Personal Injury Panel: Hot Topics in Personal Injury Law |

Personal Injury Panel: Hot Topics in Personal Injury Law

Personal Injury Panel: Hot Topics in Personal Injury Law

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Professionalism (Ethics, etc.): 0.25
15 minutes
Substantive: 1.25
75 minutes
Frank Benedetto
Brian Cameron
Deanna S. Gilbert
Erin VanderVeer
Tom Yen
Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA)
90 minutes
$129.00 plus tax

It has been a busy year for personal injury and insurance defence lawyers! Join our panel of distinguished plaintiff and defence counsel for a lively discussion and insights into recent developments in the law, including:

  • The benefits and drawbacks of juries in civil cases and efforts to expand the right to challenge civil jurors for cause
  • The Court of Appeal’s decisions in the Cobb and El-Khodr appeals, which resolved outstanding questions about pre-judgment interest rates and the statutory deductible applicable in motor vehicle accident cases
  • The admissibility of surveillance evidence
  • Insurance coverage denials for non-cooperation from insureds and strategies for plaintiff and defence lawyers; and
  • Limitations imposed by the Law Society on marketing legal services, referral fees, and contingency fee agreements.

The Law Society and bar have expressed concerns that certain trends in legal advertising are damaging the legal profession’s reputation and may even be affecting jury awards in personal injury cases. The Law Society established the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group in February 2016 to consult on advertising practices and fee arrangements. The panel will discuss the reforms and proposed reforms to marketing, referral fees, and contingency fee agreements in the personal injury context, including:

  • Amendments to the Rules to provide specific direction on the type of awards and honours that are permitted in advertising
  • A prohibition on advertising second-opinion services
  • A cap on referral fees
  • Mandatory standard contingency fee agreements
  • Disclosure requirements regarding contingency fees
  • Other transparency measures

1. Civil Jury trials in the personal injury context – Discussion Points

  • The pros and cons of jury trials from the perspective of plaintiff and defence counsel
  • The Complexity Test for striking juries
  • Challenges for Cause: the Kapoor test case and whether or not there is an expanded right to challenge civil jurors for cause
  • Proposal re Rule 76 Simplified Procedure: Jury Notices are to be abolished in SR

Cases in respect of which the monetary jurisdiction will increase to $200.000.00, exclusive of costs. The Rules Committee approved these amendments in the Fall of 2017 but the amendments are not in effect until enabling Legislation is tabled and passed by way of an amendment to the Courts of Justice Act, s 108

2. Cobb / El- Khodr Appeals

  • Two decisions from the Court of Appeal resolved outstanding questions about the pre-judgment interest rate and the statutory deductible applicable in motor vehicle accident cases

3. Surveillance

  • The courts have had further opportunities to interpret and apply the test for admissibility of surveillance evidence
  • In Rolley v MacDonell, Justice Corthorn dismissed the Defendant’s motion for leave to rely on surveillance video recordings as substantive evidence
  • In Jamieson v Abitong et al, Justice Cornell awarded the Plaintiffs their full indemnity costs after a defendant delivered surveillance a mere 10 days before the commencement of trial, resulting in an adjournment

4. Coverage Issues (non-cooperation)

  • An insured’s Duty to Cooperate and what it entails
  • Examples of breaches of the duty to cooperate
  • The effect on Plaintiffs and strategies for moving forward


Frank Benedetto

Frank’s sophisticated and nuanced style of advocacy makes him sought after counsel for his expertise in complex motor vehicle tort and accident benefit matters, including catastrophic claims, large loss priority and loss transfer disputes, and cross border matters. His successful litigation approach is marked by pragmatic, creative, and fair advocacy. Frank’s conscientiousness and leadership enhances the Firm’s long lasting client relations.

In addition to his success in the multi-dimensional demands of litigation, lawyers retain Frank as mediator for his exceptional understanding of the law and litigation, and his interpersonal skills. He is also called upon by insurers to advise on litigation risk management.

The demands of litigation are successfully satisfied by Frank as he builds and presents a case before the Superior Court of Justice, the Court of Appeal, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, and private Arbitrators. More recent advocacy is reflected in decisions involving representing the successful parties

concerning the definitive case on the loss transfer limitation period (Federation v. Kingsway, CA, 2012), the rules respecting the change of forum in accident benefit disputes (Gordyukova v. Certas, CA, 2012), and the scope of the accident benefit Examination Under Oath (Aviva v. Balvers, SCJ, 2007).

Brian Cameron

Brian Cameron completed his LLB at Western University and was called to the bar in 2001. He joined Oatley Vigmond in 1999 and became a partner in 2008. Brian represents people who have sustained serious injuries and the families of those who have died. His practice focuses on resolving claims arising out of motor vehicle collisions, boating injuries, occupiers’ liability claims and products liability issues. Brian enjoys the complexities of personal injury litigation, but when it gets right down to it, he finds cases where the help he provides actually makes a difference in the quality of his clients’ lives the most gratifying.

When asked what he likes most about practicing personal injury law, Brian states that he enjoys sharing a person’s life story, from before they were injured, with the Jury so that they can see that contrast as compelling evidence of how the Defendant drastically changed that individual’s life. When Brian isn’t practicing law, he enjoys travelling and playing poker.

Deanna S. Gilbert

Deanna Gilbert was admitted to the Law Society of Ontario in 2008. Her practice is devoted to representing Plaintiffs in personal injury litigation including cases arising from motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, slip and falls, product liability, and assaults.

Deanna frequently appears before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and accident benefits tribunals. In 2016, Deanna was a Lexpert Rising Stars Finalist. In 2017, Deanna was added to the peer-reviewed Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, ranked as “repeatedly recommended”. Deanna is listed in the 2018 Best Lawyers® in Canada publication.

Deanna’s advocacy has resulted in a number of precedent-setting and reported judicial and arbitral decisions. She has authored a number of papers on civil litigation and is currently the Contributing Editor of the Ontario Accident Benefits Case Summaries published by LexisNexis Canada Inc. Deanna has both chaired medical-legal conferences and presented as a guest speaker. She is often interviewed and cited by legal news publications for her insight into hot topics in personal injury litigation.

Deanna is a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Advocates’ Society, the Ontario Brain Injury Association, and the Brain Injury Society of Toronto.

Erin VanderVeer

Erin VanderVeer is an associate in BLG's litigation department who brings an insightful and deliberate approach to advocating on behalf of her clients. Her practice focuses on class actions, insurance and tort law, municipal and police liability, and product liability. Her litigation practice is centered on defending municipal police services from tort actions and claims involving alleged Charter violations, as well as defending municipalities from various infrastructure maintenance and design claims. Erin's product liability practice is centered on defending manufacturers and suppliers in various industries.

Erin appears regularly before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, and the License Appeal Tribunal.

Tom Yen

Tom is a skilled and versatile advocate, having successfully litigated and arbitrated thousands of cases on behalf of insurers as well as injured individuals. His areas of practice include motor vehicle accident claims, accident benefits disputes, slip and falls, long-term disability claims, property loss matters, construction disputes, and subrogation claims.

Tom has experience with all stages of the litigation process, from the delivery of on-point opinions to the deployment of specific strategies at critical milestones. Tom has participated at trials with senior counsel and has won several trials on his own. He is particularly proud of one where he proved the plaintiffs had staged the motor vehicle collision. In that case, Tom obtained not only compensatory damages, but aggravated and punitive damages against the plaintiffs.

Tom’s AB experience ranges from MIG to CAT disputes, as well as priority and loss transfer matters. Tom has arbitration as well as appeal experience at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. He has acted on dozens of applications at the Licence Appeal Tribunal and has conducted LAT hearings.

Outside the office, Tom enjoys keeping fit while being a big foodie and wine connoisseur.

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