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Slip and Fall? This is what a lawyer can get you.

This blog focuses on the recent case of Dorion v. Ecodevelopments and the damages awarded for a slip and fall accident. The plaintiff, Mr. Dorion suffered an injury on the job by slipping on black ice, negligently left unattended by the defendant, Ecodevelopments. Mr. Dorion sustained injuries to his wrist, elbow, ribs, and most notably torn menisci on both of his knees. Mr. Dorian was unable to work for half a year due to his injuries. After the 6-month period, Mr. Dorian was finally given a replacement job position with minimal physical workload. However, Mr. Dorian was still suffering from his injuries and was prevented from properly managing and caring for his son with autism spectrum disorder. Mr. Dorian tried to prevent undergoing surgery but unfortunately had to go through with the procedure in order to alleviate his daily struggles. Post-surgery Mr. Dorian also needed time off of work in order to recover. He hired a proficient lawyer to issue a claim against the defendant for damages, in particular, for his loss of income.

The issue in this case was not, whether or not Mr. Dorian was entitled to damages, but rather, how much he was entitled to receive. Mr. Dorian’s lawyer claimed an amount ranging up to $150,000 for general damages due to his client’s pain and suffering. He also requested the full amount of loss of regular pay during the time Mr. Dorian was unable to work.

Due to the fact that the defendant did not respond to the claim, based on rule 19.02(1)(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, they were deemed to accept the claims of the plaintiff. However, the judge still had to assess the claims and determine whether or not they were legitimate.

The judge in the case referenced several personal injury cases including the ones referred to by Mr. Dorian’s lawyer, to determine the appropriate amount for general damages. After comparing these cases with Mr. Dorian’s case, the judge came to the fair amount of $80,000. When determining the appropriate compensation for loss of income, the judge looked into Mr. Dorian’s employment benefits. This was in order to ensure that Mr. Dorian was not claiming double recovery, which is barred in court. Mr. Dorian’s particular employment agreement offered a benefit of 75% of regular pay during sick leave. Therefore, Mr. Dorian was only entitled to the compensation of the remaining 25% of pay that he was not receiving during his time off of work.

Mr. Dorian’s lawyer brought up the private insurance exception to the double recovery rule. It is the understanding that plaintiffs who pay or are deducted pay for insurance benefits for these types of accidents, should not have to deduct the money received by insurance from the damages claimed. This would be unfair to people who planned ahead and consistently contributed to account for unforeseen circumstances.

In Mr. Dorian’s case unfortunately, he was not able to prove that he was contributing to a private insurance premium or equivalent benefits program of any kind, therefore, the 75% of regular pay that he received during his time off was deducted from the damages claimed.

In conclusion, the judge ruled in favor of Mr. Dorian and ordered the defendant to pay him a total of $128, 401.90 including general and special damages and costs. This case shows that with proper representation, a plaintiff can receive a significant amount of compensation even without any additional insurance. It is important to retain legal counsel that is well-versed in this area of law, to make sure that you receive the full benefits you are entitled to.

Source: Dorion v. Ecodevelopments Windsor Inc., 2021 ONSC 820 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jd18w
Written by: Keren Barak, 2021

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