Bad News for Accident Victims if Police Don’t Attend the Scene

News reports on Saturday suggest that the Ottawa Police Service is planning to reduce its attendance at motor vehicle accident scenes in order to reduce police costs in this area.  The plan is, apparently, to have people attend a collision reporting centre.

If this plan solidifies, it will be of vital importance that accident victims be very careful to document the location of the vehicles and how the accident happened with cameras and witness statements.  Currently, there is often little dispute about liability (who is at fault for the accident) because the police document what occurred, speak to by standers and generally invetigate the scene as required.  Without police attendance, there will be a lot more reliance on the honour system.

Remember that if you are injured after a motor vehicle accident, you can still call the police, even if the injuries are or seem to be “minor”.  What seems minor at the time, may become much worse over the hours or days that follow.

We believe that injured accidence victims will lose out on fair compensation if the police are not called to the scene.

For more information about your rights after a motor vehicle accident in Ottawa, call us at 613 233-4529.

Ottawa lawyer: Why do I have to sign so many authorizations?

When new Ottawa personal injury clients sign up with Auger Hollingsworth, they are usually asked to sign a large number of authorizations.  Many new clients wonder why we need so many authorizations that are identical or very similar.

Authorizations are the documents that give your lawyer permission to contact third parties on your behalf.

We get you to sign an OHIP authorization.  This allows us to obtain your OHIP decoded summary.  Your OHIP decoded summary lists all of the OHIP covered services you have received in the past 7 years.

Any doctor you have seen, or any other medical clinic, requires an authorization before they will release your records to us.

We need of the original authorizations back  as no photocopies are accepted by doctors or hospitals.  You would be amazed at how many medical people swipe your OHIP numbers over 7 years.  We need to request the records from all of them.  That is why we need so many forms.

Immediately after we open your file, we request the following records that require a general authorization:

-all tax returns

-any social services history (Ontario Works / ODSP)

-your employment records

-your CPP contributions

-the complete police file or municipal file or whatever investigation file we think might exist

If we want to engage an expert to help us do something, we need to send them an authorization.

If we want to speak to an insurer on your behalf, they sometimes require an authorization.

It does not take long for the number of general authorizations we use to add up.   Those are some examples.

If you are wondering if an Ottawa personal injury lawyer can help you with your personal injury claim, call our office today at 613 233-4539.

 

WSIAT Tribunal Preserves Car Accident Victim’s Right to Sue

The Workplace Safety Insurance Appeals Tribunal released a 29-page decision today preserving our client’s right to sue for damages for compensation following a single vehicle accident where she was the passenger.  Our client had advanced a claim for compensation.  In addition to defending the claim, the insurance company for the at fault driver tried to have her right to sue removed on the basis that she should receive WSIB benefits, not damages.

The issue before the Tribunal was whether the injured passenger was an employee of the driver.  The Tribunal decided that she was not an employee and as a result, she was free to sue the at fault driver.

In most cases, a person who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario can still sue for pain and suffering and other injuries, even if the accident happened while he or she was working.  However, there are some exceptions.  If you are the employee of the at-fault driver in some cases you can lose your right to sue.  In that situation, you would likely be covered by WSIB.

If you have questions about whether you have the right to sue after a motor vehicle accident that happened while you were on the job, contact an Ottawa personal injury lawyer at 613 233-4529.  We’d be happy to  look at this issue for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Coroner Releases Report on Ontario Bicycle Accident Deaths

The Coroner released a report on Ontario bicycle accident deaths from 2006 to 2010.    In particular, the report reviews 129 bicycle deaths during this time period.

In addition,   the report notes that “in 2009, over 26,000 people in Ontario visited an Emergency Department for treatment of an injury sustained while cycling. Undoubtedly, countless more were injured but did not require medical treatment. Each of these injuries represents a potential fatality – an incident where, had the situation unfolded slightly differently, a death might have occurred.”

These numbers are staggering,  but not surprising given what we see in our practice.  Here are some of the fascinating conclusions the Coroner’s office drew from rthe eview, along with our comments:

 

  • 86% (111 of 129) of those killed while cycling were male.  This was surprising only because in our practice the number of female cyclists injured is approximately equal to the number of male cyclists.
  • Approximately two-thirds (84 of 129; 65%), of fatal cycling collisions took place in an urban environment, with the other one-third (45 of 129; 35%) occurring in a rural setting.  I suspect this is because serious accidents are more likely at a traffic intersection.
  • The peak age for cycling deaths was 45-54 years; over half of cycling fatalities (66 of 129; 51%) occurred in persons aged 45 and older.  This is different than what we see.  Most of our cycling clients are in their 30’s.
  • Children represented a smaller, but significant, portion of cycling deaths. A total of 19 deaths (15%) occurred in those aged 19 and under; 8 of those (6%) were in children aged 14 or under.  When we have had children injured in a bike accident, their lack of understanding of traffic and traffic signs has often been a factor.
  • Numbers of cycling fatalities in Ontario declined each year from 2006 (41) to 2009 (14), but rose again (to 25) in 2010. We found 2010 to be a high cycling accident year as well.
  • The peak months for cycling fatalities were July, August and September (46%).  When we look at all of the motor vehicle accidents in our practice, not just bicycle accidents, we find that August is the month when the most accidents took place.
  • A total of 96 of the 129 deaths (74%) occurred in the Spring and Summer months.
  • The vast majority of cycling deaths occurred during clear weather, on dry roads, with good visibility.
  • More than half (69 of 129; 53%), of the fatal cycling collisions occurred in daylight conditions.  Given that people are less likely to cycle at night, we think it is pretty scary that almost half of the collisions happened at night.
  • The peak time for fatal collisions (25 of 129; 19%) occurred between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm.
  • Only 27% (35 of 129) of those who died as the result of a cycling collision were wearing a helmet. Despite mandatory legislation, only 44% (7 of 16) of cyclists under the age of 18 who died were wearing a helmet. Those cyclists whose cause of death included a head injury were three times less likely to be wearing a helmet than those who died of other types of injuries.  We know it is controversial but we support mandatory helmet laws.  We still think you should be compensated for someone else’s negligence if you are not wearing one…
  • In cases where the type of cycling activity was known, 63% of fatal collisions occurred during recreational activities, and 31% during commuting. The balance represented sport cycling activities, either solo or in a group setting.
  • In 44 cases, contributing factors on the part of the cyclist alone were identified. In 33 cases, contributing factors on the part of the driver of a vehicle alone were identified. In 48 cases, contributing factors were identified on the part of both the cyclist and the driver. In three cases, the circumstances of the collision were unclear.  Remember that even in cases where the cyclist was partially at fault, an injured cyclist or the family of a cyclist who has died could make a claim for compensation.

To read more about the report, check it out here.

If you are looking for information after a serious cycling accident, contact the Ottawa personal injury lawyers at 613 233-4529.  We will give you free, no obligation information to help you understand your rights after a bicycle accident in Ontario.

Ottawa Lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth Featured in Distinctive Women Magazine

Auger Hollingsworth’s founding lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth was honoured in May to be featured in Distinctive Women Magazine .  Brenda was interviewed for the article earlier this year and was photographed by the very talented Michelle Valberg.

There are many fantastic Ottawa women featured in the magazine.  If you are interested in receiving a copy, please email Brenda directly at [email protected].

Brenda’s favorite line from the article is this one: “Personal injury victims often feel powerless. We can change that.” 

Brenda Hollingsworth, Lawyer

Photo Credit: Michelle Valberg

 

Why do I need an Ottawa personal injury lawyer?

At our law firm we are regularly reminded why it is vitally important to get legal help early after an Ottawa motor vehicle accident.  When you don’t, valuable evidence can be lost or forgotten.

Recently we were preparing our client for examination for discovery.  That is the step in the lawsuit when the other side’s lawyer gets to ask you questions about your accident and injuries.  Our client was intelligent and sophisticated.  However, he had been through so much in the aftermath of the accident, that the precise details of the accident itself had started to slip his mind.

Fortunately, we had interviewed him shortly after the accident and had taken extensive notes about:

  • the route he took before the accident;
  • how he approached the intersection;
  • how long he waited for the light to turn green;
  • what position he was facing as he advanced;
  • whether or not he was drinking coffee at the time of the accident;
  • how long it was between the time he saw the vehicle that struck him and the impact itself;
  • what happened to his body inside the car on impact;
  • where his vehicle stopped;
  • what he did after the accident;
  • who was present at the scene and what they said; and
  • what pain or discomfort he felt at the scene.

These are small details that can make a difference both to liability (ie who was responsible for the crash) and damages (ie the extent of your injuries).  Having a personal injury lawyer record your earliest recollections for you can save a lot of heart ache as time passes and life fills your head with details other than these.

Do yourself a favour.  After a serious accident, have a legal consultation to determine what your options are.  For more info or to contact a personal injury lawyer, call 613 233-4529.