Accident Lawyers in Windsor General FAQ

General FAQ from Accident Lawyers in Windsor

what to do after an accident

1. What is the role of an accident lawyer?

An accident lawyer plays a crucial role in providing legal representation and support to individuals who have been involved in accidents. They specialize in personal injury law and help their clients navigate the complex legal process to seek compensation for their losses and damages.
Important information:

  1. Accident lawyers provide legal representation for individuals involved in accidents.
  2. They specialize in personal injury law and help clients seek compensation.
  3. They assist in navigating the legal process related to accidents.

2. How can an accident lawyer help me after an accident?

After an accident, an accident lawyer can provide valuable assistance in various ways. They can help you understand your legal rights, assess the strength of your case, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. Their primary goal is to secure fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Important information:

  1. Accident lawyers provide guidance on legal rights and options after an accident.
  2. They help assess the strength of your case and gather necessary evidence.
  3. They negotiate with insurance companies and represent you in court if needed.

3. What types of accidents do accident lawyers handle?

Accident lawyers handle a wide range of accidents, including but not limited to car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall incidents, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice cases. They have the expertise to handle various types of personal injury claims.
Important information:

  1. Accident lawyers handle car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall incidents, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice cases.
  2. They have experience in handling different types of personal injury claims.
  3. They can provide legal assistance regardless of the accident type.

4. What should I consider when choosing an accident lawyer in Windsor, Ontario?

When selecting an accident lawyer in Windsor, Ontario, it’s essential to consider a few factors. Look for a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law, has a proven track record of successful cases, is experienced in handling similar accidents, and has a good reputation within the legal community. Additionally, consider their communication style, fees, and the level of personal attention they provide to clients.
Important information:

  1. Choose an accident lawyer specializing in personal injury law.
  2. Look for a lawyer with a successful track record and experience in handling similar accidents.
  3. Consider their reputation, communication style, fees, and level of personal attention.

5. What should I expect during the initial consultation with an accident lawyer?

During the initial consultation with an accident lawyer, you can expect a confidential discussion about your accident, injuries, and the potential legal aspects of your case. The lawyer will assess the facts, ask relevant questions, and provide an evaluation of the strength of your case. They will also explain their fees, the legal process, and the potential timeline for your claim.
Important information:

  1. The initial consultation involves a confidential discussion about your accident and injuries.
  2. The lawyer will assess the facts and evaluate the strength of your case.
  3. Expect information about fees, the legal process, and the potential timeline for your claim.

Note: The information provided on this website are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer at Paciocco and Mellow for personalized guidance regarding your specific case.

Disability Claims For Mental Illnesses FAQ

Mental Illness Disability Claims FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I apply for disability benefits if my mental illness is not listed as a specific condition?

Yes, you can still apply for disability benefits even if your mental illness is not listed as a specific condition. The eligibility criteria typically focus on the impact of your mental illness on your ability to work and function in daily life. Ensure that you provide comprehensive documentation and evidence to support your claim.

2. How long does the application process for disability benefits usually take?

The length of the application process can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of your case, the program you are applying to, and the workload of the disability benefits office. It is advisable to be patient and follow up regularly to inquire about the status of your claim.

3. What should I do if my disability benefits claim is denied?

If your disability benefits claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Review the denial letter to understand the grounds for rejection and consider seeking legal or advocacy support to help you through the appeal process. Gather additional evidence, such as updated medical documentation or supportive letters from healthcare professionals, to strengthen your case. Follow the appeal guidelines and deadlines provided by the disability benefits program.

4. Can I work while receiving disability benefits for mental illness?

The rules regarding employment while receiving disability benefits vary depending on the specific program and your individual circumstances. In some cases, you may be allowed to engage in limited employment or work part-time while still receiving benefits. However, there are usually income thresholds and reporting requirements to consider. It is important to consult with the disability benefits program or seek professional advice to understand the specific guidelines and how they apply to your situation.

5. Are disability benefits for mental illness permanent?

Disability benefits for mental illness are not always permanent. In many cases, benefits are provided on a temporary basis, with periodic reviews and assessments to determine ongoing eligibility. The duration of benefits can vary depending on factors such as the severity of your condition, the expected duration of your disability, and the specific program you are enrolled in. It is important to stay informed about the requirements for maintaining benefits and be prepared for potential reassessments in the future.

6. Are disability benefits for mental illness taxable?

In Canada, disability benefits for mental illness may be taxable or non-taxable, depending on the specific program and the nature of the benefits received. It is advisable to consult with a tax professional or refer to the guidelines provided by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to understand the tax implications of your specific benefits.

7. Are there alternative support programs available if I am not eligible for disability benefits?

Yes, there are alternative support programs available for individuals with mental illnesses who may not qualify for disability benefits. These programs can include financial assistance, vocational training, counseling services, and community support offered by provincial or territorial governments, mental health organizations, or charities. Researching and exploring these options can help you access the support and resources you need.


In conclusion, individuals with mental illnesses in Canada have the opportunity to seek disability benefits to support their financial and healthcare needs. By understanding the eligibility criteria, gathering comprehensive documentation, and following the application process, you can increase your chances of accessing the support you require. Remember to stay resilient, seek support from healthcare professionals and advocacy groups, and explore additional resources available to you. You are not alone on this journey, and there are resources and communities ready to assist you in navigating the challenges of living with a mental illness.


Note: The information provided on this website are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer at Paciocco and Mellow for personalized guidance regarding your specific case.

Seven Useful Tips from Expert Personal Injury Lawyers Windsor

The legal process can be complicated, and you might not know the right questions to ask. After all, you just want to get your life back to normal as soon as possible, and personal injury lawyers Windsor are on your side. In your battle towards returning to normalcy, we are here to arm you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your legal rights and what’s in your best interest. By educating yourself on what to do next, you can rest assured that you’re ready to take the next step and protect what you’ve earned. We’ve gathered some essential tips from our expert personal injury lawyers that should help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. From assessing your options to meeting your deadlines, these tips are a helpful resource and are sure to provide the information you need to succeed in your legal battle.

1. Preserve Evidence

There is no denying the importance of evidence in personal injury cases. You should be sure to keep all records related to your accident, including medical bills, physical therapy records, police and accident reports, and any other evidence to document your injuries and the extent of your losses. Photos and videos from dash and body cameras can be invaluable in the courtroom and should be saved and kept safe. Your insurance claims lawyer Windsor will help you gather all the necessary evidence. However, it is up to you to preserve and protect this evidence. Your attorney cannot do this for you, so use every method possible to document your injuries. This is your best bet to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

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2. Get Medical Treatment

If you want to get the best possible outcome from your personal injury claim, you need to get immediate medical attention. Whether your accident was serious or not, a doctor can put you on the road to recovery and provide you with vital information that will be used to build your case. Your doctor will provide you with specific details about your injuries and treatment, which you will want to share with your attorney in order to get the maximum compensation you deserve. Furthermore, professionals recommend that you undergo every test, medication, surgery, or treatment that your doctor prescribes, as your attorney will use your treatment as evidence to get you the settlement package you deserve.

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3. Value Your Claim Fully

You don’t want to miss out on your right to recover damages for all of your losses, including the economic damages (cost of medical care and lost wages) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering). If you are dealing with long-term injuries, then the case can be more complicated. Your lawyer will make sure to get the best possible insurance claims Windsor for you. The more clearly you can communicate your damages to your lawyer, the more quickly he or she can investigate your case and make a claim for all of your losses.


4. Pursue Best Compensation Possible

The insurance adjuster will probably try to settle your case as quickly as possible, but they may not offer you the best settlement possible. You should find out how much your claim is worth before you settle for too little. You should at least consult with personal injury lawyers Southern Ontario to make sure you know your rights and what you can claim for. Your lawyer can negotiate your claim with the other side or go to court to make sure you get what’s owed to you. By better understanding the value of your claim, you can make the most informed decision possible, which should lead to the best possible outcome.

5. Never Forget Future Damages

In addition to pain, suffering, and even disability victims of an accident may suffer from loss of wages and future medical expenses. In order to obtain complete disability claims Windsor, it is important to make sure that you and your disability claims lawyer Windsor plan for these factors. This can include compiling reports with projected disability and estimated medical expenses, in addition to creating a list of lost wages. These factors will help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

6. Make Your Case Strong

Personal injury lawsuits tend to get complicated in a hurry, and if you are going through one, it can be hard to figure things out. Most of the litigation process comes down to “make your case as strong as possible.” This is a simple statement, but it’s easier said than done. Your case needs to be rock solid; there can be no holes. Anything could be used against you in court, so you need to have all of your facts straight before things begin. So, work with your layer from the very beginning. Do what he or she says, and the case will move along more smoothly.

7. Never Wait to File Your Case

Personal injury cases are unique in that they have time restraints that other lawsuits do not have. In personal injury law, the victim of negligence or intentional harm will usually have only about two years to file a lawsuit. This period is known as the statute of limitations. Thankfully, there are exceptions to these strict rules that will allow you to keep your right to sue someone for your injuries or damages even if the statute of limitations has expired. However, you need to be ready to defend yourself and your case in court, and that means having everything in order from the very beginning. Work with your lawyer to make sure that you have as much information as possible, with the best possible outcome in mind. While the legal process can be scary, with professional help from personal injury lawyers Windsor, you can take some of the stress out of the situation and get your life back on track.

BONUS 8. Try to Make a Good Impression

It may be hard to believe, but your case will stand a better chance in court if you are polite to the other side and their lawyer. These are real people, and they have families too. Keep your anger in check. A well-written, polite letter of complaint can go a long way. A lawsuit can also strain personal relationships. Try to keep personal relationships as civil as possible, but don’t be intimidated into keeping quiet about the case or agreeing to a settlement that you think is unfair. Keep in mind that when dealing with an insurance company or a large corporation, you’re up against a big machine with a large budget for lawyers and PR experts. You might feel like you don’t have a chance in court but remember that an experienced personal injury lawyer can often make all the difference in your case.


It’s not easy to deal with a personal injury, especially if you’re the victim of negligence or intentional harm. The process is hard, and you need to be prepared for the battle. Luckily, you can have an expert in your corner to help you with your case. The right lawyer will guide you every step of the way. If you’re looking for a good lawyer to handle your personal injury claim, check out our expert personal injury lawyers Windsor to get started. It doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion, and our lawyers will work hard to help you reach the best possible outcome. Our personal injury lawyers will keep you informed of your rights and make sure that you know your options. So, take your first step towards your best possible outcome by contacting a local personal injury lawyer today.

How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge in Ontario?

You always have some risks that can lead to some unfortunate events, for instance, an accident. However, these events can cause severe injuries and damage to both parties. It is always recommended to get a personal injury claim if you find yourself in such a situation. There are several challenges one must go through. Apart from physical and emotional suffering, the major challenge is the financial difficulty to sustain this crisis. You can get financial recompensation from the guilty party as stated by the government law in Ontario. This needs to be addressed with specific considerations, including availing services from a personal injury lawyer Windsor who can assist you with all your claim needs. 

Insurance Claims


Consider A Personal Injury Lawyer In Ontario To Get Compensated


According to the claim laws in Ontario, the victim party can ask for his personal journey claim from the guilty party. This includes a whole lot of processes and formalities that one needs to implement within the time frame. This may arise as a fundamental question related to the expenses and personal injury lawyers charge Windsor as you have already been charged for the damage. And it might be a bit challenging while considering a personal injury lawyer in Ontario to help you. With the Injury Lawyers of Paciocco & Mellow, you are already in good hands. We specialize in a wide range of services, including personal injury claims serving across South-Western Ontario. You can get a free initial consultation with us with just a call. 


How Much Will Your Personal Injury Lawyer Charge You?


If you are still perplexed about hiring a personal injury lawyer Windsor charge, we have finalized an overall estimate for you. Generally, the costs your injury lawyer asks for are reliable on the complexity of your situation and case. If you plan to hire an experienced lawyer with more than 20 years in this service, you must keep a manageable budget of around 28% to 30% plus costs. However, most personal injury lawyers are generally paid on a contingency fee basis. It is a relief for people who do not have a high budget to deal with the claim expenses. As the personal injury lawyer, in this case, will not charge on an hourly basis. 


Some of the law firms may cover all the additional fees you have spent on your medical expenses, court charges, police report and other documentation charges. If you consider a smaller law firm, you might also need to consider the additional costs they will ask you for in the initial stage. And this extra fee will determine the processing of your claim. With the Windsor Ontario Injury Lawyers of Paciocco & Mellow, you need not worry about the additional charges. Our experienced personal injury lawyers Windsor will help you get the injury benefits to which you are legally entitled. 

What Is The “Change Of Definition” Date In A Disability Claim?

Despite your best attempts to get better and return to work, specific impairments might persist a long time. People are curious if their long-term disability (LTD) payments will last as long as they require assistance. They are frequently astonished to learn from their insurance carrier that insurers may cancel their benefits after only two years due to a clause in the policy called “change of definition.” You will learn more about this in the sections below, and you will get the information about not having to accept your insurance company’s claim about terminating your benefits due to a “change of definition.” You can fight back with the help of disability claims lawyer Sarnia

Changes After Two Years (Disability Claims Lawyer Sarnia)

Although the language of individual LTD plans varies, they nonetheless have a lot in common. Almost every insurance you will come across stipulates that the insurer must give you compensation if you are “completely handicapped” from work. In most plans, the insurer must pay you as long as you are fully handicapped, up to age 65. So, why is your insurance advising you that your benefits might terminate after two years? What has changed in the last two years? After two years, the proper definition of “total disability” changes.

Disability Claims Lawyer Sarnia

What Changes In The Definition After Two Years?

For the first two years of most policies, “complete disability” indicates that your impairment precludes you from returning to work. It is why the first two years are sometimes referred to as the “own-occupation” era. It’s the period during which being entirely incapacitated entails being unable to work. After two years, the definition of “complete disability” changes, and you’ll only be eligible if your impairment prohibits you from returning to any “reasonably appropriate” job. As a result, the time after the first two years is known as the “any-occupation” era. It’s the moment when being entirely incapacitated implies being unable to work in any substantially fine job. Personal injury lawyers in Sarnia can help you with such situations.

What Kind Of Job May Be Suitable?

As you may have observed, the term “any occupation at any time” is not entirely accurate. The question isn’t whether you’re disabled from any work; it’s whether you’re disabled from any reasonable occupation – that is, any occupation for which your education, training, and experience make you adequately qualified. People who have spent their whole career operating heavy machinery, for example, may not be well suited for a position in an office. They could not have the qualifications or experience needed for that position. Someone who has spent their whole career as a manager may not be suitable for an entry-level role. Given their history and skills, such type of employment may not be suitable for them.

Benefits Are Not Automatically Terminated When The Definition Changes

People frequently leave meetings with their insurance carrier, fearing that their benefits will end because two years have elapsed and the “change of definition” deadline is approaching. Most people contact personal injury lawyers in Chatham-Kent to help them in such situations. In most circumstances, this is just incorrect. Unless and until your health improves, if you are incapacitated from your occupation today, you will most likely be disabled from any decent occupation tomorrow. Varied vocations need different levels of physical exertion: some are more physically demanding than others. Some tasks need more prolonged focus and concentration than others, while others necessitate greater interpersonal connection. However, virtually all jobs have the exact basic requirements:

  • Every day, you must be able to show up for work dependably and on time.
  • You must be well-rested and physically fit to do your duties.
  • The person must be able to sustain the essential postures for lengthy periods.
  • You must maintain your composure and engage efficiently with your coworkers.
  • To prevent making mistakes, you must be vigilant, cautious, and focused.
  • Whether or not two years have elapsed, your insurance should not be ending your benefits if your impairment prohibits you from performing correctly in the workplace.

Conclusion (Disability Claims Lawyer Sarnia)

Suppose you suspect your insurer is preparing to terminate your benefits on the “change of definition” date. In that case, you should speak with disability lawyers in Sarnia about your options and how to respond if and when your payments terminate. You can discuss the medical proof you’ll need to show that you fulfill the “any-occupation” standard for impairment and keep your benefits. If your insurance company decides to terminate your coverage despite the facts, they can assist you in fighting back.

How long does it take to settle a personal injury claim in Southern Ontario?

Car accidents have become very common these days. There is no doubt that an individual often gets his cars and other vehicles insured. This is to safeguard his vehicle from unwanted and unfortunate accidents. Road accidents have increased in recent times. People are facing severe accidents due to one or the other reasons. One primary reason is the sight problems on the highways during the night. The reason could be the high speed of cars on which people are driving. Many people are losing their lives in car accidents. Whereas certain people even face multiple injuries that can cause them much pain and rest for a long time. In such cases, people who are getting injured get to sleep, but their family members and loved ones face many problems. 


The medical treatment of accident victims are increasing. The medicines and injections are available at high prices. The fees for doctors are touching the sky. Overall, it can be said that people are facing a lot of problems getting their treatment done once they have faced severe injuries due to unwanted accidents. What could be the solution to these problems? How can an individual claim injury insurance? Are there any personal injury lawyers in Southern Ontario who can assist the accident victims in claiming their insurance amount? If you want to get answers to these questions, they are here to help you. Forget about being stressed up due to personal injuries, as we are here to make you aware of the most professional and efficient personal injury lawyers in Sarnia. They will make sure that you would not lose your injury claim. 

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Connect with Professional Personal Injury Lawyers In Southern Ontario


No doubt, claiming personal injury can take a long time in Ontario. People who are facing the damage are in double pain. First the pain of their injuries and second, the pain of their medication. It has become challenging for an individual to manage their medical; experiences after an accident. And therefore, they look for personal injury lawyers in Southern Ontario to get their injury claims quickly. Usually, it takes around two years to contact your injury claim. But, if you are hiring our personal injury lawyer in Southern Ontario, you get an opportunity to claim your injury in a short duration of time. It is normal to feel stressed about your injury claim. But when you are connected with our professional and experienced personal injury lawyer Sarnia, your problems will be resolved; there are multiple reasons why you should hire our injury lawyers. If you want to know about these reasons, then refer to the below-mentioned points:


  • All the personal injury lawyers in Southern Ontario are very professional. 
  • They are professionally trained by the experts and have enough skills and talent to manage your injury case effectively. 
  • They will give you effective consultancy services and ensure complete satisfaction with their high-class services. 
  • The personal injury lawyer Chatham-kent is well known for their fantastic argument skills. 
  • They know how to deal with the companies and get the personal injury claim to their clients quickly. 
  • Their fees are very nominal and can be easily affordable. 


Now that you’re aware of the various reasons why you should choose our experienced personal injury lawyer Chatham-kent, then why are you waiting? Do not hesitate to contact us right now. Forget about being tortured by your injuries and respective medicines and connect with highly educated professional personal injury lawyers Sarnia. It will be a practical decision for you, as you can get your injury claim without any challenges. Not just eating, but it is cost-effective. So do not waste more of your time and connect with our personal injury lawyer in Southern Ontario right now to claim your injury. 


Effective services and easy claim for personal injury 


Now you do not have to struggle while looking for a professional personal injury lawyer in Chatham-kent. The lawyers we have got have all the skills to help you claim your injury in a short period. If you have suffered from a car accident or any other severe injuries recently, you can connect with our lawyers right away. They will help you get the right personal injury lawyer, Sarnia, and make you aware of the rights you deserve. Do not worry about the justice system, and our experienced personal injury lawyers Southern Ontario will never leave your hand until you get your injury claim. 

Why Do You Need A Personal Injury Lawyer After A Car Accident?

There are times when you can get hit by another driver on the road. You might think it’s the other person’s fault, but this is not necessarily the answer. An accident has several hidden factors for its occurrence, so you cannot blame anyone in this scenario. However, it becomes essential for you to have sharp eyes on the overall scene. If you have been injured or any of your belongings damaged, you can file a claim against the other party. And if the other person is blaming you for the clash, you must contact a Personal injury lawyer to get this situation under control. And hand him over all the details and specifications of the car accident. Accurate information along with pictures needs to be recorded. A professional personal injury lawyer Windsor will analyze the root cause and other factors responsible for the mishap. He will guide you accordingly after his analysis. 

You have all the right to hire a personal injury lawyer Windsor after getting stuck in an accident. Sometimes people ignore minor accidents as none of their belongings were damaged in the event. So they usually undermine it. But after several weeks, they get summoned to the court as the other party files suit against them. This situation could have been avoided if the person had thought about it. Even a minor accident is an accident and complies with the laws of the country. So you must always be sure from your side before someone drags you to the court. 

best personal injury lawyers in Windsor

best personal injury lawyers in Windsor

You need an experienced personal injury lawyer Windsor

You can get severely injured irrespective of whose fault led the clash. Moreover, your car can get damaged with your other belongings. You can get an insurance claim in Windsor for these losses and get compensated in return. But the problem arises when an Insurance company is hesitant to pay for what you deserve, and they always try to settle the dispute for less. And that is why you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer Windsor who can assist you in this whole situation. The Insurance claim lawyer Windsor will help you when:

You do not get the claim from the Insurance Company

As an accident victim who has undergone major surgeries and spent months in the hospital, it will be devastating to hear that you are not getting your claim. The pain you have endured all this time with all these dollars spent hoping to get an insurance claim can break anyone. The major problem that arises here is who is going to pay your medical bills? Therefore, you need an Insurance claim lawyer Windsor to help you settle the dispute and achieve a more appropriate and satisfactory decision. 

The insurance company offers a low settlement 

The insurance company covering the liable party is always looking to settle the claim with a low settlement offer. They do not consider the victim’s needs, and by addressing their policies, they might try to minimize your compensation. 

In this case, your personal injury lawyer Windsor will assist you in giving a better idea of the required compensation. They will provide you with proper advice for the expected claim you need to get and proceed with the settlement in your favor. An experienced lawyer will fight the compensation you deserve even though the insurance company is unwilling to pay that much. They will represent you in the court if needed. 

The insurance company blames you for the accident 

Even though you know that the other person is at fault for the incident, you fail to prove this. The liable party and the insurance company try to blame you for your loss and injury and thus, want to save themselves from the claim. But this will be unfair as you have pending medical bills and repair costs. 

Here, you need a personal injury lawyer Windsor who will help you get the required response from the insurance company. The professional lawyer will also update you with important information about the penalties that the insurance company is reluctant to do as they do not want to share information about the claim.

The Windsor Ontario Injury Lawyers of Paciocco & Mellow have more than twenty years of experience. Our professional personal injury lawyers Windsor specialize in a wide range of practice areas under the personal injury law category. We assist with different injuries and accidents, including car accidents, animal attacks, dog bites, Insurance claims, Slip and Fall, Head injuries, automobile accidents, and disability claims. Paciocco & Mellow are dedicated to serving legal services across south-western Ontario in Windsor, Chatham Kent, Sarnia, and other surrounding areas. 

Paciocco & Mellow COVID19 Notice

Paciocco & Mellow will be supporting public health recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We have again implemented a work at home plan for our employees.

We remain available to assist you as always. In person meetings are not needed, as we are able to handle all aspects of your case, from initial consultation to settlement, while you remain safely in your home. Our general phone line remains open at 519-915-7673, or you can contact us by email.

If you usually communicate with us by courier or postal mail, at present we will be maintaining the ability to receive mail and packages as usual.

Clients should rest assured that we continue to fully monitor your files and that we will continue to ensure that all timelines and limitation periods are met.

As the situation evolves and the advice of medical authorities is updated, Paciocco & Mellow will review business operations and proactively inform all clients and others.

We will post updates to our website and social media accounts as the situation requires.

Please stay safe. As always, please do hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Lawyer and Staff Email Addresses:

Gino Paciocco:

Jeffrey Mellow:

Elizabeth Essex:

Kimberley Orr:

Sandra Marchand:

Heather McIntyre:

Charlene Vargyas:

Krista Marion:

Patricia King:

Brianne Pitt:

Lena McBride:

Yenny Sequeira:

Jennifer Nadon:

Brittany Peterson:

Debra Myers:

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Beware Of Special Rules When Suing A Municipality

Accident victims should retain counsel as soon as possible after injuring themselves on city-owned property due to special rules that apply in those cases, says Windsor personal injury lawyer Gino Paciocco.

Paciocco, a founding partner of Paciocco & Mellow, tells us that while plaintiffs have two years to file a civil claim, provincial law requires an extra step for cases involving a municipality.

Under s. 44 (10) of the Municipal Act, actions against a city for negligence are barred unless “within 10 days after the occurrence of the injury, written notice of the claim and of the injury complained of, including the date, time and location of the occurrence, has been served upon or sent by registered mail” to the clerk of the municipality.

In cases where responsibility for the road or bridge in question is shared, the clerk for each jurisdictions must receive notice, the Act says.

“If you miss the 10-day notice period, in some circumstances it can defeat your claim altogether. There are some exceptions to that general rule which is why it is important to see a lawyer as soon as you are injured to protect your rights,” Paciocco says.

“Verbal notice is not sufficient to comply — it must be in writing,” he adds. “We can ensure that rights are protected by sending a notice letter. And if you missed the 10-day period, we can advise if you meet any exceptions to maintain a valid claim in any event.”

Paciocco says municipalities can find themselves liable when property that belongs to them is left in a hazardous condition, or not maintained for an extended period of time.

“In our experience, slip and fall incidents on municipal sidewalks are the most common claims,” he says. “We also have claims for falls and motor vehicle accidents due to icy conditions of roadways, although those are much less frequent.’

As recently as this summer, a family discovered the hard way how strict the notice period can be after Ontario’s top court dismissed their claim against a northern Ontario municipality.

The roots of the case lie in a 2007 accident that left their 17-day-old son brain damaged. A claim was launched in 2014 against the driver and owner of the other car in the crash, but the city was not added as a defendant until almost a year later, two days after the child’s grandmother swore an affidavit to become his official litigation guardian.

A motion judge dismissed the city’s attempt to have the claim struck, concluding that the 10-day notice period did not start to run until after the grandmother took on her duties. In any case, the judge ruled that the plaintiff being a child was a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline and that it caused the municipality no prejudice.

However, the Court of Appeal disagreed, finding that the child’s mother was effectively acting as his litigation guardian when she filed the original suit on his behalf.

“She had no conflict of interest in relation to suing the City, and she had a good reason to try to limit her own potential liability by suing the City,” the unanimous three-judge panel wrote.

“The only explanation in the record for not doing so is [the mother’s] evidence that, ‘this never came up.’”

Since this was not a reasonable excuse, the appeal court concluded the case against the municipality should be dismissed.


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Textalyzer Would Be A Privacy Invasion for Drivers

Privacy concerns will hamper the development of a Canadian “textalyzer” that shows police if a driver’s cellphone was recently in use, says Windsor personal injury lawyer Gino Paciocco.

NPR reports that police in several U.S. states, including New York, want to put the tool into action in an effort to crack down on the increasingly prevalent problem of motorists who text while driving.

Modelled on the breathalyzer for alcohol testing, the machine works by plugging into a phone, and extracting data to put a finger on exactly when and how it was being used at the time the owner was driving.

However, Paciocco, a founding partner of Paciocco & Mellow, tells us that the idea strikes the wrong balance between public safety and personal privacy rights.

“If you allow police to go ahead and conduct these tests whenever they want, it’s going to be a huge invasion of privacy that I don’t think people will put up with,” he says. “With the advance of technology, there is so much information your phone can collect. You could tell if someone’s speeding, where they’ve been. Some might even know your blood pressure and how much sleep you had the night before.”

Depending on how well the machine could restrict officers’ access to data on the phone, it could also raise issues for doctors and lawyers who use their devices for work purposes, considering their duties of confidentiality to patients and clients, Paciocco says.

According to NPR, police officers attach a cord to connect the textalyzer to the phone. Within two minutes, it can bring up a summary of the all the apps that were open and in use in the recent past, including screen taps and swipes.

Paciocco says the textalyzer reminds him of photo radar, another measure hailed by some as a solution to a road safety problem.

“It may have been good to reduce speeding, but there was a public outcry about privacy that caused it to be done away with,” he says.

If police have a reason to suspect that a particular driver’s texting caused an accident, then they have other means to get the same information that an on-the-spot textalyzer would provide, Paciocco says.

“They can go and get a search warrant through the courts to collect that evidence from the phone company,” he says. “I don’t see the urgency that would justify giving police officers the absolute right to go into your device with complete discretion.”

While he acknowledges that texting and driving is a practice that appears to be on the rise, Paciocco says there are more effective ways to challenge that problem than a textalyzer.

“You could mandate some sort of lock on the phone that disables it while the car is in motion. If drivers are unable to text with their cellphones, then that would prevent accidents and make everyone much safer,” he says. “But even that would have its own issues, and you would need a way to distinguish between drivers and passengers.”


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