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Surveillance: How You Can Lose Your Long Term Disability Compensation

long term disability surveillanceHow You Can Lose Your Long Term Disability Compensation

Have you applied for Long Term Disability coverage and have the feeling you are being followed while out in public?

If you have submitted an application for disability or are collecting disability compensation, your intuition may be accurate, as there is a good chance an insurer has hired a professional private investigator to conduct surveillance on you, seeking an excuse to save money and attempt to deny your claim.

Insurance companies, like all businesses, are profit-based and lose money if they approve too many claims — so it is in their best interest to prove that you can work without the need to receive compensation for your reported medical condition.

Disability claims are on the rise, and surveillance is an efficient way for insurance companies to gather evidence against you – intending to prove that you are fully capable of fulfilling your job duties and do not require financial support.

Surveillance May Work Against You

Insurance companies may hire a private Investigator, follow you, or set up surveillance in front of your home to observe your daily activities.

Suppose you applied for Long Term Disability due to back pain and then observed via surveillance moving or twisting your body in a way that contradicts what you detailed in your claim. In that case, your credibility may be diminished and lead to a denial of your Long Term Disability insurance benefits claim.

Be Specific On Your Application for Long Term Disability Compensation

Detailing your injuries and being specific about your abilities on your Long Term Disability application is essential. Provide context and be mindful about anything observed via surveillance that may be used against you.

Such that if you are observed merely walking down the street for a more extended period than you mentioned you were able to in your claim, you could be at risk of losing your Long Term Disability insurance coverage.

The same goes for mental health disability claims. For instance, if you claim that you are chronically depressed and unable to leave your home and then observed via surveillance leaving your home on a daily basis, you may be questioned and risk losing your coverage.

Why Surveillance is Not Reliable

Context is everything when it comes to surveillance with regards to Long Term Disability insurance claims. As mentioned in the example above, surveillance is not a reliable measure to understand one’s abilities.

Video evidence does not present the aftermath of the activity, such as the stiffness and pain you may experience immediately after or the next day resulting from specific activities such as reaching, carrying grocery bags, or shovelling snow.

Fighting Against Surveillance Evidence

  • Ensure that you are truthful regarding your disabilities and injuries from the start. Do not stretch the truth because you think it will be more believable.
  • Take extreme caution when posting on any social media channels. Any comments, videos, or images involving events, activities, sports, or vacations, can be used as evidence to affect your disability claim. Be mindful before you post.

Denied Long Term Disability Coverage? Hire an Experienced Lawyer

If you have Long Term Disability coverage, and if you’re suffering from a debilitating illness or injury, then you deserve compensation, and that’s where Tim Louis and Company can help.

When dealing with a Long Term Disability claim, it is essential that you have an experienced, reputable lawyer on your side that specializes in Long Term Disability cases.

Long Term Disability Lawyer Tim Louis has been representing those who suffer from LTD for over 25 years and has successfully sued some of the world’s largest insurance companies on behalf of deserving clients.

Contact Tim Louis and His Team Today

You owe it to yourself to explore your options. Contact Tim Louis and his compassionate and experienced legal team today by calling 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com for a no-obligation consultation. We will make sure to evaluate your situation and advise the best possible options for your unique situation.

Leading Accidents that Result in Concussion

A concussion is a mild form of Traumatic brain injury (TBI) that affects brain function and usually caused by a blow to the head, bump, violent shake or any blunt force to the area. Concussions are usually temporary but are a common result of motor vehicle accidents or any other form of personal injury. It’s important to note that even a violent shake of the upper body can cause a concussion.

Neck Massage on Patient After Concussion | Tim Louis and Company
Most of those who suffer from a concussion, recover quickly and fully. However, in more serious cases, symptoms can last for weeks or longer.

Symptoms of a Concussion

It’s important to know that concussions don’t always present symptoms. If symptoms do show up, they may not present themselves right away and can last for days, weeks or longer. The most common symptoms of a concussive traumatic brain injury are amnesia (memory loss), headaches and disorientation.

Physical Symptoms of Concussion:

  • Ears ringing
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Fluid or blood draining from the nose or ears

Other symptoms may include:

  • The inability to remember the traumatic event that caused the concussion
  • Confusion
  • Feeling of dizziness / Confusion
  • Problems with speech
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feelings of depression, nervousness and/or anxiety
  • Feeling isolated or alone

When to Seek Medical Attention

Seek medical attention immediately if you or your child has suffered from a head injury – even if emergency care isn’t required.

Leading Accidents that Result in Concussion:

Motor Vehicle Related Injury

Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of mild or severe TBIs or concussions. These head injuries can occur from any head injury such as hitting the dashboard, driver window or another passenger.

Slip & Falls

When you think about a slip and fall injury, you probably imagine sprains, broken bones, bad bruises or pulled tendons. Head injuries though are very common – so common in fact that they are one of the leading causes of mild to very severe, life-changing forms of concussion.

Any of these slip and fall accidents can result in a mild to severe concussion:

  • Slipping on the wet floor
  • Falling in a store and knocking your head on the floor or against a shelf
  • Tripping over an obstacle or crack on the sidewalk resulting in a blow to the head
  • Falling in around someone’s residence and knocking your head

Assaults

It’s obvious that victims of any type of physical assault are at risk for having a concussion. Any blow to the head, twist and or fall can result in a mild to serious head injury.

Playing Sports

The Public Health Agency of Canada Reports that for females, approximately 20,000 (45%) of brain injuries result from sports and recreation. For males, approximately 26,000 (54%) of brain injuries result from sports or recreational injuries.

According to the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), Ice Hockey, Rugby and Ringette are the most common sports with the highest the proportion of brain injuries among children and youth 5-19 years of age, ranging from 27% to 44% of all injuries that happened while playing these sports.

According to the government of Canada, 1 in 2 Canadians has little to no knowledge about concussions. Since only 4 in 10 Canadians are aware of available concussion tools and resources, we have added some reliable and trusted sources below to learn more about the causes and treatment of mild or severe concussions.

Contact A Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered from a mild or severe concussion resulting from a motor vehicle collision, or slip and fall, Tim Louis and his compassionate and talented legal team can give you the reliable, trusted advice you require. Contact us today for a free consultation at 604-732-7678 or TimLouis@TimLouisLaw.com

Sources:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/concussion-sign-symptoms/concussion-sport-infographic.html

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15038-concussion

Repetitive Strain Injuries: What You Need to Know

When we think about workplace injuries, we often think about slip-and-fall accidents, injuries resulting from falling objects or the various back and neck strains that come with the territory within many workplaces. However, some work-related accidents are often far less dramatic.

A number of injuries occur over time, through constant repetition of daily tasks, which negatively impact the body causing strain to sensitive joints and muscle groups. These repetitive strain injuries, or RSI, can have a long-lasting effect on our health and daily life.

Injuries Resulting From Repetitive Motion

A Repetitive Strain Injury, whether it is temporary or permanent, will need rest or a change in daily habit that provides time to heal. It is crucial to see a medical professional right away to prevent any further damage to the muscles, ligaments, nerves or tendons through continuous, repetitive motion.

Most Common Repetitive Strain Injuries

typingRepetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) can result from a buildup of damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves from repetitive motion or strain on specific parts of the body. Repetitive Strain Injuries are quite common and may be caused by a variety of common work activities, including:

  • Using a computer mouse or trackpad
  • Excessive typing (data entry)
  • Swiping items at a supermarket checkout/cash register use
  • Grasping and manipulating tools
  • Working in an assembly line environment
  • Training for sports or other athletic activities

Some commonly diagnosed Repetitive Strain Injuries are:

  • Tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon)
  • Pertendonitis (inflammation of the sheath of a tendon)
  • Trigger finger (difficulty bending or straightening any of the fingers which is caused by inflammation and thickening of the tendon)
  • Tenosynovitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sheath that surrounds a tendon causing joint pain and stiffness)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (numbness, tingling and pain in the hand or arm resulting from compression of the median nerve which is squeezed as it travels through the wrist
  • Epicondylitis (inflammation of tendons surrounding an epicondyle)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac which is common around the elbow, hips, knees and shoulder)

Repetitive Strain Injuries

What Are the Symptoms?

There are many possible causes of repetitive strain injuries and a wide range of symptoms that result. Tenderness or pain the affected muscle or joints are common, a throbbing or pulsating sensation in the affected area and or tingling in the hands or arms. Any other symptoms will depend on which part of the body is affected.

It’s important that you visit a medical professional for a proper diagnosis as soon as you experience symptoms to prevent any further damage over time.

Repetitive Strain Injury Prevention

The primary ways in which you can reduce the risk is to stop or limit the intensity of the activity. If the activity cannot be stopped, tips for reducing the risk may include:

Taking breaks: Taking regular breaks from any repetitive task may help reduce the strain on your body.

Stand up: Standing up, stretching and frequently moving your limbs may reduce the risk. Stretch your back, arms, fingers and legs regularly.

Vision break: Rest your eye muscles by looking up and staring for a moment at objects in the distance or simply looking around the room. The key is to give your eyes a regular break from screen time.

exerciseOverall health: Eat healthy and get regular exercise to keep your body as resilient as possible, and try to avoid smoking, as this reduces blood flow and oxygen in the body.

Posture: Try to keep yourself from slouching. Ensure your desk, chair and computer screen are aligned as much as you can in an ergonomic setting.

Wrists: Avoid bending or overextending your wrists, and keep the arms, wrists and fingers aligned when typing as much as possible.

Typing: Try to touch type as much as possible and avoid hitting your keys too hard.

Keyboard Shortcuts: Try to use keyboard shortcuts whenever possible, as this can reduce the amount of typing needed.

Mouse or Track-pad: Do not grip too tight or press too hard, and try to slow your speed in order to reduce muscle tension in your hand and wrist.

Temperature: Keep an eye on the temperature of your work area and regulate where necessary.

Phone Use: If you need to use a phone while working, try wearing a headset as this will keep you from needed to grip the phone for long periods or needing to clamp the phone between your head and shoulder.

You can trust Tim Louis & Company to ensure the best possible outcome for your personal injury case

These common RSI injuries can have a lasting impact on one’s health and quality of life. If you or a loved one has experienced a serious injury while on the job, contact Tim Louis and his compassionate and experienced legal team today by calling 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com.

Sources:
https://www.enjuris.com/workplace-injury/repetitive-strain-injuries-work.html

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17424-repetitive-stress-injury

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/overuse-injury/art-20045875

Top 5 Mechanical Failures that Cause Car Accidents

car accidents

Mechanical Failures that Cause Car Accidents

With car accidents a regular daily occurrence, it is not always clear what the underlying cause is until a thorough investigation has been concluded. With a number of accidents attributed to excessive speed, driving under the influence, driver error or weather conditions – it can be easy to forget that some accidents are caused simply due to the neglect of routine maintenance — leading to vehicle complications or even mechanical failure if left unchecked.

Keeping your vehicle maintained can go a long way in avoiding accidents caused by mechanical failures. Here are a few of the most common mechanical failures and what to look out for to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape:

Prevent Car Accidents – Check Your Brakes

brake padsBrakes are an essential safety feature we use as drivers on the road. However, brakes can also be one of the most ignored when it comes to routine checks – often being left completely worn before a proper inspection or needed replacement. If your brakes are not properly maintained, you could find yourself braking harder on the road,
throwing off drivers behind you, or prevent you from stopping – injuring other drivers, pedestrians or yourself and your passengers.

Here are some early signs of brake wear to look out for:

  • Excessive vibration when applying pressure to your brakes
  • Reduced responsiveness while braking (spongy or soft brake pedal)
  • Noticeable pulling when applying pressure to your brakes
  • Frequent or infrequent squealing or screeching noises while braking
  • Loud metallic grinding noises coming from your brakes

Tires – maintain them to prevent car accidents

Your vehicle’s tires keep you moving – gripping the road through poor road conditions, ensuring that you arrive at your destination safe and sound. This is why it is crucial to conduct routine checks on your tires daily and before taking any extended trips – ensuring your tires are in the best shape possible.

Early signs that you may need to have your tires rotated or replaced can include:

  • Bulges, gouges, or cracks in the tire or tire sidewall
  • Significant and/or uneven tread wear
  • Tires losing pressure or deflating faster than normal
  • Excessive vibration while driving

brake light

Headlights/Taillights/Brake Lights

The lights on your vehicle allow you to see – and be seen. This makes them one of the most important safety features for your vehicle in terms of accident prevention while driving. However, lights do fail — which is why you should be conducting a routine inspection of all lighting systems on your vehicle before driving.

Signs that you may need to have your headlights or taillights inspected or replaced can include:

  • Significant dimming over time
  • Flickering or random fading
  • One or multiple bulbs going dark
  • Significant time passing (better safe than sorry)

Malfunctioning Windshield Wipers can Cause Car Accidents

windshield wipersWindshield wipers can make a big difference in overall driver safety and visibility — removing dirt, rain, and snow – while running for hours at a time to keep your view of the road clear at all times.

Unfortunately, windshield wipers do wear over time – often warping, cracking or even tearing from long-term use in heavy weather — this can cause them to lose their flexibility and even fail altogether. You should always keep an eye on your wipers and check them daily to ensure they are functioning properly.

Signs that you may need to have your windshield wipers replaced can include:

  • Streaking
  • Unusual noise or squealing
  • Skidding or Irregular movement
  • Ragged or distorted blades

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer

Drivers and passengers who are injured in accidents that are the result of mechanical failure may wish to contact a personal injury lawyer. Contact our compassionate and experienced legal team at Tim Louis Law & Associates. We will help build your claim for the compensation you deserve.
To book your free consultation, call 604-732-7678, or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com. We’re here to help.

Spring Road Safety in Metro Vancouver

Spring has officially arrived and it’s time to consider road safety. With longer days ahead, it’s time to give that car a wash, remove your vehicle’s winter tires and enjoy the milder spring weather.

We’re not entirely out of the woods quite yet though – considering British Columbia’s temperate rainforest climate, heavy rain can always creep up on us in the spring. Keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape for unforeseen weather is essential along with practicing safe driving habits.

Road Safety: Prepare Your Vehicle

With snow, ice and slush on the roads this past winter, you may have put extensive wear on your brake pads, wheels and or clutch. Take your vehicle in to your local trusted mechanic for a spring tune-up, where your vehicle’s essential fluids will be topped up, wheels changed/rotated, and any other replacements you may need for safe driving:

  • Brake pads, fluids topped up and/or rotors replaced
  • Tire rotation, change and or inflation
  • Anti-freeze fluid replaced with coolant
  • Battery check
  • Oil filter change
  • Clean windows and replace wiper blades
  • Check all lights including headlights, taillights and brake lights, turn signal blinkers and parking lights.

Be Patient While Driving

road safetyDrivers must follow the posted speed limits on BC roads. However, with the warmer weather, drivers may become less cautious. Remember, just because the roads are clear of rain and ice does not mean roads are without potential hazards. Plan your route to prevent speeding, drop your speed when necessary and be aware of other drivers around you. Leaving a safe distance around your vehicle is the best way to keep safe while driving and ensure you plan your route ahead of time to prevent the urge to speed to your destination.

Watch Out for Pedestrians

With warmer weather, come more pedestrians, cyclists, and animals on the road. Remember what you learned in driving school: follow posted speed limits on highways, residential streets and in school zones. Always scan the intersection before passing through and stop at crosswalks — giving pedestrians the right of way. Blind spots are a significant hazard – cyclists and pedestrians may be out of view through your mirrors, so always make sure you shoulder check.

Road Safety and Cyclists

Share the Road – Road Safety Tips

As BC weather continues to improve, more cyclists will be commuting to work or for recreation. Keep in mind that cyclists in BC share the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.

  • Keep a safe distance. Stay at least 1 meter away from a cyclist when passing and maintain at least 3 seconds behind a cyclist on the road.
  • Don’t get distracted. Make eye contact with cyclists if you can and always keep a lookout – especially in densely populated areas
  • Dooring can be deadly. According to ICBC, 1 in 14 vehicle collisions involving cyclists are the result of dooring. Always shoulder check — keeping an eye out for oncoming cyclists before opening vehicle doors.
  • Yield to Cyclists Always signal in advance if you need to pull over or cross a bike lane, and of course, always yield to cyclists.
  • Look Ahead You should always make a habit of shoulder checking for cyclists before turning right and keep an eye out for oncoming cyclists when turning left. Scan for cyclists before you enter a street from an alley or out of a spot where it’s difficult to see clearly. Stay cautious.

Watch Out for Wild Life – Road Safety

road safety and wildlifeSpring is the time of year when wild animals begin foraging for food and may need to cross a busy roadway. Keep an eye out for any animal crossing signs, scan highways and roads for wildlife and reduce your speed if necessary. It’s important to note that animals are active all day and if you are about to hit an animal while behind the wheel, try to strike wildlife on an angle to prevent the animal from passing through your windshield.

Hurt In An Accident? Tim Louis Law Can Help

Tim Louis and his compassionate and talented legal team can give you the solid, trusted advice you need and can deal with ICBC on your behalf. If you or your loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Metro Vancouver and would like to consult with our legal team who will do everything they possibly can to get you the personal injury settlement you deserve, contact us today for a free consultation at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com

source:
https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Pages/2016May25.aspx

What Does Cannabis Legalization Mean for Drivers?

Cannabis Legalization

Now that recreational cannabis has been legalized federally, there are new laws under the Criminal Code in place related to drug-impaired driving. It’s important to note that the BC government has put strict provincial sanctions in place to address drug-impaired driving to keep these drivers off the road.

Cannabis Legalization

Cannabis Legalization – New Laws & Legal Limits

There are now three new Criminal Code offences that establish the legal blood drug concentration limits (BDC) for THC. This means if you have two (2) nanograms or more of THC in your system while operating a motor vehicle, you are committing an offence.

Additionally, the more THC you have in your system, and the more times you are caught breaking the law, the punishment escalates (especially if mixed with alcohol).

Cannabis Legalization - Cannabis and Motor VehiclesCannabis and Motor Vehicles

  • Cannabis being transported in a vehicle must be kept in a sealed package or in a location inaccessible to motor vehicle occupants
  • No cannabis use in any form is allowed while occupying a vehicle
  • For those drivers in a graduated licensing program, (L or N) there is a zero tolerance restriction for the presence of cannabis while operating a motor vehicle. Violating this restriction will result in a suspension of driving privileges.
  • Social hosts may be legally liable for guests who use cannabis in their home and subsequently injure others or themselves (such as a motor vehicle accident.)
  • If an officer suspects drug impairment, the driver may be subject to a drug recognition evaluation by a specialized Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).

The dangers of driving impaired do not change because “it’s just cannabis.” Driving and Cannabis Legalization

The possibility of serious personal injury or even fatalities caused by driving impaired are well documented in British Columbia – and despite the believed “lesser” impairment from cannabis use, the potential dangers are the same.

According to Stats Canada:

  • 1.4 million of Canadians reported having been a passenger in a motor vehicle driven by someone who consumed cannabis within the previous two hours.
  • 1-in-7 cannabis users reported having driven within 2 hours of using cannabis

If you plan to consume cannabis, be sure that you have taken responsible steps to prevent possible accidents or injury:

  • taxiKnow how cannabis affects you and know your limits
  • If consuming cannabis makes you too tired or distracted, don’t use it.
  • Don’t drive or operate a vehicle when impaired.
  • Plan ahead and ask a friend to be your designated driver if you need it.
  • Always have a local taxi number logged in your phone.
  • Familiarize yourself with public transit routes and schedule times.

Let Our Experience Work for You

If you have found yourself the victim of an impaired driving accident, whether you or a family member has been seriously injured or suffered a tragic death, you have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible party and receive monetary compensation. Contact our trusted team at Tim Louis & Company Law today to learn more about the options available to you at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com.

source:
https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/tickets/Pages/drug-impaired-driving-new-laws.aspx
https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-24.5/
https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180809/dq180809a-eng.htm

Common Workplace Injuries

Prevent Workplace Injuries

When we think about workplace injuries, what often comes to mind are high-risk occupations in construction, manufacturing, or those dealing with hazardous materials – but the fact is, workplace injuries happen across all industries, in all occupations – and most of them are entirely preventable with proper care and preparation.

workplace injuries

Workplace Injuries

Although the types of injury commonly sustained at work are as numerous as the number of jobs that can be listed – some of the more common and preventable injuries are:

Strains/Sprains

These types of injuries also referred to as “repetitive strain injuries (RSI)” or “musculoskeletal disorders” are very common workplace injuries due to the number of occupations dealing with repetitive tasks throughout the day.

Some of the more frequent causes of these injuries can include:

  • Repetitive or vigorous movement over long periods of time
  • Lack of movement/holding your posture or limbs in an unnatural position for long periods
  • Overusing a particular group of muscles
  • Poor posture or a non-ergonomically designed workspace

Back Injuries

back pain

Injuries related to the back are common among numerous occupations and can have an affect — both personally and professionally, long after the initial injury itself. Some of the more common factors resulting in back-related injury can include:

  • Repetitive lifting or moving of heavy objects, reaching or bending
  • Sustained whole-body vibration or jarring from the use of machinery
  • Poor posture, improper or inadequate back support seating in the workplace
  • Prolonged periods of inactivity

Head Injuries

A head injury can be serious and can lead to contusions, hematomas (bleeding in the brain), and concussions. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon in the workplace –, especially in manufacturing and construction industries. ‘Closed’ head injuries do not pierce the skull and “open” head injuries happen when an object has pierced through the skull, causing possible brain injury. Generally, recovery time may be longer than other common workplace injuries, although most people fully recover from minor to moderate head injuries.

Some of the more frequent causes:

  • Being hit by falling or flying objects
  • Slipping or tripping and falling
  • Falling from above such as tumbling down stairs or falling off a ladder
  • Walking into objects such as a wall, cabinet or glass window

Herniated/Bulging Discs

Both herniated and bulging discs can affect a person’s nerves, tendons, muscles, and joints. These are common injuries and can result from repetitive motion trauma and or soft tissue disorders resulting from a workplace injury. If you injure your back or neck, a spinal disc can move out of place and can bulge outward from between the vertebrae — putting pressure on spinal nerves. Sciatica (nerve pain radiating down one leg) is a
common symptom of a herniating disc injury, as well as numbing, tingling pain in the legs and weakness in the back and legs.

Some of the more frequent causes of these injuries can include:

  • Heavy lifting and overexertion
  • Hard blows to the lower back
  • Ongoing, repetitive motion
  • Sitting for extended periods of time in an awkward position
  • Slip, trip or fall

PREVENTION:

workplace safety

With a little care and consideration, most of the workplace injuries we’ve listed can be prevented with proper understanding and preparation. Some of the methods for preventing these common injuries are:

  • Proper lifting techniques
  • Make exercise a part of your daily routine
  • Listen to your body
  • Pay attention to posture and form
  • Proper protective gear such as helmets to protect the head from injury
  • Safety training, preparation, and education on behalf of the employer

These common workplace injuries can have a lasting impact on one’s health and quality of life. If you or a loved one has experienced a serious injury while on the job, contact Tim Louis and his compassionate and experienced legal team today: 604-732-7678

Earning Tips and Fired From Your Job? The Law Is On Your Side

no-money-law

If you have recently been fired or terminated from your job and your boss had no valid reason for doing so, that could fall under a wrongful dismissal, where you probably already know that your employer must pay you damages. This payment is in lieu of your employer giving you reasonable notice in cases of firing without just cause. As a general rule of thumb, the amount is equivalent to the salary or wages you would have received with termination with reasonable notice — anywhere between four weeks at the low end and six weeks at the high end for each year of employment.

Employers Are Liable For Tips and Gratuities

Where this can get complicated is if you were earning tips or gratuities in addition to your salary or wage while working somewhere like a bar or restaurant. If you’re like most people in such a line of work, you probably don’t declare all or most of your tips on your income tax return. The question is, in such a situation, is your employee liable to you not only for your base wages, but also for the tips you would have earned during the notice period? And, if your employer is liable for these tips, who calculates that amount — your employer or you?

The B.C. Supreme Court considered these questions, and the judgment is great news for people who earn part of their income from tips.

Sarah Chapple, a restaurant manager, took her employer, Umberto Management Inc., to court. In January 2007, she was dismissed after having worked for the defendant for more than 13 years.

The Umberto Management Inc. Case

The trial judge ruled that Umberto Management should have given Ms. Chapple 15 months’ notice, and therefore she was entitled to 15 months’ pay. As well, the trial judge went on to award her more than $70,000 for the tips she would have earned during the notice period, despite the fact she did not claim all of her gratuities on her income tax, nor did she or the defendant keep records of her tips.

restaurant-bar-law

The defendant appealed the trial judge’s decision. Firstly, Umberto Management alleged that they did have good reason to terminate her in the first place. Therefore, no notice was required. In the alternative, they argued that not only was 15 months’ notice excessive but the award of over $70,000 for tips was excessive, too.

The B.C. Court of Appeal rejected the defendant’s appeal on all grounds.

What does all this mean? If you have been recently terminated without cause by your employer and you earned tips or gratuities, the law is now firmly on your side.

ICBC and social media surveillance

insurance surveillanceIn today’s world of Twitter, Facebook and other social media, more and more cases are being influenced at trial by client postings that give ICBC an unfair advantage. Being aware of this risk, I caution my clients to be extra careful when they post to any social media.

I thought I would share with you some great tips I came across the other day from James Publishing. The real value in these tips is that they give you very specific instructions. This will help you avoid giving ICBC gifts they don’t deserve.

Here are the tips:

  1. Keep an eye out for video operators, sitting in a vehicle or elsewhere, taking videos or photographs with a hand-held video camera or cell phone.
  2. Avoid engaging in any activities that the defense could distort or twist in order to claim that you are misrepresenting your medical situation.
  3. If you, or your family, use any social media sites, including Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Caring Bridge, etc., you should immediately reset your profiles to the highest possible privacy settings. We can help in this regard if necessary.
  4. Do not accept any friend requests from anyone you do not personally know.
  5. Do not post anything about your case, your injuries, your personal thoughts, photographs or conversations with your attorneys on any social media site, or blog. The best practice, from this point forward, is not to post any information on social media websites.
  6. Ethical rules concerning your lawsuit prohibit you and your attorney from removing, deleting, concealing or withholding any information you may have already posted.
  7. If your close friends and family members post pictures or information about you, please make them aware of these guidelines and ask them to follow them.
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