Vancouver Immigration And Cross-Border Injury Law Blog

Cross-border personal injury claim can follow visual distraction

Some British Columbia drivers do not realize that using a mobile phone causes visual distraction that could end in a serious or even deadly car accident. Authorities compare visual distractions with driving while blindfolded or with closed eyes. Anyone who is injured while travelling south of the border will likely have to deal with the complications of cross-border personal injury claims if they decide to seek damage recovery.

A visual distraction renders a driver visually impaired for the few seconds that it takes to glance at the cellphone quickly. Safety authorities say that those few seconds of visual distraction while driving at 88 kph can be compared to driving a distance the length of a football field with closed eyes. When the driver decides to text while driving, the average period of distraction is almost 5 seconds, which increases the risk of crashing by 23 times.

Cross-border personal injury: Truck awareness can save lives

When British Columbia residents travel across the border, they will likely share the road with big rigs. Road Safety BC says that the sheer size and weight differences between cars and commercial trucks put car occupants at four times higher risk of suffering fatal injuries in the event of a collision with a big rig. When this involves cross-border personal injury, recovering damages could be a complicated process.

According to a safety program to improve truck awareness, safety authorities used footage captured on the dashcams of commercial trucks. Shockingly, the recordings showed that drivers of cars were at fault in a significant percentage of truck vs. car accidents. It is believed that many passenger car drivers do not understand the significant differences in the ways trucks respond and perform.

Causes of accidents that lead to cross-border personal injury

When British Columbia residents take shopping or other trips south of the border, they will always be at risk of being involved in car accidents. Many cross-border personal injury claims result from crashes caused by one of five top accident causes. The most common reason is distracted driving. While it is true that an accident can happen even if the driver is alert, without distractions there is more time to react in a way that might prevent serious injuries.

Impatience often make drivers shooting gaps. This involves unsafe passing, merging into traffic, making unsafe left turns and darting into gaps when changing lanes. All these require other drivers to react quickly to avoid collisions. Speed is also to blame for many car accidents, not only when drivers exceed the speed limit, but also when they do not adjust their driving speed to prevailing weather conditions

Cross-border personal injury to the head and face can be costly

For British Columbia residents who become auto accident victims while on a trip south of the border, recovering damages could be a daunting prospect. If the cross-border personal injury includes head, face or brain trauma, the consequences could be life-altering. Such injuries are particularly prevalent in high-speed crashes, but even crashes at slower speeds could cause serious injuries.

Striking the head against the dashboard, steering wheel or windshield could cause penetration injuries or fractures to the skull. Still, even just the violent whiplash movement of the head and neck can cause traumatic brain injuries. Brain trauma can leave a victim in a coma, followed by long-term cognitive problems. Whiplash can cause bruising, swelling and even bleeding of the brain from smashing into the inner walls of the skull, without any external damage to the head.

US immigration: Heed health warnings before crossing the border

British Columbia residents who plan trips across the border are advised to learn all about potential health hazards they might encounter at their destination. The Public Health Agency of Canada monitors the situations of any outbreaks of viruses closely. The agency issues travel health notices if there is any possibility of Canadian travellers being infected in the United States.

The health agency provides frequent updates, which also include information on precautions travellers should take for protection against infection. It is also a good idea for Canadian visitors to the U.S. to follow updates provided by the health agency as additional information becomes available. Whenever health threats involve airborne viruses or diseases that are passed from person to person, people are warned to avoid any conditions where crowds of people are present.

Cross-border personal injury can be caused by distracted drivers

March is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in British Columbia. Although many drivers think they have heard it all before, safety authorities say drivers need frequent reminding of their increased vulnerability if they give in to distractions. For Vancouver residents who head south of the border, it might be a good idea to look out for drivers who show signs of being distracted. Navigating cross-border personal injury claims can be complicated.

RoadSafetyBC says the prevention of distracted driving starts at learning the rules of the road. One often disregarded rule is the law that prohibits using a cellphone while stopped at a red light or in held-up in traffic. Although hands-free cellphone use is allowed, setting up Bluetooth and attaching the device must be done before the trip starts. However, all mobile phone use, even in hands-free mode, is prohibited for learner or novice drivers.

Even light snow can lead to cross-border personal injury claims

Although the worst of the winter weather is over, light snow may continue to pose driving risks for a few more weeks. British Columbia drivers who think that snow-related risks are over until next winter might be surprised to learn that weather officials disagree. While winter hazards continue, those drivers who take trips south of the border should be especially cautious to avoid accidents, which can lead to complicated cross-border personal injury claims.

Studies had shown that more than half of crash fatalities in snow-related accidents from 2015 through 2017 occurred at times when snow was so light that no weather advisory warnings were in place. One drivers' education analyst says light snow poses significant dangers because it melts quickly but forms ice layers on the roadway as it refreezes. Drivers may encounter ice-covered sections of the roadway without even knowing that there was light snow that had already melted.

US immigration expands GMC requirements for naturalization

Anyone in British Columbia who wants to become a naturalized U.S. citizen will need to be aware of recent changes to the application requirements. U.S. immigration laws have always required applicants to demonstrate moral character. Up until recently, the list of criminal convictions that automatically disqualified an individual was somewhat limited. Applicants were also required not to have been accused of certain criminal charges for the five years preceding the application. 

Unacceptable behaviours that will make the applicant ineligible include illegal gambling, drunk driving, prostitution, dishonesty in seeking immigration benefits and a criminal record showing aggravated felonies. According to a recent news release issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the new list of unlawful acts is significantly more extensive than the previous list. Furthermore, the new GMC requirements will include clear examples of actions deemed unlawful.

US immigration: What is expedited removal?

Anyone in British Columbia might have reason to feel apprehensive about going south of the border. Trips to Seattle, which were previously routine, have become nerve-wracking episodes. Although media reports indicate that U.S. immigration is targeting people with ties to Middle Eastern countries, extreme measures have been taken against others without such connections.

Expedited removal is a legal provision that allows U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers to deny certain aliens entry into the United States, or physically remove them. When CBP officers suspect that a person's claims are fraudulent or entry documents are invalid, they have the authority to issue an ER, without going through the normal removal proceedings that involve hearings before an immigration judge.

How does US immigration deal with pardoned Canadians?

Residents of British Columbia who have made use of the opportunity to get pardons for prior criminal convictions might not realize how that could affect their trips across the border. A man from another province recently reported how a pardon led to the U.S. immigration officials barring him from entering the United States. British Columbia citizens could have similar unanticipated problems.

The man explained that he had a couple of mischief convictions that followed overindulgence of alcohol when he was much younger. He says both cases were conditionally discharged, and the record had little or no effect on his adult life. However, his wife, who is a teacher, convinced him to apply for a pardon. He did as she asked and admitted that receiving pardons for both charges relieved him of the ever-present burden.

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