Chronic Pain may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit

One of the more damaging afflictions a person can suffer from is chronic pain. The idea of waking up in pain day after day is difficult to contemplate, and the reality can result in lasting physical and psychological effects. On columnist Yolanda Smith describes some of those impacts:

A reduction in quality of life is one of the most pressing worries for individuals that suffer from chronic pain. The pain can have an impact on the daily life of patients and inhibit them from partaking in activities as they usually would. In turn, this can have an effect on the psychological health of patients as they deal with the changes that this can bring.

It is common for patients to feel frustrated or angry, particularly when they are unable to partake in normal daily activities as usual. This can also stem into their social life and they may have difficulty creating and maintaining relationships with their loved ones.

In some cases, chronic pain may be a consideration in personal injury lawsuits. Law firms like Toronto’s Neinstein and Associates have experience considering the impact of chronic pain on the claims of a plaintiff. For instance, if a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident, the existence of chronic pain resulting from those injuries would be a consideration in assessing the amount compensation owed to the plaintiff.

A recent judgement in the British Columbia Supreme Court involved assessing the damages for partially disabling chronic pain. looked at some of the key factors in the decision:

The Plaintiff sustained soft tissue injuries which resulted in chronic symptoms. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $90,000 Madam Justice Koenigsberg provided the following reasons:

[40]         Mr. Swieczko suffered significant soft tissue injuries as a result of the accident.  The clear medical evidence from the plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr. G.M. McKensie, is that Mr. Swieczko’s soft tissue injuries are now chronic and permanent, presenting as moderate to severe pain in the neck, mid-back and lower back with persistent flare-ups as a result of overtime work, attempts at physically interacting with his growing one-year-old daughter and attempts to reintegrate previously enjoyed recreational activities.  His prognosis is poor.  Dr. McKensie testified that while there are some positive prognostic indicators, such as the likelihood that his function will improve with an appropriate pain/activity program; these are outweighed by the negative indicators, such as length of time Mr. Swieczko has experienced pain and the fact that his body has become sensitized to it.

[45]         It must be recognized that this state of affairs is costing Mr. Swieczko psychologically.  He is far less able to socialize and enjoy family get-togethers – or physical activity that he enjoyed before the Accident.  Thus, Mr. Swieczko is struggling with frustration and emotional despondency from time to time as he contemplates the immediate future, wherein he may not be able to be an active participant in his daughter’s physical recreational life.  It was clear from Mr. Swieczko’s evidence that he was taken aback by receiving his poor prognosis in relation to living relatively pain-free and being able to do what he did before.  In particular, he had ambitions of participating in such physical activities as karate with his daughter as she matures.  He is now very unlikely to be able to do this…

The most significant factor in this case making the assessment of general damages suggested by the plaintiff more appropriate than that suggested by the defendant is the severity and chronicity of pain, which combines with Mr. Swieczko’s increasing emotional struggle over the impairments to his family, marital and social relationships.  Adding to this is Mr. Swieczko’s stoicism, which, in this case, has meant he has and continues to work longer and harder to achieve his career goals, but at a significant cost in pain and resort to strong medications.

[52]         I assess his non-pecuniary damages at $90,000.

If you’ve been injured in an accident and are now suffering from chronic pain, your best bet is to contact a personal injury law firm like Toronto’s Neinstein & Associates to help you assess the validity of a potential lawsuit.

The issue of chronic pain has been investigated by journalists, doctors and lawyers like Neinstein and Associates alike, and is well covered on YouTube. Check out a quick video below around the difficulties of living with chronic pain.

How To Get A Real Estate License

When most people think about selling real estate, they think about getting a real estate license. There are certain requirements for each state that you are in, levels of education that are necessary, and many different schools that you can attend. The amount of time that it takes you will depend upon the type of license you are going for as there are real estate agents and real estate brokers. You can actually bypass all of this if you would choose to, buying and selling real estate as an individual, negating the need for an actual license. Here is a brief overview of what you need to do to get a license to sell real estate, and then how you can do this on your own without having to pay for the licensing that is necessary and still become profitable in the real estate industry.

Getting A Real Estate License

The first thing that you will want to do is locate a company that offers to help you with this process. They will allow you to either attend their school physically, or over the Internet, accomplishing becoming a realtorthe same type of testing. The type of testing that you will have to take will initially begin with becoming a realtor, and then subsequently a broker. Most people strive for becoming a broker because there is more money to be made. You actually make half the money that your real estate agents to, and you can have multiple agents which could lead you to having a substantial income. You simply have to search for these companies online, sign up with them, and take the tests that you must pass in order to sell real estate legally. The other way that you can do this is to simply learn how to fill out all of the paperwork on your own, working directly with realtors, or individuals that are only selling their property to you in for sale by owner transactions.

Bypassing The Need For A Real Estate License

Many people do not know that you can actually avoid getting a real estate license to become successful at selling real estate. There are millionaires that have made their fortunes by simply understanding how to buy and sell the property. Most of them begin with a home or apartment complex that needs to be fixed up, and they work with investors where they can get the money. You could also go to your bank or credit union, and also hire people to repair the damage that has been done so that it can either be rented out or you can sell it for a profit. If you are purchasing real estate through a broker or realtor, they can handle all of the paperwork, making the entire process very simple to complete. Once you are done, doing it this very first time, you will see how easy it is to buy and sell real estate without the need for any type of licensing.

home for saleThere are many courses on the Internet, and that are sold to the television, showing people how to sell real estate. You can contact these businesses, take advantage of the courses that they provide, and start to buy and sell right away. There is quite a bit of information to learn, just as there is with passing your real estate license exam. However, once you are done with this information, you will have the ability to spot the best deals.  Work with investors that are ready and willing to loan you the money, and start your own profitable real estate business that can either provide you with consistent income, retirement properties, or you can simply flip the properties for a substantial profit.

North America’s railway systems need safety improvements – in the meantime, a personal injury lawyer can help

Most people likely don’t consider the safety of the railway system in their day-to-day lives. After all, besides the occasional train crossing slowing down our commute, how often does the railroad system affect the majority of people?

Every now and then, though, a train accident can cause substantial damage to property, and can sometimes cause serious injuries or even death. The Amtrak Northeast Regional train derailment in May 2015 in Philadelphia, for instance, left eight people dead and more than 200 injured. And in 2013, the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec was devastated when a freight train exploded and killed nearly 50 people.

While injuries from train accidents remain rare, Neinstein & Associates, found here ,may be able to help you attain damages as a result of your injuries.

On a larger scale, what can be done to improve the safety of the rail systems in both Canada and the United States? In December, Bruce H Stern wrote an article for addressing some issues with the American system:

We should be doing everything we can to ensure our nation’s railways are safe. When crashes happen, those who are responsible should be held accountable, so that the people who have been injured or the families of those who have been killed have the opportunity to start rebuilding their lives.

Those families are facing a hurdle, though. An obscure law from 1997 states that passenger railroads cannot be held responsible beyond $200 million for a crash, no matter how many people were injured or killed, and no matter if the railroad’s fault is clear.

Meanwhile, north of the border, a recent CBC investigation highlighted some serious safety issues that need to be addressed by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Journalist Dave Seglins writes:

Transport Canada has hit Canadian Pacific Railway with an unprecedented order demanding the company change its freight train line-ups and fatigue-management practices on some runs in British Columbia because they pose “an immediate threat to safe railway operations.”

Federal rail safety inspector Todd Horie sent CP a formal letter last Thursday identifying working conditions that he says leave crews unable to get proper sleep or to predict their work schedules.

The situation “creates excessive fatigue … at locations on CP within British Columbia, including but not limited to Roberts Bank, Coquitlam and Kamloops,” Horie writes.

With safety issues seemingly inherent in North America’s rail systems, it becomes more important that everyday citizens take steps to ensure their safety around railroads. While a personal injury lawyer like Neinstein & Associates can help you get on with your life in case of an injury, the better alternative is of course to avoid injury in the first place. The YouTube video below provides excellent railroad safety tips:

The railroad systems of both Canada and the United States were both foundational to the development of the nations we know today, and crucial in the current economy. However, legislation to improve the safety of our railroad systems could help prevent serious injuries, and perhaps ease access to compensation in the unlikely event that an injury does occur.

How do we fix the distracted driving issue?

As any good personal injury lawyer – such as Toronto-based Neinstein & Associates – will tell you, distracted driving is becoming an increasingly common issue on North American roads. There are a range of causes and forms of distracted driving, including eating while driving, texting and talking on the phone while driving, or interacting with others in your car. In short, distracted driving can be summed up as anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the wheel.

Earlier this month, St. Louis, Missouri-based injury lawyer Matt Devoti wrote an article for the Legal Examiner regarding several instances of distracted driving he encountered on a single trip:

Distracted driving is all around us. And, distracted driving is not just a teenage problem.  On my way back to St. Louis I passed a professional talking into his phone, an elderly woman reading a book (really!!), and a young mother reaching into the backseat toward a child.  All of these folks caught my attention because of how they drove their cars; the man straddled the paint on the highway in his car, the elderly woman drove unusually slowly on the highway, and the young mother drove her minivan in seeming fits and starts on the road leading to my office.

All of these folks seemed oblivious to the dangerous manner in which each drove distracted. But, I guess, that’s not surprising in light of what national studies tell us of how we view the dangers posed by distracted driving.  For instance, a recent poll suggests that 88% of us feel threated when our fellow drivers use their phones, but 67% of us continue to use our cell phones when driving.  Similarly, 75% of us believe: “texting while driving is dangerous. . . except when I do it.”

Some regions are taking firm steps to combat the issue of distracted driving. The Province of Ontario, for instance, this year enacted strict new distracted driving laws, which also address cyclist safety and impaired driving. The law was summed up in the National Post:

Drivers who text behind the wheel, who “door” passing cyclists or drive stoned will face much stiffer fines under a new Ontario law that increases fines for some offences up to $1,000.

The law passed third reading Tuesday morning and will soon be signed into law. Its distracted driving penalties are now some of the toughest in the world, but the bill also cracks down on how drivers interact with cyclists. It also allows cities to build more types of bike lanes and it imposes tough fines on cyclists who refuse to light up their rides.

Called the Making Ontario Roads Safer Act, the new law is further outlined in this Ottawa injury lawyer’s interview with CTV News:

With laws like Ontario’s coming into effect at the beginning of this year, there is reason to be hopeful that distracted driving will decrease in the near future. In the meantime, victims of distracted driving car accidents can contact personal injury lawyers like Neinstein & Associates to assess possible damages.

Who’s At Fault When Driverless Cars Cause Injuries?

Would you purchase a driverless – or “autonomous” – car? While some driving enthusiasts may disdain the loss of human control, driverless cars are quickly becoming a reality. In California, a small fleet of Google’s autonomous vehicles hit the roads as far back as 2012:

And with the reality of driverless cars comes the reality of driverless car accidents. Experts are split on how much driverless cars will improve road safety in the long run (although many are very enthusiastic about the process), but while autonomous vehicles share the road with human-controlled cars, some interesting legal circumstances appear.

For instance, who is at fault when driverless cars get in accidents? Personal injury lawyers like Neinstein & Associates will tell you this is a tricky question. A recent blog post on the Ontario Injury Law blog addresses the issue:

Aside from feeling like George Jetson as driverless cars speed by you, there will likely be a fair bit of anxiety among other drivers on the road at first.  People will no doubt fear car accidents that could be caused by a malfunctioning computer in the driverless car or a change in road or weather conditions that the computer does not appreciate.  However, my bet is that computers are going to have less “malfunctions” behind the wheel leading to car accidents and injuries than humans do.

The issue will be what happens when driverless cars do cause accidents or are involved in accidents in some way?  In Ontario, you would normally sue the driver of the car, but would also sue the owner of the car who is typically responsible for an accident if a driver that they loaned the car to has an accident.  However, that does not always apply – ie: accidents that occur on private property may not always attract liability on the owner of the vehicle.  This could lead to the need for more detailed analysis by car accident lawyers, and personal injury lawyers in general, about how an accident was caused.

While it may be difficult to place the blame on any individual person, a recent Bloomberg article by Keith Naughton and Margaret Cronin Fisk explains that driverless cars actually present a host of possible new defendants in these cases:

Plaintiff’s lawyers are salivating at the prospects for big paydays from such accidents. If computers routinely crash, they say, then so will cars operated by them. And with no one behind the wheel, lawyers say they can go after almost anyone even remotely involved.

“You’re going to get a whole host of new defendants,” said Kevin Dean, who is suing General Motors Co. over its faulty ignition switches and Takata Corp. over air-bag failures. “Computer programmers, computer companies, designers of algorithms, Google, mapping companies, even states. It’s going to be very fertile ground for lawyers.”

By the time autonomous cars become the overwhelming majority of vehicles on the road, car accidents may have dwindled to a handful per year.

Until that time, personal injury law firms like Neinstein & Associates can help injury victims navigate the unfamiliar waters of driverless car accidents.