Can You Sue The Good Samaritan?

There is a cynical expression that states: No good deed goes unpunished. Fortunately, thanks to Good Samaritan laws, good deeds done in emergency situations are rarely punishable. In all Canadian provinces except Quebec, bystanders are not legally obligated to help in an emergency. However, if you do decide to step in and something goes wrong, you will not be held liable.

Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act

Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act protects a rescuer from any liability should they attempt to help a victim in distress. If you find yourself witnessing an emergency situation unfold, you might question your ability to help in the given circumstances and wonder if you will face punitive action should you make a mistake under stress. The Good Samaritan Act ensures that fear of legal repercussion never stops someone from trying to help in an emergency. Good Samaritan laws are intended to encourage individuals to try to help when they can.

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Examples of The Good Samaritan Law

This act also applies to off-duty physicians. For example, if you are walking down the street and are involved in a motor vehicle accident and a passing doctor stops to help you, they cannot usually be sued for malpractice. A physician who voluntarily performs emergency treatment or first aid outside of a hospital is rarely accountable for damages as it is very rare for a doctor to fall below an expected standard of care in the event of an emergency without access to medical tools and resources.

Only if a physician’s act or omission in an emergency situation outside of a hospital causes further injury compared to another physician of typical experience in the given situation would it be possible to sue them for Gross Negligence.

Cleary v. Hansen – Standards for Rescuers

The 1981 case Cleary v. Hansen provides a good definition of the standard to which rescuers must adhere:

“Even during an attempt to assist someone in an emergency, the law expects reasonable care to be exercised, even though the standard is relaxed to a certain extent. The court does not expect perfection, but rescuers must be sensible. They, like anyone else, must weigh the advantages and the risks of their conduct. Their conduct, too, however laudable, must measure up to the standard of the reasonable person in similar circumstances.”

That is, breaking a rib while performing CPR is fine, improvising a surgery is probably not. Additionally, injuring someone else in the process of providing help could possibly be seen as grossly negligent. The Good Samaritan Act is not a carte blanche for reckless behaviour.

Medical Malpractice Experts

Medical malpractice suits can be the most difficult and costly claims to pursue and emergency circumstances can further complicate these claims.

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If you or someone you know have received negligent medical treatment, we at KCY at LAW have the knowledge and experience to help you make an informed decision and pursue necessary justice. Call us today to book your consultation at 905-639-0999 or connect with us online by filling out a consultation request form.

Distracted Driving: The New DUI?

You’re a good driver. You would never want to cause a motor vehicle accident. You would never get behind the wheel after a couple glasses of wine. You would never pull out of your driveway without your glasses. So surely you wouldn’t check your cell phone while on the road. After all, like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted driving is dangerous, not to mention illegal. Yet distracted driving is shockingly common.

What Is Distracted Driving?

What Is Distracted Driving - Personal Injury LawyerAccording to the RCMP, distracted driving “is a form of impaired driving as a driver’s judgment is compromised when they are not fully focused on the road.” Distracted driving means not having your full attention to the road and traffic, even at a stoplight. This includes activities such as:

  • using your phone to talk, text, changing podcasts, or check maps;
  • eating, reading, doing your hair;
  • changing GPS directions; and
  • breaking up a fight between your kids in the backseat.

The Costs of Your Eyes Off the Road

According to the Province of Ontario’s website, drivers using a phone are four times more likely to cause an accident than a properly focused driver. The Province’s website also notes that deaths from distracted driving collisions have doubled in the last 16 years. Furthermore, according to the CAA, texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to be involved or nearly involved in a collision. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident make sure you check out our Dos and Don’ts of Motor Vehicle Accidents.

Distracted Driving and the Law

While specific rules and penalties vary from province to province, it is illegal to use hand-held electronics while driving. This includes your mobile phone, GPS, E-reader and any other portable electronic device. Even holding a cellphone while driving is against the law. Hands-free and mounted devices like Bluetooths and GPS navigation systems, however, are permissible.

Distracted Driving Offences in Ontario

Penalties for distracted driving also vary from one province to the next and are dependent on a variety of other factors such as your licence and how long you have been driving. If you are convicted of a distracted driving offence in Ontario you could face:

  • three demerit points;
  • a fine of up to $490 if you settle the matter out of court;
  • a fine of up to $1,000 if you contest your ticket in court and lose; or
  • a 30 to 90-day licence suspension if you have a learner’s permit.

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Avoiding Driving Distractions

Being prepared for your trip, however short or long, is the best way to stay focused when you are on the road. Plan your route and set up your GPS or other navigation device before you leave. Have your playlists or CDs cued and ready to go so you are not trying to find just the right tune when you should be checking your blind spot. Set up voice control on your mobile devices. Ask passengers to handle any incoming calls or texts. Better yet, take the opportunity to disconnect and turn your phone off altogether. Be present in the moment and devote your full attention to the road and your surroundings.

If you do need to use your phone, including in the case of an emergency, first safely pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and put on your hazard lights.

Distracted Driver Motor Vehicle Accident Experts

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a distracted driver, call us at (905) 639-0999 today or contact us online to book your consultation. KCY at LAW are experienced personal injury lawyers with the expertise and compassion to help you get the settlement you deserve.

Dos and Don’ts After a Motor Vehicle Accident

Being in a car accident is always a trying ordeal. Whether you’ve been in a fender bender in a parking lot or a multi-car collision on the 403, the following dos and don’ts can help you to properly deal with the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident.

What To Do After A Motor Vehicle Accident

What To Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident - KCY at LAW Personal Injury LawyerRemain Calm. There are undoubtedly a thousand things rushing through your head immediately following a motor vehicle accident, but the first thing you should do is take a deep breath and try to remain focused and composed.

Stop. It is imperative that if you are involved in a collision that you stop your vehicle as quickly and safely as possible.

Call 911 if: anyone is injured, the damage to vehicles appears to be over $1,000, or you suspect an involved driver to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Follow the emergency operator’s instructions and wait for police or paramedic assistance.

Document. Use your phone or camera to take pictures of the collision site and vehicle damage. Also jot down as many details about the situation as possible.

Move Your Vehicle. If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle out of traffic. If it is not driveable, put on your hazard lights and use flares to signal your situation to other drivers.

Exchange Information. Be sure to get the name, address, insurance information, phone number, licence plate and drivers licence numbers of each other driver involved in the incident. Additionally, get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the crash.

Report. You must also report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible whether or not you were at fault.

Call your Lawyer. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident it is important that you contact a personal injury lawyer that can help you to get the coverage you deserve. You can call KCY at LAW and we will get the process underway on your behalf.

Bonus: Be prepared for emergencies on the road by equipping your vehicle with a first aid kit, warning triangles or cones, and accident worksheet.

What Not To Do After A Motor Vehicle Accident

Move an Injured Person. You may unintentionally cause further injury so wait for paramedics.

Argue. Save your breath and resist arguing with other drivers or passengers. Stay calm and share your story with police when they arrive.

Offer to Cover Damages. Never assume liability at the scene of the accident. Wait to speak with your lawyer.

Accept Payment at the Scene. If you are not at fault, accepting a cash offer may be tempting but reporting the accident will not affect your driving record.

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Expert Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident call KCY at LAW to schedule an appointment with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call us on (905) 639-0999 or contact us online for your free consultation.