Although they are often nothing more than minor mishaps, slip and fall accidents may have permanent and life-altering consequences. If you have suffered injuries due to a slip and fall, you may be eligible for compensation. In this article, I explore the law surrounding slip and fall accidents in Ontario and discuss what you should do if you have sustained injuries in such an accident.
1. Liability for Slip and Falls in Ontario
In accordance with Section 3(1) of the Occupier’s Liability Act, where a person or entity possesses a property, assumes responsibility for its state, or exercises control over access to it, they have a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of those individuals who access and use the property. Where this duty is breached, and an individual is injured as a result, a property holder will be liable to the injured party.
2. What Compensation May I Receive Following a Slip and Fall?
The scope of available damages for injuries caused by slip and falls varies from case to case, and is dependent upon the severity of the accident. However, a successful plaintiff will generally be eligible to receive compensation for both their “special” and “general” damages.
Special damages are those losses which are economically quantifiable. Examples of special damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.
General damages are awarded to compensate injured parties for losses which cannot be quantified, such as their physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life.
3. Limitation Periods
Time is of the essence when seeking compensation for a slip and fall injury. Section 4 of the Limitations Act, , requires that, in most cases, an injured party must bring their claim for damages within two years of the date of the slip and fall. Failure to initiate a proceeding in this time frame may result in an injured party’s claim being barred by law.
4. Situations Where Notice of Action may be Required
In certain circumstances, a party injured in a slip and fall is required by statute to provide notice of their injury to a prospective defendant within a prescribed time period. Failure to provide notice in such circumstances may prevent one from commencing legal action.
Injuries Sustained on Municipal Sidewalks or Roadways
Section 44(10) of the Municipal Act requires that, when an individual is injured on a municipal sidewalk or roadway and seeks compensation for their losses, they must serve the municipality’s clerk with written notice of the incident within 10 days of its occurrence. Although there are exceptions, failing to provide notice under Section 44(10) will result in the injured party’s claim being statute-barred.
Slip and Falls Caused by Snow or Ice
Furthermore, Section 6.1(1) of the Occupier’s Liability Act stipulates that where an individual is injured in a slip and fall on another’s property due to snow or ice, and wishes to bring an action for their injuries, they must provide the prospective defendant(s) with a written notice of their claim that sets out the date, time, and location of their injury within 60 days of their injury.
5. What Should I do If I am Injured in a Slip and Fall?
If you’re injured in a slip and fall, here are a few key steps to take.
A. Seek Medical Attention
Even if your injuries seem minor at first, it’s essential to have a professional evaluation to rule out any hidden or delayed complications. Prompt medical treatment not only ensures your health but also creates an official record of your injuries.
B. Document the Scene and Create a Written Record
If you are able, you may wish to take photos of the scene of the fall shortly after the accident has occurred. You may also want to document any factors in the environment that may have contributed to the accident, such as poor lighting, lack of signage, or the absence of handrails.
C. Contact a Lawyer
If you believe the slip and fall was due to negligence on the part of the property owner or another party, it’s advisable to contact a personal injury lawyer. They can help you understand your legal rights, guide you through the process, and assess the viability of a potential lawsuit.
Navigating the legal complexities of a slip and fall case in Ontario can be overwhelming. Should you be injured in a slip and fall, it is important to retain legal professionals to help you navigate the legal system, and to act as a strong advocate for your cause. Our firm has extensive experience with slip and fall cases. If you have been injured, please feel free to get in touch with us to receive a free consultation with one of our lawyers.