Auger & Hollingsworth

  • We settled in mediation and it worked out really well. I would recommend Auger Hollingsworth to anyone. They were really, really great.

    Cynthia Ferguson, Personal Injury Client
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    Confused about 1-800 law firms? You are not alone!

    Over the past 18 months, an increasing number of mysterious law firms have started to advertise in Ottawa.  You’ve never heard of them, but suddenly they have a fleet (a fleet!!) of OC Transpo buses, billboards and radio ads.  You see those ads and you may well wonder why an Ottawa law firm would be using a 1-800 telephone number.

    The simple answer is that these law firms are not Ottawa firms.  They are from Toronto or southern Ontario.  Many of these firms have no Ottawa presence, apart from the ads.

    Ontario lawyers are allowed to practice all over Ontario.  However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  This is especially true when servicing personal injury clients.

    If you are considering hiring a lawyer from outside Eastern Ontario for your Eastern Ontario accident consider these 3 key facts:

    • Established Ottawa personal injury law firms are very well connected with local rehabilitation teams.  We know the occupational therapists, psychologists, physiotherapist and doctors personally.  We socialize with them.  We support their causes.  Sometimes we train their staff.  You need an Arabic-speaking therapist with a specialty in visual impairment?  We know one.
    • We really do come to you!  When our clients want or need us to come to their homes, we do it.  Every single week Auger Hollingsworth’s lawyers are visiting clients to help gather documents, prepare the case and get and provide updates.  How often are you actually going to see the Toronto lawyers?
    • The vast majority majority of personal injury cases settle without a trial.  But what if yours doesn’t?   How much preparation will you personally get from an out-of-town lawyer?  Will that lawyer meet and interview and prepare all the lay witnesses?  Your family doctor?

    If you want to speak to a local law firm about your Ottawa or Eastern Ontario accident case, call us at 613-233-4529.

     

     

    Preparing to Testify at Discovery

    Most Ontario personal injury lawyers will tell you that in 2015, we are facing an upswing in the number of personal injury cases that are going to trial.   Although the vast majority of accident cases still settle at mediation or at a pre-trial, select cases are being slated, quite early in the process, for trial.

    The increased likelihood of a trial means that your evidence at examination for discovery is even more important than ever.  Examination for discovery is the process after a law suit is started where the opposing lawyer asks you questions under oath outside a courtroom setting.  In the United States (and therefore on T.V.) this process is called “deposition”.

    Clients at Auger Hollingsworth receive extensive preparation to testify for examination for discovery.  For example, clients are given a USB key with an audio recording of tips and information about the examination process.  Clients meet with two lawyers in our office (sometimes more) to review their past medical history,  the issues surrounding the accident, and how their injuries have impacted their lives.  During the preparation sessions, we also practice questions and answers so that our clients are comfortable communicating in a straight forward and clear manner.

    Although we provide as much help to prepare our clients for discovery as we can, there are some simple things that our clients can do on their own to prepare for this important step.

     

    1. Look around your home and property to assess what tasks you did before the accident and how long they took.  Your lawyers have not spent much, if any, time in your home.  We will not be able to prompt you or prepare you about particularities of your pre-accident lifestyle.
    2. Review your personal photos for three or so years before the accident.  Reviewing your activities and  your appearance through photos may make the changes in your life more obvious to you and therefore easier to describe.
    3. Your lawyers will have some medical information about you from before the accident.  However, if you had any major medical issues, surgeries or conditions more than 5-7 years before the accident, bring those to your lawyer’s attention.  Pre-existing conditions or past medical history is usually only damaging if it is concealed and then revealed.  Go back through your personal records to make sure you recall dates for older medical issues.
    4. Look at your c.v. to make sure it is accurate and up to date if you will be relying on it for your work and education history.  It’s never a good idea to embellish your resume but it is certainly not a good idea to use an “enhanced” resume in a law suit.
    5. If you have an unusual work set up, bring this to your lawyer’s attention.  Most of our clients are salaried employees.  If you are on commission, self employed and take a draw, get paid through spouse’s company for income splitting or anything else that is unsual, make sure you have a clear understanding of the details of how it works.  Many discoveries get bogged down when the witness cannot explain how they are paid.

    Examination for Discovery is not a ton of fun.  That’s the truth!  However, the feeling after discovery when you know you have “nailed it” is great.  A great witness at discovery always increases the value of the case, either at settlement or at trial.

    For more information about examination for discovery or your Ontario Personal Injury case, call us at 613 233-4529.

     

    How are damages assessed in an Ontario personal injury case?

    If you have been in an Ontario car accident, you are probably wondering if you should start a legal action and if so, how much your case may be worth.  In most cases, it takes time to assess the damages of a particular case.  As an individual pursues medical treatment and as the details of the case are better understood, it is easier for your lawyer to assess the damages of your case.

     

    Most damages awarded in personal injury cases are called “compensatory” damages.  As the name implies, such damages are financial and are meant to compensate the injured person for any injury or loss they suffered as a result of the accident.  There are a number of different categories of compensatory damages.  The details of your case will determine what kind of damages you may be eligible for.

     

    Compensation for medical treatment is probably the most common kind of damages awarded to an injured individual.  This can include compensation for medical appointments, treatments, etc.  it includes compensation for any medical expenses you have already incurred as well as any future medical costs.

     

    Damages are also often awarded for loss of income.  Depending on their injuries, an individual’s ability to work can be severely affected.  Some people have to stop working for some amount of time after their accident, and this could range from a week to many months or years.  This can also compensation for any future loss of income due to injuries incurred in the accident.

     

    You may also be entitled to damages for pain and suffering.  This category is more vague and is often more difficult to put into financial terms.  These damages, also known as non-pecuniary damages, must meet specific requirements, which involve serious effects of the accident on your life, such as disfigurement or serious permanent impairment.

     

    Compensation for property loss as well as compensation for housekeeping are other kinds of damages you may be eligible for.  Your personal injury lawyer will be able to assess the details of your case and explain to you the kinds of damages you may expect to receive.  While it is good to be aware of the various kinds of damages, nothing replaces experienced legal representation.  If you are wondering what your case may be worth, contact the personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth for a free consultation.

    Call us!  613 233-4529

     

    How is my lawyer calculating my damages claim?

    There are a number of factors that come into play when a personal injury lawyer calculates the damages for a particular accident.  Damages are calculated on a case by case basis and reflect the specific circumstances of the accident in question.  That being said, damages for injury cases in Ontario are also based on precedent.  This means that your damages claim is determined by what other victims with similar injuries have received in the past.

     

    After studying your case, your injury lawyer will be able to determine the range of damages you may be eligible for.  Precedent dictates the range of damages for a particular accident/injury, and the specific facts of your case will determine where you fall in that range.

     

    Before looking at the precedent relevant to your case, your lawyer will determine if you are eligible for pecuniary damages (economic loss) and/or non-pecuniary damages (pain and suffering).  In doing so, your lawyer will consider any loss of income you may have suffered, any extra cost of housekeeping as a result of your injuries, among other things.  The more evidence you can provide of any financial loss or pain you have incurred as a result of the accident, the better your chances are of having a successful damages claim.  Any information you can provide regarding how the accident has negatively impacted your life will help your case.

     

    One final, but important factor in determining your damages is mitigation.  Mitigation means that an injured person must take reasonable steps to reduce or minimize the loss they suffered due to an accident.  Examples of such measures include attending medical appointments in a reasonable time and following medical advice.  It is important that you demonstrate your efforts to recover from your injuries and to get back to a normal life after your accident.  Failure to mitigate the impact of the accident on your life can negatively impact your damages claim.

     

    The personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth can advise you on how to mitigate your losses and can answer any further questions you may have about calculating the damages for your injury claim.  Call us at 613 233-4529.

    Ontario’s 2015 Budget is Bad for Accident Victims

    Last week the Ontario provincial government released its 2015 budget.  Although it did not get a lot of attention, an entire section of the budget is dedicated to proposed changes to how injured victims are treated after a motor vehicle accident.

    By and large, the news is not good.

    The first proposal is to change the standard benefit level for medical and rehabilitation benefits to $65,000 (from $50,000) and to include attendant care services under this benefit limit.  Although this looks like an increase, it is actually a decrease.  Attendant care services of $36,000 are currently in place for the standard benefit package.  What happened to that $21,000 of coverage?  Gone!

    The second proposal is to include attendant care services with the $1 million medical and rehabilitation benefit for catastrophic impairments.  Again, catastrophically injured victims currently have access to $1 million for EACH of medical rehabilitation and attendant care benefits.   The Premier was asked why Ontario was making this change.  Her answer was that Ontario has very “generous” benefits.   Generous is relative.  If you are a young person with a severe spinal cord injury, you will very quickly learn that $1 million is not very much money.  There was no reason provided to explain why the insurance companies require this change.

    The third proposal is to reduce the standard duration of medical and rehabilitation benefits from 10 years to five years for all claimants except children.    Given the long wait times for MRIs and some types of orthopedic surgeries, there will be some accident victims who will not get proper rehab after their accident because the benefits will expire before they have time to use them.

    The fourth proposal is to eliminate the six-month waiting period for non-earner benefits and limit the duration of non-earner benefits to two years after the accident.  In order to qualify for non-earner benefits, you have to be completely unable to live a normal life.  Only the most injured people qualify for this benefit.  Currently, there is a 6 month waiting period to qualify, but the benefits last until age 65 and then decrease in amount to age 70.  This is a very significant cut that will hurt Ontario’s most vulnerable.  The benefit is currently $185 per week.

    There are other proposed changes that will negatively impact accident victims.  For example, the $30,000 deductible on damages for pain and suffering is going to be indexed to inflation.  That deductible applies to pain and suffering awards under $100,000.  That $100,000 number is also going to be indexed to inflation.  Indexing to inflation seems reasonable.  However, where the dollar figures are to the benefit of accident victims, there is no proposal to index for inflation. For example, the income replacement benefit under the Statutory Accident Benefits has been $400 per week for more than a decade.  The non-earner benefit is $185 per week.   How about a little indexing there?

    Overall, this budget is a kick in the teeth to people who have already been kicked in the teeth!  And really, there is no explanation for why these changes are necessary or assist Ontarians.   The government seems to want to be congratulated  for lowering insurance premiums.  However,  it is no great feat to get a lower price for a lower quality insurance policy.

    Ontarians will be getting less coverage for (maybe, it remains to be seen) lower premiums.  If you want to maintain your level of coverage, you have to pay for upgrades, i.e. pay more for the same.

    Why no uproar?  Primarily because the people who will be negatively impacted by these changes do not know it yet.  These are accidents waiting to happen.

     

    I want to get Canada Pension Plan Disability

    Many of our clients have been denied Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D) upon first application.  This is not surprising since over 60% of initial applications are denied.

    However, with our help, many clients succeed in getting CPP-D benefits by requesting a reconsideration within the timeline specified in the rejection letter.

    What do we do in the reconsideration letter?

    • We look carefully at the specific reasons Service Canada gives for the rejection and we address those reasons directly.
    • We provide a clear explanation of the disabilities suffered by the client, in plain English, and reference the supporting medical records.
    • We explain how with those medical problems, the client does meet the “severe and prolonged” definition in the CPP legislation.
    • We attach all relevant medical records.

    If you have been denied CPP-Disability and would like our law firm’s help to seek a reconsideration, please contact us at 613 233-4529.

     

    What to Expect if You Hire a Disability Insurance lawyer?

    • Your lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth will help you understand the basis for the insurance company’s denial of your claim.  Whether it is short term disability, long term disability, Canada Pension Plan Disability or ODSP, our lawyers can explain, in plain English, why you have been denied.
    • Once we have determined why you have been denied, we can help you decide the right course of action.  Sometimes you need more medical support for your claim.  Sometimes your employer has not sent in the required information.  Sometimes you have missed a deadline or have applied too early.  Regardless of the problem, we will provide you with the advice you need.
    • Depending on the insurance company (or government body), we will give you advice on what to do next.  Sometimes, we will write a letter of appeal on your behalf asking the insurer to reconsider its decision.  Sometimes we will send a detailed medical brief.  Sometimes, there will be no alternative but to start a law suit against the insurance company.
    • If we need to start a law suit to get you the benefits you deserve, we will support you the entire way and prosecute your claim vigorously.   Most disability claim files settle without a trial.  However, if you need a trial to get your benefits, we will take your case to trial.

    Along the way, if you have questions, we’ll have answers.  Every client in our office is assigned three points of contact.  There are at least 3 people who will know your file and be able to answer your questions.

    Want to discuss if Auger Hollingsworth can help you get the disability benefits you need and deserve?  Call 613 233-4529 today.

     

    5 Things You Can DO Today to IMPROVE your accident case

    5 Things you can do today to improve your car accident case

     

    If you have recently been in a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure about what to do.  As Ottawa personal injury lawyers, we have had many clients ask us about what they can do to help their case.  There are five simple ways that you can contribute to the success of your car accident claim.

     

    1. First, whether you have minor or serious injuries, it is important to keep all of your medical appointments.  This may seem obvious, but going to all of your scheduled appointments with doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors, etc. demonstrates that you take your injuries, and your case, seriously.
    2. Secondly, seek all the medical attention necessary, and in doing so, use the maximum of your employment health benefits.  Not only will this give you the maximum benefit of medical care, but it demonstrates your efforts to address your injuries using all of your resources.
    3. It is also important for you to describe your symptoms consistently and accurately.  In order to improve the likelihood of having a successful claim, there must be a record of your all of your symptoms and injuries.  Each detail contributes to an accurate and complete description of the injuries you suffered in the accident.
    4. Just as it is important for you to seek all necessary medical advice, it is also essential that you follow all treatment recommendations.  Only by following the recommendations of your doctors will you begin to heal from your injuries.  It also improves your car accident case if you pursue all treatment options.
    5. Lastly, a good personal injury lawyer can provide important legal advice and guidance.  As experts in the field of car accident claims, the personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth offer invaluable experience to help you make a successful claim.  By following all of these steps, you can be assured that you are doing everything you can to improve your case.

     

    Call Auger Hollingsworth at 613 233-4529!  We will come to you or meet with you at one of our convenient Ottawa locations.

    Making a Claim after an Accident While on Vacation

    The last thing you want is to get injured on vacation.  It happens.  Fairly often, in fact!

    • Injured in the United States?

    Most of the time if you are injured in the U.S., it will not be that difficult to figure out what to do.  In many states there is no shortage of personal injury lawyers who line the highways with billboards.  The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth have many great connections to excellent trustworthy American lawyers.  If you need a referral to a lawyer in any U.S. state, please call us.  We will happily listen to your story and refer you to someone we know and trust.  There will never be a fee for this service.  Call us at 613 233-4529.

    If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in the U.S. and you have car insurance in Ontario, or live with a family member who has car insurance, you should contact an Ontario personal injury lawyer.  Most often,  your own auto  insurance company will be involved in cases involving U.S. car accidents, even if you were not at fault in the accident or were just a passenger, pedestrian or cyclist.  This is true even if your own vehicle was parked in your garage in Ottawa while you had your accident in Nebraska or Idaho. (Okay, probably Florida, we know.)

    For example, you will have access to statutory accident benefits to cover some of your health care costs, lost wages and related expenses.

    You will also likely have access to the Family Protection Endorsement (also known as OPCF 44R).  Many drivers in the U.S. have much lower insurance policy limits that we have in Ontario.   The OPCF 44R will require your own insurance to “top up”  your compensation if the American at fault driver’s insurance is not enough to cover your loss.  Yes, you should have a lawyer for this.  No, it will not affect your insurance rates.

    • Injured Outside Canada and the US?

    Accidents at Caribbean resorts, Mexico or in Central or South American countries present more complicated issues.  You will almost always need a lawyer to navigate the issues if you are looking for compensation.  Questions you need to ask include:

    o   Can I sue for damages in this country?

    o   What can I be compensated for?  Pain and Suffering?  Lost wages? Medical Expenses?

    o   How can I find a lawyer?

    o   Is there a limitation period?  This is very important.  Some countries have VERY short time periods in which to bring a claim.

    Keep in mind that the laws of your host country will apply to any law suit.  You will only be able to recover compensation if the company or person you are suing has assets or insurance.

    Often, it will be unwise to count on being able to sue a foreign person or company for injuries they cause, even if they are actually negligent.  To safeguard your financial well-being before heading out on vacation,  review your disability policies and travel health insurance to make certain that they are valid and adequate to meet your needs.

    If you are renting a car or other motorized vehicle outside of Canada and the U.S. make sure you purchase insurance.  Find out if the insurance offers protection to you in the event of an accident in the form of accident benefits, uninsured motorist or unidentified motorist coverage.

    • Can I sue in Ontario for Injuries Suffered Abroad?

    The Supreme Court of Canada actually looked at this issue in April 2012 in a decision called Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda.   The case involved two separate (unrelated) accidents in Cuba.  In one case the vacationer was very seriously injured.  In the other case the vacationer was killed.

    The Court ruled that the injured person (or his family) could sue in Ontario if one of the following factors existed:
    • The vacation company was established in Ontario
    • The vacation company was doing business in Ontario
    • The injury happened in Ontario
    • A contract connected with the dispute was made in Ontario.

    Practically speaking, if you use an Ontario travel agent and / or an Ontario tour company, you are more likely to satisfy this test.  Being able to sue in Ontario is a very significant advantage when compared to having to travel to the foreign country (while injured or grieving) to litigate.  This is particularly true where there are language and cultural barriers.

     

    If you want more information about your rights after an accident while you were on vacation, call us at 613 233-4529.

    Getting Health Care after An Accident Out of Ontario

    It’s almost March Break!  After the winter we’ve had, who wouldn’t want to get out of dodge and onto some sunny tropical island.  It is time for vacation.   The living is easy….until…uh oh… you have had an accident while on vacation outside Ontario.

    • Get Appropriate Medical Care

    Naturally, you will want to get medical care immediately.  Do you have proper travel health insurance?  The Government of Ontario warns Ontario residents that there is “very limited” coverage for out of country health care.

    OHIP does not pay for out of country ambulance services, transportation costs or drugs or prescriptions.

    • Hopefully, You were Vigilant About What Travel Insurance You Selected

    Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the travel health insurance you have purchased.  In particular, be aware of the effect of any pre-existing health conditions on your coverage.  For example, if you have a pre-existing health condition that requires medical care while you are out of Ontario, you may have trouble securing coverage if the policy you purchased excludes pre-existing conditions.

    Coverage varies a lot from between different insurers.  Different insurers may also have different levels of coverage.  Spend some time investigating what you need before selecting your travel insurer.

    Finally, injuries from some high risk or extreme sports may not be covered in your travel health insurance.  Check the fine print before you get on that zip line.

    • Can’t Find Appropriate Medical Care?

    If you have difficulty finding appropriate medical care, the Canadian embassy, consulate or High Commission can help.   They can provide you with information about medical care in the area, help you arrange for a medical evacuation, help you contact your family, etc.  However, they cannot pay for your medical care.

    If you have had an accident while on vacation out of Ontario, claiming compensation is tricky and almost always will require the assistance of a lawyer to help you figure out where to claim and against whom.  The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth would be pleased to assist you at this difficult time.  Call us today at 613 -233-4529.

     

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  • Auger Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers representing injured people in Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Perth, Cornwall, Kingston, Renfrew, Lanark, Pembroke, Petawawa and Hawksbury, Toronto, Peterboroght, L'Orignal. Note: This Website Provides Information but not legal advice. Contact a lawyer for legal advice about your case. Every case is different.
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