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Tort claim? What it means and why it’s your gateway to personal injury justice

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‘Pursue a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve.’ You will have heard and read this phrase many a time. It is well known that to obtain adequate compensation for your serious injury, recourse to the legal system may be the only option. But what is this mysterious lawsuit?

The majority of personal injury cases arise as a result of tort. In the simplest terms: if a person’s negligent acts or failure to perform certain acts (omission) result in injuries to you, that negligence and the resultant injuries establish the basis for a tort claim. You are then entitled to commence legal proceedings to be compensated appropriately.

In this article, we will break down what a tort claim is to help you understand the background to personal injury claims.

What is a tort claim?

A tort claim is a lawsuit filed to claim compensation for the injuries you have suffered in an accident. This compensation claim is wider than what you are entitled to from an insurance company. Therefore, many people consider a tort claim to be the pursuit of just indemnification.

There are four basic elements to tort:

  • duty of care
  • breach of duty of care
  • causation
  • injury

Let’s explain this with an example of a tort claim, resulting from a slip and fall on the sidewalk of retail premises.

  • Duty – The owner of the premises has a duty to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
  • Breach – The owner failed to salt the sidewalk, despite knowing that hundreds of people will be walking on the icy surface.
  • Causation – You slip and fall on the sidewalk as a result of the uncleared and unsalted ice.
  • Injury – You fracture your arm falling on the treacherous sidewalk.

That is a tort claim in a nutshell. Naturally, there are standards that must be met, as well as defences to the claim. When examining a tort claim in Ontario, courts will look at the duty of care from the point of view of a reasonable person; whether the harm was foreseeable, and whether or not there exist exacerbating or mitigating factors.

Remember, tort compensation will be in addition to any accident benefits and insurance claims.

Tort vs crime: What is the difference?

In considering the difference between a tort and a crime, the essential fact is that a tort is a civil law action, and does not involve criminal law. The goal of a tort claim is to indemnify the victim who has been harmed by another person’s negligence; it is not intended to punish the other person (other than monetarily).

However, an incident can be both criminal and tortious. For example, A car accident—in which the at-fault driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs—will result in the police carrying out a criminal investigation, while the victim is entitled to pursue a civil action: a tort claim.

Torts may be either intentional or unintentional. An intentional tort involves someone’s deliberate action causing someone harm; moreover, an intentional tort may also lead to criminal charges. Therefore, it’s not always tort vs crime, sometimes they go hand-in-hand. In most instances, personal injury cases are unintentional torts. Motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, and medical malpractice all cause harm to the victim—but it is unintentional.

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What does a tort claim include?

A tort claim is a claim for damages. This is the monetary award (compensation) that will indemnify you for the harm that the accident has caused. Tort claims are a preferred option in the aftermath of an accident because you can claim and receive damages that compensate the real loss you have suffered. Insurance claims are often limited in scope and will not compensate you for non-pecuniary losses such as pain and suffering, loss of present and future income, and disruption to family life.

As an example, here are some types of compensation you can claim in a tort claim in Ontario:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of income (present and future)
  • Rehabilitation and medical care in the future
  • Caregiving costs
  • Other out of pocket expenses

Essentially, a tort claim lets you safeguard your standard of living and your future. You should not have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s negligence without being properly compensated. There is a threshold for how much a court can award for non-pecuniary (non-quantifiable) damages. However, that does not mean that the courts do not recognize and uphold remedies for such losses. Speak to your Toronto personal injury lawyer about your tort claim in Ontario to calculate compensation for pain and suffering you can expect.

What are some examples of tort cases?

Tort claim examples are the best way of understanding how tort law works. In the list below we are outlining a few tort claim examples from common personal injury claims that we receive. This is not an exhaustive list by any means; but, it goes to show how tort claims address real world accidents.

  • Car accident – A driver runs a stop sign in a school zone and hits you.
  • Slip and fall – A loose railing causes you to fall from stairs on public or private premises.
  • Brain injury – Construction material falls on your head while walking on a public sidewalk.
  • Cycling accident – Someone opens a car door suddenly, causing you to crash (‘dooring’).
  • ATV accident – While riding in an ATV park, the throttle sticks open due to poor maintenance and you are injured in the resultant accident.
  • Dog bite – A pet owner negligently lets an agitated dog off its leash in a crowded environment and it bites you.

How no win, no fee helps you get justice

“No win, no fee” has helped thousands of people access their right to fair compensation. Legal proceedings can constitute an unexpected and onerous financial burden for such costs as hourly legal fees, experts’ fees, and administrative charges. That burden is a major risk – given the fact that your case may not succeed, and you will not receive any compensation. When your lawyer offers a contingency arrangement—’no win, no fee’—that risk and the associated fear is assuaged greatly.

It’s a simple premise: if you are not awarded compensation or the case is not settled successfully, your personal injury lawyer in Toronto will not receive legal fees.

In a contingency fee arrangement, legal fees and costs incurred in your case will be recovered as a percentage of the compensation you are awarded. Typically, this will form part of the retainer your Toronto personal injury law firm will sign with you. What this percentage will be also varies with the complexity of the case, as well as the time and resources it will require to be completed.

A tort claim is simple in its basic intent: make sure that the person who has suffered harm is adequately compensated. As an accident victim, you can make a much more pragmatic claim under tort than with an insurer. Many personal injury accidents have an element of tort – after all, you are injured because someone failed to take reasonable precautions that could have prevented the accident.

To understand if your accident features the elements giving rise to a tort claim, contact Pace Law Firm immediately. Our team will advise you on your best options; we will help you file and pursue a personal injury claim that will maximize your compensation.

Can You Calculate Pain and Suffering Compensation? Maybe, maybe not

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A serious and debilitating injury results in an individual being impaired and suffering losses that are difficult to imagine, let alone accept.  With respect to awarding large sums to compensate accident victims for pain and suffering, Canadian courts have long had their hands tied.  However, that is not to suggest that the courts have failed to provide justice to victims.

Calculating compensation for pain and suffering is an inherently flawed search for justice. There are many factors that might undermine the process.  For example, the insurance claim may be insufficient, or perhaps the victim’s onerous medical expenses are adversely impacting his/her family’s standard of living. In such cases, justice has not been served and the victim is paying the price for another individual’s wrongdoing.

Can you calculate compensation definitively?

Can you or your lawyer calculate the compensation to which you are entitled for your pain and suffering?  Not a definitive figure, no. In contrast to American television and movie dramas portraying accident victims reaping huge financial awards, the reality in Canada is rather more sobering. Canada’s approach to ‘pain and suffering compensation’ (technically, non-pecuniary damages) is markedly different from that in the U.S.

In contrast to the U.S., Canadian courts take a more measured approach. There is an unspoken, but operative objective of compensating victims, while avoiding excessive awards; wrongdoers must be held responsible, but exorbitant awards should not become a burden on society.

Nonetheless, this is not to say that Ontario’s courts fail to make just awards for pain and suffering.

Present state of the law

The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1978, in J. A. Andrews, Dorothy Andrews, Ivan Stefanyk v. Grand & Toy Alberta Ltd. and Robert G. Anderson remains, some 30 years later, the defining authority.

In its judgment, the court set what was effectively a limit on how much could be awarded for pain and suffering. It established a (soft) limit of for most cases, save for the most exceptional circumstances. This non-pecuniary award would account for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of amenities
  • Loss of expectation of life.

As a result of this decision, there is a common misconception that Canadian courts do not award restitution for pain and suffering. On the contrary, they try to calculate pain and suffering damages as part of pecuniary damages—that is, damages that can be quantified.

Court award for pain and suffering

In Andrews, the Supreme Court set a limit of $100,000, which would “be regarded as an upper limit of non-pecuniary loss in cases of this nature.” This amount has increased over the years, taking into account the cost of living and inflation. Despite that relatively modest sum, that does not mean personal injury awards have been insignificant. Courts carefully assess accidents and injuries, the loss of income potential. and the future care costs the victim is likely to incur.

Some of Canada’s largest personal injury compensation awards include:

Marcoccia v. Gill, Purba and Ford Credit Canada – $16.9 million in damages awarded by a Superior Court of Ontario jury, wherein the driver, the driver’s employer, and the insurance company were sued.

Sandhu v. Wellington Place Apartments – $14.2 million in damages in a case involving a toddler falling through a window, payable by a landlord who had failed to make repairs despite being asked repeatedly to do so; the award was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Gordon & Morrison v. Greig – Nearly $24 million awarded to two passengers of a pick-up truck that crashed and was being driven by a drunken driver; the largest award in Canada for a spinal injury.

Therefore, when trying to calculate compensation, the entirety of the award must be considered. The cases cited attest to the fact that the courts will award damages to victims who have sustained life-altering injuries and impairments, thereby ensuring that they are justly compensated for loss of income, and future care costs.

Therefore, while pain and suffering compensation may be restricted, courts have found novel ways of ensuring that justice is served. In order to achieve that goal, it is essential to ensure that all of the liable parties are named as defendants in the tort claim. An experienced team of Toronto personal injury lawyers will understand the nuances of ownership, insurer liability, and other pertinent factors.

Court award for families

Ontario courts have also not shied away from compensating families. For example, a family member may have to make financial and practical sacrifices to provide long-term care to an accident victim. The families of accident victims, in such cases, may be entitled to compensation. In Gordon & Morrison v. Greig, the families of the victims were awarded damages for the part they would have to play in addressing the victim’s rehabilitation and lifelong care.

Pain and suffering insurance

Depending on your accident, there may be a limit on insurance liability. For motor vehicle accidents, there is a statutory deductible of approximately $38,000. Moreover, when insurers assess pain and suffering liability, they insist that a high threshold of serious and lasting injury must be met. As a result, many accident victims must pursue legal recourse by retaining experienced personal injury counsel to seek adequate compensation for the harm they have suffered.

In Ontario, the courts consider a great many factors when determining an appropriate award for pain and suffering. In arriving at a realistic calculation regarding the compensation to which you are entitled, it is necessary to understand not only the extent of your injuries and impairments, but also the courts’ approaches to and interpretations of personal injury claims.

Start by speaking to a Toronto personal injury lawyer you can trust to assess your case objectively. At Pace Law Firm, we represent your interests by providing you with experienced and informed consideration of your case. Speak to us to get a fair idea about the pain and suffering compensation you may be owed.

No Deaths or Serious Injuries on Toronto Streets? Vision Zero Has its Work Cut Out

What’s better than blanket rule-setting to prevent pedestrian accidents on Toronto’s streets? A data-driven, targeted approach, of course. Vision Zero, Ontario’s five-year program, which is aimed at bringing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries to nought, is ambitious. This bold, multi-faceted approach can make Toronto’s streets not just safer – but make them feel saner too.

Vision Zero is making Toronto streets safer for the most vulnerable of road users – pedestrians.

This article, like Vision Zero is looking at reducing pedestrian accidents and improving safety. After all, pedestrians are the most vulnerable of road users.

toronto pedestrian accident

Toronto Police data shows the number of fatal and serious injury accidents (KSI) is falling – gradually.

Are you a pedestrian?

Vision Zero has an expansive list describing pedestrians. Essentially, people on foot, wheelchair users, mobility scooter riders and even those using hover boards are considered pedestrians. Are you a popular YouTuber: holding a camera in one hand, pointing with the other, and whizzing through the streets on an electric skateboard? Yes?  Then, you are a pedestrian, too.

With such a diverse classification of pedestrians, achieving Vision Zero objectives is not just a matter of lowering speed limits to curb Toronto pedestrian accident fatalities. There are many reasons for pedestrian accidents – and a one-solution approach will achieve only so much.

Driven by Data

Crucially, Vision Zero is not being implemented as a broad-based set of sweeping rules aimed at solving problems generally. So often, that generalized approach results in unintended effects that are detrimental to road safety.

Instead, Vision Zero is a data-driven program; the measures undertaken to implement it will be highly targeted. If that sounds familiar, well, it should. The City of Toronto has been at the forefront of open data, as well as assisting and supporting organizations to make data-driven infrastructure decisions. It is this scientifically based, data collection that provides the foundation for Vision Zero. The changes aimed at reducing pedestrian injuries involve in-depth data collection and analysis with respect to such matters as traffic density, risk-prone areas, and real-world driving.

Lowered speed limits

Lower speed limits on over 50 arterial and city streets are already in the works. Studies have consistently shown that a 10 km/hr. reduction in speed results in a dramatic decrease in the likelihood of pedestrian deaths and serious injuries. Daniel Fusca of the Keesmat Group, founded by Toronto’s chief city planner, says “if you are hit by a car going at 40 km/h, then you have a 30 per cent likelihood of dying.” That fatality rate, he notes, drops to 10 per cent if the motor vehicle is moving at 30 km/hr.

However, there are those who argue that reducing speeds too drastically can lead to traffic congestion and frustrated drivers.  More ominously, doing so may encourage or exacerbate a dangerous driving mentality.

Improve driver training

Defensive driving is at the core of the driving curriculum in Ontario, but, perhaps, it is not enough. Thus, driver training is being examined closely, searching for ways of improving driver awareness aimed at ensuring pedestrian safety. Doing so could mean greater awareness training for drivers of heavy vehicles and vehicles with obstructed views. Moreover, with the preponderance of app-based taxis, additional training for taxi and vehicle-for-hire drivers is being explored. With respect to impaired driving, the idea of implementing zero tolerance for alcohol consumption is being given serious consideration.

Minimizing haste

Giving pedestrians more time to cross streets safely can be beneficial on wide roads and multiple crossing thoroughfares. However, to undertake such changes necessitates recognizing that, when doing so, drivers must also be afforded additional time to make turns. Right- and left-turn manoeuvres are the cause of nearly a quarter of all fatal and serious injury pedestrian accidents in Toronto. Assessing whether this results from driver inattention or due to haste in completing the turn is currently being carried out on the street level. Measures that may be implemented would include adopting a no-right-turn on a red light, as well as increasing the time available to motorists to complete the turn.

Creative and pragmatic approach

Restrictions on street parking and installation of side guards at intersections are also being considered to reduce pedestrian accident death and injury. Certainly, there is a desire to be creative in order to improve pedestrian safety. Moreover, lessons are also being learnt from other countries, such as the United States and Sweden. We appreciate these efforts to make Toronto’s streets safer – without stultifying the dynamism and energy of the city.

If you been injured in a pedestrian accident or someone you know has lost their life in a road accident, get in touch with our pedestrian accident lawyer immediately. We’ll make sure you receive accident benefits immediately, your claim is correctly assessed by insurers, and you receive justice for your injuries.

Going Off-Road This Summer? Beware Of The 5 Most Common ATV Accident Injuries

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It’s been a long wait, this year, but summer has finally arrived in Canada. That means it is the season when people will be making their way to cottages and indulging in some much-needed outdoor activity.

All-Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, have become an increasingly popular outdoor pursuit. Today, people of all ages enjoy ATVs to explore the outdoors or for adventure sports. So, it is no surprise that there has been an accompanying increase in the number of ATV accidents. As an ATV accident lawyer, we have seen people suffer serious injury on these machines.

That’s why we advise safe riding, as well as renting from outlets that have a track record of keeping their ATVs well maintained. Pace Law Firm is your go-to ATV accident lawyer. After all, you want people who understand your pain, and will support and guide you as you attempt to cope with an unexpected injury or a wrongful death.

In this article we’ll take a look at the 5 most common ATV accident injuries that people suffer.

Ribs and chest

Being unrestrained and unprotected means riders are thrown forwards if the ATV comes to a sudden halt or dips suddenly. The handlebars and fuel tank can cause fractures, as well as injuries to the abdomen and upper body—which may include the internal organs. People are also run over by ATVs after they fall, and the vehicles’ tires can cause injuries too.

Concussions

Unfortunately, head injuries and traumatic brain injuries are also common in ATV accidents. Although a helmet will protect you from lacerations and bear some of the brunt of a direct impact, it cannot prevent a concussion. Concussions result when the brain strikes the skull due to sudden acceleration or deceleration of the head. There are many ways in which an ATV accident can result in a concussion—such as hitting your head on a branch, falling off and striking the ground, or colliding with an object. But concussions can result—due to sudden acceleration/deceleration—even when your head is not directly impacted.

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Fractures

Broken collar bones, and fractured arms and legs are all too common when an ATV rolls over or if the rider falls. In addition to the injuries sustained by impacting an object, ATVs are known to trap limbs as they roll end over end.

Spinal and back injuries

If you are thrown off your ATV like an angry horse throws off its rider, you are likely to suffer back injuries, and may sustain spinal damage. It is also not uncommon for riders to be struck by other ATVs from behind – something that can result in fractures and other serious injuries. In such cases, you may sustain critical injuries, and you should seek immediate medical attention. If you have been thrown off your ATV, do not try and move if you feel pain in your neck or back.

Internal bleeding

Although there is no visible external indication you have sustained an injury, you are experiencing pain and tenderness. It is possible you have suffered an injury to an organ and are bleeding internally. Seek immediate medical attention and have your condition assessed. Unfortunately, internal bleeding is all too common following an ATV accident. Falling and collisions may not leave any noticeable lacerations or bruises, which makes internal bleeding all the more dangerous.

Understanding Responsibility

These may be the 5 most common ATV injuries, but by no means are they the only injuries you can suffer. Get in touch with an ATV accident lawyer you know will represent you to the best of their abilities. At Pace Law Firm, our Personal Injury Lawyers help clients receive the compensation they deserve for ATV accidents.

This summer season when you take our ATV for a ride, be mindful of your safety and the safety of others. ATVs can be great fun, but the exhilaration can come crashing down if you are reckless. If you need any assistance or guidance for an ATV injury, schedule a free consultation with Pace Law Firm.

Once Bitten Twice Shy: Get The Dog Bite Compensation You Are Owed

The Canada Animal Health Institute expects there to be over 8 million canines in Canada. Clearly, we are a pet loving nation and dogs are our faithful companions. But, either through accident or owner negligence, dogs can become violent.

Consider the case of a six-year-old girl who received stitches to her face after a vicious dog bite incident. Imagine the severity of the attack that CTV news reports her father saying, “so lucky…that my daughter is still alive”.

Though Ontario mandates dog bite compensation, it does not alleviate the risk of dog attacks. The Globe and Mail reports an “estimated 500,000 dog bites a year in Canada, and three-quarters of the victims are children under the age of 10.”

Dog Owners’ Liability Act, s 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”.

Too often people don’t realize the severity of a dog bite. And sometimes, even something as self-evident as seeing a doctor can be delayed. Ontario places liability on dog owners for the actions of their pets. If you or someone you know has been hurt by a dog, you deserve fair and adequate compensation.

  1. Immediate medical expenses

Seeking medical attention immediately after a dog attack is a must. No matter how small the wound, the chance of infection is very high. Medical expenses resulting from a dog attack should be paid by the dog’s owner.

  1. Long term recovery

You should not have to bear the burden of long term medical care. Wounds can take weeks, if not months to heal. You should be recompensed by the dog owner or their home insurance policy for the same. Approach a dog bite lawyer Toronto trusts for mature advice to see how you can do this.

dog bite lawyer toronto

  1. Occupiers’ liability

If the dog attack happened on someone else’s property, they may be liable to compensate you under Ontario’s occupiers’ liability laws. This can be particularly important if the occupier was at fault for not taking proper precautions to keep people safe from dog attacks on their property.

  1. Claim against negligent dog owner

Dog owners in Ontario are required by law to take reasonable precautions to prevent their dogs from biting or attacking people. Therefore, victims of dog bites can seek compensation by way of a lawsuit. Leaving dogs unleashed in unauthorized public spaces, improper training, and even poor care are examples of owners’ negligent behaviour. Speak to a dog bite lawyer, Toronto knows to be experienced in these matters, to pursue a lawsuit.

  1. Pain, suffering and loss of income

Dog bites are traumatic events, which can significantly and adversely impact victims’ lives. In addition to the trauma of the attack itself, the ensuing medical treatment can be both physically painful and a source of significant anguish. You should speak to a dog bite lawyer in Toronto to find out if you can claim for the emotional distress you have suffered. In the event of injuries that result in functional impairments, lost productivity and income may also be a factor in determining the appropriate compensation.

Dog Bite Lawyer in Toronto

If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, get in touch with our personal injury team right away. We have worked with hundreds of dog bite victims and will help you get the right medical treatment. Our team also alerts the proper authorities to ensure that the dog does not attack anyone else. Of course, throughout the process, we work to obtain the compensation you deserve.

We are a responsible personal injury law firm that believes in working with the community to resolve dog bite disputes. Our lawyers will handle your case sensitively, making sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Raising Speed Limits on Ontario Highways: Recipe for a Speeding Car Accident?

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Toronto and Ontario have been pulling at opposite ends of the road safety string lately. While Toronto has been mulling reduced speed limits on arterial roads, Ontario’s highway speed limits are set to rise. Surely, physics doesn’t work differently for a car speeding on the highway as compared to a car in the city.

A speeding car accident can have catastrophic effects for victims. Too often, we represent people who have suffered serious, life-changing injuries, and family members who have lost loved ones.

Speed has been proven to be a killer on Ontario’s roads. In 2017, Statistics Canada reported 746 motor vehicle collisions involving fatalities in urban areas (with a speed limit of less than 60 kph). In the same year, they saw 908 fatalities on rural roads (with a speed limit greater than 60 kph). Fewer pedestrians and urban hazards on open country roads did not reduce fatalities. Is it not the high speeds then that are behind these accidents?

Speed limits need to be based on such considerations as inclement weather, tired drivers, distracted drivers, and the condition of the car.

There are many reasons why a higher speed limit can increase the possibility of a speeding car accident. Hopefully, this article will make you a more informed – and safer – road user. As car accident lawyers who have helped victims for decades, we know even minor changes in driving conditions can have a significant impact.

Reduced thinking and reaction time

Think you can catch a slide like Gilles Villeneuve? An average driver on the road has an average reaction and thinking time. Simply, this is the time it takes for you to recognize a hazard, determine avoiding action, and then execute it. As speeds increase, drivers have less time to think and react. When drivers are tired or distracted, their thinking and reaction times are slower. As experienced car accident lawyers we ask: will you know to slow down when you are tired?

Encouraging dangerous driving

Dangerous driving reflects driving mentality. Driving in anger or haste will result in a driver making bad decisions, thereby putting other road users at risk. Higher speed limits on highways will encourage drivers to develop a ‘I’ll make up lost time with speed’ mindset (especially after a long traffic snarl). This urgent mentality can easily lead to road rage and negligent driving – all ingredients for speeding car accidents.

People already drive faster than the speed limit

Anyone who has driven on Ontario’s highways will know that most traffic is already driving faster than the prescribed speed limit. When we represent car and motorcycle accident victims, too often high speed is a common factor across cases. Raising speed limits will encourage drivers to drive faster still, increasing the possibility of accidents and their severity.

More speed comes from greater fuel consumption

Taking advantage of a raised speed limit on the highway will come at the cost of increased fuel consumption – and more pollution. Pollution is a silent killer. Those with breathing difficulties will feel the effects of greater emissions immediately. If they live near highways passing through urban areas, the effects will be especially acute.

Car Accident Lawyers Who Care

It may seem paradoxical, but at Pace Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers know speed is not all that is made out to be on the roads. We have seen so many drivers rue the fact that they did not take the extra few minutes to slow down and drive more safely. Don’t forget, as a motorist you are responsible not just for your safety, but also for the safety of others.

Ontario Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Who Care: Building a Better Rider Support Community

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Pace Law Firm is not like most other Ontario motorcycle accident lawyers – all leathers and no metal. We are motorcyclists at heart. And that is why it is of such concern to us that Ontario’s roads have been such a deathtrap for riders this summer.

Two fatal accidents, in the same week of June, make for chilling news. In the first, Joey Catteau suffered critical injuries that claimed his life, after colliding with an SUV. In the second accident, Tyler Knight was killed after what was described as a head-on collision with a commercial vehicle. Though details about the cases are scant, there was one common denominator: a large vehicle was involved in each accident.

Hazardous Roads for Motorcyclists

Unfortunately, Canada’s roads have not become much safer for motorcyclists over the years. The average number of motorcyclist fatalities has hovered around the 200 mark (2013-2017), according to government statistics, and there are no signs of things improving.

As there has been a significant increase in the number of larger, taller, and heavier vehicles on the roads, the risk for motorcycle riders has increased. The popularity of SUVs and crossovers has resulted in many drivers transitioning from smaller vehicles, that are easier to drive, to much larger vehicles that are more difficult to drive safely. As a result, many drivers are not fully prepared for the distinct challenges that driving such vehicles pose—such as larger blind spots, and greater stopping distances.  Consequently, there has been a significant increase in the risk of such vehicles causing fatalities. For example, the two fatal motorcycle accidents cited involved a commercial vehicle and an SUV.

As a motorcyclist you are a rightful road user, and drivers of other vehicles owe you a duty of care. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a motorcycle accident, or if your family has suffered the loss of a loved one in such an accident, call Pace Law Firm now. Our Personal injury lawyers know the anguish you are going through and will fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries.

The Right Riding Gear

Riding safely begins with a ‘safety mentality.’ Instead of bemoaning its discomfort, every motorcycle rider should wear adequate safety gear. Rather than getting angry with the driver who cut you off, be aware and prepared for distracted driving.

Over the years, improvements in riding gear has resulted in it becoming much more comfortable and “breathable.” Today, many suits have been designed to incorporate safety features, making your ride that much safer. Protect yourself appropriately. By doing so, you can survive a potentially fatal crash, and/or significantly diminish the severity of the injuries you sustain as a result of an accident.

Fallen Riders Support Team

If you are involved in an accident, you should have a rider community behind you to look after you. After all, you want assistance from someone who understands what you and your family are going through.

Ray Bonner and James Taylor are two of our lawyers who have set up the Fallen Riders Support Team. Survivors of motorcycle accidents themselves, they know how helpful it is to have someone who can look after you and your family by:

  • Advocating and advising on rider safety
  • Conducting fundraising campaigns to help with treatment
  • Providing a comforting arm around your family’s shoulders
  • Helping riders rehabilitate and recover
  • Providing transportation assistance
  • Helping families navigate the complexities of wrongful death compensation

Active in the Rider Community

The Fallen Riders Support Team is actively involved with the riding community. In attending sports events, hosting fundraisers, and visiting people in hospital, we are committed to supporting your full recovery – physical, emotional, and financial – from your accident. If you frequent the riding scene in Ontario, you’ll ride with us sooner or later.

We understand that motorcycle accidents can and will happen. That’s what we tell all those who come to us for help – look to the future. As experienced motorcycle accident lawyers, we will fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve.

 

Dos and Don’ts: Making Sure You Don’t Lose Your Motor Vehicle Accident Claim

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The motor vehicle accident is, unfortunately, an all-too-common part of driving life. However, most of assume that ‘it won’t happen to me’, which means people are generally unprepared when an accident does occur.

Seeking medical attention, and if the accident is severe, involving the police are necessary and extremely important measures to be taken following a motor vehicle accident. However, there are other considerations about which one must be aware in order to avoid the risk of losing one’s right to pursue legal action through a car accident claim, and raising one’s insurance premiums despite not being at fault.

Admitting fault

“Oh, I am so sorry”, is something that many people have learned to say as a matter of simple courtesy and respect for others. But, in the event of a car or motorcycle accident, that seemingly innocuous expression can easily be interpreted to mean: “I accept the blame. You should not admit fault in the aftermath of an accident until you have spoken to legal counsel; by admitting culpability you may undermine or even forfeit your rights to pursue a car accident claim. All drivers assume a duty to drive carefully, and before a determination of all the facts and circumstances associated with your accident has been made, you simply should not admit fault or take responsibility for the accident.

Taking responsibility will directly impact your insurance claim, insurance premiums, and the option of filing a claim to seek the compensation you are owed. Insurance and legal professionals are, by training and experience, the appropriate agents to assume responsibility for assessing the accident’s causes, and determining how fault is to be apportioned.

 

 

Keep a Complete Record

Whether it is a visit to the doctor, the receipt from your towing company, or any other expense related to the motor vehicle accident, you must carefully record and document the financial costs you incur. If need be, you can maintain a diary of your actions, medical visits, and insurance company communications—noting the particulars of each such instance. Such details can include dates of services and appointments, transactions, salient points of any meeting or communication, and more. As part of your documentation, you should maintain a thorough record of the corresponding receipts, prescriptions, and emails to help your lawyer build a comprehensive chronology of your accident-related activities.

Being able to produce carefully compiled and thorough records that document how the accident has impacted you establishes important evidence that your lawyer can present in arguing your case. Receipts of your expenses, records of the injuries you suffered and treatments you have received, and documentation of your loss of income will all contribute to the evidence that substantiates and strengthens your claim for compensation.

Informing Your Insurer

You must inform your insurance company of the accident as soon as practicable after the accident. Doing so indicates that you responded to the incident appropriately, and will lead your insurer to begin its own investigation of the accident.

Based on the severity and circumstances of a car accident, claims adjusters at your insurance company will have to file the accident under one of 40 accident scenarios described in the Fault Determination Rules.

Make sure you arrange an appointment to meet with your lawyers as soon as possible, as an experienced car or motorcycle accident lawyer will be able to guide and support you in filing your claim.

Signing documents

Do not sign any documents offered by the other driver or anyone claiming to be his or her representative. Beware that this is often a fraudulent procedure, which is intended to trick you in to forfeiting your car accident claim, or worse, dupe you into making a confession against your interests, which could be taken to court. The police are the only authorities who will present you with a document—their report of the accident—that you will be asked legitimately to sign. You are under no obligation to sign any other documents or sheets of paper that include any information about you or the accident. The other party involved in the accident is entitled to information regarding your identity, driver’s license, and insurance coverage. But any request to sign any document or put in writing any statement about the accident is inappropriate, and you should decline to do so.

It is highly inadvisable to accept any monies that parties involved in the accident offer you. Such offers may be an attempt to cover up an illegality—for example, a driver lacking insurance coverage—and scuttle the investigation. In such an event, contact your lawyers as soon as possible to seek their advice on the best course of action.

Time limits

Many people are unaware of a very important consideration associated with motor vehicle accidents: there exists a limitation period—a time limit—that begins with the accident. Insurance companies must be contacted, collisions must be reported to the police, and personal injury options must be considered —all in a very short span of time.

  • Insurance companies must be informed of the accident as soon as possible, regardless of who is at fault. This must be done within seven days of the accident occurrence, and an insurance company may not honor a claim that is reported after that period.
  • Minor accidents—less than $2000 of damage to all vehicles—must be reported to the Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours; an advisable step, as it helps formally record the accident.
  • Even personal injury claims are time-bound. Whereas a claim can be brought within two years of the accident, a notice of claim must be sent within 120 days of the accident to an ‘at fault driver.’

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to assist with all of these matters, and will do so in a strategic manner intended to optimize the compensation you will receive.

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About Pace Law Firm

At Pace Law Firm we have seen thousands of motor vehicle accidents. Our lawyers and investigators know the ins and outs of virtually all types of accidents. We have helped clients maximize their claims, make sure that they are not blamed for accidents they did not cause, and have helped keep premiums to their pre-accident levels. Call us now to book an appointment with an experienced lawyer and start your insurance claim the right way.

Been In a Fender Bender? 5 Things to Do If You’ve Been In A Car Accident

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First steps after a car accident

Most car accidents are, thankfully, minor and people usually step out of their vehicles unscathed. Unfortunately, even seemingly minor accidents can subsequently become the source of major headaches. As an experienced car accident lawyer, we know that every car accident is emotionally and physically challenging. Knowing what you should do to look after yourself and to safeguard your legal claim can prove to be immensely helpful in minimizing the stresses associated with the aftermath of your car accident.

What initially may appear to be a minor car accident can eventually have surprisingly consequences. Telling yourself that you are fine and the accident did not cause you any harm may lead you to dismiss subsequent symptoms. However, such physical problems as neck injuries, small factures, and muscle tears occur, as a result of so-called minor accidents, much more frequently than one would expect or most people recognize. In fact, the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario reports that, in 2016, there were over 35,000 car accidents in the province that resulted in instances of personal injury.

In this piece, we are talking about those ‘innocuous’ car accidents that we have seen, as a car accident lawyer, balloon into something far more insidious. To prevent those unforeseen and highly distressing developments, we present the following check-list of actions you should take, immediately following the accident, in order to minimize such unfortunate and upsetting consequences.

 

Stop your vehicle in a safe spot

If your vehicle is operative after the accident, pull off the road and into a safe spot. Remaining in the middle of a road or byway—particularly one with fast-moving traffic or blind curves—greatly increases the risk of another collision. If the other driver involved does not stop, do not give chase. A driver who fails to stop may be uninsured, may not have a valid driver’s license, or may have even committed a dangerous criminal act. Trying to intervene may put your safety at risk. The more prudent and appropriate option is to report the accident immediately to the police.

Regain your composure

When an accident occurs, the impact is both physical and psychological and, as a result, the immediate effect can be highly emotional and disorienting. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply and compose yourself. If necessary, inform the other driver that you need a few moments and ask him or her to wait.In the immediate aftermath of an accident, one is susceptible—due to being upset and shocked by the accident—to making hasty or careless statements and/or conducting oneself in a manner that is against one’s interests. A few minutes of waiting will give you the time to prepare yourself for your conversation with the other driver. If you feel it is necessary to do so, you may choose to take the opportunity to call your car accident lawyer, who will be able to guide you gently and patiently through the process.

Check for injuries

Begin assessing whether or not you have sustained any injuries by checking for visible cuts and lacerations. Calmly and cautiously attempt to be aware of any aches, pains, or unusual physical sensations. Be particularly mindful of your neck and back, as concussion, whiplash. and spinal injuries are often not immediately apparent, but can begin to be noticeable within minutes after the accident. Only when you feel ready and comfortable in doing so, should you try to move your limbs to check for broken bones and muscular injuries.

The shock you experience after an accident can take a while to dissipate fully, and you may not become aware of pain until later. Whiplash, concussion, muscle tears, and even internal bleeding may not manifest immediately.

Taking pictures

Determining how the accident occurred and identifying the responsibilities of the parties involved in causing it are matters that insurance experts, the police, and lawyers must piece together after the event. Taking photographs of the scene, noting the prevailing weather conditions, and gathering any other evidence—such as dashcam footage—are all steps that help in documenting the circumstances associated with the accident and help explain how it occurred.

Try to take pictures of the damage the vehicles have sustained. But make sure that, in doing so, you do not put yourself in harm’s way. In addition, it is vitally important to keep receipts for the tow service, medical bills, or doctors’ prescriptions in order to document the financial costs you have incurred as a result of the accident. The simple takeaway: keep a record of everything pertaining to the accident.

Exchanging information

Drivers are required by law to exchange their names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance policy particulars, driving licenses, and license plate numbers. If possible, discreetly make sure that the particulars of the other driver’s documents are consistent.

If the other driver becomes argumentative or hostile, and refuses to share his or her details, it could be an attempt to conceal some illegal behaviour. The driver may be uninsured, driving without a valid driver’s license, may be intoxicated, or may be involved in some other criminal activity. If you suspect that the driver is attempting to conceal something illegal, maintain your distance and report the accident immediately to the police.

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Get in touch with your Personal Injury Lawyer

Get in touch with your personal injury lawyer to obtain help and guidance in filing an insurance claim that accurately reflects the circumstances and events associated with the accident, and seek advice on making legal claims that will compensate you adequately for your injuries and any property damage you have sustained.

Although the steps outlined above may seem obvious, they may seem less so if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident—with all of the attendant anxiety, stress, and shock that you may experience. You can take a print-out of this page for your information if you want. Following these steps will make sure you set the stage for a successful claim.

At Pace Law Firm, a reputed Toronto car accident lawyer, we help to ensure that your insurer accurately attributes fault for the accident, and the claims adjuster files your claim under the correct Fault Determination Rules. Call us now to understand how we can assist you in receiving the medical treatment you require and to which you are entitled, while also advocating on your behalf to maximize your compensation.

Can we count on your vote for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s Top 10 Personal Injury Firms?

Voting is now open for Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s 2019 Top 10 Personal Injury Firms.

Voting ends on February 25th, 2019 and the Pace Law Firm is humbled to be again nominated for this recognition and honour.
We would greatly appreciate your support and endorsement in the personal injury category.

Time commitment:
This anonymous survey takes ONLY 2 MINUTES to complete

Voter eligibility:
The survey is open to all members of the community (not just lawyers)

Where to vote:
Use this link to put us in the Top 10 category.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TopBoutiquesPIAC2019

How to vote:
1) Provide your firm or organization name
2) Provide your location (nearest town/city/province)
3) Provide your year of call or years of service in your profession
4) Select minimum of 5 law firms for the vote to be counted
5) (Optional) – Add any additional comments
Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the survey.

Our most sincere appreciation for your support and confirmation of the important work we
do every day in the field of personal injury law. Helping the victims, and their loved ones,
navigate the financial and legal outcomes of their injuries is to us – PERSONAL.

Should you have any questions regarding the survey, contact Patrick Rocca, General
Manager at PRocca@pacelawfirm.com

Sincerely,
Pace Law Firm