Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident in Ontario - Boland Romaine LLP

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Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident in Ontario

Understanding Ontario law

Individuals injured as a result of a slip and fall may have a claim for compensation against the owner or occupier of the property. Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act, R.S.O. 1990, c O.2, every person or entity that owns or occupies property – whether it be a house with a driveway, a grocery store, or a plot of land – owes two basic duties:

  • 1) to take reasonable steps to keep people reasonably safe; and
  • 2) to not act with intent to harm or reckless disregard.

You must prove that the owner or occupier of the premises where you fell breached one of these two duties in order to establish liability or fault against them in a lawsuit. 

 

The steps you take immediately after and shortly after your slip and fall may generate vital evidence in establishing liability. 

Before leaving the scene

Documenting the scene of the slip and fall accident is one of the best means of gathering evidence of the case. Such evidence plays a crucial role in proving your case and securing the compensation you need. 

Here are some of the key things you can do before leaving the scene to help a personal injury lawyer assess and build your case: 

  1. Photograph the scene of the fall: evidence as to the condition of the scene of a slip and fall accident is incredibly important, as Ontario law requires an injured party to show that scene presented a hazard that caused the fall and the individual’s injuries. Conditions of the scene may change quickly: winter weather conditions change between hours and days; property owners may make repairs to the surrounding areas after your fall and thereby remove evidence of the hazard In both situations, the injured party may lose their ability to demonstrate the exact conditions that contributed to their fall. By taking photographs at the scene, you can document the conditions that caused your slip and fall, such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, or inadequate lighting. Take as many photographs as you can from a variety of distances and angles to help capture the entirety of the surroundings. We often see photographs of hazards that are too close to the exact spot so as to fail to provide the viewer with the full surrounding. On the other hand, only taking photographs far from the spot may not clearly show the hazard. When in doubt, take as many photographs as you can. 

 

  1. Gather the identity of witnesses: before you leave the scene, you should get the name and contact information of anyone at the scene that either saw your fall or was present at the time and can speak to the conditions of the surrounding area. These witnesses may assist your case later on. 

 

  1. Report the incident to the owner/occupier: you should notify the property owner or the occupier that you fell. Many commercial owners and occupiers are required by their insurance companies to make incident reports of all falls on their premises. If you do not report the incident to a commercial owner and occupier, it will unlikely take any steps to record the incident or preserve key evidence from the date of the fall, such as maintenance logs or CCTV camera footage. 

 

  1. Identify any CCTV sources on the property: observe your surroundings and note any CCTV cameras pointed towards the location of the fall. Although CCTV cameras are not always easy to notice, you should ask the property owner when you report the fall whether it has any CCTV cameras at the area of your fall, and, if so, tell them you would like to see it. The property owner may not agree to show the CCTV footage to you, however, at the very least, you will have notified them to preserve the footage. CCTV footage often becomes crucial evidence in slip and fall cases. 

 

After leaving the scene 

You should seek immediate medical attention after your slip and fall in order to have a trained medical professional assess your conditions, render diagnoses, and make treatment recommendations to help you on your road to recovery. 

Failure to seek medical attention, or follow treatment recommendations, may be used against you in a lawsuit. 

You may also wish to return to the scene of the accident to measure deficiencies. For example, if you tripped on a raised sidewalk panel or on a ledge or step, you should return to the site of the fall as soon as possible with a ruler and take measurements of the height discrepancy. To record the measurements, we suggest you take a photograph of the rule pressed against the height discrepancy that shows the measurements.  

Notice Provisions: snow/ice and municipal sidewalks

Depending on the circumstances of the cause of your fall, your potential claim may be subject to laws that require you notify potential defendants within a certain number of days of your fall. The consequences for failing to put on notice certain entities may result in your lawsuit being dismissed.

Reporting the fall to the property owner at the time of the fall will not be considered sufficient notice for the purposes of satisfying legal notice provisions. You should read the information below carefully as many of these notice requirements are not well-known or communicated to the public. 

 

Claims involving snow or ice: if you slipped and fell on any property due to snow or ice, section 6.1 of the Occupiers Liability Act requires you to notify the occupier or winter maintenance contractor of the property where you will with written notice of the fall within 60 days of the date of your fall. Notice must be handed to the occupier or winter maintenance contractor personally or mailed to them by regular mail. The notice must include the date of the fall, the approximate time of the fall, a description of the location on the property where the fall occurred. 

 

Claims involving municipal sidewalks: if you slipped or tripped on a municipal sidewalk, either due to snow and ice or because of a raised sidewalk panel, section 44 of the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c. 25 requires you to notify the municipality with jurisdiction over the sidewalk within 10 days of the date of your fall. Notice must include the date of the fall, the time of the fall, and a description of where the fall occurred. Section 44(10) requires that the notice must be sent by registered mail to the clerk of the municipality. 

 

Claims on government or crown land: much like claims against municipalities, section 7(3) of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P. 27 requires those injured in slip and fall accidents on land owned or managed by the government or Crown to personally serve the Crown Law Office (Civil Law) of the Ministry of the Attorney General with notice of the fall within 10 days. The Proceedings Against the Crown Act specifies that the notice must contain “sufficient particulars to identify the occasion out of which the claim arose.” 

 

In some but not all cases, failing to provide notice may not be fatal to starting a lawsuit. The Occupiers Liability Act and Municipal Act provide exceptions where an injured person can provide a “reasonable excuse” for failing to deliver the notice within the prescribed time. 

 

What is and what is not a reasonable excuse depends on the facts. You should never assume your reason for not having delivered a notice within the appropriate time will be considered a reasonable excuse. 

Consulting with a Slip and Fall Lawyer Newmarket

After a slip and fall accident, it is highly recommended to consult with a personal injury lawyer that has a successful trial record of representing the injured in slip and fall cases. 

Boland Romaine’s slip and fall accident lawyers have successfully recovered compensation before judges and juries in these types of cases. Here is how we can help: 

  • Legal expertise: Our slip and fall lawyers are experienced in personal injury law and routinely navigate the relevant statutes, regulations, and case precedents. We can assess the strength of your case and provide you measured and effective legal advice. 

 

  • Investigation: our lawyers regularly conduct thorough investigations into slip and fall accidents, including gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and retaining trial-experienced expert witnesses. 

 

  • Negotiation: the strength with which we build slip and fall cases, and our extensive trial experience, often allows us to negotiate fulsome and fair settlements for our clients that we believe reflects the maximum value of their case. 

 

  • Trial experience: our proven effectiveness at trial before judges and juries means we will not shy away from the courtroom or recommend reduced settlements to you out of concern with our abilities. Our experience informs us as to how to build your case and confidently predict an outcome with the judge or jury. 

By consulting with Boland Romaine’s Personal Injury Lawyers, you can benefit from our legal expertise and increase your chances of a successful outcome in your slip and fall claim.

 

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a fall, contact our Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers today at 1-844-837-6583

We understand the pain you are going through and will strive to obtain compensation for your injuries under the common law or the Occupiers’ Liability Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.2. We will be there every step of the way to ensure that you understand your legal rights and role in the process, and will advocate vigorously on your behalf. Our experience allows us to ensure you or a loved one receive fair compensation which reflects the lifelong impact an orthopedic injury may have. Please contact us to find out how we can help you.

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