Driven to Distraction: Distracted Driving Fine to Increase in Ontario

On March 18th the fine for distracted driving will rise from $155 to $280 in an attempt to make drivers focus on the road.

Typing in a quick text while driving may feel innocent, but the reality is that texting can cause serious damage. According to statistics from the Canadian Automobile Association, cell phone usage is the worst offender when it comes to car accidents. More specifically, texting, or sending text messages, makes it 23 times more likely that you’ll cause a crash, and is even deadlier than drunk driving. The potential severity of distracted driving makes it surprising that the current fine is only $155, but on March 18th that’s all going to change.

Next month we will seen the fine for distracted driving in Ontario rise from $155 to $280. This fine increase of more than $100 will hopefully deter drivers from pulling out their cell phones while on the road, but many argue that a fine is not enough. According to the Globe and Mail, the provincial government is also considering using demerit points in the future in an attempt to get drivers to focus on the road.

To learn more, watch personal injury lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth discuss the impact of distracted driving on CTV Ottawa Morning Live.

Have questions about an accident you were in? Contact the personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth at 613-233-4529 and book a free, no obligation consultation.

10 Steps to Take After an Accident

So your car has just been hit – what do you do next? Keep these 10 steps in mind once you hear that crunch sound.

  1. Stay calm: stop your car in a safe place and turn your flashers on. Take a deep breath.
  2. Don’t apologize: Anything you say can be used against you.
  3. Contact police: If there are injuries, also ask for an ambulance.
  4. Get witnesses: witnesses can be very important if the specifics of an accident are disputed.
  5. Take pictures: If you don’t have a camera with you, keep in mind that most cell phones now have cameras. Take pictures of all sides of the vehicle, close-ups of the damage, people involved including passengers and witnesses, license plates of all vehicles, and the entire accident scene!
  6. Gather information: Write down information on the other driver and their vehicle. This includes getting their license number, contact number, information on their vehicle and their insurance information.
  7. Accident details: Draw a quick sketch of how the accident occurred as well as what areas of each vehicle got damaged. Put in as much detail as possible including traffic lights, stop signs, and lanes.
  8. Get medical attention: Do not delay going to the hospital. Even if you only feel a slight twinge or some soreness, make sure it gets documented.
  9. Call your insurance provider and apply for your no-fault insurance benefits. Tell them you have been in an accident and request the accident benefits application form.
  10. Call a personal injury lawyer such as the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth at 613-233-4529 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We promise to contact you or meet with you within 48 hours, and usually less!

To learn more, watch Brenda Hollingsworth and Richard Auger discuss their new Crash Kit on CTV Ottawa Morning Live. 

Want this 10-step guide so you’ll be prepared after an accident? Sign up for our newsletter to receive our Crash Kit for your glove compartment.

5 Tips for Keeping Safe Inside Your Car

What’s out on the road can be out of our control, but we can maintain maximum safety within our car to help avoid injuries during a car accident . We all know about wearing seat belts, but what else can we do to make sure we’re safe?

Make sure you are wearing your seatbelt correctly

The lower part of the seat belt should sit low and tight across your hips, and should never go across your belly. The shoulder should fit snugly across your chest and shoulder, and not under your arm or across your neck.

Children should be in booster seats

The regulations on booster seats in Ontario say that children should use one if they are under 4 feet, 9 inches tall (1.4 meters) or until they reach the weight and height harness strap limits of their car seat, which is usually between the ages of 8 and 12.

Stay in the back until 12 years old

Did you know that when air bags open they come out at a speed of 160 to 200 kilometers per hour? That is a huge blast that protects adults, but can greatly injure children. Airbags are made for people above a certain size, so when the airbag inflates quickly it forces the child’s head up and back rather than protecting them like it would an adult.

Sit forward at all times

Your seatbelt is made for someone who is sitting straight and facing forward. If you’re in an accident and you’re turned to the side, creating a twist in your spine, this will cause extra strain and increase the risk of potential injury. Sitting straight forward can help mitigate this risk, and will keep the pressure points where they are meant to be!

Calm passengers make for a safe ride

Everyone in the back seat of the car needs to understand that keeping calm and relatively quiet is important for car safety. If people are arguing, yelling or moving around this will distract the driver. Make sure your kids understand that inside the car is quiet time.

To learn more about what you can do inside your car, watch Brenda Hollingsworth discuss car safety on CTV Ottawa Morning Live.

If you have questions about a car accident you were in, contact Auger Hollingsworth for a free, no-obligation consultation at 613-860-4529. We can speak or meet with you within 48 hours, and often sooner!

Game Changer! How a Free Consultation with Auger Hollingsworth Could Transform Your Life Forever

We get asked why we still offer free consultations to accident victims after all these years. Don’t lawyers charge $300-400 per hour?

Here is why we do it. Every month we get a number of calls from accident victims who settled their case on their own and accepted too little compensation.

Why did they do that?

  • They didn’t know what they were entitled to
  • They didn’t understand the value of their case
  • They didn’t know what questions to ask the insurance company
  • And more!

When that money is gone and the pain is still there, the do-it-themselvers want to know if their case can be re-opened. In most instances, the answer is no. Settled is settled is settled.

By offering free consultations we help people to avoid this problem. We avoid having to deliver the bad news that they are stuck with the bad deal.

Have the consultation! In just a single hour you can avoid most of the accident victim pitfalls, even if you never hire a lawyer!

Change the game. Call Auger Hollingsworth today at 613-233-4529. Book your free consultation this week with a leading Ottawa personal injury lawyer.

6 Ways to Stay Safe While Playing Sports

Playing sports is a great way to stay fit and have fun. Make sure your exercise routine stays that way by preventing injuries before they happen.

Warm up

Before you begin the game, start off with a good stretch. Stretching will help increase blood flow and get your muscles ready to work.

Don’t play when injured

Playing when injured often makes your injury worse. Most players know not to play when injured, but issues occur when a player thinks they are fully healed and ready to go when actually they are still recovering. When in doubt, wait an extra week or so before getting back in the game.

Wear protective gear

In certain sports, wearing a helmet or protective gear is an obvious move. Above that, when you wear a helmet make sure it is the right size, and the right type for the sport you are playing. Ski helmets won’t work as well as bike helmets if you’re biking, and vice versa. Wearing the proper helmet will help avoid head injuries.

Know your ability level

In many downhill sports, injuries occur when participants go way above their ability level. When first starting a sport, begin with baby steps. Losing control on the hills poses the risk of you getting hurt, as well as the possibility of hurting others if there is a collision.

Get enough rest

When we’re tired, our minds drift and we lose our ability to stay alert. With sports that involve control such as skiing and snowboarding, a lack of alertness can cause serious injuries and accidents.

Get concussions cleared by your doctor

Concussions are more common in sports with lots of physical contact. If you think you’ve had a concussion, you should never get back on the field until you have been cleared by a doctor. Suffering from a concussion increases your risk of doing so again.

With all sports injuries, going to see your doctor is the best first step. In the meantime, keep the acronym RICE in mind for all injuries.

Rest the injured part
Ice the injury
Compress the injured part with a bandage
Elevate the injured part with a pillow

Have questions about personal injury? Request our free book The Injured Victims Guide to Fair Compensation or call our personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth at 613-860-4529.

Double Whammy! What are the Implications of Double Accidents in Ontario?

One accident is bad enough, but imagine having two accidents in a row! Back-to-back accidents are unfortunately common. Often what occurs is you have one car accident, and while your lawsuit is progressing you have another.

To make matters worse, the law is not very generous to people who have had double accidents. Even though you may have not have caused either accident, there is still a negative impact on how much you will be compensated.

Double the Accidents; Double the Deductible

When you are in an accident your insurance has a $30,000 deductible if your pain and suffering is deemed worth less than $100,000, which is quite often the case. This means that if your pain is worth $99,999, now you are down to $69,999.

When you have a double accident everything doubles. So your pain might double, but it also means you have double the deductible. Instead of getting $69,999, now when the $30,000 deductible is doubled to $60,000 you end up getting $39,999.

Ultimately, this means that double-accident victims are getting penalized even though they may not have been the at-fault driver. Luckily, this can be negotiated in a settlement situation. Also, if the second accident is minor and only causes a flair-up make sure to tell your lawyer about it.

To learn more about double accidents, watch Brenda Hollingworth discuss what occurs when you have two accidents in a row on CTV Morning Live.

If you’ve been injured in an accident get the help and advice you deserve with a free, no-obligation consultation with an Auger Hollingsworth personal injury lawyer at 613-233-4529. We’ll get back to you within 48 hours, and usually sooner!

Young and Reckless – What you need to know before letting your young adult borrow your car in Ontario

Part of learning how to drive is using a car without your parents looking over your shoulder. Letting your young adult borrow your car is fine as long as you ensure that they know and understand the full extent of the consequences.

Here’s what you need to know

If you are the owner of a vehicle that you are going to loan to someone who is under 21 or has a g2, you have to be absolutely certain that they won’t have a drop of alcohol in their system.


Besides the obvious reasons for not driving impaired, if you are the owner of the vehicle you are held responsible. If there is alcohol in the system of an under 21 or g2 driver, and they are in an accident, your insurance plummets.

When alcohol is found in their system your insurance goes from $1 million (or $2 million depending on your policy) and moves down to $200,000. You might think $200,000 is still a lot of money, but if someone is seriously injured that amount will not go far.

What does this mean?

When the $200,000 of insurance runs out, then they will start going after your assets. So say goodbye to your retirement fund, and any other assets that will be left open for the taking.

What should I do?

As with most things, when it comes to letting your young adult borrow your car knowledge is power. Make sure they understand the responsibilities and consequences that come with driving. Most young adults won’t equate one beer with their parents retirement fund disappearing, but it’s important that they understand what could happen so that they can make better decisions. The implications are very serious. When in doubt, consider not letting them borrow your car.

To learn more about the implications on car insurance, watch Brenda Hollingsworth discuss Ontario’s laws around drinking and driving on CTV Ottawa Morning Live.

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.

Crack the Compensation Code: Get the Answers You Need After Your Slip and Fall Accident

If you’ve been hurt after a slip and fall on someone else’s property, you are probably wondering:

  • Who do I contact to get compensation?
  • Do I sign the forms the insurance company is sending me?
  • How do I get money to pay for physiotherapy or other rehabilitation?
  • Who will pay for my lost wages?

Meeting with an experience personal injury lawyer can help you answer these important questions.
If you want to relax and stop worrying, let the personal injury law team at Auger Hollingsworth:

  • Explain your rights
  • Deal with the insurance companies, property owners and municipalities
  • Gather the evidence needed
  • Negotiate a settlement or prosecute your claim to get a judgment for money

If you want help to crack the compensation code call our lawyers at 613-233-4529.

We’ll meet you within 48 hours guaranteed ⎯ usually sooner ⎯ for a no cost, no obligation consultation.

How Do I Deal with Personal Injury Abroad?

With university reading week coming up, and March break just around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to return to a vacation question Brenda received on CTV Ottawa Morning Live.

Question: “I suffered an injury while on vacation in Mexico, and have been getting surgeries ever since. What can I do?”

Answer: When you get hurt abroad things tend to become complicated. First of all, law is designated by jurisdiction so you would need to get in contact with a lawyer from the country you were visiting as soon as possible.

Alternatively, if a Canadian tour group is organizing your trip, then you should contact them to see what insurance options you may have signed up for.

If you get hurt abroad, one of the biggest mistakes is not getting in touch with a lawyer. If you settle before you know the extent of your injuries, then you will not get all of the resources you deserve.

Pro Tip: It’s always easier to plan ahead. Before you ever go on your trip, ask your travel agent or tour group about your insurance options. Where possible, you want to make sure you’re covered in case of any accidents or emergencies.

Learn more by watching Brenda discuss personal injury abroad on CTV Morning Live.

Can My Facebook Page Hurt My Claim in Ontario? A Guide to Facebook’s Updated Privacy Settings

The use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites has increased dramatically over the past few years. In response, injured victims involved in a claim or lawsuit should be more aware than ever that what they post could have a major impact on the case and final settlement.

Recently, Facebook has made changes to how they organize your privacy settings. Most of the changes are great, as they allow you to choose the privacy settings for each post you make. Unfortunately, if you don’t know about the changes you might accidentally be over-sharing.

Here’s what you need to know:

1) Each post has individual privacy settings

You may have one general privacy setting, but make sure your posts are following suit. When you post information, you have the option to set the privacy settings for that individual post. Double-check each time to make sure you aren’t allowing the whole world to view your content. To retroactively set all your information to Friends Only, click here.

2) Whoever posts the content owns the content

On Facebook, the person who posts the content owns the content, and this goes for privacy settings too. So, for example, if you were tagged in a picture, and didn’t like it, untagging yourself is not enough. In the same vein, when someone posts a picture of you and it shows up on your wall, hiding it from your wall is not enough. The privacy settings for that photo are in someone else’s hands. If you don’t want it online, you must ask your friend to remove it, and if that doesn’t work you can report it. This may seem extreme, but it’s important not to get blindsided. A photo of you does not mean you own the privacy.

3) Nothing online is private

Even if you only share something among friends, you never know who they are sharing it with. It’s so easy for someone to download a photo from Facebook and share it elsewhere. Don’t post anything online you aren’t comfortable showing to the world.

Don’t let your online accounts turn your case upside down. As a general rule, never post anything about your claim; keep your privacy settings to only friends; and never friend anyone you don’t know. When in doubt, avoid posting anything you aren’t 100% comfortable showing your opposing lawyers.

Get up to date on social media and claims by reading our previous posts Protecting your Lawsuit from Facebook in 5 Easy Steps and Facebook Evidence Causes Judge to Rethink Lawsuit.

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