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Legal News Headlines

Following are  news items related to personal injury law, disability law and other legal and social matters.

Illegal Check Results in Broken Neck
A greater Toronto Hockey League boss plans to hold a discipline hearing for a player who delivered an illegal hit that resulted in a broken neck for 16-year-old player Justin Mendes. The Ted Reeve Thunder player was hospitalized and needed four screws in his head to hold a halo traction device in place. The offending playing, whose name has not been released, will be suspended indefinitely.

E. coli Outbreak Triggers Frozen Beef Recall
Tainted frozen beef has caused at least two people to become sick due to an E. coli outbreak in Ontario and Manitoba. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recalled several beef products sold at Canada Safeway stores on Tuesday. The recalled products include The Gourmet's Meat Shoppe big and juicy burger and prime rib burger, as well as The Butcher's Cut pure beef patties. E. coli tainted food look normal and not have any unpleasant smell, but can cause extreme nausea, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.

New Standard for Reporting Drug Side Effects
Health Canada is taking action to get more doctors to report when their patients suffer side effects to medications. The campaign designed to improve drug safety follows a Toronto Star investigation that revealed problems with Health Canada’s monitoring of patient side effects. The Star found that Health Candada's drug safety law is flawed in that it does not require Canada’s medical professionals to report serious adverse reactions to drugs. Although the system remains voluntary, Health Canada is placing notices in 22 journals for health professionals to explain the process and importance of reporting adverse side effects. Health Canada is also developing a new standard for reporting adverse side effects.

Driver Error Cited in Tragic Vehicle Accident
The Ontario Chief Coroner has decided not to hold a public inquest into a road crash that killed 10 farm workers and a truck driver last year. Although this was one of Ontario's most fatal traffic collisions, the coroner has concluded that the accident was the result of driver error. The coroner considered many factors including fatigue, weather, road conditions, road design, work hours, brakes, licensing of drivers and familiarity with the area but none of these were considered to be contributory. The crash was fatal for nine agricultural workers from Peru who were travelling in a 15-seat van headed to their homes in Kitchener. A police investigation determined that the van’s driver failed to yield at a stop sign for a transport truck. The truck driver Chris Fulton, who lived in London Ontario, also died.

Human Rights Tribunal Finds Employer Did Not Meet Obligations to Disabled Employee
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario recently heard a case in which an employer replaced and terminated an employee on disability leave without making any effort to accommodate him. Although the tribunal concluded that the employer had no malicious intent, they decided that the employer had essentially misunderstood its obligations to the employee. The tribunal found that the employee's disability was a factor in the employer's decision to terminate, and that was deemed to be unlawful discrimination. To prove discrimination, the employee had only to show that the disability played a part in the termination, not that the disability was "the sole or the dominant reason."

Grandmother Almost Scammed by Waterloo Car Accident Story
Waterloo - A grandmother received a call from her "grandson" who was attending Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. The grandson claimed to be at fault in a car accident involving a tourist from Uruguay. The grandson asked his grandmother to transfer $2,100 to the tourist's bank account via Western Union and to not tell anybody about the incident. The grandmother was just about to perform the transfer when she was advised by bank staff that the situation sounded like a scam. Sure enough, the grandson was not even aware that the call was made and the entire story was made up by a scam artist.

Voice in his head drove man to crash car into police station
KITCHENER - A mentally disturbed local man thought he was helping police when he crashed his car into their Cambridge Headquarters on November 13th, 2011. Bryan Welfred, driven by a voice inside his head, drove though the front doors of the police station in an attempt to provide police with evidence which he believed he had for a police investigation into killer spirits. Despite the damage caused by the car crash, no injuries were sustained.

Roundabout crash case in court late next month
KITCHENER - In late January 2012, the case will resume against the Grand River Transit bus driver charged with injuring a Kitchener girl in a collision at a roundabout. The accident occurred near St. Mary's High School on 7th October 2011. The girl suffered multiple injuries including internal bleeding, a concussion and a broken leg.

Cyclists at fault in the majority of bike-vehicle collisions in Waterloo Region
Almost 200 cyclists were hit by vehicles on roads and streets of Waterloo region in 2010, triggering calls for more cycling lanes and bike trails and more education for both riders and drivers. According to statistics collected by the region and the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, most of the collisions happened at intersections and most occurred when cyclists riding on sidewalks continued into the intersection along the crosswalk.

Kitchener Man Jailed after Car Crash
A kitchener man was jailed for two years for driving after drinking 12 beers and taking drugs. As a result of his impairment he crashed head-on into another vehicle on Conestoga Parkway. The accident put the other driver in the hospital for 3 months.

Guelph Man Breaks Down inWife's Wrongful Death Case
A guelph man broke down in tears as he described how his wife had to be taken off life support three weeks after a chiropractic treatment he blames for her death.

Brantford Man Injured on 401 Roll-Over
The Kitchener Waterloo Record
A Brantford man suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries when the transport truck he was driving rolled over at the Highway 6-401 interchange. Police believe the automobile parts the truck was carrying may have shifted, causing the vehicle to rollover.

Accident Benefits Coverage Changing Sept 1, 2010
The Toronto Star
This article talks about new Accident Benefit Limits and optional coverate that comes in effect on Sept 1, 2010 in Ontario. Given that injuries are reported in 54% of private passenger car accidents covered by auto insurance, you should consider increasing the amount of accident benefits coverage available to you. Drivers who renew their car insurance after Sept. 1 must pay extra to continue to have $100,000 coverage for injuries that are neither minor nor catastrophic, the standard accident benefit amount is being reduced to $50,000 of medical and rehabilitation coverage.

Ontario Regulators to Create Standard for Assessing Car Accident Injuries
Canadian Underwriter
Standards for car accident injury claims in Ontario are managed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). FSCO has announced that one of its top priorities for 2010 is developing industry-wide delivery standards for third-party medical examinations and qualifications for assessors. FSCO also plans to appoint a panel of experts to recommend changes to the definition of catastrophic impairment in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).

Canadian Teen Detained in Cuba after Car Accident
CTV News
An Ontario teenager has been detained in Cuba after being injured in a car accident that was not even his fault. Canada's Foreign Affairs departments warns that traffic accidents are a frequent cause of arrest and detention of Canadians in Cuba. Accidents resulting in death or injury are treated as crimes, and the onus is on the driver to prove their innocence. Regardless of the nature of the accident, it can take five months to a year for a case to go to trial. In most cases, the driver will not be allowed to leave Cuba until the trial has taken place.

OPP Warns of Email Scam
Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Ontario Provincial Police warn of an email scam where fraudsters hack people's contact list and send emails to all of a person's contacts posing as a friend or family member in urgent need of money due to a car accident or injury.

Potential victims receive the email thinking that their friend or relative is in trouble and agree to send them money. The friend or relative is unaware that their account has been used to send out these requests for money to everyone on their contact list, police said.

Texting and Cell Phone Use While Driving will soon be Banned in Ontario
Ontario police will soon have the power to ticket drivers up to $500 for chatting or texting on a hand-held cellphone, but the law will not go into effect until late October at the earliest. The Ministry of Transportation first needs to complete regulations for the "distracted driving" bill, which received third reading in the Ontario Legislature in April.

The Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act will ban the use of hand-held wireless devices such as cellphones and Blackberries, while driving. Also banned while driving, is text messaging, sending an e-mail or using an MP3 player, video game, laptop or DVD player.

Drivers can use a cellphone with earpiece or headset that uses voice-dialing. A properly secured GPS system or portable media player that is plugged into a car's sound system will still be permitted. Calls to 911 can be made.

Insurers say no-fault accident benefits are in major need of repair
February 24, 2009 - Canadian Underwriter
Ontario's accident benefit insurance costs are on the rise. This system is a curious hybrid. On the one hand, it is a no-fault system designed to get accident benefits payments to consumers quickly in order to facilitate treatment and a quick recovery. On the other hand, it's a tort system, giving claimants the ability to recover damages for bodily injury through the court system. "We have the worst of both worlds," observes Don Forgeron, Insurance Bureau of Canada's Ontario vice president. "We don't have a nofault system and we don't have a full tort system: We have both systems, whereas other jurisdictions tend to have one or the other."

Disabled Taser Victim Describes Police Treatment
October 08, 2008 - Toronto Star
A 43-year-old disabled man is seeking $9 million in suit, says police officers beat and shocked him. In a lawsuit filed in the Ontario Court of Justice, Lochner claims officers used excessive force when they barged into his bedroom Aug. 11, 2006, and shocked him, at least twice, with a Taser.

Victims claim insurance companies profiting from them
August 17, 2008 - St. Catharines Standard - Sun Media
Stephen Nelson of Woodstock's mother Glenna Nelson was killed in a 2004 crash on Hwy. 400 near Muskoka when a trucker crashed into the car in which she was travelling with her husband Doug.

To add "insult to injury to injury," the truck driver's insurance company, Zurich, threatened to sue Doug Nelson for damages, according to Nelson's lawyer, Patrick Brown, who is also president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.

The company kept $165,000 in deductibles of the $256,711 total in claims awarded to 11 family members, reducing the family share to $91,711. Nelson was joined by five other loved ones of crash victims Friday in an emotional press conference at the Ontario Bar Association demanding changes to provincial regulations that govern Ontario's insurance industry.

Woman who alleges chiropractic session left her paralyzed files $529M lawsuit
June 14, 2008 - National Post - Canwest News Service
An Alberta woman has launched a $529 Million class-action lawsuit against provincial chiropractors after a neck adjustment allegedly left her paralyzed. Sandra Gay Nette has been paralyzed since Sept. 2007. The lawsuit claims that a chiropractic session damaged both her vertebral arteries, which disrupted blood flow to her brain. On her way home from the chiropractor, Ms. Nette had to pull her car to the side of the road and call for help. She sufferered permanent neurological damage. Ms. Nette is mentally aware, but cannot swallow, speak or breathe on her own.

Ontario Court of Appeal decision upholds $17-million award in personal injury case
Apr. 07, 2008 /CNW/ TORONTO
The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a 2006 jury verdict which, at the time of trial, was the highest award ever made in a personal injury case in Canadian history. Earl Cherniak and Kirk Stevens of Lerners LLP acted for the plaintiffs on the appeal involving a toddler who fell from a fifth-storey window back in 1997.

"The Court of Appeal rejected any suggestion that brain injury is less serious than other visible injuries," said Kirk Stevens of Lerners. "The Court of Appeal will not interfere with trial level assessments of damage as long as they are supported by the evidence and the trial is fair."

Nurses Could Get $200 Million in Back Pay
Jan. 08 2008 - CBC
Canadian taxpayers are facing a huge, unexpected bill back pay owed to hundreds of nurses, the nurses' lawyer estimates.

The nurses worked for the federal government doing medical assessments on Canadians who applied for disability payments under the Canada Pension Plan.

Merck agrees to US$$4.85B settlement over Vioxx in USA
Nov. 9 2007 - CTV News
Merck & Co. has offered to pay US$4.85 billion to end litigation with thousands of U.S. plaintiffs over its painkiller Vioxx.

Bayer temporarily suspends marketing of Trasylol in Canada
Nov. 5 2007 - Health Canada
Ottawa - At the request of Health Canada, the manufacturer Bayer Inc. has temporarily suspended marketing of the drug Trasylol (aprotinin), pending a review of preliminary results from a clinical trial (the BART study) that suggested an increased risk of death.

Consumers warned against use of recalled contact lens solution
Oct. 5 2007 - Health Canada
Ottawa - Health Canada is warning consumers not to use a recalled contact lens solution believed to be associated with serious eye problems that could lead to vision loss.

Vancouver mother launches Paxil class action lawsuit
Oct. 5 2007 - Vancouver Province
A Vancouver mother has launched a class-action lawsuit claiming the anti-depressant Paxil caused her daughter's heart defect.

Health Canada pulls arthritis drug Prexige
Oct. 4 2007 - Health Canada
Ottawa - Health Canada is halting the sale of the arthritis drug Prexige in Canada, due to the potential for serious liver problems in people taking the drug.

Court finds BC Rail liable for vehicle accident case
Sep. 28 2007 - CBC News
It has taken seven years, but a northern B.C. man has won a lawsuit against British Columbia Railway Co. and the provincial government. Larry Skopnik suffered serious injuries in 2000, when his Honda all-terrain vehicle hit a large excavation in a trail located between a highway and railway tracks west of Chetwynd.


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