Brain injuries are occurring at an alarming rate among Ontario teenagers, a new study has found, making education and awareness on the effects of a blow to the head crucial for parents, says Toronto critical injury lawyer Dale Orlando.
“I think there’s a common misconception where people talk about a concussion without understanding that a concussion is considered to be a brain injury,” says Orlando, partner with McLeish Orlando LLP. “A concussion, by definition, is a mild or moderate brain injury.”
The study found that one in five teens in Ontario has had a concussion or another brain injury in their lifetime that was serious enough to leave them unconscious for five minutes or to send them to hospital overnight, CTV reports.
As well, a total of 5.6 per cent reported they had had a concussion or significant brain injury in the past year, it adds.
“Statically, the majority of people who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries go on to have full symptom resolution, but there is a percentage that have significant ongoing difficulties as a result of their mild traumatic brain injury,” says Orlando. “But even for the people that do go on to have a good recovery and are symptom free, they become much more vulnerable to more significant impairments if they suffer a second head injury.”
The study used data from the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, CTV reports, noting it used responses from almost 9,000 students from Grades 7-12.
The survey found that the majority of traumatic brain injuries for the teens occurred during sports: 47 per cent for girls and 63.5 per cent for boys, with hockey and soccer accounting for more than half the injuries, the report says.
“I think as parents we have to be hyper vigilant and aware that a concussion isn’t just a minor thing like a scrape or a bruise that happens through the course of childhood that isn’t a big deal,” says Orlando.
“Many Canadian boys and girls grow up chasing the dream of making a living playing hockey, but Peewee games and Bantam games – they’re not the NHL,” he says. “Rules regarding hits to the head should be stringently enforced. Any hit directed to the head should have serious consequences for the person delivering the hit. Hitting from behind, driving somebody’s head into the boards … the penalty should be increased to eliminate it from the sport.”
On the soccer field, Orlando says it’s common to see injuries from regular activities, like heading the ball.
“That may not be appropriate for children of a certain age,” he says.
Orlando says while improvements have been made in sporting rules, more can be done to prevent serious injury.
“I think we’ve come a long way from the days of somebody suffering a concussion and having the coach say ‘Get back out there for your next shift.’ There are practices and protocols in place,” he says. “Parents have to recognize that a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury and the restrictions associated with return to play are there for a reason.”
Streets designed to take every mode of transportation into account – dubbed complete streets – are safer for the drivers, cyclists and pedestrians travelling on them, Toronto critical injury lawyer Patrick Brown says in Law Times.
In the article, Brown discusses the 2012 cycling death review and the 2012 pedestrian death review, and the coroner’s office move to call for the adoption of complete streets.
“The complete streets concept has been around for a while,” Brown says in Law Times.
“It has been adopted in various jurisdictions in the U.S. Put simply, it provides that anyone involved in the construction, building, maintenance or design of any type of roads provide equal access and equal consideration for all users, especially in urban centres. Complete streets are designed to give cyclists and pedestrians their own space so they can avoid contact.”
The cycling death review examined all of the 129 accidental cycling deaths that occurred in Ontario between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2010, the article says, while the pedestrian death review examined 95 cases of preventable pedestrian collisions in 2010, including the 23 deaths that occurred in January of that year.
The Ministry of Transportation is currently in the process of developing a cycling strategy and is moving forward with implementing the coroner’s recommendations, the report says.
“We are hoping for a complete streets policy statement directing the road authorities to adopt the concept,” Brown, partner with McLeish Orlando LLP, says in the article.
“There is no doubt in my mind that if they do, we will have the safest roads in North America and a substantial reduction in fatalities.”
As Google Reader prepares to retire as of July 1, lawyers who use the service to track news in their practice areas are trying new tools, like Flipboard’s social news magazine, recently tested by Toronto critical injury lawyer Rikin Morzaria for aLaw Times article on the topic.
“I loved it as a recreational reading tool. It’s somewhat limited using it as a tool to keep up to date with cases and other legal research,” Morzaria, partner with McLeish Orlando LLP, says in the article.
“The visual display is beautiful and it makes it a pleasant experience to read through decisions but it doesn’t let you see at a glance which decisions are new, which ones you’ve already started reading, and which ones you’ve already read.
“I’ve tried Netvibes, too, which is pretty comparable to Google Reader and you can use it offline.”
Google announced its decision to shut down the popular RSS feed reader in March, citing declining users, Law Times reports.
A recent case points out very clearly that there is not an absolute bar when it comes to whether a negligent driver can still pursue a negligence claim against a road authority, Toronto critical injury lawyer Dale Orlando says in Law Times.
Deering v. Scugog (Township), says the article, involves a 2004 motor vehicle accident that left two teenage sisters quadriplegics, with the trial judge finding the defendant municipality to be two-thirds liable with the drive responsible for the remainder. The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal last year, and the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal in December.
As all avenues of appeal have now been exhausted in the case, says Law Times, the Superior Court’s decision is the latest word on the duty of municipalities to keep roads in a reasonable state of repair and the “expected driving capability of the ordinary driver.”
Whether a negligent driver can still pursue a negligence claim, says Orlando, partner with McLeish Orlando LLP who represented the younger sister, “is a question of apportionment after objective analysis of the state of non-repair of the road.”
“Shannon Deering was admittedly negligent. She was over the speed limit on an unfamiliar, hilly road and, accordingly, contributed to the happening of the accident. But that is the second question. The first is: On an objective analysis of the test, did the road represent an unreasonable risk of harm to an ordinary, average user, not to a negligent driver? This includes drivers who are not super drivers,” he says.
Orlando also says he believes that the Deering decision doesn’t create any new tests but reinforces previous decisions. “Municipalities are not held to a standard to make the road safe for negligent drivers. That’s not what the case means,” he explains.
McLeish, Brown and Orlando, partners with McLeish Orlando LLP, are speaking on a variety of topics at Practical Strategies: Catastrophic Impairment: A Look into the Future, presented by the Personal Injury Alliance.
The conference is designed to provide information on the unique advocacy required for proving a spinal cord injury case and the latest developments for spinal cord injury rehabilitation, provide a forum for discussion of models of care and treatment strategies, and enhance the funding available to Toronto Western Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital.
Brown is scheduled to speak on the topic Everything You Ne
ed To Know About Catastrophic Impairment and New Definitions, while McLeish is slated to take part in a panel discussion on future care reports.
Orlando is set to participate in a panel on the subject of situational assessments.
The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Carlu in Toronto. Learn more by clicking here.
Toronto (June 11, 2013) – Hundreds of young cyclists will be safer on Toronto streets, thanks to this year’s Helmets on Kids campaign launched at Blake Street Junior Public School. Helmets have been donated to 500 students, as part of a campaign aimed at stopping a dangerous trend.
“The reality is that too many kids injured in cycling collisions in Toronto, are not wearing helmets,” said Patrick Brown, critical injury lawyer at McLeish Orlando LLP, organizer of the Toronto Helmets on Kids Campaign, and director of Cycle Toronto. “Studies show that helmets reduce the severity of head injuries, and it just makes sense to have kids wearing helmets.”
In 2012, 51 cyclists between the ages of five and 14 were injured in cycling collisions in Toronto. Of those, only 13 were wearing helmets;
Between 2006 and 2011, an average of 80 cyclists, between the ages of five and 14, were injured each year in cycling collisions in Toronto;
Toronto’s Helmets on Kids campaign was launched in 2009 by McLeish Orlando LLP. Over the past four years, the campaign has donated helmets to more than 1,500 public school students across Toronto. The Ontario Safety League, Toronto Police, Eastview Boys & Girls Club, Cycle Toronto, the Brain Injury Society of Toronto, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher support this year’s campaign. Cycle Solutions has also generously donated its time and services, to provide free bike tune-ups at the event.
“The simple fact is that helmets save lives,” said Brian Patterson, President of the Ontario Safety League. “We’re very proud to support a campaign that helps improve cycling safety for so many young people. We’re urging parents to make sure their kids are wearing helmets.”
Ontario passed a law in 1995, requiring cyclists under the age of 18to wear a helmet. Parents can also be charged if they knowingly allow their children, who are under 16, to ride without a helmet on a roadway or sidewalk.
During this year’s campaign launch, Patrick Brown provided students with safe cycling tips that included the following:
Obey traffic signals and the rules of the road;
Ensure your bicycle has a bell, as well as reflectors and lights for night use;
Always yield to pedestrians, and use your hand signal for lane changes.
McLeish Orlando’s Toronto Helmets on Kids campaign is part of a province-wide Bike Helmets on Kids program started by members of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) in 2002. Since its first event, held in London, Ontario, more than 19,000 helmets have been distributed to elementary school students. All helmets are purchased with funds donated by OTLA lawyers, their firms and other community sponsors.
In 2013, OTLA Bike Helmets on Kids events have taken place throughout May and June in Ottawa, Toronto, Aurora, Halton Region (Burlington), Peel Region, Barrie, Quinte West (Belleville and Trenton), Sudbury, Windsor, Simcoe County (Midland), and Thunder Bay. These events will help distribute an estimated 4,000 bicycle helmets this year to children in cities and regions across Ontario. For more information, visit www.otla.com.
The 1978 trilogy of Supreme Court of Canada cases decided that the upper limit (or cap) on non-pecuniary general damages for pain and suffering was $100, 000. The Court indicated that the upper limit of $100, 000 can be increased by the rate of inflation. However, no specific direction was provided by the Court as to how the rate of inflation is to be calculated.
The most commonly used indicator of inflation is the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is a measure of the average price of a fixed basket of consumer goods and services. CPI data is collected and reported by Statistics Canada on a monthly basis. The rate of inflation is the percentage change in the CPI index from one time period to the next time period.
Only in the rarest of cases will a defendant in a personal injury action be permitted to deduct the value of a future stream of accident benefits from a tort award for future pecuniary loss, Toronto critical injury lawyer Dale Orlando writes in Lawyers Weekly.
Referring to the decision of Madam Justice Darla Wilson, in Hoang v. Vincentini O.J. No. 321, Orlando says the jury assessed the damages of the injured plaintiff at just over $684,000 for future medical treatment, rehabilitation, attendant care, housekeeping and home maintenance.
“In Hoang, the defendant’s counsel sought an order reducing the award by the amount available to the injured plaintiff pursuant to the statutory accident benefits schedule,” he writes.
“As the plaintiff had been designated catastrophically impaired, had the defendant’s argument been accepted, the amounts remaining available pursuant to the schedule would have effectively reduced the defendant’s obligation to pay the jury’s award for future cost of care to zero.”
In dismissing the defendant’s motion to reduce the damages for future health care expenses, Wilson makes it clear that a defendant seeking such a deduction faces a very strict burden of proof and that a deduction will only be made if the defendant places “persuasive evidence” before the court to demonstrate that it is “patently clear” the plaintiff qualifies for the future benefits, the article says.
“In my experience, the type of proof required simply does not exist unless the plaintiff has entered into a full and final settlement of entitlement to future benefits under the schedule,” writes Orlando, partner with McLeish Orlando LLP. “This is a sensible approach when one considers who is in a better position to bear the risk of non-payment of a future benefit: a plaintiff, who has established need before a jury, or a defendant who has caused the harm.”
Over the past 4 years, our firm has written about many interesting blog topics such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cycling and automobile insurance changes to name a few. If you missed any of our blogs here are some good ones that you should read:
As the spring and summer rides are starting, cyclists and ride organizers should be aware of the recently released (April 05, 2013) Ontario Superior Court case, Kempf v. Nguyen.
Madam Justice D.A. Wilson found a cyclist liable for injuries sustained by another cyclist when a crash occurred at the Becel Ride for Heart on the closed off Don Valley Parkway. The Defendant cyclist was found responsible for the crash when he made a sudden and erratic move without signaling, causing a rear approaching rider to lose control and crash. Both were experienced cyclists. In finding the Defendant liable, Justice Wilson stated,
I find that Nguyen was negligent, that his negligence consisted of making a sudden movement while riding in a group, failing to maintain a straight line, failing to signal his intention to move and moving directly into the path of the Plaintiff when he could have moved out to the right.
The case is significant since their has been few civil actions where a cyclist has been held liable for the injuries of another cyclist. As many aware, most cycling claims arise when the cyclist is struck down by a car or truck. The Court held that their is a duty to take care amoung cyclists and went on to find,
the participants … in a group ride had to ensure they did nothing to put the safety of the other riders in peril. There is an element of trust between cyclists who ride in a group because of the proximity to others and the fact that any sudden or unexpected movement can have a disastrous effect on the safety of the other rider
The Defendant cyclist had argued that there was an “inherent risk” associated with the sport and the ride and therefore there ought not to be a duty of care. In dismissing this defence, the Court stated that the fact that cycling carries with it some inherent risks does not mean the duty of care of Nguyen is negatived.
As to what standard will a cyclist be put to in regards to their fellow riders, the Court concluded,
reasonable care depends on what the participant agreed to reasonably expect given the nature of the sporting event, in a case involving cycling, there is no reason to impose a higher onus on the Plaintiff, to prove that the Defendant conducted himself in a reckless fashion. By its nature cycling is not a contact sport or one that involves physical encounters with opponents such as football or rugby
Although the injured cyclist had signed a waiver, it was held that it did not release a claim for negligence against another rider. The lawyer for the injured cyclist did not pursue any case against the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
For those ride organizers, a review of the case and the commentary regarding the waiver is essential. When dealing with the issue of the waiver, Justice Wilson noted,
The waiver is poorly drafted and confusing … While there is reference to the “participants”, the waiver does not release other participants, but rather the various organizations from claims against them, including damages occasioned by the negligence of a participant or other competitor. It clearly does not release other riders from claims arising from their negligence during the ride.
McLeish Orlando LLP, Personal Injury Lawyers One Queen Street East, Suite 1620 Toronto, ON M5C 2W5 Phone: 416-366-3311 Toll Free: 888-494-8201 Fax: 416-366-3330 Map and Directions
Barrie office 92 Caplan Avenue Barrie, ON L4N 0Z7 Toll Free: 888-494-8201 Fax: 416-366-3330 Map and Directions
Hamilton office One Hunter Street East Hamilton, ON L8N 3W1 Toll Free: 888-494-8201 Map and Directions
McLeish Orlando LLP, Personal Injury Lawyers represents clients in the greater Toronto area (GTA) and throughout southern Ontario, including residents of Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga, Brampton, Woodbridge, Richmond Hill, Markham, Vaughan, Oshawa, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering, Newmarket, Aurora, Barrie, Ottawa, London, Kitchener, Waterloo, St Catharines, Niagara, Kingston and Guelph, Ontario.