Insurance and injury law is constantly changing through changes in the law, new judicial decisions, and changes in the political landscape. We believe that it is important for us as injury lawyers stay informed of these changes, so that we can better serve our clients. We also believe that it is important to share this information with accident victims and the general public, so that they can be better informed of their rights in the event of an accident.

Am I responsible to ensure the safety of others when they visit my home?

Am I responsible to ensure the safety of others when they visit my home?
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By Laura Pearce

If you have property, such as land, a home, a business, or even a rented apartment, you have certain legal responsibilities when it comes to visitors or other people on your property.

The term “occupier” is used in Ontario to refer to a person who owns property, has physical possession of property, or who is responsible for and has control over the condition of that property or the activities that occur on it. The Occupiers’ Liability Act sets out the rules and responsibilities of an occupier.

Put simply, as an occupier, you have a legal obligation to make your property reasonably safe for visitors so that they are protected from foreseeable harm while on the premises. Your duty is an affirmative duty. This means that you have to “do something”  to make your property safe. Courts have decided that “doing nothing”, even in the presence of changing conditions like the weather, is a breach of your legal responsibility.

Take care of the physical state of your property by removing or repairing hazardous conditions like an icy driveway, a rickety front step, or a darkened landing at the top of a staircase. All of these put visitors at risk of falling and injuring themselves. If you see even the potential for harm or danger, you are legally required to do something to eliminate the risk/hazard. Better yet, inspect your property regularly to prevent hazards from developing in the first place.

If you are unable to immediately make a dangerous area of your property safe, possibly because doing so would be prohibitively expensive or because you simply do not have the time, you should sufficiently block access to the area so that other people cannot enter into the dangerous area. Repairs should be made as soon as possible.

Visitors still have their own responsibility to look out for themselves, but as occupier you have the utmost responsibility to keep your visitors safe from injury.

If you are hurt when on the property of another person, we suggest that you take a lot of pictures of the area, so that you have some evidence of what condition the property was in when you were injured.

 

This article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact us at 519-946-4300.

 

 

 

Ten Things You Should Do After A Car Accident

Vehicle in a Accident
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By Laura Pearce

It seems automatic to call 911 if you are in a car accident, especially if you have been injured. But besides the obvious, there are some important things you (or someone on your behalf) should do as soon as possible:

At the scene

  1. Take photos: Use the camera on your phone to take photos of the accident scene. You will probably have access to your vehicle even after the scene is cleared, but you might not get a chance to see the other driver’s vehicle again. Walk around the vehicles and take photos of any damage caused by the accident. Take a photo of the other driver’s licence plate. If you think that the accident could have been partly caused by poor road conditions, such as snow or ice cover, take photos of the road, too. Think of the scene as needing to be photographed once and for all. It will not be created again, so taking photos is a way of preserving what it looked like so that you can recall it later.
  1. Record important information: Get the other driver’s name and insurance information, and share yours. But do not discuss anything else with the other driver. Do not admit fault for the accident, even if you feel sorry it happened. Admissions of fault can be used against you in court if charges are laid by police or if a lawsuit is brought by you or someone else injured in the accident. If you speak with anyone else at the scene of the accident, get their name and phone number, too. If, for example, they saw the other driver run a stop sign and hit your vehicle, their information might be useful later, especially if the other driver denies fault.

At the hospital or at the doctor’s office

  1. See a doctor: You might be taken by ambulance to hospital from the scene of the accident, but if you are not, you should still see a doctor on the day of the accident or as soon as possible after the accident. Injuries are not always obvious right away. Some people feel only a little bit of pain at the scene of the accident but then wake up the next day feeling very sore. Seeing a doctor right away will ensure that no injury is overlooked and that a record of your injuries is made by someone with medical expertise. If you later bring a lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle, having a doctor’s same-day record of your accident-caused injuries and symptoms will help show that the injuries were caused by the accident and not some other intervening event that occurred between the accident and when you eventually saw a doctor about your injuries.

At home

  1. Take photos: When you get home from the scene of the accident or from hospital keep track of your injuries by taking photos of them. Doing so will create a timeline of your injuries and how they healed or how they became worse over time. If you need to start a lawsuit because of your injuries, your lawyer might want to use these photographs to show the severity of your injuries.
  1. Report the accident to your insurance company (but don’t talk to any other insurance company): You have an obligation to report your accident to your insurance company within 7 days of the accident if the accident involved injury or property damage. If you are unable to contact your insurance company within the 7 days, do so as soon as possible after that. Your insurance adjuster will ask you for details about the accident. The other driver’s insurance company might try to contact you to ask you questions about the accident. Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company.
  1. Apply for Statutory Accident Benefits: If you are injured in the accident, you are entitled to seek from your own insurance company payment of benefits (monies) that will help pay for medical and rehabilitation treatment you require because of your injuries. You might also be entitled to income replacement and other benefits. Your insurance adjuster will explain these benefits to you. You need to apply for benefits within 30 days after the accident or as soon as possible thereafter. You are entitled to seek these benefits no matter who was at fault for the accident.
  1. Write down your injuries and keep track of your symptoms: Use a diary or other notebook and record how you feel on a daily basis. Much like the photographs you take of your injuries, your written record will serve as a useful timeline in case you or a lawyer needs to know what happened when.
  1. Keep track of what you pay: Keep receipts for out-of-pocket expenses that you have incurred since the accident. Expenses that you have paid because of the accident – doctor’s office parking, mileage to and from medical appointments, and physiotherapy, for example – might be recoverable through your own insurance company or through a lawsuit.
  1. Keep track of what you miss: If you have to miss time from work or school because of your injuries, write this information down and keep a record of any hours of lost pay. If you need to bring a lawsuit against the driver that caused the accident, your records will help your lawyer in the effort to recover your lost wages.
  1. Call a lawyer: If you have been injured in a car accident, you will probably have a lot of questions about what your rights are and how you can protect them. At Velocity Injury Law LLP, we can help you deal with your insurance company and protect your future. Call us at 519-946-4300. There is no charge to speak with us.

 

This article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact us at 519-946-4300.

Slip and Fall Injury – Getting Treatment from your Car Insurance

Wawanesa v. Webb FSCO Appeal P11-00015

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There are situations where your car insurance may cover treatment for a slip and fall injury. Such treatment is available if the operation or use of a motor vehicle was a direct cause of the impairment received from the fall.

In the Wawanesa v. Webb, Ms. Webb parked her car away from a plowed access point to the sidewalk. She slipped and fell while putting her foot onto the access point what was in front of her car. She was injured. The arbitrator ruled that Ms. Webb was still in the course of disembarking from her vehicle when she fell. Thus allowing her to claim statutory accident benefits from her car insurance. This decision was reversed on appeal.  However, at appeal other scenarios were pointed out that might allow someone to claim accident benefits.

They included:

a) Getting hurt trying to avoid getting hit by a car, truck, etc. while walking or riding a bike. i.e. falling off your bike to avoid hitting a car.

b) Falling while putting air in your vehicles tires. i.e. falling while returning the air hose.

c) Getting injured while walking to or from a pay and display station to your car.

d) Falling when getting out of your vehicle.

e) Getting out of the car to check if you are blocking a fire hydrant.

The list is not exhaustive. The point is that you may have a right to accident benefits from your car insurance when you may not think you do.

 

This article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact us at 519-946-4300.