Ontario Legal Process for Accidents

If you are hiring a lawyer for a claim after an Ontario accident, you are probably wondering what the process is and what to expect. The articles in this section will give you good legal information about what to expect after an accident.

What Should I Wear to Examination for Discovery in an Accident Case?

If you are ever in an Ottawa accident, you may have to take part in an examination for discovery as part of your legal proceedings. Understanding what this process entails and knowing how to present yourself can help you achieve success in your lawsuit.

 

What is an Examination for Discovery?

Examination for discovery is an important component of most civil lawsuits. Essentially, it is a process where both parties involved in the lawsuit are questioned about the issues surrounding the lawsuit. While each party is questioned by the other party’s lawyer, and the answers are given under oath, examination for discovery is not in itself a trial.

 

What is the Purpose of Examination for Discovery?

The basic purpose of an examination for discovery is to allow each party and their lawyers to learn about and understand the other side’s case.

 

Throughout their questioning, the lawyers for each party will typically be trying to accomplish a few basic things, including the following:

–   Understand the other party’s point of view, and more fully define and narrow the issues involved in the lawsuit.

–   Discover if there are any areas where both parties are in agreement, possibly allowing a pre-trial settlement to be reached.

–   Obtain an admission from the other party that later can be used in their client’s favour while at trial.

 

What Should You Wear to an Examination for Discovery?

Many clients wonder what they should wear to attend this part of their legal process. Though it is not an official trial, it is still very important to make sure that you are appropriately dressed. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you look well-groomed and presentable. Essentially, you want to wear neat, clean, conservative clothes. You do not necessarily have to wear a suit, but you should look as neat as possible, and avoid any offensive slogans on your clothing. This is a very important part of your legal process, and it is crucial that you are as prepared and presentable as possible.

 

If you or someone you know has been in an Ottawa accident, a good injury lawyer can help you to better understand your legal options, and help you navigate all aspects of the legal process, including the examination for discovery.

 

To speak with an Ottawa personal injury lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth, please call us at 613-860-4529, email us at [email protected], or use our contact form.

What if I am in an Ottawa Accident and Not Wearing My Seat Belt?

It is widely accepted that seat belts can help prevent or reduce injury in the event of a car accident. Further, wearing a seat belt while driving or riding in a vehicle is mandatory across Canada, and failing to do so is considered a punishable offence. Consequently, there are some important facts to be aware of if you are ever involved a car accident and you are not wearing your seat belt.

 

What is Contributory Negligence?

 

“Contributory negligence” is a term that is often associated with personal injury claims. Essentially, it means that the injured party is in some way responsible for their own injuries due to negligence.

 

For example, a pedestrian who is struck by a car while crossing the street may be found to be partially at fault for his own injuries if he did not check the traffic before attempting to cross the road.

 

In many personal injury cases, a court may decide that the person making the claim has in some way contributed to their own injuries, and adjust the amount of the claim accordingly. For example, if someone is making a claim worth $100 000, but it is determined that contributory negligence is 25%, the claimant would only be entitled to receive $75 000 instead of the full amount.

 

Determining Liability

 

It is fair to assume that when someone is in a car accident and not wearing their seat belt, contributory negligence may come into play. That is, the court may determine that if the injured party had been wearing a seat belt, their injuries likely would have been lessened or prevented.

 

The question then becomes: to what degree is the injured party responsible for their own injuries due to negligence?

 

The Ontario Court of Appeal has provided some standard guidelines that can help answer this question. They have determined that the range for contributory negligence in these cases should be from 0 to 25 per cent.

 

Therefore, depending on the extent to which a jury believes a claimant’s injuries could have been prevented by wearing a seat belt, they can determine the contributory negligence to be as high as 25 per cent. The claimant’s overall damages could then be reduced by as much as 25 per cent.  The 25 per cent is not mandatory.  It could be a lesser percentage.

 

If you or someone you know has been in an Ottawa accident where you were not wearing a seat belt, you should consult a personal injury lawyer, who can further help you understand the legal implications of your accident.

To speak with an Ottawa personal injury lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth, please call us at 613-860-4529, email us at [email protected], or use our contact form.

5 Factors that Affect the Value of Your Ontario Accident Case

If you are like most of our Ottawa accident clients, you are very keen to know how much your accident case is worth.  Who can blame you?  You are going through this stressful legal process, it makes sense that you want to know whether your case is worthwhile.

 

Unfortunately, we often can’t tell you what your Ontario accident case is worth until well into file.  However, what we can tell you are factors that will influence the value of your case.  Here, in no particular order are 5 key factors that impact on the monetary value of your case:

 

  • Do you have a provable loss of income claim?  InOntario, this is often the single biggest component of someone’s settlement or trial judgment.

 

  • Have you attended your physician on a regular basis since the accident and described all your symptoms at every visit.  Medical records documenting symptoms carry a lot of weight.

 

  • Has your family physician sent you to specialists to diagnose and / or treat your injury?  Remember that in many cases you have to ask for a referral to a specialist.

 

  • Where applicable, have you had an MRI, CT scan, ultrasound x-ray or other diagnostic test?  An injury that shows up in medical imaging will usually be better compensated than an injury that does not.  Where there is a “picture” of the injury, the issue of credibility is removed.  If you think you would benefit from one of these tests, ask your doctor.

 

  • Are you able to identify specific changes to your lifestyle as a result of the accident?  Accident victims who are able to consistently specify activities that they could do before the accident and that they cannot do after the accident tend to do better financially with their claim than accident victims who complain of “pain” but are not limited in their actions.

Gap In Ontario Insurance Law Hurts Orphans, and Others

Kudos to Ottawa Citizen writer Joanne Chianello for her excellent article about the gap in Ontario auto insurance that robs deserving accident victims of insurance coverage because of criminal acts by the driver who caused the accident. Read it here:

Ontario Insurance Law Gap Article

In the article, Ms. Chianello describes how three little girls orphaned when their parents were killed in a motor vehicle accident may be stuck with insurance limits of only $200,000 when the at fault driver’s liability insurance limits were $1 Million.  That would be a stomach-turning result, but a result that is very common.

When an at fault driver violates his or her  insurance policy by committing certain crimes, the standard Ontario insurance policy permits the insurance company to limit their insurance coverage to the legal minimum of $200,000, regardless of the amount of insurance the driver purchased.  The results can be very unfair to someone who is seriously injured or who, like the three Regnier girls, suffer a major loss like the loss of two parents.

The same result may occur when someone has a G1 or G2 license and causes an accident while doing something that violates the insurance policy.  For example, I have a client who was catastrophically injured as a passenger when the G2-licensed driver smashed into a building.  In that case, the insurance company has similarly asserted a policy violation and is indicating that they will only pay $200,000 toward my client’s injuries if the at fault driver is convicted of the crimes he is said to have committed.

This happens because of the way Ontario’s insurance law is drafted.  There will only be change if people advocate for change.  With an election this fall, it is an excellent opportunity to tell MPPs and MPP wanna-be’s how you feel when  they knock at your door.

Is there anything you can do to protect your family from a tragedy like this?  The short answer is yes.

First, make sure you have proper life insurance and disability insurance outside of the auto insurance regime.

Second, if you have car insurance, make sure you ask your insurance agent or broker for the Family Protection Endorsement.  This is a cheap add-on to your policy that means that your own insurance policy limits will kick in if there is a problem with the insurance from the at-fault driver.  This add-on is also very important if you travel in the U.S. where in many states drivers do not need to carry very much liability insurance.

CBC News Interviews Personal Injury Lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth

OTTAWA ACCIDENT LAWYER – Days after the explosion at Mother Teresa High School in Orleans tragically killed one student, CBC News turned to personal injury lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth for comment on the investigation into the accident. Watch the video here.

Ottawa Train Accident Lawyer | Ontario Injury Lawyer

Can an Ottawa train accident lawyer help you?

Whether it is VIA Rail’s passenger trains or cargo trains, trains are an important and dangerous part of Ottawa’s traffic landscape.  When there are problems with train maintenance, track control or  when reckless drivers try to beat the train across the tracks, a serious accident may occur. If you have been hurt in an Ontario train accident, Ottawa lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth can help you recover damages for your injuries.

Have you or someone you love been involved in an Ottawa train accident?   Our train accident lawyers have extensive knowledge regarding the consequences of train accidents and can help you win the compensation you deserve.

You may have suffered a train accident as a result of a:

  • Collision with another train
  • Train Derailment
  • Collision with a car, bus, truck, or motorcycle
  • Mechanical failure of the train that leads to an accident
  • Inadequate security on the train
  • Dated and unsuitably maintained tracks
  • Conductor Negligence

In 2009, 1,038 rail accidents were reported to Canada’s Transportation Safety Board, a 12.1% decrease from the 2008 total of 1,181 and a 23.3% decrease from the 2004-2008 average of 1,353.  The Transportation Safety Board also reports that rail fatalities in Canada totaled 71 in 2009, down from 74 in 2008 and the five-year average of 91. Of the rail fatalities, trespasser fatalities was the largest fatality category with 52 in 2009, down 11.6% from the five-year average Crossing fatalities totaled 19 in 2009, down from the 2008 total of 26, and down 32.6% from the five-year average of 28.

Who is Responsible for your Ontario Train Accident?

There may be multiple factors resulting in a railroad accident.  As a result, many people may be held responsible for your injury, loss of income, or pain and suffering. While it’s the responsibility of the railroad company to maintain the tracks and the train you ride, truck and car drivers also have the responsibility of following the laws and not trying to sneak pass the crossbars after they’ve been lowered.

If you are injured in a train accident where you are in a car, truck or on a motorcycle, statutory accident benefits may be available to you.

Can We Help Your With Your Ottawa Train Accident?

The Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth would be happy to answer your questions about compensation following a train accident.  Call us for your free consultation at 613 860-4529.

If I sign a release after my Ottawa accident, can I still sue?

Ontario Lawyer — If you were involved in an Ottawa accident, you may have heard about a document called release of liability. Signing a release of liability after an Ottawa accident means that you settle your case out of court and that you will be unable to sue for the same accident in the future. A release of liability is usually signed in order to avoid going to court.

In many cases, the person who is not at fault will agree to settle out of court, if a fair settlement is found. When a release of liability is signed, the person who is not at fault receives money and gives up their right to sue. A release of liability is seen as a resolution to the case, since financial compensation is given and the case remains out of the courts.

While a release of liability is often a good way to resolve a personal injury case due to a car accident or slip and fall, there can also be drawbacks and risks. Before signing a release, make sure that you consider all of the pros and cons of doing so. In addition, seeking the advice of a personal injury lawyer will help you to decide if signing a release of liability is the best course of action for your particular case.

Some of the potential drawbacks of signing a release of liability may include:

– the amount of money received may not cover all medical costs
– the settlement may not cover loss of wages
– there is often no recourse available if the injuries are later found to be worse than first diagnosed

The details of your case will determine if these or other drawbacks exist so it is best to speak with a lawyer experienced in dealing with these situations. While you are unable to sue after signing a release of liability, it may be a good option for your case. Before making a decision either way, speak with a personal injury lawyer who can offer you the guidance you need.

Determine the value of your Ottawa personal injury case | Lawyer

Ottawa Lawyer — If you have recently been in an accident in Ottawa and are thinking of pursuing a personal injury case, you are likely wondering how much financial compensation you may be entitled to. A number of factors are at play when trying to determine the value of a particular personal injury case.

While there is no set formula for determining value, a case is usually worth the same amount as the damages suffered by the individual. These damages take into account medical costs, lost wages, property damage and lost earning capacity. Sometimes the value can be easily determined and in other cases, it can be more difficult, depending on the nature of the case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you in the process of gathering the necessary information in order to determine the value of your case.

Injured individuals are entitled to compensation for tangible harms such as those listed above, but you my also be entitled to “intangible” damages. These include things like psychological distress, pain, depression, disability, etc. It is these intangible harms that can make a case difficult to assess. The value of these harms is subjective and thus, they do not have a specific monetary amount assigned to them. Assessing the value of things like mental anguish or inconvenience is more difficult and often takes longer, than assessing the value of medical costs, for example. While it may not always be easy to determine the value of a personal injury case, taking into account a variety of factors will help to provide the most accurate assessment.

Typically, both parties, along with their lawyers, make an estimate for how much the case is worth. The value is then either agreed upon during mediation, or if the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will make a ruling regarding the value and the financial compensation, if any, the injured person is entitled to.

Because of the complex nature of assessing the value of a personal injury case, it is in your best interest to work with a good personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the process and who can work on your behalf to suggest an accurate value for your case. If you have suffered a personal injury, it is in your best interest to work with a lawyer who has the knowledge and experience necessary to evaluate your case.

How to be a great witness for an Ottawa personal injury case

Ontario Lawyer — When testifying in an Ottawa personal injury case, it is important to know how to be a good witness. This may seem as simple as answering questions when asked by a lawyer, and while this is certainly the basics of testifying, being on the witness stand in a personal injury law suit can involve much more than you may think. The most important aspect of testifying in a personal injury case is to tell the truth. When asked a question, answer directly. Make sure that you speak confidently and loud enough that you may be properly understood. It is easy to become nervous and stumble upon your words. Remain calm and take a moment to think about your answer if you feel this will help you respond correctly.

If you did not hear a question properly, or if you do not understand a particular question, ask for it to be repeated. It is better to admit that you did not hear or do not understand, than to respond inappropriately. If you don’t know the answer to a question or if you can’t remember something, be honest. Don’t make up an answer and say something that you know to be untrue. If don’t know or don’t remember, say so.

In terms of courtroom decorum, you should dress appropriately when testifying. This means that you should dress as if you were going to an interview. Wearing the proper attire for court establishes a sense of etiquette and respect. Also, you should always be polite and respectful of the judge and other lawyers present. Always maintain a calm and polite demeanour.

While testifying can be overwhelming and maybe a little intimidating, if you remember these tips on how to be a good witness, you will feel more at ease and deliver a better testimony. If you behave appropriately and answer truthfully, you will provide the court with an honest and helpful testimony.

Ottawa Insurance Lawyer Working for You after an Accident

Ontario Lawyer — After a serious motor vehicle accident, you need an experienced plaintiff-side Ottawa insurance lawyer working for you to assist you to advance both your accident benefit claim and your claim against the at-fault driver for damages.   Ottawa insurance lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth acts only for injured people, never for insurance companies.

You need an insurance lawyer who will:

  • analyze your application for accident benefits to ensure you have applied for an obtained all of the benefits to which you are legally entitled,
  • ensure that the at fault driver is on notice of a potential claim,
  • mediate and arbitrate or sue when your accident benefits are wrongly denied,
  • negotiate with the accident benefit adjuster and the tort adjuster to ensure that any chance for a fair settlement is considered,
  • commence legal action promptly if that is required,
  • obtain the necessary medical and liability experts to prosecute your case,
  • prepare you to be examined for discovery,
  • prepare properly for mediation,
  • prepare properly for a pre-trial,
  • bring motions where required to move cases along; and
  • represent you well at trial.

The Ottawa insurance lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth will do all this, and more, to assist you with your motor vehicle accident claim.

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