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Mississauga Personal Injury Law Blog

Establishing negligence in a tort claim can be challenging

Ontario residents who have suffered loss or harm due to another person's wrongdoing may not realize that they may have grounds to seek recovery of damages. The victim may file a tort claim in a civil court against the person who is deemed to be financially responsible. However, for any personal injury claim to be successful, the plaintiff must establish negligence on the part of the defendant. It must also be shown that the defendant's negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries.

Every person has a duty of care toward other people to ensure they do not act in a manner that would cause harm to them. To weigh negligence, the court considers whether the accused party had such a duty and, if so, whether it was breached. Negligence can result from intentional or unintentional acts, and a person could even be accused of negligence in failing to take action -- such as neglecting to shovel snow from a sidewalk.

Impatience, gap shooting and other causes of car accidents

While many Ontario drivers may think drunk driving, speeding and texting cause most crashes, other more fundamental drivers' errors are often to blame. While it is true that distracted driving causes many car accidents, it is not only mobile devices that cause distractions. Anything that diverts the attention of the driver can cause a devastating crash in the blink of an eye. It could be attending to a child in the rear seat, admiring the surrounding landscapes and more.

Impatience is the cause of many highway crashes, and drivers who are frustrated if traffic moves too slowly often do what is known as shooting gaps. These drivers dart from one lane to another whenever the slightest gap appears, and they are usually already looking for the next gap. This practice is particularly dangerous when merging into traffic and making left turns. Speeding is another road hazard, particularly in adverse weather conditions. Injuries in high-speed crashes are typically worse than those caused by accidents in which all involved were driving at the posted speed limits.

Car accidents: Doctors to avoid prescribing marijuana to truckers

Following up on our post about commercial truck drivers using marijuana on Aug. 29, 2017 ("Car accidents: How will legalizing marijuana affect road safety?"), trucking authorities are now asking for more oversight. The Canadian Trucking Alliance is concerned about the number of drugs that are prescribed to truck drivers by medical practitioners. CTA warns that truckers in Ontario and other provinces have safety-sensitive jobs as they share their work environments with the public, and drug impairment can lead to devastating car accidents when commercial trucks are involved.

The CTA asked Health Canada again to ensure that the safety policy related to drugs is one of zero tolerance. The safety record of truck drivers is generally thought to be excellent, but there is concern over the imminent legalization of marijuana. CTA believes that greater oversight is necessary to protect society.

Social media activities can jeopardize claims after car accidents

Ontario victims of personal injury in auto crashes are advised to think twice before hitting the "post" button, sharing, liking, accepting friend requests and being tagged on social media. Most people's lives have become public on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. However, personal injury claims after car accidents can be derailed by a single social media post.

Examples include a woman in another province who claimed a substantial amount of money in damages for suffering emotional trauma after two auto accidents. Her claim was rejected by the judge who saw images of her partying with friends, contradicting her claim of social isolation and depression. In another case, a plaintiff's claim for recovery of damages after suffering back, shoulder and neck injuries along with concentration and memory loss was dismissed when social media showed her enjoying St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

What if mental or physical disability claims are denied?

Ontario residents who have suffered debilitating injuries that make it impossible to return to work may need financial assistance to survive. For them, benefits are essential but disability claims can be tough to navigate. Even those individuals with short and long-term disability coverage through their places of work sometimes face resistance.

Disabilities are classified into two main categories -- mental and physical. Mental disabilities include conditions such as depression, which is hard to diagnose and even harder to prove. Depression sufferers find it challenging to get up in the morning, and holding down a full-time job is almost impossible. Many other mental disabilities exist; some people are born with such limitations while others see them develop later in life.

Who will be at fault in autonomous car accidents?

The rapid pace at which autonomous vehicle technology is developing has led to the launch of AVIN -- the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network in Ontario. This will be the site of a demonstration zone in which researchers can perfect their unique technologies, and it will provide them with realistic weather and traffic conditions for testing driverless cars. While all this goes on, the people in the province may have questions about who would be at fault in car accidents involving these vehicles.

After officially opening AVIN earlier this month, Premier Kathleen Wynne said industry and academia in the province are brought together to work on the development of transportation technology for the next generation. Reportedly, over 150 companies are involved in the Ontario autonomous vehicle industry. These organizations employ approximately 10,000 people, and the plan is to grow the industry by increasing post-secondary students in relevant fields by about 25 percent in the next five years.

Car accidents involving pedestrians prevalent in the winter

While fall and winter may be the most beautiful time of the year in Ontario, it is undeniably also the most dangerous time on the roads. Records show a definite increase in car accidents at this time of the year, and many of those involve pedestrians. Pedestrians are often chastised for their mistakes, and a recent proposal may make it illegal for pedestrians to be distracted by mobile phones.

Records apparently show that a significant percentage of auto-pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. In most instances, the right-of-way was that of the pedestrian. Even though most people are likely aware of the increased risk when moving about at this time of the year, life goes on. Most people cannot avoid walking, cycling or driving, and the only advice is to take extra care and be vigilant. Particular attention is necessary during the evening rush hour that happens mostly after dark.

Despite the greatest care, snow and ice will cause car accidents

Ontario winters are known to cause hazardous road conditions. However, car accidents can be prevented by taking a few precautions. Snowstorms in Ontario can be severe, and the best protection might be to stay off the roads during such storms and only drive when it cannot be avoided. It may take longer to reach a destination when travelling in inclement weather, so drivers must make sure they are well rested before taking to the roads.

A vehicle that is in good shape could improve the chances of arriving safely. All fluids must be topped up, and windshield wipers must be in excellent condition. Appropriate snow tires can save lives of the occupants of a car while it can prevent sliding and becoming a hazard to other road users. Compliance with winter tire rules can save lives.

Will techno gadgets cause more distracted driving car accidents?

Safety authorities expressed concern about the fact that automakers install more and more infotainment devices in their vehicles to attract more sales while jeopardizing the safety of motorists. They say it started with built-in navigation systems, which have made driving easier and possibly safer. However, the fact that drivers in Ontario and elsewhere use the devices while driving rather than before driving has created more threats of car accidents due to distractions.

When a research group studied 30 vehicles and 120 drivers -- ages 21 to 36 -- and the levels of visual and cognitive distraction they pose, they made particular mention of the Audi Q7. Insurance authorities regard this car as one of the safest passenger vehicles. However, the car has various voice-based and touch-screen technologies that are challenging to operate while also focusing on driving.

Reduce Distractions While You Drive

The Ontario government recently announced their decision to amend legislation to target distracted drivers. Its main strategy includes harsher penalties and increased fines for accidents that result in death or bodily harm.

In an effort to reduce the types of distractions that can occur while driving, the Canadian Automobile Association has listed a number of ways prepare for a drive before you sit down behind the wheel.

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