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Mississauga Personal Injury Law Blog

Slips and falls on Ontario sidewalks -- who is liable?

City bylaws in Ontario make clearing snow on the sidewalks adjacent to homes the responsibility of property owners. Does this responsibility also make homeowners liable for injuries suffered by victims of slips and falls on the sidewalks? An Ontario Court of Appeals says "No."

There are only two circumstances under which the owners of property adjacent to snowy sidewalks can be held responsible for the injuries of fall victims. If the sidewalk is part of an area occupied by a business, such as a coffee shop or grocery store, the business owner must maintain it and keep it safe for pedestrians. He or she can face premises liability claims if snow accumulation is not cleared within the required period after the snowfall.

Wrongful death claims best navigated by experienced legal counsel

Losing a loved one as the result of negligence of another person is likely one of the most heartbreaking events that any Ontario person can experience. It is not uncommon for surviving family members to experience feelings of frustration and anger after such an avoidable loss and the knowledge that they cannot bring that person back to life. However, they might recover monetary damages by filing and litigating a wrongful death lawsuit in a civil court.

Although it is true that no amount of money can replace a loved one, the unanticipated financial burden might be relieved by taking such legal steps. If you are in such a situation, the prospect of navigating complex legal proceedings could seem overwhelming, especially at such an emotionally difficult time. The personal injury lawyers at Alam Law Office are ready to provide the necessary support and guidance along every step of the way.

Steps taken after car accidents may influence recovery of damages

Being involved in motor vehicle crashes are never anticipated, and victims are often unsure of what to do immediately afterward. When car accidents are caused by the negligence of others, injured victims in Ontario typically have the choice to pursue financial relief. However, the steps they take -- or fail to take -- in the aftermath of the crash may jeopardize their chances of a successful personal injury claim.

Notify the police if there are injuries or if other driver/s appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Remain at the scene. Provide a statement to police and keep a copy. Taking cell phone photos of the scene and the vehicle damage might prove beneficial at a later stage. However, medical treatment is the primary concern -- even if there is no apparent concern, some injuries only become evident after hours or even days.

Disability claims may be rejected for insufficient information

Workers in Ontario may be eligible for retirement pension through the Canada Pension Plan. Employees who contributed to the plan while they were employed will qualify. However, if CPP contributors suffer injuries or medical conditions that prevent them from returning to work, they might be eligible to file disability claims for benefits. Also, the children of benefit recipients or surviving family members of deceased recipients may also apply for benefits.

An employee who is unable to return to work might have questions about proving or motivating his or her disability. The worker can obtain a CPP disability application kit that will ask the necessary information to allow the administrators of the fund to determine eligibility. The questions will cover the cause of the injury or condition and details of the manner in which it affects the applicant.

Mutual respect may limit car accidents involving pedestrians

Both pedestrians and vehicle operators are always at risk of being involved in traffic accidents in Ontario. For this reason, it is the responsibility of all to obey the rules of the road to avoid car accidents. If each group respects the other, there may be fewer injuries and fatalities.

Pedestrians must cross only in marked crosswalks and at traffic lights, and even then it is wise to make sure drivers are aware of them before they step onto the roadway -- making eye contact may be best. Crossing on a red light is tempting fate, and the best practice is to wait for green or the "Walk" sign -- even if there are no approaching vehicles. Making sure there is enough time to complete the crossing might also help to stay safe. Watching for turning vehicles at intersections and driveways could prove to be a life-saving habit.

Pain and suffering may be recoverable after slip-and-fall

Falls are not only common causes of workplace injuries, but slip-and-fall accidents are the subject of numerous civil lawsuits every year. Individuals in Ontario who have to cope with pain and suffering after falling in a public area may find comfort knowing that they may have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner. Monetary damages may be claimed if the accident was caused by the negligence of a property owner, tenant or another occupier of the property.

Hazardous conditions can include snow and ice, wet surfaces from spills, narrow or uneven stairs that lack secure rails, and inadequate lighting. Also, damaged walkways or parking lots and any other unaddressed hazard that may cause someone to slip or trip and fall can lead to liability for the victim's injuries. Furthermore, others can be liable too -- maintenance workers and garden services may even be accused of negligence if they fail to provide a reasonable standard of care.

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.

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