August 23 2017

The Impact of Convictions for Criminal or Traffic Offences on Personal Injury Actions

Bottom line – this will be a gift to you and your personal injury lawyer.

The other driver either being convicted of or pleading guilty to a criminal offence, such as impaired driving, or a traffic offence, such as failure to stop at a stop sign, will go a long way to proving the liability (fault) of the other driver in causing the motor vehicle accident, and thus go a long way to proving their liability for your damages suffered.

Impaired Driving

Take the impaired driving situation, for example. If the other driver is found guilty of impaired driving, under the Alberta Evidence Act, their conviction can be admitted as proof of the underlying facts in your civil trial for damages. Continue reading

August 16 2017

Claims for Concussion Injuries in Sports: The Trickle-Down Effect

I have written on personal injury claims and traumatic brain injuries before, but with the growing media attention on the prominent damage awards for concussion related injuries in professional sports, such as the NFL billion-dollar settlement with its players, the ongoing struggles of Canada’s best hockey player Sidney Crosby with concussion injuries, and new research that concludes that kids under 18 should not play contact sports, I wanted to explain to those seeking compensation for concussion injuries that there has been a “trickle-down” effect. Now damages are frequently sought for concussions caused by playing sports at even the most basic levels, reaching down to our young children playing sports in our schools and communities. Continue reading

August 11 2017

Help, my child has been injured at summer camp! What do I do?

Camp can be a wonderful experience for children opening their worlds to new skills and opportunities. Today summer camp takes many forms, including day camps focusing on one particular activity or skill, such as soccer or computer camps. The “old school” summer camp still thrives, however, frequently located on a lake or a river, or in the mountains or a forest, and offering a range of learning and recreational activities, including swimming, rowing, canoeing, horseback riding and archery.

While every parent wants their child to have a safe experience at summer camp, injuries can occur. These include:

  • Tragic drowning or near drowning accidents that may be due to inadequate supervision by camp counselors with little experience, who leave their posts, or are distracted by their cell phones or others;
  • Other incidents of wrongful death, caused by a fall or exposure to a fire hazard;
  • Sexual abuse of your child by camp counselors or other camp staff;
  • Physical injuries, caused by faulty, poorly maintained or hazardous camp lodgings and facilities;
  • Burn injuries, perhaps caused by improper supervision around campfires;
  • Injuries from bullying by other children, or otherwise being subjected to violence, including emotional trauma; and
  • Infectious diseases spreading throughout the camp population.
Continue reading
July 19 2017

It’s Cottage Season in Canada! That Means Boats and the Potential for Boating Accidents

Memories of a long hard winter fade into the past as Canadians begin to enjoy a favourite time of year – cottage season! Part of the fun includes water sports – sailing, power boating, water skiing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming in our beautiful lakes. It’s never a bad idea to give some serious thought to water safety, and this is especially true when you are likely to be enjoying group activities that include young children.

Proactive Water Safety

Taking care to enjoy water sports safely means following basic safety protocols including the following:

  • Assess your swimming skills and the differing abilities of those in your group.
Continue reading
July 6 2017

The Real Costs of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving, as a contributing cause of serious accidents, is not new but the causes of distraction have increased as our society adopts new and more pervasive technology.

Distracted Driving Back in the Day

In a Manitoba case fifty years ago, a 15-year-old boy stole a car and picked up his 14-year-old school friend for a joy ride. The 15-year-old had only driven a car once before, which his school friend had stolen from his father, and only for a few minutes, and so was a completely inexperienced driver. As they drove at 70 m.p.h. on a curve in the highway just past the local penitentiary, his friend exclaimed at the sight of car lights approaching from behind that the police were in pursuit. Continue reading

June 28 2017

Schools out! Summer Safety Reminders for Drivers, Parents, and Kids

It’s the end of June and school will soon be out for elementary, junior and senior high school age children. The summer means more kids on bikes, skateboards, and on foot (plugged into their smartphones). It also means an uptick in young people learning to drive. All of these things increase the potential for injuries to children. For drivers, this means you need to tune up your “kid radar” and drive defensively with a view to doing your part to ensure their safety and to protect yourself against liability.

In Alberta, ss. 185 and 186 of the Traffic Safety Act create a reverse presumption against drivers, such that if there is a collision between a motorist and a non-motorist (for example, a collision between a car and a child walking or on a bike), the onus is on the driver of the vehicle to prove that the accident did not arise solely because of their negligent operation of the vehicle. Continue reading