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10 Bicycle Laws You Need to Know!

Bicycles are considered vehicles and are therefore subject to Ontario traffic law. Understanding bicycle laws, and thinking of your bicycle as a vehicle will help you to avoid an accident.

Here are some facts you need to know:

  1. Bicycles must stop for red lights and stop signs.
  2. Cyclists must always signal when turning.
  3. Cyclists must stop for school buses, streetcars, pedestrians and crosswalks.
  4. Bicycles must have a white front light and a red rear light half an hour before sunset and after sunrise.
  5. Bikes must have white reflector tape on the front forks and reflective tape on the rear forks.
  6. Your bike must have a bell or a horn as well as at least one brake system on the rear wheel.
  7. Bikes made for one are not allowed to carry passengers. That means no one is allowed to be sitting on your handlebars!
  8. All cyclists under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet. Parents and guardians shall not knowingly permit cyclists under 16 to ride without a helmet.
  9. You must be able to have both hands on your handlebars. This means no carrying purses, packages or groceries if they prevent you from having both hands on your bike.
  10. You’re not allowed to ride your bike on the sidewalk or curb. As a vehicle, you have to make sure to stick to the road or designated cycling paths.

Learn more about my tips for cyclists in my Ask the Expert segment on CTV Ottawa Morning Live with Lianne Liang – “How do I keep my children safe during bicycle season?”

If you were injured as a cyclists, get the information you need to receive the compensation you deserve ordering our book Spinning Out of Control: The Ontario Bicycle Accident Handbook. In this book, learn about safety tips; the legal and insurance issues that surround cycling in Ontario; and how to make an insurance claim if you have been badly injured.

Personal Injury Pro Tip: Get Clear Umbrellas for Your Kids!

It probably comes as no surprise that a high majority of my clients in pedestrian accidents get injured during periods of high rain or snow. The first thing we think about when we see a rainy forecast ahead is reaching for that umbrella, but did you know that the type of umbrella you choose can play a role in your safety?

Whether you are a pedestrian crossing the road, or a driver dashing through the parking lot to get to your vehicle, being able to see the traffic ahead of you can mean the difference between reaching your destination and ending up in the hospital. One key way to avoid this problem is by using any means necessary to increase your visibility.

The type of umbrella you choose may not seem like a big deal, but when you think about it, what is the first thing you do when you go out in the rain? Most likely, you pull your umbrella close to you to cover as much of you as possible. I haven’t seen one person yet keep their umbrella up high for the sake of visibility.

As a personal injury lawyer, I recommend that you seriously consider purchasing clear umbrellas for your family. They are extremely practical when it comes to seeing what is ahead of you and currently quite stylish!

Learn more about my tips for pedestrians in my Ask the Expert segment on CTV Ottawa Morning Live with Lianne Liang – “How Can I Stay Safe as a Pedestrian in Ontario?“

If you were injured as a pedestrian, get the information you need to receive the compensation you deserve ordering our Injured Victim’s Guide to Fair Compensation.

This Ontario Election Ask About Eroding Auto Insurance Coverage

In 2010, the Ontario government made some major changes to auto insurance after caving to pressures from the insurance companies. These changes really hurt accident victims. This Ontario Election make sure to ask your representative what they plan on doing to fix this.

Here’s a rundown of the issue:

The main change that happened in 2010 was the introduction of the Minor Injury Guideline (also known as the MIG). The introduction of the MIG resulted in most insurance coverage for injuries getting reduced from $100,000 for treatment to $3,500. Not only is this a major reduction in coverage, but approximately 75% of all accident victims are stuck in the Minor Injury Guideline! That means that for 75% of victims their $100,000 policy will suddenly be reduced to $3,500.

The even bigger issue is that for most injuries $3,500 will only make a small dent in your treatment costs. Months of physiotherapy, time off work, home care, and other recovery expenses really add up. For almost all injured victims, this means that you can’t get the treatment you need – such as the physiotherapy to recover – because all the treatment money has dried up within the first few months. Even worse, injured victims with serious issues such as fractures and brain injuries often get focused in the Minor Injury Guideline.

Overall, the changes to Ontario system value big corporations over individual injured victims. The insurance industry in Ontario has shown an increase in profits at the expense of those who have paid for their services. When your injured you don’t want to be cheated out of your compensation, and for most people, $3,500 in return doesn’t even cover what you’ve paid into the policy over all these years!

Here are the questions to ask your representative:

Q: Why are politicians so focused on reducing premiums and not at all concerned about how much treatment victims receive?

Q: Are you aware that the 2010 changes – the so-called reforms – resulted in massive profits for insurance companies?

Q: Are you aware that Ontario actually has the worst coverage in the country for these injuries?

Q: Will you support a moratorium on further auto insurance coverage reductions?

Let them know these changes are not okay!

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Ontario

Make Sure They Don’t Happen to You!

Keep safe! As we head into motorcycle season, freshen up on your motorcycle safety to ensure an injury-free summer.
Here are the common causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them:

1. Not Being Seen

One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is not being seen by other vehicles. Avoid blindspots and wear bright clothing where possible.

2.Uneven or Slippery Ground

Because motorcycles have 2 wheels instead of four they are even more susceptible to instability. Avoid going out within an hour of rainfall and always make sure you have excellent tires.

3. Entering a Corner Too Fast

Always take it slow around corners. Entering a corner too fast is very hard to correct while it’s happening.

4. Getting Hit From Behind

While fender benders are common, they are fatal to motorcyclist. To avoid them, motorcyclists should stop to the side rather than the centre of the lane and rapidly flash your break light by tapping a brake lever.

5. Alcohol

Never ever drink alcohol and drive a motorcycle. It is the number one cause of motorcycle accidents.

Want to reduce the risk of a crash? New riders, and those who want a refresher, should take a basic motorcycle driving course such as the one available at Algonquin College. To register call 1-800-565-4723.

Saying you didn’t see a cyclist is no excuse! Motorcycles can do their best to avoid accidents, but it is also the responsibility of cars to watch the road.

To learn more about motorcycle safety and personal injury sign up to receive our free Recovery newsletter. This month is all about motorcycles!

Personal Injury Heroes: Meet your Mental Health Practitioners

After an accident or major injury, your life can be turned upside down. Dramatic changes in activity level, stress, and your ability to perform daily tasks will all take     a toll on your mental health. On your way to recovery, you’ll probably work with different types of mental health practitioners. Here we explain their different roles, and how they will help you reach recovery.

Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in mental health. A psychiatrist prescribes treatments based on medical needs such as medication prescriptions for disorders and referrals to other mental health professionals.

Am I covered in Ontario? Treatments from a psychiatrist are covered under OHIP.

Psychologist

A psychologist evaluates, diagnoses, and treats behaviours and mental processes. Psychologists focus on talking through issues and coming up with strategies. The main difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist is a psychologist’s focus on behaviour.

Am I covered in Ontario? Psychologists are not covered under OHIP but are covered under accident benefits.

Neuropsychologist

A neuropsychologist studies the brain as it relates to behaviour and mental processes. Brain injuries can have an impact on behaviour. A neuropsychologist focuses on cognitive functioning and the psychological role in recovery.

Am I covered in Ontario? Neuropsychologists are not usually covered under OHIP, but are covered under accident benefits.

Get the free Auger Hollingsworth Minding Mental Health Guide today by signing up for our Recovery Newsletter.

Not getting the resources you require to recover, or have questions about an accident you were in? Contact the team at Auger Hollingsworth for a free, no-obligation consultation at 613-233-4529. 

The Risks of Letting Someone Borrow Your Car in Ontario

Letting someone borrow your car can have massive consequences. Before you ever lend out your vehicle, whether to a friend or a family member, it is important to know the full extent of what you are putting at stake.

Insurance Follows the Vehicle

As a rule of thumb, insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. This means that as the owner of the vehicle, you are responsible for who drives your car, and are legally responsible for any negligence.

Regular Drivers

The major issue is if you are letting someone borrow your car on a more regular basis.  If this is the case, then your car insurance company can refuse to cover if they are in an accident and if you didn’t let them know there was another driver on the vehicle. Every single extra driver changes the level of risk. For this reason, if you’re letting someone regularly borrow your car, it’s very important that let your insurance company know. Insurance is not an area where you want to cut costs – it will backfire!

New Drivers

There are many regulations in place to make sure that new drivers (and those on the road with them) stay safe. One of the major issues that we’ve covered on the blog is young drivers and alcohol.

If you suspect that your under-21 or G2 driver will be having any alcohol at all do not let them borrow your car. This of course is the case with drivers of any age and experience level, but be especially careful with young adults. If they have any alcohol at all and are in an accident with your vehicle you are held responsible and it is your insurance coverage that plummets.

Furthermore, if someone is seriously injured and your insurance coverage drops, then your personal assets are suddenly stake.

Overall, here’s what you need to know:

  • Always add regular drivers to your insurance
  • If you suspect someone will be drinking don’t let them borrow your car
  • Let your young adult know the full consequences of their actions
  •  When in doubt, don’t lend it out!

Have questions about an accident? Call a personal injury lawyer such as the team at Auger Hollingsworth at 613-233-4529 or request our book Injured Victim’s Guide to Fair Compensation.

Common Mental Health Conditions After an Accident or Injury

Getting injured in a car accident is a life-changing event that can have a major impact on your mental health. Here are the effects our personal injury clients experience most often.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is an anxiety disorder where someone relives a traumatic or life-threatening event even after it has passed. People who have PTSD generally suffer from anxiety, nightmares and flashbacks. At its worst, even small reminders of the event can cause extreme anxiety. PTSD is often treated with medication for depression and anxiety. Another common treatment is cognitive-behaviour therapy provided by a psychologist.

PTSD affects roughly 1 out of 10 people.

Depression

After an injury it’s normal to not feel like your self, but if you find yourself feeling a deep despair over a longer period of time, ask your doctor about it. People with depression often lose interest in things they would have previously enjoyed. When left untreated, depression can become disabling.

Acquired Brain Injury

An Acquired Brain Injury is a brain injury that has occurred after birth because of a trauma. Acquired brain injuries are not genetic or congenital and are instead a result of an accident or environment.

Symptoms include:

  • Coma
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Language and Speech Impairment
  • Memory Loss and Impairment
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Personality Disorder
  • Loss of Concentration
  • Loss of Problem Solving Skills
  • Perception Problems
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Headaches
  • Blurred Vision
  • Seizures

If you notice any of the symptoms of PTSD, depression, or acquired brain injury in yourself or a loved one, it might be time to ask your doctor about mental health.

Get the free Auger Hollingsworth Minding Mental Health Guide today by signing up for our Recovery Newsletter.

Not getting the resources you require to recover, or have questions about an accident you were in? Contact the team at Auger Hollingsworth for a free, no-obligation consultation at 613-233-4529. 

The Ontario Government is Proposing Legislation that Will Hurt Accident Victims

Let them know this is not okay!

What is being proposed? The Ontario government is planning on lowering the interest rate that insurance companies have to pay on your pain and suffering.

How will this affect me? The proposal will have a huge impact on accident victims. The current interest rates encourage insurers to settle cases in a timely manner. If insurers don’t feel the need to move quickly they will drag the process out. This means that they get to bank the money and accident victims have to wait even longer for their compensation.

Act now – Don’t let this happen!

STEP ONE - Copy Our Template Letter

Dear MPP,

As a citizen in your riding, I am writing to express my concerns with the proposed changes to lower prejudgment interest rates on general damages in motor vehicle accident claims. It is my belief that lowering the interest rate will be a gift to insurance companies at the expense of innocent, injured accident victims.

Prejudgment interest rates currently provide incentive for insurers to settle in a timely manner. With the interest rates lowered, there will be little incentive to deal quickly with claims for pain and suffering. Instead, they will bank the money for as long as possible, and leave injured accident victims without the resources they need to recover. Ultimately, this change would let insurance companies delay justice to innocent accident victims in order to fuel further profit.

As one of your constituents, it is my suggestion that you adopt a firm position against lowering the prejudgment interest rates on general damages in motor vehicle accident claims, and that you make a responsible decision as to whether the proposed changes are in the interest of the citizenry or in the interest of big corporations.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

STEP TWO - Find Your MPP Below

Personalize your email and add in your MPP for your area.

 

District MPP Email  
Ottawa Centre Yasir Naqvi ynaqvi.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org  
Ottawa Orléans Phil McNeely pmcneely.mpp@liberal.ola.org  
Ottawa South John Fraser Jfraser.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org  
Ottawa West Nepean Hon. Bob Chiarelli bchiarelli.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org  
Ottawa Vanier Hon. Madeleine Meilleur mmeilleur.mpp@liberal.ola.org  
Nepean Carleton Lisa MacLeod lisa.macleod@pc.ola.org  
Renfrew Nipissing Pembroke John Yakabuski john.yakabuski@pc.ola.org  
Carleton Mississippi Mills Jack MacLaren jack.maclarenco@pc.ola.org  
Leeds Grenville Steve Clark steve.clark@pc.ola.org  
Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington Randy Hillier randy.hillierco@pc.ola.org  

STEP THREE - Sign your name and send it off!

Personal Injury Heroes: Your Occupational Therapist

Get to Know Your Ontario Personal Injury Medical Team

Over the past two weeks, Auger Hollingsworth has been introducing you to the many people who will be involved in your recovery after an accident. So far, we’ve covered how chiropractors and physiotherapists can play a role in your recovery. In this segment we’ll be discussing the role of the occupational therapist.

What does an occupational therapist do?

An occupational therapist, also known as an OT, helps people get back to their daily life. After an injury or accident, occupational therapists focus on adapting your environment, modifying tasks, and teaching you strategies on dealing with your injuries.

What can an occupational therapist do for my injuries?

An occupational therapist  looks at all aspects of your life, but here are a few examples of what they may help you with:How to approach tasks such as cooking, cleaning and bathing

  • How to break down tasks into achievable components
  • How to make changes to your home or job environment
  • What equipment you can use to help you with daily life

Is occupational therapy covered by OHIP?

Occupational therapy is not covered by OHIP, but is covered by accident benefits and many insurance providers will cover the cost. Contact your work or private insurance to see if an occupational therapist is covered under your plan.

Not getting the resources you need to recover from your injuries? Contact the personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth at 613-233-4529 and get a free, no-obligation consultation.

Personal Injury Heroes: Your Physiotherapist

Get to Know Your Ontario Personal Injury Medical Team

In this series on personal injury heroes, we’re introducing you to the many people who will be involved in your recovery. Last week we covered how chiropractors can help you with your injuries after an accident. This week we’ll be discussing the role of the physiotherapist.

What does a physiotherapist do?

Physiotherapists treat injuries and strains through rehabilitation exercises. A physiotherapist will examine and assess your range of motion, and then come up with a personalized exercise program to improve your strength and flexibility.

What can a physiotherapist do for injuries?

Physiotherapists are primarily concerned with injuries and rehabilitation. While a chiropractor focuses on manually adjusting the spine, a physiotherapist develops exercises that you can work on to increase your range of motion. Both of these practitioners work on the musculoskeletal system, and can work together to come up with the best solution for your injuries.

Ask your family doctor about visiting a physiotherapist if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Strains and sprains
  • Limited movement

Is physiotherapy covered by OHIP?

OHIP has updated its regulations on physiotherapy funding. Patients may be eligible for publicly funded clinic-based physiotherapy if they have a doctor’s referral and are:

  • Seniors aged 65 and older
  • 19 years of age and under
  • Any age if discharged from hospital after an overnight stay for a condition requiring physiotherapy
  • Recipients of Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program

If you are in an accident, chiropractic care is covered under Accident Benefits Coverage. You may also be covered for physiotherapy through your work or third party insurance provider, so make sure to double check with these groups before paying out of your own pocket.

Not getting the resources you need to recover from your injuries? Contact the personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth at 613-233-4529 and get a free, no-obligation consultation.

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