Picture this: it’s a cold winter day and you’re walking along an icy path on your way to the bus stop, mail box, grocery store or to pick up your child from school. All of a sudden – boom! – you find yourself on the pavement with a feeling intense pain and confusion as to what just happened.
What is a Slip and Fall?
Slip and falls are fairly common occurrences. Whether they are due to a snowy or icy walkway, slippery surfaces or debris, people unexpectedly fall for many reasons.
If it can be determined that the fall was due to the negligence of another, you may be eligible to sue for compensation for any injuries you sustained as a result of your accident. Typically, one would sue the owner, property manager or maintenance workers of the property where they fell—whether it is inside a store, hospital, school or even a parking lot.
What You Need to Prove
If you are planning to sue for your injuries, you must prove that: 1) you suffered an injury due to a slip and fall on particular premises; 2) the owner, property manager or maintenance workers of the premises were negligent with their actions or failure to act. You would also have to show that your injuries were specifically caused by their negligence.
The legislation that governs slip and falls in Ontario is the Occupiers’ Liability Act, which at section 3(1), states the following:
An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.
Accordingly, if you fell and were injured as a result of a lack of maintenance by a property owner or his/her agents or employees, you may sue them for failing to satisfy their duty of care. However, the law provides exceptions in those cases where the injured person was engaging in criminal activity, trespassing, or even a recreational activity. As the Act explains: “The duty of care provided for in subsection 3(1) does not apply in respect of risks willingly assumed by the person who enters on the premises…”
Of course, Ontario’s Negligence Act can also play a part in your lawsuit too. And the Court may find that fault should be divided between you and the owner, depending on the circumstances and your actions.
The general rule of thumb is that a lawsuit for a slip and fall injury – like any other personal injury claim – must be started within two years of the date of the accident. But, keep in mind, if you suffered an injury on a property that is owned by a municipality, you must notify the municipality of your intention to sue within 10 days of the accident. Otherwise, you may be prevented from pursuing the lawsuit.
Though your lawsuit may seem straightforward, that is seldom the case when it comes to slip and falls. Having a trusted and skilled lawyer on your side can help navigate the various challenges.
If you’ve been injured while on another person’s property, reach out to Eman Khoshbin at HSH – 416-361-7583, firstname.lastname@example.org .