Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ontario or Deal Directly With the Insurance Company?

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ontario or Deal Directly With the Insurance Company?

For any person who is involved in a car crash, it is very hectic. Insurance companies usually tend to investigate the whole situation before planning to payout any money. Sometimes, the insurance companies deny the insurance amount to their clients, claiming that the accident was sabotage by the owner. In these situations, the case usually goes to the court. For these reasons, it is quite important for a victim to hire a personal injury lawyer to help extract the insurance money from the company. Moreover, there are a few things one needs to verify with the lawyer before hiring. They are:

1. What is the specialization of the lawyer?

This is a very important question to ask a lawyer. If the lawyer is not a specialized personal injury lawyer, then it doesn’t matter how good he/she is. At the end of the day, they may not be able to negotiate the matters as well as a person specializing in this area. But, in case the lawyer is a close relative or a very good friend, they can be hired because they have an emotional connection with the family and will usually not double-cross them.

Every lawyer having a regular practice knows the basics of laws on all fields but it is always advised to get a specialist lawyer for matters like this as there is a high chance that the insurance company will also hire a specialist lawyer.

2. Did the lawyer handle similar cases before?

This is again a valid question. One needs to be sure they have the best lawyer for their purpose. In these cases, experience matters a lot as for an experienced personal injury lawyer; it is easier to understand the steps the opposition might take. Also, knowing about the experience of the lawyer in such a case will also reveal the win percentage of the lawyer. Within lawyers, there is an unofficial code of conduct. Some ethical lawyers charge only when they can win the case. For such experienced lawyers, taking of a case depends on the condition of the case, i.e. they will take the case only if they are sure they will win it. On the other hand, there are a number of lawyers who tend to hoodwink clients and will take both the case and the money regardless of the outcome.

3. Can he/she handle the defendant?

This is one of the most important virtues of the hired lawyer, their ability to predict the steps of the opposition and counter correctly. When a lawyer can do this, the case is already half won. A young and new lawyer, with less experience won’t be able to do this, unless they were previously employed by insurance companies.

4. Does the lawyer interact personally with the client?

This is another important factor in hiring a lawyer. If a client goes to a big firm, the usual case is that a junior of the main senior lawyer who comes to interact with the client. These situations sometimes create a communication gap between the client and lawyer, which is not something good. In that case, it is better to approach a smaller firm, where the client can communicate personally with the senior lawyer.

Accident Benefits – Knowing Your Rights to Getting Better Accident Compensation

Accident Benefits – Knowing Your Rights to Getting Better Accident Compensation

Although Ontario has a robust accident benefits insurance regime unparalleled anywhere in Canada, it requires understanding of how it works if you are planning on making a claim for your loss under the system.

And unless you know your rights and file a formal report about your involvement in an accident, you risk forfeiting your benefits because the insurance companies will not pay any unreported accident. Even if you do not have any insurance policy, you can still benefit, under the system’s “no-fault” accident benefits.

For the purpose of this article, let’s discuss some of the benefits:

1. Medical Rehabilitation Benefits:

These benefits cover treatments such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, assistive devices, gym memberships and all other medical, rehabilitative treatment found to be reasonably necessary for post accident care. It also covers tools like a wheelchair, modified vehicles, and many others.

These benefits come in two cases, the catastrophic and non-catastrophic. The Catastrophic Cases, entitle you to a sum of $1,000,000 for a lifetime period while the Non-catastrophic Cases allow $100,000 spread over a period of 10 years.

To benefit under this facility, you need a medical professional to complete the treatment plan to justify your needing it.

2. Income Replacement Benefits:

The income replacement benefits aimed at replacing your income source; that is if involved in an accident and unable to work as a result. When this happens, the benefits cover 80% of your pre-accident earnings. The last earning is the average of last year’s pre-accident income. On the order hand, they may settle for 26 of your 52 weeks before the accident.

The benefits offer a maximum of $400 per week under the Ontario accident policy.

3. Caregiver Benefits:

The caregiver benefits aim at providing caregiving to persons under the care of the victim before the incident. Such persons may include a young child, sick person or elderly who need the victim to care for them, but who can no longer perform this task due to their present circumstances.

To benefit from this accident benefits provision, you need to show proof of being the primary caregiver to get a sum of $250 weekly with $50 extra for every additional person under your care.

4. Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefits

If you undertake certain tasks before your accident and after which you are unable to do the same due to sustained injury or disability, the benefits help to take care of the same task such as dish washing, mopping, etc.

Your insurance company requires you submit invoice or receipt for the chores to get the benefits, but the approved sum will not be more than $100 per week. Failing to provide the receipt means your insurer will not pay you regardless of your injury.

5. Attendant Care Benefits:

These benefits pay for people who provide attendant care services, such as bathing, bruising hair, grooming, etc., to the victims after they are injured. For you to claim this compensation,  you need an occupational therapist to complete “form 1” that shows how many attendants care needed after their accident.

Conclusion

The Ontario accident system has a robust accident compensation policy, like the “no-fault” system which helps to assist accident victims to have something dependable to fall back on because of the limited nature of insurance coverage in accident cases. For you to benefit, all you need is to study and understand how the system works and follow due process to get your benefits paid.

Cold Weather Safety Tips

Cold Weather Safety Tips

We are going to see lower temperatures across the province in January 2016.  We will have the usual extreme cold weather alerts, inordinate amounts of snow, freezing rain and of course icy sidewalks.

The elements can be harsh and dangerous whether you are a pedestrian or motorist. In Windsor and Sarnia, our winters are harsh and often unbearable and can in many cases have consequences for both the inside of the home’s plumbing as well as the outside; contacting Plumber Wave can help eliminate many of the issues that may arise in terms to damages and potential accidents. Winter weather is particularly dangerous for pedestrians, with exposure to wind-chill and risk of hypothermia, frostbite and personal injuries such as slip and fall accidents. The Canadian Red Cross recommends always keep your head covered and wearing fabrics that are insulated, like wool. Always keep exposed areas covered including your face, ears and fingers.

It is important to always wear a hat and keep your head covered because half your body heat can escape through an uncovered head. Mittens or Gloves? Believe it or not, mittens are recommended as more warmth is created when our fingers are kept together. Slip and fall accidents are also prevalent in the winter months due to compacted snow, freezing rain, build ups of ice and slush. Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries.

Here are some tips in order to prevent slip and fall accidents:

  1. Keep a supply of salt in your garage (or near your front door): Make sure you can easily access salt to salt your walkway,driveway, and sidewalk in front of your house to make it safe for yourself, your family and any potential visitors;
  2. Make sure your driveway and walkway are well lit: If you do not have outdoor light fixtures, you may want to consider installing them so you have a clear view of your walkway and driveway.
  3. Invest in proper footwear: We recommend that proper footwear be worn at all times- buy winter boots with non-skid soles (and buy lined boots to keep your feet warm);
  4. See and Be Seen: The snow can cast a bright reflection- make sure you can see your surroundings when you are walking and keep a pair of sunglasses with you to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare. Wear something bright or reflective so that drivers can see you.
  5. Listen: You may be wearing a hood, or have a hat on, but even with your ears covered, you should still be aware of approaching vehicles or people. Always be aware of your surroundings, so you do not have to make any sudden moves which could cause you to fall;
  6. Use handrails where available: When you reach a set of stairs, always use the handrail where one is available to help you with your balance and pace yourself. Do not rush up and down stairwells as they are dangerous and an accumulation of precipitation on a set of stairs can lead to a serious injury;
  7. Beware of Ice: After rain, or where snow has melted, be wary of what looks like wet pavement as it could actually be what is known as black ice, which is dangerous to walk on;
  8. Enter slowly: Take extra caution when you enter your destination, be it your workplace, a shopping centre or school as the floor may be wet due to an accumulation of melted snow and ice;
  9. Avoid shortcuts: Only take well-lit, well-travelled routes and avoid areas that may not have been salted and may be dark;

10. Practice “conscious walking”: Be conscious of where you will place your feet and anticipate your next steps, look up so that you are aware of the surface ahead and scan your surroundings to ensure you are not in the way of oncoming vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

If you have been injured as the result of a slip and fall accident, it is important that you contact the experienced Windsor personal injury lawyers at Paciocco & Mellow at (519) 915-SORE (7673). We can provide you with a free, no obligation initial consultation.

We understand that you may feel overwhelmed during the legal process and we strive to provide the best service possible and to help our clients in any way that we can, be it a referral to a specialist, rehabilitation provider, help securing a litigation loan or providing reassurance.

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow aims to help provide you with Peace of Mind at a Difficult Time. 

Avoid Slip and Fall Injuries this Winter

Avoid Slip and Fall Injuries this Winter

Slip and fall injuries are extremely common during the winter months. Snow, ice, and other slick surfaces can make walking through parking lots or down sidewalks hazardous. Keep yourself safe this winter by working to avoid slip and fall injuries.

Dress Appropriately

With the slippery sidewalks and driveways that often accompany winter weather, it is important to dress appropriately to protect yourself when outside. Wear thick boots with neoprene or rubber soles that will provide you with better traction than plastic or leather. While smooth-soled shoes may be comfortable, they should be avoided in icy and snowy conditions. A thick winter coat will keep you warm when outside and will prevent you from moving hastily and potentially experiencing a fall.

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