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Mississauga Personal Injury Law Blog

Long term disability: Eligibility for CPP children's benefits

For many people in Ontario who are living with a disability, their lives are constant struggles to do things that others do without even giving it a thought. Any parent with a long term disability has the additional burden of providing for a child. Fortunately, the Canada Pension Plan provides benefits to dependent children of CPP contributors who are disabled or deceased.

CPP pays the benefits to children under the age of 18 and coverage could continue until age 25. Those who are between ages 18 and 25 must attach to the initial application a declaration form to confirm enrolment for full-time studies at a CPP-recognized facility. These forms must also be submitted to CPP at the beginning of each school year or semester when applicable, upon return to the school after a period of absence, or in cases in which school attendance started sometime during the year instead of at the beginning of the traditional school year.  

Car accidents and snowy Ontario roads go hand in hand

It is time again to prepare for safe winter driving. Many car accidents during the winter months occur when drivers do not adjust their speed according to road and weather conditions. Proper planning that includes allowing extra time to reach a destination might prevent collisions. Carrying the necessary emergency supplies in the car and checking the weather forecast will also be smart.

When navigating the Ontario roads this winter, it will be crucial to remain alert and avoid distractions. A driver who loses focus for seconds to check a cell phone could fail to notice a reflection on the road that could have warned him or her of an ice patch. Steering gently through curves and where the roadway is slippery is essential, and increasing normal following distances will be wise.

Will cannabis legalization lead to more car accidents?

Residents of Ontario are anxiously awaiting the imminent legalization of marijuana -- for different reasons. While cannabis users might be thrilled with the prospect, others are considering the impact it will have on road safety. As it is, too many car accidents result from alcohol-impaired driving, and some wonder how many more crashes will be caused by cannabis-impaired drivers.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada recently ordered a survey, which indicated that almost eight in 10 Canadians feared that cannabis impairment would be prevalent among drivers when it becomes legal to use the drug. The poll also revealed that a significant percentage of cannabis users in Canada have driven vehicles after consuming the drug, or were passengers of marijuana-impaired drivers. What is even more concerning is the fact that almost half the pot-using respondents indicated that they had no idea how long to wait after consuming marijuana before it is safe to drive.

Prescription drugs side-effects cause many car accidents

Motorists in Ontario will always be at risk of falling victim to impaired drivers. While alcohol and drug impairment are typically associated with this hazard on the roadways, medications can also affect the abilities of drivers to operate their vehicles safely. Statistics Canada says seniors use up to five times more prescription drugs than the average Canadian. Safety authorities say the side-effects of prescription drugs and the interaction between different medications pose a significant risk of causing car accidents.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, numerous drugs can affect driving ability. Sleeping pills, tranquilizers and even antihistamines and some other over-the-counter drugs have side effects that are potentially dangerous. Side-effects can include dizziness, drowsiness, memory lapses and confusion as well as difficulty concentrating.

Injuries in motorcycle vs. car accidents could be catastrophic

Whenever automobiles and motorcycles collide in Ontario, the bike riders -- and their passengers -- typically suffer the most severe injuries. With all the modern features that protect motorists in car accidents, crashes with motorcycles, which offer no protection, often cause severe or fatal injuries to the bikers. However, with the effort of both car and bike operators, catastrophes might be prevented.

Motorcycle riders should wear bright or reflective clothing and avoid riding in the blind spots of drivers. Smart bikers use signals to make sure drivers can anticipate their moves, and they do not assume that drivers have seen them without making eye contact. Motorcycle riders and their passengers must wear approved helmets, avoid speeding and riding while impaired. The bike must be approved for carrying passengers.

Accident benefits claim against a hit-and-run driver

Nobody wants to be involved in an automobile crash, but it could be even more traumatic if the at-fault driver fails to stop at the scene. Although law enforcement usually catches up with hit-and-run drivers in Ontario, it could take some time. What are the options for injured victims when it comes to an accident benefits claim while the driver is unidentified?

Fortunately, the government of Ontario makes provision for victims of such accidents to obtain compensation. The victim's insurer will take on the responsibility of the unidentified driver and pay compensation. However, there is a limit to the recoverable amount.

Car accidents: Has defensive driving become aggressive driving?

Some people in Ontario suggest that sleep deprivation and the rushed lives most drivers lead have caused a shift from defensive driving to aggressive driving. More and more car accidents involve some level of road rage and aggression. The increased number of vehicles on the roads is also said to play a role in the tension many drivers experience.

Drivers are reminded that even a hand signal like the proverbial finger or a look that shows agitation can cause a road rage incident. Certain personality types cannot control their tempers, and even the slightest incidents can push them over the edge. These are the people who will stop and attack who they believe is the source of their frustration and aggression.

Harsher penalties for car accidents causing harm to pedestrians

The Ontario Minister of Transportation, John Yakabuski, says irresponsible and unsafe driving continues to injure and kill pedestrians. He says the level of pedestrian vs. car accidents has become critical. For this reason, harsher penalties to ensure safer roads for all came into effect on Sept. 1, and he says these changes will convey a clear message of zero tolerance for dangerous driving.

Ontario drivers must allow pedestrians to cross the entire road at all crossings and only continue driving when pedestrians have reached the other side. This applies to marked crossings and those at which a crossing guard is present. Drivers who do not yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, school crossings and crossovers will also face increased penalties of four demerits and maximum fines of $1,000.

Number of distracted driving car accidents is concerning

Regardless of Ontario drivers' compliance with the rules of the road, they will always be vulnerable to the negligence of distracted drivers. Authorities say the number of fatalities in car accidents caused by distracted driving has doubled since 2000 -- based on 2013 collision data. Despite severe penalties, some drivers continue to text, talk on mobile phones, read or program a GPS, check maps and choose playlists. The rushed lives of many cause some drivers to apply makeup or shave while on their morning commutes to work.

Convictions on distracted driving charges can have severe consequences, not to mention the lives that can be lost. Road safety authorities advise drivers to switch their phones to silent mode before driving or switch it off. Some drivers put their phones in a gag, the glove compartment or the backseat. However, once it rings, many cannot resist answering, and reaching for it in those places is even more distracting than talking on the phone.

Can municipalities be sued after slips and falls on city streets?

Anyone who walks around the streets of cities in Ontario must take reasonable care to prevent slipping or tripping. However, if walking surfaces are hazardous, some of the responsibility to avoid slips and falls is carried by the municipality. Just like the occupiers of private or commercial premises, cities have a duty of care to the public.

Municipalities must ensure that sidewalks or pavements are safe by taking reasonable precautions. However, if a person falls on a pavement that forms a part of the premises of a business, the occupier or person who controls the business might be liable for injuries. The occupier is not necessarily the business owner.

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