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Pedestrian Road Safety – Street Safety Practices

Did You Know?

Safer walking spaces are critical to pedestrian road safety. When a motor vehicle accident occurs, pedestrians and cyclists are at a considerably higher risk of injury than are motorists. Approximately three quarters of these motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians occur in urban areas. Significantly, the majority of fatalities from pedestrian-vehicle interactions are due to a pedestrian being hit at mid-block location while crossing the road. This is because motorists are not expecting pedestrians to cross at a mid-block location, and often cannot stop in time when they appear suddenly from in between parked cars.

It is important to realize though, that pedestrian road safety is not only the responsibility of individuals who use the road. The behaviors of pedestrians and motorists can also be influenced by the road design or layout, traffic laws, and the environment in which an accident may occur. It is up to both pedestrians and drivers to help keep Ontario’s roads safe as best we can.

In an effort to promote pedestrian road safety, the Government of Ontario has legislated that drivers can be fined anywhere from $150 to $500 and 3 demerit points if they commit a driving offence at crosswalks, school crossings and pedestrian crossings. These fines are doubled near designated Community Safety Zones, which includes public areas and schools.

Below some pedestrian road safety tips are listed for pedestrians and drivers alike in an effort to promote road safety.

Tips on Pedestrian Road Safety for Pedestrians:

  • Wear bright clothing or reflective strips, especially when it is dark outside, to ensure you are visible to other drivers;
  • Make eye contact with drivers before you cross the road to ensure that they see you;
  • Cross the road at designated crosswalks or traffic lights;
  • Never cross the road on a red light;
  • Ensure you only start to cross the road once traffic has come to a complete stop; and
  • Take care to watch for vehicles making turns at intersections, or turning into and leaving driveways.

Tips on Pedestrian Road Safety for Drivers:

  • Take care to look out for pedestrians, especially while turning;
  • Be patient with pedestrians who may require more time to cross the road, including individuals with disabilities or the elderly;
  • Drive carefully through school zones or marked Community Safety Zones, paying special attention to children who may be playing or walking nearby; and
  • Be ready in case a pedestrian makes a sudden and unexpected move.

The Government of Ontario has recently published some new pedestrian safety changes that can be found at http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/pedestrian-safety.shtml

It is important that we stay informed and know how the laws are evolving to support initiatives at greater road safety.  Let’s work together as motorists and pedestrians to ensure pedestrian road safety in our communities.

Distracted Driving and Motor Vehicle Accidents – What You Need to Know

What is Distracted Driving?

Too often, motor vehicle accidents are the result of distracted driving. You may be engaging in distracted driving activities without even realizing it. Distracted driving puts you and others at risk for a motor vehicle accident. Some common forms of distracted driving include the following:

  • Cell phone use, including talking, texting, checking maps, or choosing a playlist;
  • Eating; and
  • Reading or typing a destination into your Global Positioning System (GPS).

The government of Ontario reports that since 2000, deaths caused by distracted driving have doubled. Their motor vehicle collision data from 2013 shows that a driver who is NOT using a phone is four times less likely to crash then a driver who is using a phone. The government also reports that every half hour one person is injured in a motor vehicle collision that was caused by distracted driving.

Did You Know?

It is against the law in Ontario to hold a phone or other electronic device, such as an e-reader, or digital video disc, while driving. It is however permissible to use a hands-free device or mounted device that is secure to the vehicle.

Novice Drivers (drivers that have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 license) that are convicted of distracted driving will face a 30 day license suspension for a first conviction. A second conviction will result in a 90 day suspension, and a third will result in cancellation of your license and removal from the Graduated Licensing System.

Drivers with A to G licenses that are convicted of distracted driving can face fines up to $1,000.00 and three demerit points.

In addition to being convicted of distracted driving, you may also be changed with careless driving, if you endanger other individuals due to a distraction. If convicted, you may receive 6 demerit point, fines up to $2,000.00, and a jail term of 6 months.

How To Avoid Distracted Driving:

You can do the following to minimize distracted driving:

  • Silence your phone and any phone notifications before leaving your home;
  • Have a passenger answer your phone or respond to a text message if a response is required; and
  • Pull off from the road to a safe area if you must reply to an emergency phone call or text message.

For more information regarding distracted driving, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/distracted-driving.

Traumatic Brain Injury – Resources at St. Michael’s Hospital

Sadly, many individuals involved in serious car accidents may sustain a traumatic brain injury. At Mazin & Associates, PC we represent hundreds of clients who sustain traumatic brain injuries, and have access to some of the best resources available for patients who require acute care in the aftermath of trauma, as well as throughout their recovery process.Traumatic brain injuries can be mild, moderate or severe in nature. It is important that individuals receive proper medical attention following a traumatic brain injury, irrespective of where their injury falls on the spectrum of severity.

The Head Injury Clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital was established in 1987, and treats patients during their recovery from a traumatic brain injury. The Clinic is also dedicated to researching treatment of traumatic brain injury. The team of experts at the Head Injury Clinic assists the injured individual with the many symptoms associated with a traumatic brain. They address the physical, behavioural, psychological and cognitive challenges that often face an individual who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. This team of experts is made up of psychiatrists, neurorehabilitation specialists, social workers, case managers, and neuropsychologists, among many others.

The main goal of this team of experts is to successfully re-integrate people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury back into society. Being able to return to work or school following a serious personal injury or car accident can be a very difficult undertaking for those who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. For this reason, the team at St. Michael’s actively works to co-ordinate rehabilitation services outside of the hospital, and ensure that injured people have access to services that they desperately need. Patient education and support is another important service that the Head Injury Clinic offers to individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. These education and support tools extend to the families of injured individuals who sustained a traumatic brain injury, who themselves must adjust to the life changing circumstances that follow a devastating personal injury.

To read more about the reaearch goals and resources offered at St. Michael’s Hospital, you can visit their website at: http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/programs/trauma/head-injury-clinic.php

Motorcycle Accidents – What You Need To Know

As the summer months are upon us, an increasing amount of motorcyclists are out sharing the road with other vehicles. Motorcyclists understand the importance of being seen and heard on the road, given the size of their vehicles and the ease with which they may fit into other vehicles’ blind spots. Wearing bright colored clothing or a helmet as well as having a loud engine is helpful for increasing visibility to other drivers. Motorcycle Accidents are inevitable however, and frequently a result of cars making left hand turns at an intersection, that are either unable to see an approaching motorcyclist or correctly judge their speed.

Unfortunately, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries when an accident occurs. Motorcycle accident studies have shown that when a motorcyclist is thrown to the ground or into a solid object, the force of impact to the motorcyclist is the same at high speeds as it is at low speeds. Common injuries that result from  motorcycle accidents include second and third degree burns from the motorcycle engine or exhaust, spinal cord injuries, internal bleeding, brain trauma, organ damage, and broken bones. Studies have also shown that fractures to a motorcyclist’s wrists and pelvis area are extremely common. This is because a motorcyclist is inclined to use his or her hands to protect the face when falling off a bike, which leaves the wrist and hand, as well as the exposed pelvis and hip areas, particularly vulnerable to injury.

People who drive motorcycles and have been involved in motorcycle accidents should always do the following:

  • Call 9-11 and report the accident.
  • Photograph the scene of the accident with your mobile phone. Photograph your motorcycle and its resting position after the impact. Be sure to also photograph all other vehicles involved, as well as any other objects that may have been involved in the accident.
  • Take names and contact information of all witnesses at the scene of the accident. Note their observations as to how the accident occurred. Be sure to also write down any outright admissions of guilt made at the scene, including commentary such as, “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you”.
  • Photograph your helmet at the scene of the accident, and preserve it thereafter. Take care not to alter the helmet in any way. For the purposes of liability in a lawsuit, wearing a helmet proves to a jury that you were not responsible for contributing to the injuries you sustained in the accident by not wearing the proper safety gear.
  • Look for surveillance cameras at or around the scene of the accident, and immediately ask for a copy of the tapes. Surveillance could prove valuable in the context of determining who the at-fault party is.
  • Return to the scene of the accident and photograph any changes made to the scene, including any new traffic signs or signals.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a serious motorcycle accident, it is important to know your rights and protect them with specialized legal representation. Contact Mazin & Associates, PC today at (416) 625-2122 for a free consultation.

The Importance of Road Safety

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation publishes annual reports about road safety statistics. Using data from the 2014 Ontario Collision Database, the figures collected by the provincial government showed that the highest number of fatalities resulting from vehicle collisions was attributed to drinking and driving situations. 24.9% of total fatalities were attributed to this category. Large truck collisions amounted to 21.8% of total fatalities in 2014, and pedestrian collisions came in as the third highest ranked category, comprising 19.5% of total fatalities. Unbelted occupants made up 12.5% of fatalities, and motorcyclists 11.6%.

Certainly, while we cannot control what other people on the road do, we can employ safe driving techniques while operating our own vehicle. The following are a list of guidelines recommended in an effort to practice safe driving:

  • Do NOT drink and drive. Similarly, do not let others get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated. Let’s work together to prevent undue tragedy in the form of lives lost.
  • Pay Attention. While operating a vehicle, it is critical that the vehicle driver remain attentive at all times. Distracted driving in the form of excessive fatigue, cell phone use, etc. resulted in 17.9% of total collision fatalities in 2014.
  • Watch for pedestrians – whether or not they have the right of way.
  • Do not speed. Speed related collisions comprised 17.0% of total collision fatalities in 2014.
  • Wear a seat belt. Not only do seat belts save lives, they have also significantly reduced the likelihood of sustaining a catastrophic injury when involved in serious motor vehicle collisions.
  • Give large trucks/vehicles ample space to maneuver. Share the road safely.

Too many lives are tragically lost by an impaired or distracted driver each year. Working together as a community to raise awareness around road safety practices is very important to the team at Mazin & Associates, PC. Our extensive involvement in bike helmet awareness among youth is proving a very satisfactory endeavor, as we provide helmets and safety lessons to at-risk youth. Get involved in your local community, and be a part of the movement to promote road safety everywhere.

Link to government publication: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/publications/pdfs/preliminary-2014-orsar-selected-statistics.pdf

Caring for the Injured: Our Philosophy

The team at Mazin & Associates understands the hardship an individual may face following a serious personal injury. Injured peoples care is something we know all too well. Often times, it is not only the injured individual whose life is adversely affected following an injury. We recognize how family members’ lives are also significantly impacted when a loved one sustains a serious and debilitating personal injury. Keeping this in mind, our experienced staff appreciates the importance of helping an injured person focus on efforts at rehabilitation, rather than cumbersome paperwork and confusing legal rhetoric. Importantly, retaining a lawyer at Mazin & Associates is critical to ensuring that the benefits or damages available to the injured person are sought and collected in full. This is because we have an in-depth understanding of the strategies utilized by insurance companies to minimize payouts to injured persons, and combat those with our own defined, calculated approach to dealing with the tactics employed by insurance adjusters and their lawyers. No stone is left unturned at Mazin & Associates, PC. We fight to recover any and all monies payable to an injured individual.

Perhaps most importantly, at Mazin & Associates, PC we believe that injured peoples care extends far beyond the medical attention or care they require following a serious personal injury. For Mazin & Associates, PC staff, quality of care to our clients is integral to the functioning of the firm. We insist on open lines of communication with all of our clients, addressing promptly all questions or concerns when they arise. We believe that regular communication and complete transparency with our clients is critical to the success of an injured person’s claim against an insurance company. We also appreciate that no two clients are alike, and that every file should be advanced on the basis of that individual’s unique set of circumstances and needs. It is important that our clients understand that the staff at Mazin & Associates, PC are advocates seeking to tell your story. At Mazin & Associates, PC, quality of care also means that we make it our priority to proactively and diligently work on our clients’ files from the very outset. We do not waste time or forgive the stall tactics insurance companies utilize to delay or drag out your claim. We seek to expedite our clients’ files as best we can, without ever compromising the value or integrity of our clients’ claim. Finally, for the team at Mazin & Associates, PC, quality of care also means a fair settlement or resolution of our clients’ claims. We are litigators with a proven track record that demonstrates that we have the gusto and grit to take on big insurance corporations. We are passionate about what we do, and make it our mandate to represent those whose voices would be otherwise quelled by large, intimidating insurance companies.

Let us help you. Contact Mazin & Associates, PC at (416) 625-2122 today.

Common Defence Tactics in Car Accident Cases

If you have been involved in a car accident and have started some form of personal injury claim, chances are the insurance company will hire defence lawyers. These lawyers, and the tactics used by the insurance companies in these kinds of cases, are luckily quite predictable.

First, chances are that both the defence lawyers as well as the insurance companies are hoping that injury victims are not truthful. The reason being, insurers frequently get pre-existing medical records. This means that they already know what kind of health problems someone had before the car accident. They just want to ask the person under oath to see if they can catch the injury victim in a lie.

Secondly, the insurance company will usually hire private investigators to surveil the injury victim. The detectives usually continue to surveil the injury victim until they get what they feel is “good stuff.” For example, someone working when they claim they cannot work. Or someone lifting heavy objects when they say they are unable to. The key is to be honest so that insurers can do all the surveillance they want but it still won’t show the injury victim lied.

Third, insurers frequently try to delay the progression of the case. The reason being, if the insurer delays, there is a high chance that someone will be involved in a second accident. If this occurs, the insurer can try to suggest that an injury victim’s problems relate to the second accident, for which they are not responsible. Insurers also try to delay in order to put financial pressure on injury victims to want to settle for low amounts.

Fourth, insurers will try to get injury victims to claim that their medical records are not accurate. That is, an insurer will try to get an injured person to claim that they told their doctor something, knowing that there is no such mention in the medical records. The insurer will then try to suggest the injured person never really told their doctor what they are claiming to have told the doctor.

If you have been involved in a serious personal injury, it is important to contact personal injury lawyers.

Personal Injury Lawyer Versus the Insurance Company: Tactics

Obtaining compensation for serious injuries is similar to playing chess. What are the similarities? Well, in both situations, there are tactics (or short term plays) which are executed in an effort to win (in chess, the object is to checkmate the king; in a personal injury case, the object is to receive the maximum compensation). The major difference is that in chess games, the end result is usually not too important. In personal injury cases, the end result can be the most important thing in that injury victim’s life.

So what are the tactics? First, there is the insurance company’s tactic of delay. Delay is a very strong tactic for three reasons. First, insurance companies know that if they delay an accident victim’s case long enough, it is more likely that the injury victim will accept a lower amount since they will more likely be in greater need of money. Second, by delaying a payout, insurers get to earn money on injury victim’s payouts for longer periods of time. Third, it is more likely that a negative intervening event (such as a second car accident occurs), so that the insurer can say that the injuries being advocated by the personal injury lawyer are not related to the lawsuit in question.

Second, another tactic is when the personal injury lawyer does not admit liability. Frequently, insurers will offer to admit liability (which means they admit fault), in return for the claim by the personal injury lawyer to be limited to the policy limits. While this might sound good (after all, why shouldn’t the insurer admit liability when their client rear ended someone in a car accident), it is frequently not a good tactic for the personal injury lawyer to accept this deal. The reason is that if the personal injury lawyer accepts this deal, he or she will not be able to argue the almost guaranteed winning point that his/her client is not at fault. For instance, could you imagine how ridiculous an insurance company’s defence lawyer will look to a juror when he/she tries to argue that the defendant is not at fault for a car accident when the defendant rear ended the injury victim’s car.

Third, another tactic used by an insurance company is to use leading questions when questioning an injury victim in an examination called a discovery. For instance, during questioning, instead of asking a person if he/she was injured as a result of the car accident, the question might be something like, “I guess you didn’t have to go by ambulance because the injury wasn’t so serious?” This invites the injury victim to agree with this loaded question. (Personal injury lawyer hopefully warns their injured clients about these kinds of leading questions.)

Fourth, surveillance is a tactic frequently used to discredit an injury victim. For instance, the insurance company may hire an investigator to follow someone for days, months or years to try to get footage that suggests a person is able to do a vigorous or athletic activity. They will then use leading questions to try to get an injury victim to agree that he/she is unable to do something (for example, gardening) after the car accident. Then, the insurer will use the surveillance to contradict the injured person’s testimony to suggest the injury victim should not be believed about anything at all.

It is important that a personal injury lawyer is familiar with the possible tactics used in personal injury cases such as car accidents in order to prevent insurers from minimizing seriously injured people’s claims.

Car Accident Lawyer Answers Common Questions

After practicing in personal injury as a car accident lawyer for so many years, I am frequently asked similar questions by many of my clients. Many of the answers to these questions are from my experience with dealing with insurance companies who try to deny claims advocated by car accident lawyers.

Here are some of the common questions:

Will the insurance company hire investigators to follow and spy on me?

The answer to this is yes. Insurers almost always hire private investigators to film you. As a car accident lawyer, I have seen investigators follow clients in their vehicles, look into client’s homes (which is totally illegal), and frequently pretend to be other people when trying to hack into social media profiles such as Facebook or Twitter. As a car accident lawyer, I tell my clients to assume they are being watched.

Will the insurance company settle my case very quickly?

Usually, the answer is no. Car accident lawyers know that when an insurer tries to settle very quickly, it is usually because it is ripping off the injured person by offering such a small number. However, a car accident lawyer should also be mindful that insurers like to delay claims because they know that injury victims frequently are willing to settle for smaller amounts if they have to wait too long. That is why it is important that your accident lawyer moves the case along.

Are all car accident lawyers the same?

Not at all. Are all restaurants the same? Are all boxers the same? Different car accident lawyers have different skills. It is important that your car accident lawyer is specialized in car accidents. Car accident laws have specialized rules and regulations which specifically apply to car accidents (including truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, and other motor vehicles). If your lawyer is not a specialized car accident lawyer, he or she will be at a major disadvantage.

What type of claims can I make after a car accident?

After a car accident, there could be multiple claims. Car accident lawyers know that in addition to what is called a third party claim (which is a claim against the at fault party), there are frequently many other claims as well. For example, accident benefits from your own insurance company can pay for medical treatment, attendant care, income replacement benefits, housekeeping, and rehabilitation. In addition, there may be short term or long term disability insurance available. It is important that an experienced car accident lawyer handles your case after a car accident so that you can receive the full compensation to which you are entitled.

How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

When you are involved in a serious accident, it is important that you choose the right personal injury lawyer to represent you. After all, this person will be your advocate, who will advise you about what to do. Your personal injury lawyer will also be arguing with an insurance company, and showing the insurer why your case is worth what it is. In short, nothing could be more important to the value and outcome of your case than the personal injury lawyer that you choose.

Since it is so important to choose the right personal injury lawyer, the obvious question is how should you choose the right one. If you turn on the TV, or listen to the radio, or look at the back of buses, you will be flooded with advertisements of personal injury lawyers claiming they are the best. What you should ask yourself is why are these personal injury lawyers advertising so much. If they were the “best”, would they need to advertise so much. Wouldn’t past clients as well as other people refer these personal injury lawyers business without them needing to advertise if these personal injury lawyers really were the best.

If your common sense is telling you that you should not choose a personal injury lawyer based on advertising, you are correct. So here are the factors that I suggest you take into consideration when choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you.

First, does the personal injury lawyer have trial experience? This is very important. If the personal injury lawyer you choose does not have trial experience, then the insurer knows it can stand firm at a low offer and not increase that low offer because the personal injury lawyer will just accept the low amount.

Second, does the personal injury lawyer focus on personal injury law, or does he or she practice in other areas. Personal injury lawyers should only practice in personal injury in order to be specialized in such a complicated field. The law in this area changes all the time and someone must be a specialized personal injury lawyer to be able to maximize the value of your case.

Third, does the personal injury lawyer deal with your case him or herself, or does he have someone else handle your case. You must ask the personal injury lawyer if he/she will personally be dealing with your case, or else your entire case may be handled by other people, which could result in an unfavorable outcome.

Finally, does the personal injury lawyer have someone in his/her office who speaks your language. If English is not your first language, you want to be sure that the personal injury lawyer you choose has someone in the office who is able to speak your language so that you could have optimal communication in your case.

In this age of excessive advertising, don’t be fooled. Do your research and make sure you ask personal injury lawyers the right questions before you sign on.

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  • "I‌ wanted‌ to‌ thank‌ Gary‌ Mazin‌ for‌ everything‌ he‌ did‌ for‌ me. ‌ Retaining‌ him‌ was‌ the‌ best‌ decision‌ I‌ had‌ ever‌ made. Gary is the best personal injury lawyer. His‌ expertise,‌ professionalism‌ and‌ kindness‌ were‌ always‌ present. ‌ He‌ was‌ able‌ to‌ get‌ me‌ the‌ fair‌ settlement‌ that‌ I‌ deserved‌ because‌ of‌ his‌ knowledge‌ and‌ support. He‌ is‌ a‌ truly‌ dedicated‌ personal‌ injury‌ lawyer‌ to‌ whom‌ I‌ am‌ forever‌ grateful."
  • R.‌ Chertok,‌ Richmond‌ Hill
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Mazin & Associates PC dedicates itself to achieving maximum settlements in serious personal injury and accident cases. Our areas of practice include car accidents, motorcycle injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, slip and falls, wrongful death, product liability, long-term disability and medical malpractice.

  • Toronto
  • Tel: (416) 625-2122
  • Toll Free: 1-800-432-HURT (4878)
  • Fax: (416) 250-1238
  • 5 Park Home Ave #501
  • Toronto, ON M2N 6L4