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Mississauga Personal Injury Law Blog

What is a tort claim, and what does it involve?

Anyone in Ontario can pursue a civil lawsuit against a person or entity that caused him or her injuries. Such a claim is known as a personal injury, or tort claim. It requires the victim, or plaintiff, to prove to the court that the defendant was negligent and at least partially at fault for causing the car accident or another incident that led to personal injury. Tort claims are typically filed in provincial court.

Ontario seeks to prevent fatal distracted driving car accidents

Road safety authorities in Ontario recently announced one of the New Year's resolutions for the province -- putting a stop to texting while driving. Distracted riving is reportedly the primary cause of fatal car accidents in Ontario. Law enforcement authorities intend to stop this trend by adopting an approach similar to the steps they took to significantly reduce drinking and driving fatalities in the province.

Disability claims: CPP benefits can restart if disability returns

Ontario victims of debilitating injuries or illnesses who miss time from the job might improve sufficiently to return to work. If Canada Pension Plan disability benefits were stopped upon the person's return to his or her job, and the disability reappears, there is an option to reactivate disability claims. The same CPP benefits can be obtained if the same disability starts again, but a new application for benefits will have to be filed if it is a different debilitating condition.

Although the number of times the CPP benefits can be restarted is unlimited, specific criteria must be met. The period since the person's return to work and stoppage of benefits must not exceed two years, and continued working is impossible due to the return of the previous disability or the development of a related handicap. The person must be under the age of 65 and not a recipient of CPP retirement pension benefits.

Built playgrounds: Minefields of potential child injuries

The safety of property in Ontario is the responsibility of the owners or occupiers. They are obliged to ensure that their premises are reasonably free of hazards or dangers that could cause harm to others. Business establishments, private homeowners and even municipal governments have such obligations. While slip-and-fall incidents make up a significant number of civil claims against property owners every year, other hazards could cause serious injuries.

Built playgrounds are examples of potentially hazardous areas at which equipment such as climbing bars, swings and slides all pose risks to children. Surfaces below the playground equipment should be covered with sand, wood chips, pea gravel, rubber mats or any other soft material instead of grass, gravel or dirt. All the equipment must be fitted with railings or other barriers to prevent children from falling, and they must have secure handrails.

Cannabis impaired truckers can cause catastrophic car accidents

With the legalization of recreational use of cannabis in Ontario and the rest of Canada, lawmakers are extremely busy with modifying existing laws and drafting new laws to govern marijuana use. The authorities in charge of road safety are making haste with new legislation to control marijuana-impaired driving. Many rules are still evolving, but commercial truck drivers already face more stringent tests to prevent increased numbers of car accidents involving big rigs.

Although the federal government has set testing standards, police authority guidelines, and limits for criminal penalties and charges, Ontario has set additional limits for truckers in the province, including a zero-tolerance rule for cannabis impairment. Authorities say commercial trucks are seen as workplaces where neither alcohol nor marijuana is allowed. Although related laws are still evolving, lawmakers want to strengthen the rights of roadside officers.

Hosts could be liable for injuries caused by intoxicated guests

'Tis the time to be jolly, and alcohol is served at almost every social gathering in Ontario. Hosts and servers could land themselves in a lot of trouble if they allow a guest to overindulge and that person then causes injuries to someone else -- even after his or her departure. A host would be wise to keep a close eye on guests to not serve them past the point of intoxication to avoid being held liable in a premises liability lawsuit.

Hosts might avoid such charges if they get to know which of the guests are the designated drivers and make sure that non-alcoholic beverages are available for those individuals. Making sure that guests get something to eat, and serving tea, coffee, water or other non-alcoholic drinks for an hour or so before guests start to depart might be a good idea. However, there will likely always be someone who does not know his or her limits, and having an extra bedroom ready or cash to pay for a cab might be smart.

Drug impairment more prevalent than alcohol in car accidents

The fact that cannabis use is no longer against the law in Ontario does not remove the dangers that come along with its use by operators of motor vehicles. Safety authorities say positive drug tests exceed the number of positive alcohol tests in deceased victims of car accidents. Although no roadside test for drug impairment exists currently, Drug Recognition Experts and specially trained police officers can detect it -- with potentially dire consequences for the driver.

Parents are advised to communicate with their teenagers to prepare them for the dangers of driving while impaired. The effects of cannabis on people vary, depending on the quantity consumed and whether it was ingested, inhaled or smoked. The level of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) can make a difference in the effect it has on the user, and this also applies to medical marijuana. Due to these variables, there is nothing to determine the amount of cannabis that can be consumed before becoming impaired.

Can you recover damages after suffering slip-and-fall injuries?

Property owners in Ontario have a duty to take reasonable care to keep their properties safe. Consumers visiting stores and couriers, repair technicians, delivery persons and babysitters visiting private residences must be protected from suffering injuries in slip-and-fall or other accidents. Property owners who fail to take due care might be held liable for damages.

Areas that could pose dangers include walkways, driveways and stairs, and many more hazards need attention during the winter months. Walkways must be free of accumulated snow and ice, with particular attention to surface gaps or cracks and elevation changes. Wet floors and tiling also pose slip hazards that must be addressed, and wet, slippery fall leaves can be equally hazardous. Inadequately lit areas might also be dangerous.

Prepare for winter driving to prevent car accidents

This time of the year is known to see countless numbers of drivers who are adversely affected by the winter weather and all the challenges it poses. In anticipation, the Canada Safety Council uses the first week of December -- National Safe Driving Week -- as an opportunity to remind drivers in Ontario and other provinces about the precautions they can take to avoid car accidents this winter. The first step might be to have vehicles serviced by having tune-ups and oil changes done before taking to the roads.

Drivers should also consider putting snow tires on their vehicles, and safety authorities advise fitting them sooner rather than later. According to studies, braking on icy and slippery conditions with snow tires require 25 per cent less space. The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada reports a significant increase in the number of vehicles with snow tires currently, compared to those shown in a 2014 study. Having a well-stocked emergency kit in the car is also a good idea, containing a flashlight, non-perishable food, a charged phone, water, blanket, shovel, jumper cables, candles, matches and more.

Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians Are Often Catastrophic

With early cold and snow in Ontario this year, motorists and pedestrians must be sure to take extra care. Car accidents are more prevalent in adverse weather conditions, and when there are pedestrians involved, the outcome is often tragic. While people of all ages are at risk when they have to get around on foot, seniors are typically more vulnerable and at an increased risk of being struck by cars.

Sidewalks and roadways are slippery, and snowstorms along with the limited daylight hours exacerbate the dangers. It might be wise to avoid walking in conditions of limited visibility and always to wear bright or reflective clothing when taking a walk. Footwear with well-maintained, non-slip soles is essential, and a walking stick to help maintain balance might be a good idea. Carrying too many parcels can compromise a pedestrian's balance on treacherous walking surfaces.

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