owner of the dog must provide compensation, whether or not they have insurance. At Plant Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki PC, LLP, we will make the dog owner pay, one way or the other. Contact us for a free consultation. If we do not settle your case, we will charge you nothing. We only get paid if you receive compensation. Call 613-315-HURT or 613-315-4878. Marc-Nicholas Quinn, Lawyer, Mediator and Author.

What is the impact of pre-existing medical conditions on my personal injury case?2018-10-30T13:59:13-04:00

As personal injury lawyers, we often see clients who are injured in a variety of ways. Often the injuries are entirely new injuries. Other times, the injuries are exacerbation or worsening of pre-existing medical conditions or of prior injuries.
The question arises: Should you disclose the existence of pre-existing medical condition and will disclosing the pre-existing medical condition or conditions hurt your personal injury case?

In short, all medical evidence that is relevant to any of the issues in the personal injury matter must be disclosed. The existence of pre-existing medical conditions or injuries does not necessarily hurt a personal injury case. There is no need to hide any medical evidence because the law protects persons injured, even those with pre-existing medical conditions. In reality, a pre-existing medical condition that is aggravated by an accident is arguably a new injury in and of itself and is compensable – meaning you can receive compensation for an old injury made worse by a new accident. In some cases, the compensation can be more because if you had recovered from the pre-existing injury and it is aggravated, the injury sustained is often much worse.

How does the legal principle of exacerbation of a pre-existing medical condition work?

If a person is injured because of another person’s negligence, the injured person can recover damages and compensation from the person responsible. That person is called a tortfeasor. The tortfeasor will be held liable for the aggravation of the pre-existing medical condition and for any new injuries sustained.

There is a well established legal principle in Canadian law called “a tortfeasor takes his victim as he finds him” and therefore, anyone who suffers an aggravation of a pre-existing injury can recover damages and compensation. That legal principle applies hand in hand with the principle of a “thin skull” Plaintiff (a Plaintiff is the injured person in a law suit). That principle applies in cases where someone is particularly weak and suffers a much greater injury than other people may have suffered in a similar accident. For example, many people fall and are not injured. Some other people may fall and fracture their leg, simply because they are more prone to injury than other people, perhaps because of weak bones or pre-existing injuries or particular disabilities such as arthritis.

Are the rules applied the same in every case? Showing symptoms versus no symptoms prior to accident.

In practical terms, the rules will be applied differently depending on whether, before the accident, the injured person demonstrated symptoms of the pre-existing medical condition. In the event the injured person’s pre-existing medical condition is aggravated, the tortfeasor will have to provide full compensation, despite there being a pre-existing medical condition. In the event the injured person’s pre-existing medical condition is aggravated, but the injured person was experiencing pain or other symptoms prior to the accident and new injury, the tortfeasor will have to provide some compensation, despite there being a pre-existing medical condition. The amount of compensation is directly proportionate to the level of aggravation of the pre-existing medical condition.

This article provides a summary of the principles at play where pre-existing medical conditions is in issue. The matter is more complicated than explained in this article. At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, we regularly deal with issues such as this and we are happy to provide free consultations for any personal injury case. The information in this article is not intended to replace legal advice. For more information and a free consultation on your accident or personal injury matter, contact us at 613-315-HURT or 613-315-4878.

What is a Life Care Plan and why do I need one?2018-10-30T13:59:15-04:00

A life care plan is documents prepared by a health care expert as a way to assist injured persons assess their various medical needs. The written plan outlines the steps in an organized thought out and professional way which are needed to fulfil the care needs of an injured child or adult. It provides details on what specific medical and other care is needed, which professionals will provide the care and sets parameters like time lines so that an effective managed care program can be implemented by the various health care providers involved.

A life care plan is essential because it assists the injured person and their lawyers to accomplish two main goals: the first is to develop a care program which can assist the injured person deal with all life issues arising out of the injuries sustained such as type and nature of care services needed and the costs associated with those care services; and secondly, it assist the injured person’s lawyer in arriving at the proper and adequate compensation needed to implement the care plan. Properly assessing medical needs and all of the expenses that arise after a life-altering injury is greatly improved with a life care plan.

The various issues addressed in a life care program include but are not limited to:

  • assessing and listing care services required
  • assessing and listing expert care services required
  • setting time lines for implementation of care services
  • assessing impact on schools and education activities
  • listing needed medical equipment and devices
  • assessment of needs regarding social interaction
  • assessing home modification needs
  • addressing respite care needs
  • assessing physical therapy needs
  • assessing other various needs
  • setting out an implementation strategy

Life care plans are usually used in serious personal injury cases such as serious orthopedic injuries, head injuries, brain injuries, spine injuries and other profound and serious injury cases.

Creating a life care plan with advice from both medical experts and legal professionals is a means to protect our clients against unexpected care and other costs that can appear in the future. There is much less chance of missing an important expense when a life care plan is created by a qualified professional. There is a greater chance of obtaining higher compensation settlements and court awards with a life care plan in place.

My injury lawyer wants me to see doctors he hired, is this normal?2018-10-30T14:05:16-04:00

You should generally follow the advice of your personal injury lawyer but it is perfectly acceptable to ask for clarification of any issue that comes up. In many cases, medical issues arising out of your personal injury matter require the assistance of medical experts who can review, analyze and provide professional medical – legal opinions on your medical condition which will assist in the settlement of a personal injury claim.

It is quite normal for your personal injury lawyer to suggest that you see a physician or other health care provider s/he recommends. The professional written opinion obtained can be used as evidence supporting your case during the negotiation phase and at trial if needed. The medical report is usually served on the opposing party (or their insurance company) and, if the matter is in litigation, also then filed with the Court in various contexts and in accordance with Rules of the Court and the Ontario Evidence Act. The opinions expressed by the medical and other experts retained by your personal injury lawyer can be independent supporting your case or also reply to the opinions obtained by the health care providers or other experts retained by the insurance company or lawyers representing the person responsible for your injuries.

In virtually all personal injury cases, medical evidence, usually in the form of clinical notes and records, independent test results and medical – legal reports, are obtained to support your case.

To learn more about your rights and interests in personal injury cases, contact us for a free consultation at 613-315-HURT. 613-315-4878. Marc-Nicholas Quinn, Accident and Injury Lawyer and Mediator, specializing in injury and disability cases. Ottawa Injury Lawyers.

What are the steps needed to settle a personal injury case?2018-10-30T13:59:17-04:00

If you have been injured because of someone else’s fault, you have every right to commence a lawsuit and fight for fair and reasonable compensation for your losses, damages and pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can be a valuable resource to turn to if you have questions about commencing a lawsuit or how to go about reaching an out of court settlement of your claims. A personal injury lawyer can provide you with an assessment and estimate of what your case may be worth and then work towards obtaining an out of court settlement for you. As personal injury lawyers, we are trained in alternate dispute resolution techniques which includes settlement negotiations.

The length of time it takes obtain a fair settlement in a personal injury case depends on the particular facts of each case. This article focuses on cases that do not go to Court and are settled outside of the court process.

For more complicated cases with several injuries and/or long term consequences such as permanent disability, it will take longer to settle the case than the typical straightforward single fractured limb or minor injury case that heals in 4 to 8 months.

These are some of the usual steps taken in a personal injury case and some of the factors that are to be considered when estimating the amount of time a settlement will be obtained:

Steps in a typical personal injury case

1. Initial call to a personal injury lawyer to set up a meeting to discuss the case.

2. Initial meeting with a personal injury lawyer to discuss the facts of the case, the legal principles applicable to your case and an assessment is completed of your rights and interests. Although we conduct an in depth interview at the initial meeting, we will obtain more detailed information as the case progresses.3. If the case is sound, the lawyer is retained in writing, usually on a contingency fee basis where the lawyer is paid only if he recovers a settlement for you. The lawyer will formally open a file at the law firm.

4. We will begin by organizing the file and the facts that we have obtained and we will begin preparing as if your case was going to proceed to trial. We prepare each file as if it was going to trial, even though approximately 95% of all cases are settled short of an actual trial occurring. We do this so that we do not miss any relevant information or issues on your case. At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, we tale no short cuts.

5. The lawyer writes and delivers a formal “notice” letter to the person or persons who caused your injuries. These persons are called “tortfeasors”. That letter politely provides notice of your intention to sue the tortfeasors unless reasonable compensation is paid as a result of the injuries you sustained.

6. The tortfeasors will send the notice letter to their insurer who will appoint a lawyer or an insurance adjuster to take over carriage of the claim, investigate the claim and hopefully settle it.

7. The lawyer or insurance adjuster will contact your lawyer advising that they have carriage of the personal injury case and will want to arrange for a meeting with you and your lawyer. That meeting takes place at your lawyer’s office (unless you are unable to travel due to medical reasons in which case, the meeting can be held at your home). The purposes of the meeting are for the insurance adjuster to assess your credibility, obtain your version of the events and to discuss the progress of the file, such as obtaining medical documents and other documents supporting your claims such as income tax returns, medical receipts etc…

8. In some cases, the insurance adjuster may want you to see doctors they hire to complete an independent assessment. These are called independent medical examination or defence medicals.

9. As you recover, we write to the hospitals you attended and to the treating physicians who cared for you, notify them that we have been retained as your personal injury lawyers and ask for copies of their entire files. We ask your physicians not to disclose information to any third parties. We also hire experts that are needed to support your claims such as actuarial consultants to prepare loss of income reports, doctors to provide medical reports and accountants, etc… The medical reports we seek are highly specialized and answer specific medical legal questions and addresses specific medical issues.

10. If necessary, and after discussion with you, a private investigator may be hired to assist us in gathering information and witness statements.

11. We consult with you throughout the process to obtain information on how the injuries affected you personally and changed your life and also how it affected members of your family.

12. We also contact witnesses and obtain witness statements.

13. We also attend the scene of the accident and take photographs of the scene, if needed.

14. In many cases, we also take photographs of your injuries.

15. Your personal injury case should be settled until you have reached maximum medical recovery or what we call in the industry “crystallization” of your injuries, all investigation has been completed and all relevant medical documents and other supporting documents have been obtained.

16. It may be impossible to obtain all the necessary medical information because your health care providers are unable to provide answers to many questions we have until your treatment has been completed. In this case, we have to wait to receive a final medical report from your health care providers who can provide us with a professional opinion about your medical condition and possible future medical treatment and expenses.

17. Once you have reached a point where you are fully recovered or have reached maximum medical recovery or what we call in the industry “crystallization” of your injuries, we start determining more specifically the values of your claims. Crystallization means that you will not get any better or worse medically speaking than the status at that point in your recovery.

18. As soon as the investigation has been completed, all necessary medical information is obtained and we have received all of the supporting documents (medical reports, expert reports, test results, income information, out of pocket expense documents, impact statements, photographs, witness statements, etc…), we will complete a full evaluation of your case. We explain our assessment to you and we never settle your case without your consent.

19. As part of the assessment, we complete comprehensive legal research researching all aspects of your case and review what we believe a Court would award if your case went to a trial and you won. This is an assessment of the value or quantum of your claims.

20. We then prepare a comprehensive settlement brief which includes all the material facts of the incident, the impact of the incident on you and your family, a summary of the clinical notes and records obtained from your health care providers, a summary of the medical legal reports obtained, a summary of the expert reports obtained, a summary of any witness statements and of your account of the events causing the injuries, details of the legal research completed, an assessment and detailing of all of your claims in terms of the value of each of the claims (pain and suffering, loss of income, out of pocket expenses, special damages etc..)and supporting facts and documents and finally, a proposal for a comprehensive total settlement. The settlement brief is reviewed by you before being submitted to the other side.

21. That medical brief is submitted to the relevant insurance companies, adjusters and lawyers involved and they review the proposal.

22. Once the relevant insurance companies, adjusters and lawyers involved have reviewed the proposal, we either meet with them in person or discuss the case by telephone in an attempt to settle your claims. If the settlement amount discussed falls within the acceptable range you would be happy to accept, we confirm the settlement with the insurance adjuster.

23. The insurance adjuster then forwards the settlement cheque to our office with a full and final release which is a document in which you sign and promise that you will never sue over the incident again.

24. We usually wait 10 business days for the cheque to clear (normal banking clearing rules) and then, after deducting our agreed upon costs, we deliver the cheque to you with a full reporting letter outlining what has occurred on your case together with a copy of relevant documents.

How long does it take to settle a personal injury case?

The length of time it takes to reach a settlement of a personal injury claim depends on many factors, including the following:

1. How fast you are able to respond to your lawyer’s requests for various information and documents relevant to your case.
2. Any difficulties your lawyer experiences with the insurance company or adjuster.
3. How long it takes you to recover from your injuries.
4. How long it takes for your health care providers to provide a prognosis which is a professional opinion on the nature and severity of your injuries going forward.
5. How long it takes for your health care providers to provide the requested medical legal reports and clinical notes and records.
6. If necessary, how long it takes for the insurance adjuster to arrange for independent medical testing and examinations.
7. How long it takes for the insurance adjuster to review the file and settlement proposal, seek instructions from their principals (usually a boss at the insurance company and provide a position on settlement.

Each case is different. On average, it takes 8 to 16 months to obtain a settlement, providing the healing time is about 4 months.

If you need a respected and experienced personal injury lawyer, contact us at 613-315-HURT or 613-315-4878. Marc Quinn, Mediator, Personal Injury Lawyer, Law Instructor. Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer Network Founder

Can I receive compensation for scars and disfigurement?2018-10-30T13:59:20-04:00

Scars and disfigurement provide special challenges when it comes to assessing general damages for pain and suffering. These type of injuries can have lasting consequences and cause significant emotional psychological trauma in addition to the obvious physical pain and suffering. The types of consideration in terms of damages for scars and disfigurement are different than other types of injuries and can include damages for loss of interdependent relationship, negative impact on employability, loss of self esteem and self confidence etc…

In addition, cases involving scars and disfigurement can include additional medical expenses such as plastic and reconstructive surgery, services of a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. These types of medical and health care services are very expensive and the costs associated with them are compensable. In cases of scars and/or disfigurement, lifestyle is impacted in significantly different ways, facial scars and disfigurement in particular are difficult to handle by injured persons. There are self confidence and esteem issues that may require psychological assessment and treatment which can be life long.

There are many people express a sense of significant embarrassed by their scars and disfigurement and this has an impact on them emotionally, socially and psychologically. Scars can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to feel confident about their appearance. People who suffer disfigurement and/or scarring often tell us they have profound feelings of anger and embarrassment. Their personal relationships suffer or they have an inability or difficulty with new relationships. They feel isolated and alone. Psychological and emotional treatments can help but they are expensive.

At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, our experienced personal injury lawyers assist clients obtain the compensation that is needed for their physical, emotional and psychological treatment. When necessary, our lawyers work with medical professionals to fully understand our clients’ injuries and assess the additional costs of health care services and the additional compensation for pain and suffering associated with scar and disfigurement cases. We prepare each case carefully, consider all elements of the pain and suffering and additional and special costs/expenses incurred and likely to be incurred. We are very effective in representing clients who have suffered the lasting effects of scars and disfigurement.

Scars and disfigurements can occur as a result of any type of accident. In Ottawa, the lawyers at Plant Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki PC have helped clients recover damages as a result of all types of injuries, including accidents causing scars and/or disfigurements from accidents at work, car accidents, accidents in restaurants and other businesses, burns form all sources, birth injuries, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, unsafe properties and general negligence of others.

Are witness statements important?2018-10-30T13:59:22-04:00

In personal injury cases, obtaining witness statements can mean the difference between reaching settlement and having to litigate. In many cases, the version of events between the injured person and the person alleged to be responsible for the accident can be extremely different. In such cases, courts, injury lawyers, insurance lawyers and insurers look to corroborating and independent evidence, independent eye witness accounts.

Witness statements can be important for determining liability and damage in a personal injury case. The injured person is one witness. In order to buster or support an account of events causing the injury, obtaining and disclosing a statement of what occurred provided by a third-party witness to the incident is very useful. The best witness statement is from a person who is not involved in the incident in any way except as a witness, is not related to any party to the incident and is otherwise credible. Obtaining witness statements early in the case is also important – witnesses’ account of events are more reliable if obtained at the time or near the time of the accident.

Can I receive compensation for a shoulder injury?2018-10-30T13:59:25-04:00

At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, we see many clients each year who suffer shoulder injuries from a variety of causes – car accidents, assaults, trip and falls, slip and falls and sporting injuries. Shoulders are a very flexible and obviously useful part of the body. The joints in the shoulders are very useful in particular and used in many daily activities. However, they can be injured quite easily it seems. Shoulder injuries include strains, sprains, rotator cuff injury and usually tears, fractured shoulder bones, dislocation of shoulder, subluxation of shoulder, bruises to muscles, shoulder separation, nerve injury, and other soft tissue injuries. Shoulders are especially vulnerable to injury in motor vehicle and car accidents since they are supported by seat belts that strap across the shoulders. The impact can cause significant injury to the shoulders.

Because of the nature of shoulder injuries, they tend to last a long time and cause permanent disability of varying degrees. Also, given the type of injuries shoulders sustain, they usually result in a requirement of physical therapies such as physiotherapy. Recovery from shoulder injuries can be frustrating. Try getting dressed by yourself with a shoulder injury.

Like other injuries, some shoulder injuries can seem minor but then become more serious over time. Symptoms may first be mild and then develop into severe pain and agony. Shoulder injuries can develop into chronic medical conditions, causing significant pain and disability.

At Plant Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki PC, LLP, Ottawa Accident and Injury Lawyers, our trained personal injury lawyers have experience in dealing with all types of injury cases, including shoulder injury cases. We have helped many clients throughout Ontario receive fair compensation for shoulder injuries.

If you have suffered a shoulder injury in an accident, contact us at 613-315-4878 or 613-315-HURT, for a free consultation. We will discuss your case with you at no cost. We work on no fee until you win basis (contingency fee retainer arrangements). Marc-Nicholas Quinn, Partner, Lawyer and Mediator.

Can I get compensation for a minor back injury?2018-10-30T13:59:28-04:00

Back injuries are very common and often result from a sudden blow to the body like motor vehicle accidents or falls such as slip and fall or trip and fall incidents. With back injuries comes back pain. Back pain is caused by a range of conditions that affect muscles, tendons and soft tissues; also from a serious injury to the spinal cord, or nerves. Back pain is also caused by nerve damage or pinged nerves such as sciatica. Feeling jolting pain in the lower back affects emotions and causes significant stress and it is not uncommon for injured persons to also develop depression secondary to a back injury.

In most cases, back pain disappears quickly (within days or weeks) since it does not normally involve serious damage to the back or a related disease. In other cases, back injuries result in permanent disability and complete inability to work. The degree of back pain or injury has no real affect on an injured person’s right to bring a back injury claim. However, the amount of compensation will vary depending on the severity of the injury, its affects on the injured person and the duration of the pain and injury.

A trip and fall or slip and fall related back injury can be extremely painful and is one of the most common types of injury we see in fall cases. Suffering a back injury can have devastating consequences and affect every aspect of a person’s life. We also often see our clients who injure their back in a motor vehicle accident unable to work for months and years after the incident. In addition to being unable to work, back injuries can result in the inability to perform normal daily tasks and activities.

The back is an important part of the human body. It supports and assists many other body parts to function and any injury to it can be serious and life-threatening given that damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis and death. Some of the most common back injuries we see in our personal injury law practice include: slipped disks, herniated disks, injured nerves, sciatica, broken vertebrae, spinal cord injuries, soft tissue injuries to the muscles, tendons and other soft tissue in the back and development of arthritic medical conditions.

If you have suffered a back injury, contact us at 613-315-4878 or 613-315-HURT for a free consultation. We offer No Fee Until You Win agreements. We focus on personal injury cases and can get you the compensation you deserve.

Do you handle sexual abuse cases?2018-10-30T13:59:29-04:00

Yes we do. We understand that because of the nature of the claims advanced, sexual abuse cases require special attention.

Our Ottawa sexual assault and sexual abuse lawyers offer victims of assault, sexual assault, rape and sexual abuse a legal means of obtaining fair compensation and an opportunity to exact justice against the abusers. We provide compassionate and respectful guidance and representation in all aspects of a court action against the all those responsible for the sexual assaults.

Victims of sexual abuse can often pursue their abusers long after the acts were committed. If you were abused as a child, teenager or an adult, we can provide meaningful guidance and explain to you your rights against the individual (strangers, former friends, co-workers, family members) institutional (schools boards, churches, camps, care facilities and their employees, agents and assigns) and governmental (children’s aid societies, government departments and department heads) abusers. Through legal principles such as tort law, contract law and fiduciary obligations, we can help you obtain compensation from the abusers. Pursuing civil remedies against abusers through the civil courts is different than pursuing them in the criminal courts. As a victim, you have the right to pursue the abusers regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings.

The compensation we seek on behalf of our clients will never satisfactorily address the profound wrong done, but it can help alleviate some of the stresses such as expenses needed therapies, living expenses, loss of income and medical expenses. The goal is to have our clients put back as close as possible to the financial position he or she would have been in had the abuse not occurred. It is never possible, though money alone, to remedy the act of abuse or the impact of abuse; compensation is one way the justice system can assist victims. The types of compensation that may be awarded include general damages for pain and suffering, therapy and counselling expenses, losses of income, our of pocket expenses and legal expenses. In many cases punitive and aggravated damages can also be awarded to particularly punish the abuser.

The consequences of sexual abuse are complicated, devastating, profound and long term. It is impossible to compare the impact of sexual abuse to any other form of personal injury. That is why at our law firm, we handle sexual abuse cases with particular care and compassion and take steps specifically assessed for sexual abuse cases.

If you need the help of experienced, dedicated, compassionate and understanding personal injury lawyers to obtain the compensation you deserve because of the wrongful and criminal act of another, contact us for a free consultation. We often take on sexual abuse cases on a No Fee Until You Win basis. Call us at 613-563-1131, Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers. By: Marc-Nicholas Quinn.

What is a brain injury?2018-10-30T13:59:30-04:00

A head injury is any trauma that leads to injury of the scalp, skull, or brain. The specific injuries can range from a minor bump on the skull to very serious brain injury causing comas, paralysis and even death. In general terms, head injury is classified as either closed or open (penetrating the skull) head injury. A closed head injury is usually caused by a blow to the head from striking an object (be it an item such as the sidewalk, street, ice, floor, fallen object or a blow by a hit such as a punch or ball in sporting accidents), but the blow did not result in a break of the skull. An open (or penetrating) head injury results from a blow to the head that breaks the skull and entered the brain. This type of injury often occurs from serious car accidents where a person travels at a high rate of high speed and their head comes into contact with the windshield or dash of the car. Other common causes are blunt hits or gunshot to the head.

Brain injuries are very serious. There are several types of brain injuries. Examples are concussions, which is the most common type of traumatic brain injury we see. A concussion results form a shaken brain, often resulting from a fall, such as a trip and fall or slip and fall on ice. We also see a lot of contusions, which is a bruising of the brain.

Head injuries occur often and fortunately, most are minor since the skull provides the brain with significant protection. Experiencing symptoms of minor head injuries are serious nevertheless, but it seems that they often go away on their own. Other symptoms are more serious and long term and sometimes require hospitalization and surgery. Some head injuries are permanent and cause non reversible brain damage and permanent disability, often caused by bleeding in the brain or brain tissue damage. Examples of serious consequences of head injuries are coma, chronic head syndromes, cognitive deficits, paralysis, loss or change in sensations in vision, hearing, taste and smell, speech impairments and seizure disorders.

The most common causes of head injuries we see are car accidents, slip and falls, trip and falls, strikes to the head in an assault, hits during sporting activities and fallen objects.

If you have suffered a head injury due to an accident, please contact us at 613-315-HURT or 613-315-4878 for a free case assessment and free consultation. Our firm takes on cases on a contingency basis and we do not charge any fees unless we win your case. Marc-Nicholas Quinn, founder of the Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer Network, Lawyers of Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP.

What is pain and suffering in a personal injury case?2018-10-30T13:59:31-04:00

Whether you are injured in a car accident, slip and fall, trip and fall or other accident due to the negligence of someone else, chances are that you have suffered pain and suffering and are entitled to receive compensation. The extent of pain and suffering depends entirely on the person injured and the severity of the injuries.

Pain and suffering is the legal term for the physical, psychological and emotional stress caused from an injury or injuries sustained due to the wrongdoing of another. It is a type of monetary damages that an injured person can recover for physical, psychological or mental pain that results from a wrong done, usually in the form of an injury to the person. Pain and suffering is a non economic loss, unlike loss of income or out of pocket expenses that are more easily calculated, and is meant to compensate someone for the kinds of distress and discomfort felt and endured from a wrong done by someone else.

Placing a specific value on pain and suffering is probably the most difficult task for a judge and jury in any personal injury case, aside from determining liability. For personal injury lawyers, a large part of the legal research focuses on pain and suffering and its monetary value. A great deal of investigation goes into providing an opinion on the monetary value of the pain and suffering damages is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. In reality, there is no pure or scientific formula, table, chart or reference to use in calculating pain and suffering. The specific facts of the case and particulars of how the injuries or wrong has affected a person’s life in every respect and prior decided cases (case law) are the most useful tools in assessing the value of pain and suffering. Every injured person and every injury is different and each case deserves a specific assessment and thorough evaluation. Everyone reacts to injury differently; two people can have almost identical injuries but suffer completely differently and to completely different degrees.

What are the most typical ways children are injured?2018-10-31T13:07:02-04:00

Children and Injuries in Public Places

Shopping is a part of everyday life. We all shop and eat out from time to time. We take walks on public walkways, streets and parks. Whether it is for entertainment or necessity, we all use public places and our children do as well. Our children accompany their parents and other adults on outings and excursions. In the process, they are exposed to the everyday risks associated with life and they can be injured. Because of their size, injuries to children can have greater impact and can be very serious and permanent.

Typical Ways Children are Injured

Other than injuries in motor vehicle accidents, which is the subject of another article of the Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer Network, the most common injuries sustained by children we see are slips and falls, trip and falls, falling objects from store shelves, escalator injuries, sporting injuries, playing – rough play injuries, play structure injuries, falling down stairs, incidents in stores and malls, incidents at friends homes and parking lot injuries such as trip and fall in pot holes.

Children can trip on items located on store or other establishment floors; they may slip on wet or uneven surfaces, trip in pot holes located on private or municipal property; usually the slips are caused by wet surfaces from spilled substances. Trips are caused by items dangerously placed in open areas, uneven surfaces or holes in floors and other places.

In all cases, owners and occupiers of the stores and establishments are responsible for ensuring the safety of everyone, including children, by creating a reasonable maintenance program and adhering to it. They must keep aisles of stores free of objects, keep surfaces even, shelves safe, clean floors, remove spillages and take whatever other steps needed to ensure children are safe and so as to prevent potential injuries .

If the dangerous condition existed for a long enough period of time when the incident happened, the owner and/or occupier of the premises will be held liable. They will be held liable for known dangers and liability is also possible where they did not know, but should have known of the dangerous conditions, through reasonable inspection steps.

In some cases, items fall on children seriously injuring them. We often see extremely heavy objects – merchandise in large stores (bulk stores), stored 5-20 metres high. These items are extremely dangerous. If an item falls and injures a child, store owners and/or occupiers will be held responsible and will have to pay damages.

Other common ways children are injured are trips in pot holes and shopping centres are often the place where you can find pot holes. Parking lot injuries are common since most people drive to the big shopping malls and must walk from the lot to the mall.

In the end, whatever the cause of the injury, be it a trip or slip and fall or fallen object, owners and occupiers of stores, restaurants, business establishments, shopping malls etc… owe a duty to everyone, and including children of course, to ensure the premises are safe. The owners and occupiers are legally responsible for protecting the health and safety of customers on their premises.

Free Consultations – No Fee Until You Win Agreements

If your child is injured because of a store owner’s fault, contact Ottawa Personal Injuries Lawyers – We are Experienced in Children and Injuries cases. We provide free legal advice regarding your legal rights and the rights of children to seek fair compensation for their injuries. We work on a NO FEE UNLESS YOU WIN basis (contingency fee basis).Call us at 613-315-4878 or 613-315-HURT. Marc Quin, Lawyer, Mediator, Personal Injury Law Author.

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