On December 19, 2007, Merissa Armstrong was driving on a snow-covered country road when she locked her brakes and swerved to the right. Her vehicle rolled and she was rendered a paraplegic. When she recovered consciousness days later she told her husband she had swerved to avoid an oncoming red car.Those injured as a result of the actions of an unidentified driver have the right to sue their own insurance company for the negligence of the unidentified driver up to a limit of $200,000. That was not in dispute in this case. Merissa was also covered by the Family Protection Endorsement on her automobile policy which gave her the right to claim, against her own insurer, for an amount up to her own policy limits of $2 million. Merissa could only access this additional $1.8 million of coverage (that she had paid for) if there was an independent witness or other physical evidence to corroborate her story, and indicate the involvement of another car.Everyone agreed there were no witnesses, that the tire tracks of Merissa's vehicle swerved to the right, that the black box in her vehicle showed that she had braked hard and that her air bags deployed. The police also found deer tracks at the scene of the accident. HSH hired an engineer who opined that the evidence was more consistent with a sudden attempt to avoid something ahead on the roadway than a loss of control due to ice or snow on the roadway. The Defendant's position was that there was no evidence of the involvement of another car, as the evidence was equally consistent with a deer being on the roadway. The Court accepted our argument that the analysis should begin with Merissa's evidence that a red car caused the accident. Looked at with this background it is clear that the braking and the swerve to the right indicate the involvement of another car. The physical evidence did not have to prove the involvement of the other car, only offer corroborating evidence of the involvement of that car.This decision is extremely important as it clarifies the law and establishes a threshold that injured victims can more easily meet when they allege that an unidentified automobile caused the accident and no other witnesses are available. The Court accepted that the plaintiff does not need physical evidence that, standing alone, proves the involvement of an unidentified car. All that is required is evidence that corroborates the plaintiff's version of events and indicates the involvement of another car.If you are injured in an accident involving an unidentified driver, preserve all of the evidence you can. Take photographs of the scene of the accident, of your own car, of tire marks, and get the black box from your own car read by an expert before the car is destroyed. In an ideal situation you will find direct evidence of the other car, such as paint or tire marks, but even if you don't an expert analysis of the available physical evidence may be capable of corroborating your evidence and allowing your claim to proceed. You should also retain legal counsel who can help to ensure the necessary evidence is preserved and analyzed by an appropriate expert.For more information about this case or to help you with your own claim, contact D. Joel Dick at 416-572-3516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concussions are a form of brain injury that can occur when an individual's brain collides with his or her skull following an external blow to the head. This form of brain injury is not novel. It is only recently, however, that a large segment of the public has come to appreciate its seriousness. In North America, as star athletes, like Sidney Crosby and Justin Morneau, have struggled to recover from their battles with concussions, it has become clear that this type of injury is a critical health issue worthy of public attention.
In Ontario, according to the Municipal Act, 2001, municipalities are responsible for keeping the bridges and highways within their jurisdictions in a state of reasonable repair, and if they fail to fulfill this responsibility, they will be liable for any damages their negligence causes.
Claims that arise when individuals suffer injuries during the course of their medical treatment are known as medical malpractice. If you have been the victim of such an injury, you may be entitled to damages. Before consulting a lawyer, however, there are a few things you should do.
By Corey Sax
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Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP is a personal injury law firm in Toronto, Ontario. Our firm's goal is to help accident victims and families who need the most assistance and care.