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Six injured in Toronto vehicular mishap

At least six people were hospitalized in Toronto due to injuries they received after they were involved in a three-vehicle accident, a report of Global News stated on January 3.

Initial reports said that two vehicles collided on the east lanes of the Gardiner Expressway in the vicinity of Highway 427. Traffic Services Sergeant Brett Moore told reports that a vehicle containing three persons struck the back portion of another vehicle containing four persons. Toronto Police revealed via Twitter that a third vehicle was involved in the crash but fled the scene. Police told reports that one of the persons injured, only identified as a 24-year-old, was listed in critical condition. The identities of the people involved were withheld and authorities were conducting an investigation to figure out the cause of the crash.

If you have been involved in a car accident, enlisting a skilled legal team is important to increase your chances of claiming the accident benefits you need for recovery. Get in touch with a Toronto lawyers of the Mazin & Associates, PC today by calling (416) 625-2122 to find out how we may work on your behalf.

Changes in Drivers License Fee

Did You Know?

Importantly, poor road conditions or maintenance contribute greatly to the cause of motor vehicle accidents. Poor road conditions can include missing guardrails, erosion, pot holes and faulty design. Problematic signs, blind curves and shoulder drop-offs also contribute to motor vehicle accidents. In an effort to improve road safety for all, Ontario is investing $160 billion over 12 years in public infrastructure, which supports 110,000 jobs each year with projects in transit, bridges, schools and roads. More specifically, since 2003, the province has committed over $25 billion to design and repair highways and bridges throughout Ontario.

With the effort to improve and maintain Ontario’s transportation infrastructure, driver license fees have increased. The increase in fees will help to provide resources to help keep Ontario’s roads safe and consistent with recommendations made by the Auditor General of Ontario.  It is important to note the following changes:

Effective September 1, 2016:

  • Driver’s License Original and Renewal Fee will increase from $81.50 to $90
  • Vehicle License Validation in Northern Ontario will increase from $54to $60
  • Vehicle License Validation in Southern Ontario will increase from $108 to $120

Effective January 1, 2017:

  • Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee (after suspensions and administrative monetary penalty) will increase from $180 to $198
  • Driving Instructors License Replacement will increase from $28 to $31
  • Oversize/Overweight Permit Replacement will increase from $28 to $31
  • Original and Replacement Plate/Permit Fee for Manufacturer motor vehicle and motorcycle and dealer plate will increase from $20 to $25
  • Original and Replacement Plate/Permit Fee for Manufacturer motor vehicle and motorcycle and dealer permit will increase from $10 to $32

Winter Driving Tips

When weather conditions are unpredictable, increased demands are placed on a driver and their vehicle. The following winter driving tips should be considered well in advance of the first snowfall, so that all motorists are prepared for the unpredictability Canadian winters often bring. Consider the following:

Vehicle Readiness

Performing a maintenance check-up is critical to winter readiness. Make sure the tires, brakes, oil, lights, exhaust system, heater/defroster and windshield wipers are examined.

Keeping your fuel tank at least half full is recommended. When an emergency situation requires you to remain in your vehicle on days when there is freezing weather, being able to stay warm is critical to your health and safety.

Make sure you have enough windshield washer fluid in your vehicle, and make sure you keep an extra container in case you run out.

Clear all snow and ice from your roof, windows, mirrors and lights. Wait to ensure that all fog is cleared from the inside of your vehicle before putting the car into motion.

Make sure your tires are properly maintained, as tires that are worn or damaged can affect your ability to drive safely. It is important to replace your tires before the tread depth reaches 1.5 mm, as studies have shown that that tires with a tread of 3 mm deep are able to stop a vehicle on wet pavement in 25% shorter distance than a tire with a 1.5 mm tread.

Handling Your Vehicle in Winter Driving

Most collisions that occur during the winter season are a result of drivers travelling too fast for weather conditions. Most important is that drivers slow down, and allow for extra space between your vehicle and other motorists.

Take care to look for reflections on the road, as what looks like water might actually be ice. Be especially careful as you approach shaded areas, bridges and overpasses, as these areas of road freeze faster and stay frozen for longer periods of time. Make sure to steer gently in slippery conditions, and avoid quick acceleration and hard breaking which may cause your vehicle to skid. A skid occurs when a vehicle loses traction over a slippery surface. If your vehicle is skidding, release your breaks and steer in the direction of the skid. Make sure not to over-steer.

Also, avoid using cruise control in slippery weather conditions, as this function reduces overall reaction time and vehicle control.

Finally, never pass a snow plow. Accidents that occur between motorists and snow plows have resulted in many fatalities. Passing between or around snow plows is very dangerous due to whiteout conditions and the ridge of snow being passed between plows. Be sure to maintain a safe distance from snow plows when you see their blue flashing lights.

Be Prepared

Finally, it is important to be prepared with emergency supplies in case you find yourself needing them. Make sure you have a charged cell phone in your vehicle, along with non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, blankets, warm clothes and jumper cables.

Be sure to check weather and travel conditions before getting into your vehicle. Plan extra travelling time, and consider delaying your travel if weather conditions are bad. Stay safe this winter and be road ready!

Visit http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/ontario-511/pdfs/winter-safe-driving.pdf for more information around safety practices and winter driving.

Protecting Minors and Their Legal Rights

Children are vulnerable human beings, and ensuring their safety is of paramount importance. Most of us know that properly installed and secured car seats are critical in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Additional safety measures for children include:

  • Seat children younger than 13 in the back.
  • Use appropriate restraints for a child’s age and size.
  • Follow the directions in the instruction manuals for both the child restraint and vehicle.
  • Pick a vehicle with top crash test ratings.
  • Never leave kids alone in or around vehicles.

At Mazin & Associates PC we know how important it is to protect the rights of minors involved in serious car accident or personal injury claims. We have extensive experience representing minors with serious injuries, and are well versed with how sensitively their claims must be managed. There exist special legal considerations when it comes to protecting minors, including appointing a litigation guardian on behalf of the child to make decisions, and having the Ontario Court approve settlement of a minor’s claim for it to be legally binding.

The team at Mazin & Associates PC is proud to ensure that all of our claims involving minors with serious injuries are properly taken care of. We recently won a motion that allowed our client, a young boy who sustained a traumatic brain injury, to add the City of Sudbury as a defendant to the action, which was not considered by the original lawyers who handled the file. This ruling has significant implications, and the recent news release from Sudbury.com can be found at: https://www.sudbury.com/local-news/city-added-to-lawsuit-that-dates-back-to-2007-356106.

If you are the parent or legal guardian of a minor who has been seriously injured, it is critical that you obtain legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer who is able to protect the child’s rights, and advance the claim appropriately. Contact Mazin & Associates, PC for your Free Consultation at (416) 625-2122.

Stunt Driving, Racing and Dangerous Driving Offences

Stunt Driving, Racing and Dangerous Driving Offences often come with hefty sanctions. The Highway Traffic Act, and Regulation 455/07, defines stunt driving and racing. “Racing” can include chasing another vehicle, or when two or more cars race one another at a ‘marked departure’ above the designated speed limit, in a competitive manner. The term “stunt” can mean popping wheelies, drifting, doing donuts, and exceeding the speed limit by of 50 km/hour. Less commonly known definitions of stunt driving include driving in a manner that may endanger another person by intentionally preventing passing, stopping, or cutting off another vehicle.

An individual who is charged with a stunt driving or racing offence will immediately receive an administrative driving suspension for seven days (effective right away), a 7 day vehicle impound, and incur the associated towing and impound fees.  If convicted, they may also receive:

  • Fines anywhere from a minimum of $2,000.00 up to $10,000.00 (To put these figures in perspective, a first time drunk driver will receive a $1,000.00 fine);
  • A driver’s license suspension of up to 10 years; and
  • The accumulation of 6 demerit points

In addition to these sanctions, an individual who is convicted of stunt driving or racing may be subject to large insurance hikes (and possible ineligibility), an inability to drive for an extended period of time, and all costs or fees associated with reinstating licenses, or victim fine surcharges.

Aggressive driving behaviors such as stunt driving and racing endanger the lives of others. In fact, the risk of serious injury and fatality is 5 times higher for vehicles travelling at 50 km/hour or more above the speed limit on a highway, with a posted speed limit of 100 km/hour. At lower posted speed limits, the risk is even greater. Studies show that when vehicles are travelling at 50 km/hour or above in speed limit zones of 60 km/hour or less, the risk of serious injury or fatality is 8 times greater.

Visit the Highway Traffic Act at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h08o learn more about stunt driving, racing and other dangerous driving offences.

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.

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.

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.

What if Defective Parts of my Car Caused an Accident?

It can be confusing to tell who is at fault in some vehicle accidents. What if you were driving quite safely, and some defect in your car caused unsafe conditions on the road that lead to an accident and possibly injured you or someone else? Who is at fault in this case?

Defective cars can be very dangerous. Whether or not defective operation of a vehicle will excuse a driver from fault for causing an accident depends on all of the circumstances of the accident and factors such as the following may be relevant:

  • whether the defect was one that ought to have been detected prior to driving the vehicle;
  • whether the “defect” was simply a shortcoming of the vehicle (such as lack of anti-lock brakes) which the driver out to have known about and accounted for;
  • whether, despite the defect, the defendant could have avoided the accident; and
  • whether the accident would have occurred even absent the defect.

Whatever the case, when a car or one of its components is defective and causes an accident, what can you do and who is to blame?

The first, and most obvious target of such cases is the automaker, in which case this would actually be a product liability lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, if someone else was injured, you may or may not still be held accountable for some of the other person’s injuries. But in some cases, all damages caused by the accident might be able to be blamed on other parties.

If we can prove that your vehicle had a manufacturing or design defect and the manufacturer improperly installed a component or inadequately designed an entire system or vehicle, such that it resulted in the accident, you may have a claim against that manufacturer, and possibly even the dealer who sold it. We would have to also prove that the defect was dangerous enough to cause the accident in question, and that no major alterations to your vehicle had been made since being purchased that could have affected its safety on the road.

Common problems with cars that are likely to cause an accident include problems with the steering, acceleration, braking, windshield wipers, computer systems or lights. If your car is showing signs of any of these problems, you should get it checked as soon as possible.

Aside from the manufacturer of the car, you may also have claims against other parties. For example, if the vehicle was used when you bought it, and sold with a warranty. Another source of recovery is available to those who install after-market parts that fail, resulting in accidents. It is not uncommon for one to install different tires, headlights, taillights, suspension, and other systems to improve the look or performance of a vehicle. But, not all of these parts are made to the same standards of quality or designed to be as compatible with your vehicle as the original parts.

As a result, if you have been injured in an accident caused by a defective vehicle part, do not assume that there is no way for you to get recovery. In many cases, this recovery can be substantial and may compensate victims for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. To maximize your chances of success, and to consider all options for recovery of damages resulting from a defective part, contact Mazin & Associates, PC, Personal Injury Lawyers , experienced in vehicle accidents and product liability claims. Call us for a free initial evaluation and advice following your accident at (416) 625-2122.

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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