So Many Pedestrian Accidents in Ottawa!

The last few weeks in November have been open season on pedestrians (and a few cyclists) in the Ottawa area.  All impacts between pedestrians and motor vehicles are avoidable.

Steps Drivers Can Take to Avoid Striking Pedestrians

There are obvious “good driving” steps that all motorists should adopt, including:

  • avoiding texting and other distractions;
  • drive for the weather conditions to ensure you have adequate brake time for pedestrians;
  • ensure your windshield is clear of ice and snow so you have a full range of vision;
  • ensure you have working headlights;
  • be patient with pedestrians who may not cross quickly;
  • obey traffic signals.

There are some additional techniques drivers can adopt to avoid pedestrians:

  • use extra caution when passing large trucks or buses in case a pedestrian steps out in front of the large vehicle into your lane of traffic;
  • use extra caution when turning to ensure you are not only looking for oncoming traffic but also pedestrians;
  • NEVER, NEVER wave a pedestrian to jay-walk in front of you. (This is known as the wave of death.  It’s not polite, it’s deadly.)
  • In a school zone or near a park or dense residential area, assume there will be children who could dart out at any moment;
  • make eye contact with pedestrians to ensure you understand their intention;
  • assume that if you see one child crossing, there will be another close behind.  Children travel in packs.

Steps Pedestrians Can Take to Avoid being Struck by a Vehicle

Although in many cases, a pedestrian has the right of way, it still makes sense to walk defensively to ensure your safety:

  • Wear bright or reflective clothing at night or in bad weather;
  • use a clear umbrella so you can see traffic around you;
  • don’t text while crossing the street; and
  • make eye contact with drivers before crossing.

If you supervised children, remind them:

  • To cross the street together;
  • To walk, never run, across the street;
  • Not to chase a ball into the street;
  • To be extra vigilant if they have to step across the street in front of a bus, truck or other obstruction; and
  • To cross at an intersection.

If you have questions about an accident involving a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, please call our office for a free, no pressure consultation.  We can be reached at 613-233-4529.

Protect Yourself After Seeing the Insurance Company’s Assessor

It’s in the news again.

A medical assessor hired by an insurance company is criticized for an unfair and inaccurate report that further victimizes the injured claimant.

How Can I Protect Myself when Being Assessed by the Insurance Company?

There are steps you can take that will improve (but not guarantee) a fair assessment.

  1. Ensure your lawyer vets the doctor / assessor slated to conduct the assessment.  If the doctor has received significant negative judicial commentary, your lawyer should consider requesting (or getting a court order for) a video-taped assessment.  While these requests are not frequently granted, for assessors with a checkered past, it is worth asking.
  2. Make detailed notes of the assessment as soon as it is finished.  Some of our clients will dictate their notes immediately into their smart phone so that they don’t forget.  You will want to document:
    1. The length of time of any interview.
    2. The length of time of any physical assessment.
    3. What you wore for the physical assessment.
    4. What physical tests were conducted.
    5. What, if anything, you said during the physical assessment.
    6. What, if anything the assessor said to you during the assessment.
    7. If you requested a break, or mentioned any pain or other problems you were having during the assessment.
    8. If anyone other than the assessor was present and, if so, what role that person played.

What Do I do if the Assessment if Unfair?

It is important to read the assessment report as soon as your lawyer provides it.  If there are facts (as opposed to opinions) that are incorrect, tell your lawyer immediately.  For example:

  • If the assessor makes a mistake relating to your age, marital or family status;
  • If the assessor makes a significant error relating to the date you were injured;
  • If the assessor mis-describes the event that caused the injury;
  • If the assessor makes errors when describing your past medical history;
  • If the assessor describes physical tests that he / she did not actually conduct.

What Can my Lawyer do if an Assessment is Unfair?

At a trial, your lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine the assessor.  Your lawyer will also have an opportunity to present your own expert’s evidence, as well as the evidence of any treating doctors.  You may also have an opportunity to testify about how the assessment was conducted and what you said.

Before trial, your lawyer may or may not choose to point out the issues with the defence medical assessments.  Sometimes, it is worthwhile to point out the issues if it appears that doing so will assist to achieve a settlement.  Other times, your lawyer may wish to save the problems with the assessment for trial.

Speak to your lawyer about the best approach to handling an unfair assessment.  Together, you can develop a strategy that best meets the goals for your case.

The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth would be very happy to discuss your case with you.  Call us at 613 233-4529.

Will my Personal Injury Case take Years to Complete?

It’s no secret that sometimes personal injury cases take years to resolve, either though settlement or trial.  The reasons some cases take so long are:

  • The value of the case isn’t clear until you have reached maximum medical recovery;
  • There are some benefits that impact the value of your case that you cannot access until 2 years have passed; and
  • Staffing shortages in the Ontario court houses (this is improving).

However, despite what you may hear, some cases resolve within 18 months.

Will My Injury Case Settle Quickly?

Some of Auger Hollingsworth’s injury cases settle within 18 months.  How we make this happen:

  • At Auger Hollingsworth we have a pre-litigation department.  Our pre-litigation department, staffed with lawyers and paralegals, handles all new cases.
  • The pre-litigation department triages all cases to identify any cases which may be able to settle without a law suit.
  • Factors the pre-litigation group consider are:
    • Is the injury discrete with a predictable outcome?
    • Has the client returned to work?
    • Has the client finished treatment?
    • Is it clear how the injury occurred?
  • When all these factors fall in place, the pre-litigation team will discuss a settlement figure with our client.
  • The pre-litigation team will make an offer to settle, usually directly to an adjuster from an insurance company.
  • Negotiations take place.
  • If a satisfactory dollar figure can be reached, the case is resolved with no law suit and no delay.

The pre-litigation team at Auger Hollingsworth settles cases in this fashion every single week.

What if my Injury Case Cannot Settle with the Insurance Adjuster?

Some cases cannot be settled within 18 months.  Why?  Because:

  • The injuries have not resolved or plateaued;
  • The client is still off work and it is uncertain whether he/she will be able to return to work;
  • The client may wish to apply for catastrophic accident benefits;
  • There are liability issues relating to who is at fault for the injuries;  and / or
  • The insurance company does not assess the case for the value that we and the client require.

Where these conditions exist, the case will move from Auger Hollingsworth’s pre-litigation department to the litigation department.  In almost all cases, at this point the lawyers begin the law suit by issuing the claim in the court.

Let the Experienced Lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth Assess Your Injury Case.

If you have been avoiding speaking to a lawyer because you don’t want long drawn out litigation, call us.  We will review your case and give you an honest opinion based on vast experience about how long we think your case will take.  We take calls 24/7 at 613-233-4529.

 

Compensation is Still Available When You Weren’t Wearing Your Seatbelt

Injured in a Motor Vehicle Collision But not Wearing your Seat belt?

If you or a loved one are injured while riding in a car without a seat belt in Ontario, you are still eligible for accident benefits (no fault benefits) and for compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Statutory Accident Benefits Are not Impacted by a SeatBelt Defence

There is NO REDUCTION in accident benefits for failure to wear a seat belt.  You (or your family) are still eligible for death and funeral benefits, medical rehab benefits, income replacement benefits, attendant care and any optional benefits you purchased.  Whether or not you wore your seat belt has NO BEARING on your accident benefits.

Claims Against the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance may be REDUCED but not ELIMINATED by a Seat Belt Defence

If you or a loved one is injured or dies in a motor vehicle collision where the seat belt was not worn, there MAY be a reduction in the amount of compensation.  The amount of the reduction, if any, will be between 5-25% of the total amount awarded.  For example, if the injured person’s compensation has a value of $100,000, the injured person may only receive $75,000 to $95,000.   The Court in Ontario has stated that in most cases and reduction for failing to wear a seatbelt will be closer to 5% than 25%.

The defendant at-fault driver’s insurance company has to prove that the failure to wear a seatbelt actually caused or contributed to the injuries.  The reduction is not automatic, even if the injured person admits he or she did not wear the seatbelt.

Most Claims are Still Worthwhile if No Seat Belt was Worn

If you believe you or your family have a claim after a motor vehicle collision, please call our office at 613-233-4529 or email us at [email protected]  One of our experienced personal injury lawyers will walk you through the process to compensation.

 

 

Auger Hollingsworth Opens Kanata Personal Injury Law Office

November 1, 2017 –  The personal injury law firm of Auger Hollingsworth is thrilled to announce the opening of its 4th law office.  The new personal injury office is located at 737 Silver Seven Road, directly across from the Kanata Costco.  The new location features free on-site parking and a fully accessible facility.   A full-time personal injury lawyer and staff work at the Kanata location to serve you.

Avoid City Traffic

“This office is a perfect place for clients from Kanata, Carleton Place and the Ottawa Valley (Calabogie, Renfrew, Cobden and Pembroke) to meet with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers,” notes lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth.  “Clients west of Ottawa often want to avoid driving through city traffic to visit their lawyer.  This is an ideal solution.”

Meet Where it is Convenient to You

Founding partner Richard Auger notes, “Our decision to run several offices throughout the city is part of our commitment to personal service.  Our lawyers will come to your home if you’d like.  If you’d like to come to us, we’ll make it as convenient as possible.”

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

Auger Hollingsworth Accident & Injury Lawyers is a personal injury law firm representing people injured by motor vehicle collisions, slip and fall, trip and fall and other incidents caused by someone else’s negligence.  If you would like help following an injury, contact us at 613 233-4529.