Halloween: the Scariest Night of the Year for Personal Injury Lawyers

Halloween, steeped in its Celtic origins, has been embraced as a fun holiday by most Canadians, including children, teenagers, and adults. For those who celebrate Halloween, this is a wonderful time of the year. For an experienced plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer, however, Halloween can be a very scary night.

Young children, decked out in colourful costumes idealizing what they would like to be, or dressed as their favourite pop culture character, will run from house to house to gather treats from strangers, frequently in unknown neighbourhoods and in darkness. Teenagers will gather for raucous Halloween parties with their friends, frequently indulging in alcohol or drugs. Continue reading

School’s out! Summer Safety Reminders for Drivers, Parents, and Kids

Summer is well underway, and school is 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

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

The University of Calgary’s Integrated Concussion Research Program has recently released exciting research that has led to the development of a tool that will allow doctors “to accurately and rapidly measure proteins and small molecules known to indicate an injury that is present in the brain”. This tool is set for clinical trials, with the goal that the device will be able to detect brain injuries hours after the trauma occurred.

While this research can potentially revolutionize treatment for those with brain injuries, I wanted to explain to those seeking compensation for concussion injuries that there has been a “trickle-down” effect. Continue reading

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

Should You Host that Graduation Party? What You Need to Know About Social Host Liability.

Congratulations! Your son or daughter is about to graduate from high school. To mark this special milestone your child has asked to have a graduation party in your home. While fun is fun, and you want to help your child celebrate, you should be aware of the pitfalls and that you are potentially exposing yourself to liability.

Know what you are getting into and set the ground rules before you agree to host a grad party

The first assumption you should make is that there will be alcohol consumed at the party. Even if you don’t serve alcohol, teenagers being teenagers, it is a safe bet that you can’t guarantee an alcohol-free event. Continue reading

Youth And Sports Concussions

According to the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research concussions more commonly affect kids and young male adults between the ages of 15 and 29. Until fairly recently, concussions went widely under-reported due to a lack of understanding of concussion risks and acceptance of impacts. The recognition of risks has prompted the development of new comprehensive concussion prevention, diagnostic and management information tailored for youth and young adults to build awareness of the risks associated with this injury. Parents should seek swift medical attention for children with visible signs of concussion as the likelihood to sustain a repeat concussion in recovery is heightened. Continue reading