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Personal Injury Law: Basic Definitions

Sustaining an agonizing, long-lasting, or life-threatening injury is a devastating, traumatic experience in and of itself. For an individual struggling with such an injury, taking a case to court can feel like just another pain. Sometimes people who deserve financial compensation—even need it—never contact a lawyer at all because they assume the law is too confusing or complicated. However, with just a little bit of knowledge and a skilled legal practitioner at your side, you can navigate a personal injury case while you physically, mentally, and emotionally heal.
The personal injury lawyers at Mazin & Associates, PC are committed to making the process of seeking justice as straightforward and easy as possible. A basic understanding of the key terms involved in personal injury law can give you the confidence you need to explore your own case.

Some Basic Terms

Even before speaking with a lawyer, you can teach yourself some foundational principles. A few important terms to know are:

  • Civil law: A branch of law involving a plaintiff suing a defendant. Civil law can be distinguished from criminal law, which involves the Crown prosecuting an accused for a crime.
  • Tort: A civil wrong that has caused injury to someone. A tort case might involve a plaintiff seeking compensation from a defendant because they have been hurt or because their property has been damaged.
  • Personal injury law: A type of civil law in which the plaintiff feels they have been hurt emotionally, physically, or mentally by a situation the defendant caused. Often, personal injury cases rest on charges of negligence.
  • Negligence: The lack of proper care. The law dictates that a person or organization can be at fault even if they are not deliberately causing harm. If they behave irresponsibly or carelessly, they could be guilty of negligence.
  • Liability: The condition of being under a legal obligation. In a personal injury case, if the defendant was “liable,” or responsible, for the plaintiff’s injuries, they will most likely be asked to pay damages.
  • Damages: Monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a civil case.

How We Can Help

Learning the basics of civil law is a great first step towards getting monetary compensation for an injury. If you or a loved one has been hurt due to the actions or the negligence of a third party, you can benefit from the legal experience of the knowledgeable personal injury lawyers at Mazin & Associates, PC. Call us at (416) 625-2122 to discuss the specifics of your situation with a skilled legal professional.


$10K fine imposed on Canadian Natural Resources after 2007 fatal mishap

The Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. was fined $10,000 after investigations revealed that they have been negligent in a 2007 oil tank construction accident that resulted in two fatalities and five personal injuries in Fort McMurray, an article of OHS Canada reported on January 5.

In the investigation conducted by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), they confirmed that the company was negligent in consulting incompetent engineers in constructing the 20-metre oil tank in question. The incident, which took place in April 2007, reportedly took the lives of two workers, while five others were injured, after debris from a steel roof support fell into them. The APEGA found out that the engineer who designed the roofing structure was not properly qualified and that the design itself was flawed. Aside from the fine imposed on the company, they will also need to pay $150,000 for the development of a standard procedure in working with qualified professionals outside Alberta.

In the tough situation that you lost a loved one or have been injured in a construction accident in Toronto, the lawyers of Mazin & Associates, PC may work for you. We understand that victims of such accidents should be fairly compensated to recover from their injuries. Call us today at (416) 625-2122 to learn more about your options.


Thousands of GM police vehicles with fire risk recalled

Approximately 50,000 SUV’s used by police in the US are being recalled by General Motors (GM) due to a problem that may result in the vehicles catching fire, an article of Fortune reported on December 10.

In the recall notice issued by GM to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an electrical problem could occur in the cooling fan of the vehicles. The problem may result in the vehicles catching fire if certain fluids contact the cooling fans of the affected vehicles. GM reported there are 49,927 Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit vehicles affected by the recall. GM did not clarify if an injury or an accident had taken place before they issued the recall.

The Toronto personal injury lawyers at Mazin & Associates, PC understand that faulty vehicle designs endanger the lives of many families. If you were hurt by a defective vehicle, we may be able to help you file a legal claim to help you receive the compensations you need from negligent parties. Call us today at (416) 625-2122 to learn more about your options.


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.


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.


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.


Single Vehicle Accident Claim

Most car accidents are scary accidents and single car accidents are no exception. Obviously, factors like road conditions, hidden obstacles, and weather conditions can adversely affect one’s ability to control a vehicle and can result in an accident. Because only one car was involved in a single vehicle accident, the driver is almost always considered to be at fault for the accident. But there are a few exceptions.

Examples of Single Vehicle Accident

1. Slick Road Conditions
Slick road conditions are probably the number one cause of single car accidents. Even when most of the roadways are clear, black ice can be undetected by drivers potentially causing major accidents.

2. Sun Glare
Sun glare can really cause problems when driving, especially at dawn and dusk. Even if the sun is blinding you, you are responsible for your vehicle at all times.

3. Swerving to Miss an Animal
Swerving to miss an animal is often a natural reaction; however it is also extremely dangerous. Unfortunately for the animal, it could be safer for the driver and passengers to hit the animal verses swerving into oncoming traffic, hitting a ditch and rolling, or hitting a large tree.

4. Pot Holes
Hitting a pot hole is considered a single car accident which could place the driver at-fault. Many drivers feel not at fault especially when there is no place to go.

5. Flying Objects
Flying objects hitting a vehicle technically could be considered a single car accident, but it could be not considered an at-fault accident. Rocks hitting your windshield or a tree branch falling on your vehicle while driving can be considered comprehensive claims.

6. Defective Car Parts
Of course, single vehicle accidents can also be a result of the acts or inactions of others. For example, defective car parts can prevent effective braking or steering.

Those injured by single-vehicle accidents cab be subject to liability for negligence in causing the accident. However, as noted, it may be possible to shift this liability to a third party if that person or entity was wholly or partially responsible for creating the conditions that caused the accident.

Additionally, the driver may face be ticketed and there could be charges related to driving.

For more information about single-vehicle accidents and the possible legal remedies and consequences you should contact specialized personal injury and car accident lawyers. Contact Mazin & Associates, PC, Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial evaluation and advice following your accident at (416) 625-2122.


Some Common Places of Slip and Fall Accidents

Falls are unquestionably the most common form of injury-producing accidents today. Every year, millions of people visit the emergency room because of a slip and fall accident. The effects of these falls can vary, causing everything from a few minor bumps and bruises to skull fractures.  Unfortunately for many of those individuals, the injury is due to no fault of their own but due to the negligent, careless or reckless acts of another party.

The fact is that a slip and fall accident can occur anywhere at any time. Slip and fall accidents are not limited to certain places or circumstances. Uneven sidewalks, slippery snow and icy conditions are the most common causes of fall injuries. In the interior of complexes, wet floors, dangerous floor coverings and slippery pool surfaces present the biggest risk for slip and fall accidents. Some common places for slip and fall accidents include:

Uneven Sidewalks, Walkways, and Driveways

Most property owners are familiar with regulations or laws that require them to ensure that the pavement in front of their home remains a safe place for pedestrians.  If someone experiences a slip and fall accident due to a hazard, a negligent property owner can be held liable. In particular, sidewalks, walkways and driveways can prove to be especially dangerous during the winter season, due to snowy and icy conditions that can create slippery paths for pedestrians. Such risks aren’t limited to the winter season, either, since there are also other risks, such as cracked sidewalks or potholes that can result in serious risks to pedestrians.

Slippery Pool Areas, Gyms, and Restrooms

Pool areas, especially in a condo or co-op building, are another common site for slip and fall injuries. Naturally, at a public pool, plenty of people are entering and exiting the pool, dragging water onto the floors with them. At the gym, there is always a risk of pools of sweat, water, or various types of sports drink collecting on the floor, or nearby weight machines. As for restrooms, there is plenty of risk that water used to wash one’s hands can wind up on the floor, creating a slippery, hazardous environment for other persons.

Wet Floors

Plastic rain mats should be used, especially in inclement weather, to reduce the danger of slipping on a wet floor. Property managers can protect their residents and visitors from a wet floor accident by replacing saturated mats, or using mops or wet vacuums, to remove water that may accumulate from snow, ice, or rain.

Weather Conditions Due to Slippery Snow and Ice

Winter weather conditions, such as snow and ice, must be taken care of in a timely fashion. Although we can’t always predict what the weather will do, property owners and municipalities alike have a responsibility to plow streets, shovel sidewalks and salt steps and walkways.

Footwear

The National Floor Safety Institute reports that 24% of slip and fall accidents are caused by footwear, but this stat isn’t just about heading out on the town wearing 9-inch heels. Sneakers and even work boots that don’t provide proper traction can cause people to slip and fall at home, in public or on the job.

Dangerous Floor Coverings

Curled edges of carpets or mats create another common slip and fall hazard. To keep the edges of floor coverings down, a special carpet tape can be used underneath.

Mazin & Associates, PC, Personal Injury Lawyers based in Ontario has helped thousands of  injured people with personal injury claims, and would be honored to assist you. Call us today at (416) 625-2122. The call is free, but the advice could be priceless.

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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, Suite 120
  • Toronto, ON M2N 6L4