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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Tips for Photographing your Car Accident Scene

If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, photographs can be very effective real time evidence in your personal injury claim. Without pictures, insurance companies are left with incomplete police reports and the verbal testimonies of those involved. Photos that you take immediately following your car accident can be helpful in documenting the damage to both cars, the position of the cars after the collision, and any debris at the scene.

What Type of Pictures can help at an Accident Scene?

Even after the accident has been cleaned up and cars have been moved, there are more photos that may be helpful to your case. The photos can paint a picture of the location of the accident, driving conditions at the time, the position of the vehicles, collision points, and a host of other accident details. Keep in mind the following tips when taking photos at the scene:

  • Photograph all the vehicles involved and their relative positions from all angles to establish the boundaries of the crash scene and the impact zone.
  • Photograph injuries to you or any other persons, including cuts, bruises and scrapes.
  • Broaden the view and take photos of traffic indicators, street layout and landmarks if any.
  • Photograph weather conditions.
  • Get close-ups of your car’s damage.
  • Look for broken glass and damaged car parts.
  • Photograph damaged street signs, guardrails, trees, or other stationary objects damaged by the accident.
  • Include photos that identify the time and date of the accident.
  • If there were witnesses to the car accident, find out where they were and take photos from their point of view.
  • Look for skid marks. The location where tire marks start and the direction of the marks.
  • Make sure also to take shots of the vehicles’ identifying features such as license plates.
  • Look inside the vehicle and take photographs of any interior damage, deployed airbags, seatbelts, and so forth.

Ultimately, the circumstances of each accident will determine what type of pictures should be taken. As a general rule, however, it is best to take as many pictures as possible. Even when the police arrive, you should still take as many pictures as possible because you may obtain picture evidence that the police could not.

Not all of these photographs are necessary in every accident, and there may be other important photographs that are not covered here. Mazin & Associates, PC, Personal Injury Lawyers will be better able to advise you on what photographic evidence you need for your particular case. Call us for a free initial evaluation following your accident at (416) 625-2122.

Are All-Season Tires Actually Safe for Winter Driving?

Each winter, almost half of Canadian drivers will be driving on all-season tires that freeze in the cold, slide on slush, and can take 30 meters longer to stop on smooth ice, putting them at much greater risk of car accidents. Tire dealer, Kal Tire, encourages drivers to avoid all-season (three-season) tires and consider all-weather tires, ‘the winter tire you can drive all year long.’

“We don’t think drivers realize how dangerous all-seasons are in the winter, or that they have a much safer year-round tire option,” says Carey Hull, director of retail products, Kal Tire. All-weather tires, sometimes confused for all-season tires, are designated winter tires that give drivers safe traction in the winter as well as superior handling in the summer. “What we’re saying is, if you’re going to have only one set of tires on your vehicle through the year, make it an all-weather tire.”

Kal Tire has enlisted the help of Bill Gardiner, contributor to Motoring TV since the start of the show, and often referred to as ‘The Doctor of Cars’ to educate drivers across Canada about the dangers of driving all-season tires in the winter.

For many years Bill has travelled the country educating Canadian motorists on the importance of car safety, and, as a licensed mechanic, every winter his customers count on him to make the right tire selection for their vehicle.  “As Canadians, there are so many things that are beyond our control in the winter,” says Gardiner. “But how we prepare our vehicles for winter is 100 per cent within our control.”

Critical auto injuries due to accidents and collisions, when they occur, can often result in grave injury, permanent disabilities or death for drivers and their passengers, bystanders, motorcyclists, and cyclists. That is why it’s so important to maintain the safety of your vehicle and use tires that are designed and tested for Canadian winters. If you or a family member is involved in a serious automobile accident this winter, contact car accident lawyers for a free consultation.

Source: Think Your All-Season Tires are Safe for Winter? Think Again

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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
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  • Toronto, ON M2N 6L4