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Get your car ready for spring!

The long winter is finally over! But before you go out for road trips or even driving around town, make sure your car is in tip-top shape. From facing clumps of snow to slippery, icy roads, your car likely is in need of some post-winter care. Here are five things to help keep things running smoothly and safely:

  1. Clean up your tires or change out the winter tires. Wipe down and scrub off any accumulated rust—even a little rust can make the wheel difficult to remove if you ever get a flat tire later on. While you’re at it, consider getting the air pressure and balance checked for all tires.
  2. Get your brakes inspected. Braking hard and repeatedly on slippery roads can put a lot of wear and tear on your brakes. Road salt can also corrode parts that affect brake function. Given how critical brakes are to your safety and the safety of others, this inspection is highly recommended and should be done by experts.
  3. Wash away salts. Not only can road salt impact your brake function, it can also wear down other parts of your car too. Use a hose to rinse down the undercarriage of your car, or go to a car wash that washes the bottom of your car.
  4. Get new wipers. With all the ice and snow on the windshields, your wipers are likely in need of a change. Make sure you measure accurately before purchasing a new set of wipers. And don’t forget about the back wiper, if your car has one!
  5. Swap out air filters. If you haven’t replaced your engine air filter or cabin air filter (if your car has one), consider getting them replaced this spring. You’ll get better mileage out of your car with a fresh engine air filter, and things will smell better if you have a new cabin air filter.

And if you haven’t gotten one yet, be sure to ask us for our Crash Kit, a free booklet to keep in your glovebox that will come in handy if you ever get involved in a car accident.

8 Tips for Getting Long-Term Disability Benefits—Faster!

Applying for long-term disability (LTD) benefits? Boost the chances you’ll get approved on your first application!

  1. Meet all deadlines in your LTD policy. If you don’t know the deadlines, ask your HR department or check with the insurance company.
  2. Don’t assume your doctors know the details of your disability test. Share the exact wording of your test with anyone completing forms on your behalf.
  3. Don’t complain to healthcare providers about paying for them to fill out forms or letters. It’s a professional service that takes their time and focus, so they deserve payment.
  4. Return the insurance company’s calls and requests. If they say they need something, take action right away. Don’t wait for your employer or healthcare team to do it. Take initiative and respond yourself.
  5. Meet all deadlines in other legislation if your initial application is denied. There are limitation periods that apply. Don’t miss the
    time frame during which you can take action.
  6. Apply for Canada Pension Plan-Disability (CPP-D). If you have contributed to CPP-D while working, you may be eligible for a federally funded disability pension even if you are not retirement age. Getting CPP-D can help support your LTD claim.
  7. You may be able to apply for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). This is a provincial disability pension that is available to disable people of limited financial means.

If you are confused or experience any obstacles, call an experienced LTD lawyer. At Auger Hollingsworth, we’ve had great success getting early approval for denied or ignored LTD claims. We offer free initial consultations. There’s no benefit in putting off something as important as applying for LTD benefits!

Winter Driving: Personal Injury Lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth on CTVMorningLive

As the winter driving accidents start to pile up, Auger Hollingsworth personal injury lawyers founder, Brenda Hollingsworth, spoke to Annette Goerner about safe driving in winter conditions.

Did you know?

The number one reason our personal injury lawyers hear from at fault drivers who caused a collision is that they did not see the other vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist.

  • Clearing all the snow and ice off all your windows is required for safe winter driving.
  • Using windshield washer fluid is required for safe winter driving too.

When our personal injury lawyers ask at fault drivers why they hit our client’s vehicles, they typically tell us they “just could not stop in time.”

  • Having snow tires increases your ability to stop in winter conditions.
  • Anticipating long stop runways in winter conditions decreases the likelihood of a collision.

See Brenda Hollingsworth speak to Annette Goerner on Ottawa CTV Morning Live about avoiding winter driving accidents.

Winter Driving with Auger Hollingsworth Injury Lawyers

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 613 233-4529!

It’s Not Big Brother Watching… Just a Private Investigator!

If you’ve been in an accident and begun your injury case, there is a good chance that you will be the subject of some surveillance by a private investigator.

When you make a personal injury claim, it is the insurance company’s job to make sure that your story is accurate. One aspect of the investigation will be looking at medical records and history, but another option will be surveillance.

During surveillance, an investigator will record video footage of you doing your daily activities, but you will probably never know when it’s happening. The investigator is looking for discrepancies between what you say you can do and what they see you doing.

Avoid surveillance issues by keeping your lawyer and insurance company in the loop about the state of your injuries. If your condition changes, always provide updates.

Remember, surveillance cannot hurt your case if you are honest about what you can or cannot do as a result of your accident. Accuracy is key!

Q: What do you call an alligator in a bullet-proof vest?
A: An investigator.

Good Driving Music is Quiet Music

When we think of dangerous driving music, you might imagine rock-and-roll (rather than, say, classical opera), but a study out of Memorial University in Newfoundland suggests that the volume, rather than the kind of music, is more important for safety.

In the study, any kind of music became distracting right when the volume was turned up. This makes sense; the more things demanding your attention, the longer it takes your brain to process to interpret them all.

Sometimes music can help keep us alert and sometimes it can help us relax—but beware getting so relaxed you begin to lose your sharpness.

When driving, stay focused on the road, not on the tunes.

How to Be a Great Witness

When testifying in an personal injury case, it is important to know how to be a good witness. This may seem as simple as answering questions when asked, and while this is certainly the basics of testifying, being on the witness stand can involve much more than you may think.

At the scene of the injury

People who have just been injured tend to be overwhelmed and in shock. Help them out by putting your contact information directly into their phone and saying that you are a witness to the injury.

Stay around the scene to make sure your statement is heard. If police ask you what you saw or heard, be specific. Instead of using adjectives like “negligent driving,” describe exactly what made their driving negligent.

Write down what you saw immediately. It could be a few months to a year before you’ll need to describe the events. This exercise will help refresh your memory.

At the witness stand

The most important aspect of testifying in a personal injury case is to tell the truth. When asked a question, answer directly. Make sure that you speak confidently and loudly enough that you can be properly understood. It is easy to become nervous and stumble over your words. Remain calm and take your time to think about your answer if you feel having a few extra seconds will help you respond correctly.

If you did not hear a question properly, or if you do not understand a question, ask for it to be repeated. It is better to admit that you did not hear or do not understand, than to respond inappropriately. If you don’t know the answer to a question or if you can’t remember something, be honest and say so. Don’t make up an answer and say something that you know to be untrue or think could be untrue.

Dress appropriately when testifying. A good rule of thumb is to dress as though you were going to an interview. Wearing professional attire for court establishes a sense of etiquette and respect. Also, you should always be polite and respectful of the judge and other lawyers present. Always be calm and polite.

Remember that it’s not about taking sides—it’s about the truth. If you seem biased, your testimony won’t be as helpful. The most helpful witnesses are the ones who relay what they saw with honesty and detail.

While testifying can be intimidating and sometimes overwhelming, if you follow these tips, you’ll deliver a better testimony that will help to inform the court. When you are acting as a witness, you are helping to make the world a better place. You are helping victims get compensated for their injuries and helping to ensure that accidents don’t occur again.

3 Things to Know When Working with an Adjuster

Many people deal directly with an adjuster at the insurance company when injured in an accident to get fair compensation. In a large number of cases, you might not need a lawyer if you have a small injury or if the loss is straightforward. Here are a few things you must know about working with an adjuster.

  1. Your adjuster does not work for you. They work for your insurance company. This is true whether they are an employee of the insurance company or an “independent” adjuster who looks after your injury case.
  2. An adjuster may also be called a “claims representative” or a “customer service representative.” That changes nothing; they still work for the insurance company.
  3. The insurance adjuster’s job is to settle your claim as cheaply as possible. Their job is not to ensure that you receive all the compensation that you may deserve.

The majority of adjusters you meet will be professional and pleasant. However, keep in mind that their job is to settle fast and settle for the least amount possible.

Getting Compensation After Snowmobile Accidents in Ontario

Every winter our personal injury lawyers are hired by families of people who have been seriously injured, or who have died, while driving a snowmobile or skidoo in Ontario. As fun as they are, snowmobiles can be dangerous and serious snowmobile accidents happen every single season in Ontario.

Auger Hollingsworth has represented families who have been impacted by snowmobile accidents caused by striking a tree, impaired driving, as well as collisions with other vehicles.

Should I hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Ontario Snowmobile Accident?

Many Ontarians are surprised to know that their car insurance policy will apply after an accident to pay for medical and rehabilitation expenses that are not covered by OHIP.  If you have suffered a very serious injury such as a spinal cord injury or serious brain injury, your medical and rehabilitation costs can be very high.  An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you access the maximum amount of benefits available to you.  These benefits are not paid automatically.  You have to apply for the benefits through your car insurance.  Sometimes the insurance company will dispute your entitlement to benefits and deny your claim.  Our lawyers can make the process easier for you and your family and can manage when your claims are denied.  We regularly get benefits reinstated after an insurance company has denied a claim.

The accident benefit insurance from your car or truck insurance may also provide you with an income replacement benefit if you are off work due to your injuries, among other benefits.  Again, our lawyers can help you apply for this benefit and will fight any disputes that arise about your entitlement or the amount of the benefit.

In the case of a fatal accident, the accident benefit insurance company should also provide a death benefit and funeral expenses.

Can I Sue After A Serious Snowmobile Accident?

Sometimes, someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident.  A problem with a trail, over -service of alcohol by a restaurant or bar, a collision with another snowmobile or another vehicle may all lead to a potential claims for compensation.  Allowing a personal injury law firm like Auger Hollingsworth to review your case will ensure the injured driver, or their family, has access to all available compensation.  Sometimes this involves starting a lawsuit on your behalf.  We have had success helping families like yours after serious snowmobile accident injuries and fatalities.

Contact Auger Hollingsworth After a Snowmobile Accident

The best protection after a serious snowmobile accident is the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our lawyers are trained and available to handle cases by Ontario snowmobilers and skidoo drivers.  Let us help you get back on the trail to recovery by ensuring you have access to all available funding.

Contact us at 613 233-4529 in Eastern Ontario and 647 494-5371 in the GTA.  We always offer a free, no-obligation consultation with a lawyer.

snowmobile

Would you know what to do in a Snowmobile Accident?

Can I Get Sued If I Give Someone COVID-19?

There has been recent media discussion about possible lawsuits against Ontarians who host social gatherings over the holidays.  Some news outlets suggest that if a guest contracts COVID-19 after attending your house party, you could be found liable in negligence as the host.

Our firm does not recommend breaching local and provincial laws and rules about social distancing and gatherings.  It makes sense to take every step to keep you and your loved ones safe. Plus, the possibility of fines is real!

Can I get sued for giving someone COVID-19 at a Christmas party?

The injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth are doubtful that a flood of lawsuits against party hosts will be successful given the current state of the law and the widespread knowledge and warnings about the risks of gathering inside over the 2020 holiday season.  Civil liability for COVID-19 from a private party?  We think that is far-fetched for the following four reasons.

  1. Proving the Host is At Fault.  First, how would you prove where you contracted the virus?  Unless you are be able to prove that you had zero risk of exposure from anything else you did over the previous 14 days, how could you conclusively say that you got the virus at the party? Have you been to the grocery store? Outside? The gym? School?  Has anyone you live with been any of those places?  If other guests at the party also contracted COVID-19, how would you prove that they did not catch it from you?  As the plaintiff in a civil law suit you have the burden to prove that someone else’s negligence caused your illness.  We think that would be a very difficult burden.
  2. Ontario’s Laws Protect Social Hosts.  Second, look at how the courts have treated social host liability in other contexts.  For example, to date, party hosts who allow drunk guests to drive home from a party have not been found responsible for injuries caused by the drunk driver.  From these cases, there is a strong indication that no liability will be found unless the host actually does something intentionally harmful.  Following these precedents, it is unlikely that a party host would be responsible for someone’s COVID-19 infection unless the plaintiff could prove that the host intentionally withheld information that a guess was not feeling well.
  3. You Assumed the Risk of Illness.  Third, Ontario has a defence called the “voluntary assumption of risk”.  If a person engages in an activity, and they accept and are aware of the risks inherent in that activity, they cannot later complain of injury during the activity.  Although the host will have the obligation to prove that the guest was aware of the risk and accepted them, in the context of the well-publicised risks of the pandemic, this burden would not be difficult to meet.  This is a complete defence.  If the host shows you voluntarily assumed the risk, you lose your lawsuit.
  4. You were negligent too.  Even if you were to prove that the host was somehow responsible for your infection, you would also likely be held to be contributorily negligent.  What that means is that you share the responsibility for your infection.  A court would then decide what percentage you are at fault for your own situation.  Your compensation would be reduced by that percentage.  Given how well known the risks of social gatherings are, and that you chose to participate in the face of those risks, the percentage of your own responsibility would likely be very high.

If you have questions about your specific situation related to COVID-19 or other illness or injury, please contact us.

Broken Bones After an Ontario Accident | Toronto, ON

Broken bones after an Ontario accident

Broken bones or fractures are very common after accidents involving motor vehicles and also where people have fallen. In our Toronto personal injury law practice, we regularly see clients with fractures ranging from skull or facial bones to ankles feet and toes and everything in between!

It is generally easier to get compensation for broken bones or fractures than it is from other types of injuries because, in most cases, these injuries are objective and show up on an x-ray or other scan.

Some commonly seen fractures after accidents are:

  • Spinal vertebrae in the back or the neck. These bones can break during a rear end collision a head on collision or a T-bone collision as your body is impacted by your seatbelt, airbag, or headrest. They can also be fractured as a result of a hard fall or a fall from a significant height.
  • Clavicle which is also called the collarbone. This runs across the top of your rib cage and is quite fragile. We frequently see fractured clavicles as a result of cycling accidents involving motor vehicles.
  • Ulna and Radius.  These are the most common bone fractures we see from clients who have fallen on their outstretched arms or hand.
  • Pelvic bone. Pelvic bone fractures are quite serious and can immobilize a client for a significant amount of time.  We see pelvic bone injuries most commonly during motorcycle accidents.
  • Hip bones.  We often represent clients who have fractured their hips in slip and fall or trip and fall accidents.
  • Lower leg (fibula) and upper leg (femur). Broken legs are quite common. These are strong bones but can be fractured when the force of a collision crashes the vehicle into the body.
  • Ankle fractures.  Our law firm often sees these fractures as a result of a slip or trip and fall accident.
  • Cranial or skull fractures. These fractures require immediate attention because they can also sometimes indicate injury to the brain. Skull fractures can happen when our client hits his or her head on the dashboard window or steering wheel.  We have also had clients suffer skull fractures in cycling accidents.
  • Facial bones. Clients who are struck by an airbag or whose face meets the dashboard,  steering wheel or window may suffer a fracture of the nose, jaw, cheekbones or the bones around the eyes.  Clients may also suffer this type of injury if they strike something on the way down during a trip or slip and fall.
  • Sternum and ribs. The sternum is the flat bone in between your ribs. They are sturdy bones intended to protect your internal organs. These bones may be fractured by a client’s seat-belt or by the movement forward when struck in a motor vehicle collision.

If you have any one or more of these types of fractures,  our Toronto personal injury law firm can help you. We can help you get the rehabilitation you need to make maximum recovery to get back into your life. Where the injuries are more serious and will require an adaptation of your home , vehicle and other aspects of your life, our experience law firm can assist you with all of those changes to help you make the best of your new reality and continue to live your best life.

Contact Auger Hollingsworth for a free consultation about your bone fracture or other injury resulting from an accident.

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