As April showers give way to May flowers (well, allegedly given the weather this week), to quote the band Queen, I want to ride my bicycle.
Cycling is a great way to get from point A to B. It is fantastic exercise and its simply fun! There is something infectious about the wind in your hair (well, not too much wind in your hair, remember to wear a helmet!), and an effortless smooth glide down a hill. Here in London, Ontario, we are fortunate to have amazing cycling trails. My personal favourite is the Thames Valley Parkway that meanders along the Thames River.
I can’t recommend cycling highly enough.
However, when you are cycling, falls or collisions with pedestrians and vehicles can happen. To make the most of the warm weather, beautiful bike paths, and to avoid suffering an injury or being involved in an accident, here a few safety tips:
Wear a helmet with a securely fastened chin strap. They come in all shapes and sizes, find one that works for you.
Make sure your bike has front, rear, and wheel reflectors.
Have a working bell.
Have front and rear bike lights.
Wear reflective or bright coloured clothing.
Be aware of vehicles, pedestrians, other bikers, and, particularly around Harris Park, geese.
Use hand turning and stopping signals.
Obey traffic lights and signs.
Yield the right of way to pedestrians and vehicles as you would if you were in a vehicle.
Despite taking proper precautions, sometimes, sadly, accidents happen. If you are involved in bicycling accident, contact a personal injury lawyer to have your options explained to you.
We are pleased to announce that the following lawyers have been recognized as leaders in personal injury in the 2019 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. Inclusion in the Directory is an acknowledgement of excellence by a lawyer’s own peers and colleagues, in recognition of their professionalism, leadership, and focus on providing outstanding client service.
Victims of sexual assault often lose the ability to form and sustain interpersonal relationships due to the trauma they have undergone. In these circumstances, a potential claim for damages for loss of interdependent relationship may arise.
These damages are aimed at compensating the plaintiff when their injuries impair or prevent them from forming a permanent interdependent economic relationship, such as marriage or common law cohabitation.
The basic principle behind a loss of interdependent relationship claim is the idea that “two people can live more cheaply than one”. Plaintiffs are not compensated for the loss of the relationship itself, but the loss of the opportunity to form a relationship which can be expected to produce financial benefits to the plaintiff. This theory includes not only the sharing of the income, but the sharing of living expenses as well.
In assessing the pecuniary aspect of such as claim, the plaintiff must prove two things:
a real and substantial possibility that chances of forming an interdependent relationship have been detrimentally affected due to their injuries; and
that such a relationship would have been economically advantageous to them.
Several appellate courts have stressed the importance of a proper evidential foundation before such damages can be awarded. For example, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal has indicated that an award under this head of damages is not appropriate in the absence of cogent statistical, economic and actuarial evidence.
The case law reflects that such awards are more common where the plaintiff is a female. These damages have also generally been awarded in cases of very serious or catastrophic injury. However, Ontario courts have recognized that victims of sexual assault are entitled to compensation where the injuries have damaged their ability to form an interdependent domestic relationship. This is illustrated by the recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court in K. M. v. Marson, 2018 ONSC 3493.
In this case, the 50 year old plaintiff was sexually abused as a child by his elementary school teacher. He brought an action in negligence against the former teacher and school board. In considering the two-part test for loss of interdependency, the court noted that, in the absence of a catastrophic injury, “this head of damages must be substantiated by expert evidence and ‘pointed testimony’ from persons who know the plaintiff.” In determining whether the interdependent relationship would have been economically advantageous, the court noted that it is “not enough to simply rely on case law establishing financial dependency between spouses”.
In K.M., the plaintiff had not had a live-in interdependent relationship since 1999 and was only involved in three domestic relationships which lasted from 2-8 years. The parties also agreed that the plaintiff was not likely to form an interdependent relationship.
Furthermore the court accepted the “two can live cheaper than one” approach used by the plaintiff’s expert rather than the net dependency approach used by the defendant’s expert. The court found that the proper approach was to focus on the plaintiff’s future loss of expense-sharing ability, while taking into account his projected income. To that end, the court recognized that the plaintiff would pay 100% of his household expenses going forward; whereas had he formed an interdependent relationship, he would likely have saved a portion of his income (approx. 30%). Accordingly, the court awarded the plaintiff $125,000.00 for loss of interdependent relationship.
The sizeable award made in K.M. highlights positive developments in this area of law, including the fact that male plaintiffs are now beginning to successfully litigate claims. This case also emphasizes the importance of leading evidence to support the plaintiff’s theory through experts who can address socio-economic and human factors. It is likely that this development will assist plaintiffs in making loss of interdependent relationship claims in the future. We must watch and see whether other courts follow the lead of Justice MacLeod-Beliveau in K.M.
In a recent decision from Ontario’s Court of Appeal (R v. Trinchi, 2019 ONCA 456), the court upheld the conviction of a man for committing “voyeurism”, a charge that was introduced to the Criminal Code of Canada in 2005. The act? Secretly capturing screenshots during consensual nude video chats.
The accused was in a long-distance relationship with the complainant, so the two often participated in Skype video chats. During some of those chats, the complainant willingly removed her clothing and appeared nude in front of the video camera. What she did not know was that the accused sometimes took screenshots of her nude body and saved the photographs to his computer. After they broke up, emails with nude photos of the complainant were sent to many people. The accused was charged both with voyeurism, for taking the screenshots in the first place, and for distributing the nude photos to others. At trial, he was acquitted on the distribution charge (since there was reasonable doubt whether he was the person who distributed the photos), but he was convicted for taking the screenshots in the first place.
The Crown was required to prove five elements to secure a voyeurism conviction: 1) that the accused did in fact observe or record the complainant; 2) that the accused did so “surreptitiously”, i.e. secretly and without the complainant’s knowledge; 3) that the complainant, during the consensual nude video chats, had a reasonable expectation of privacy; 4) that the complainant was nude at the time; and 5) that the accused intended to record the complainant while she was nude. The only issues before the court of appeal were whether the recording was done surreptitiously and whether the complainant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the circumstances of the nude video chat.
The court confirmed that individuals’ privacy expectations for some body parts are higher than for others. In this case, the exposure of intimate body parts in the privacy of a bedroom attracted a high expectation of privacy. Even though the complainant willingly showed the accused her nude body, she did so with the belief that the video images would not be stored permanently. Although she consented to being observed nude, she continued to have a reasonable expectation that images of her nude body would not be recorded and saved.
As for whether the accused acted surreptitiously, the court relied on the fact that the complainant did not know that screenshots were being captured. That fact that she may have known it was possible to take screenshots during a video chat was irrelevant. The accused never told the complainant that he was taking screenshots, even though they had approximately 400 video chats, and he had taken the screenshots in such a way that the complainant did not notice what was being done.
For many people, this decision is consistent with the common sense proposition that just because someone consents to participate in a nude video chat does not mean they consent to having photographs of their naked body captured and saved. However, as evidenced by this case, that proposition is not universally accepted. By dealing with this evolving issue, the Court will help increase public awareness for consent issues which arise alongside technological changes.
Chris Dawson is very accommodating. He came to my home when needed. He prepared me for what was to come (demonstrating experience). He was very patient with me, and proved to have “big shoulders.” I developed a trust in him to do his job and, at that, he is skilled.
Chris took my thoughts and input into account – responded to me promptly. I had tremendous confidence in him, as he spoke on my behalf, was respected by the other party, fair, reasonable, and successful.
My case was a process, but Chris ensured I was compensated fairly.
I highly recommend Chris is he is upfront, honest, does his research, proactive, and allowed for me to sit back and be confident in him when it came to mediation & negotiations advocated on my behalf.
It is now common knowledge that mental illness affects virtually all Canadians, either directly or indirectly, at some point in their lifetimes. Considering that mental illness is common in the general population, it is not hard to understand that mental health disorders are extremely common amongst people who are injured in an accident.
I often see clients who either develop a new mental health disorder, or have a previous mental health disorder that becomes significantly worse, after being injured in an accident. It is also common for my client’s family members, especially those who are directly involved in the client’s care, to experience a decline in their own mental health.
Despite our increasing awareness and understanding surrounding mental health, it continues to be very difficult for those suffering to ask for, and receive, the help they need. Even those who ask for help often go without.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information about some of the services that may be available when you or someone you care about is experiencing a decline in his or her mental health following an accident.
First and foremost, if you or someone you know is experiencing a severe mental health episode, you should immediately call 911 or go to the nearest hospital or emergency department.
In non-crisis situations, the first step should be to see a family doctor or nurse practitioner. If the person does not have a dedicated front line healthcare provider, he or she can go to a walk in clinic. Front line healthcare providers can help provide early assessment, treatment, and can make referrals to the appropriate specialists. Continuing to follow up with your family doctor or nurse practitioner is important for symptom management, to monitor any changes in the mental health condition and can reduce the likelihood of having to go, or return to, the emergency department.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Ontario, you will have access to Statutory Accident Benefits. Accident benefits are available regardless of who is at fault for the accident. These benefits can cover the cost of private treatment to help with any mental health condition that was caused, or worsened, by the accident. You do not need to have sustained a brain injury that directly caused the mental health disorder to access treatment. If someone experiences emotional changes, behavioural changes, depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition because of a car accident, that person can ask for treatment to be paid through accident benefits.
When someone is injured in a car accident, that person’s family often experiences a decline in their own mental health due to the injuries and impairments their family member sustained in the accident. It is possible for family members experiencing a decline in their mental health to make their own claim for accident benefits and request funding for private treatment, even if they were not directly involved in the collision.
The provincial government and the Canadian Mental Health Association have set up a number of helplines and other resources which offer support in non-crisis situations. These helplines are free for anyone to call, including family members and friends who are trying to help someone they know is suffering from a mental health condition. Helplines can offer strategies to help begin recovery, can help find treatment services in your community, and offer basic education.
Those who are suffering from mild to moderate anxiety and depression can access online resources to help connect them with therapists, provide strategies to manage symptoms, and offer support. The Canadian Mental Health Association has started a program in Ontario called “Bounceback”. A referral is required to access telephone coaching sessions. However, there is a series of free videos available to everyone. The videos offer tips on managing mood, sleeping better, building confidence, increasing activity, problem solving and healthy living.
There are additional services and resources available that are specific to children suffering with mental health disorders. These resources are also provide helpful information for those who care for children (parents, teachers, etc.). These resources can be found through the Government of Ontario website; Children’s Mental Health Ontario and additional resources may be available at the child’s school.
If you are experiencing a change in your mental health because of an accident, it is important to find a lawyer who can help you access the treatment and support that you will need.
I’ve had several family members use Nigel’s services and we have all been satisfactorily taken care of. Today I signed my settlement documents and I am satisfied again with the settlement, as it was more than I expected. Thank you Nigel.
The first thing you heard were the screams, which may be the most famous screams in London legal music history: fans losing their assembled minds for the Dufferin Street Band, a frenzy that celebrated and fed itself. Against that roar, it barely mattered if the band made a noise – which is part of the reason the DSB only plays once a year.
On Friday, April 26, the Dufferin Street Band (Lerners lawyers Andrew Murray, Bob Ledgley and Cale Sutherland along with the super-talented Katherine Serniwka, Bruce Hansen and Steve Ledgley) joined a “who’s whom” of London’s legal music community at Courthouse Rocks XVI. The event was held at Rum Runners in downtown London, all in the name of raising much-needed funds for London Lawyers Feed the Hungry.
Through the bright stage lights and the fog, the band appreciated the dancing, singing, clapping fans who spurred them on through their interpretations of some classic tunes ranging from The Doors to Aretha Franklin.
Thanks to the organizers, sponsors and fans for your annual support.
This year, Lerners LLP proudly celebrates its 90th anniversary as a law firm. From our humble beginnings as a one man practice in London, to becoming one of Southwestern Ontario’s largest firms, we recognize that our clients, staff and the legal and broader community have been integral in helping build our success. Instead of throwing a big gala or party for our anniversary, we thought we would honour those who have helped us by helping them give back to their communities.
In addition to the more than 100 charities and organizations that we continue to support, the Lerners LLP 90th Anniversary Charitable Giveaway (the “Giveaway”) will see a total of $90,000 donated in honour of our 90 years as a law firm to various charities and not-for-profit organizations which have had an impact on our clients, staff or friends. We invite you to share your story of an eligible charity or not-for-profit organization that has helped you in a meaningful way.
“It is without question, our privilege to be able to honour our clients, staff and friends of the firm by helping them give back to their communities,” said Graham Porter, the managing partner of Lerners LLP in London, Ontario. “We are proud to have been assisting and advocating for our clients for 90 years, and grateful for all the support we’ve received along the way. Giving back to the communities in which we live and work seemed the natural choice to recognize that we didn’t reach this milestone alone.”
The Giveaway is run by Lerners LLP, and runs until September 30, 2019. It is open to entrants who are legal residents of Ontario and are 18 years of age or older. In order to enter, applicants should visit www lerners90.ca and share an original, personal story of no more than 500 words via the submission portal. Submissions will be reviewed by an internal panel of judges, who will narrow the submissions down to the top 10 finalists. These finalists will be announced and posted to the website, and open to the public to vote on which of the 10 available donations of up to $30,000 will be made to the not-for-profit organizations and charities named in those stories.
For additional details and full contest rules and regulations, please visit www.lerners90.ca.