The winter weather has (unfortunately) arrived early this year! With the accumulation of snow and ice on the ground, this can increase your chances of being involved in a slip and fall accident. If you become injured from slipping and falling on snow or ice, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of competitive advantage, housekeeping, and/or health care expenses. These claims may be made from the party who is responsible for the accident.
There are steps that you need to take immediately after being involved in a slip and fall accident. Your main priority should be to seek medical attention that is required. If possible, you should try to take photographs of the condition that caused you to fall, such as ice or snow. This will be valuable in the event that you need to commence a future claim for compensation. In addition, collecting names and contact information of any witnesses that saw you fall will be helpful. It is also important to remember the exact location of the fall, and take notes of any details. Lastly, keep the footwear you were wearing on the date of the fall.
The law states that an occupier of the premises owes a duty to take such care that is reasonable to ensure that persons entering on the premises are reasonably safe. If they fail to do this and are negligent, they can become liable for injuries that occur on their property.
Sometimes the injured party may be found “contributorily negligent”, meaning that they contributed to the accident in some way. For example, contributory negligence could be found if you are not wearing proper footwear for the weather conditions, or are looking down on your cell phone and not looking where you are walking. If it is found that you were doing something that made you more likely to be involved in the accident, the damage award could be reduced. The reduction in the award is usually determined by a percentage that reflects your contribution to the accident.
Ontario law states that any slip and fall claim must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. However, it is extremely important to emphasize that in some cases, you will only have ten days to notify the party who is at fault that you intend to file a lawsuit. If the area in which your fall took place is under the jurisdiction of a municipality, then you will only have ten days to notify the municipality of the accident. If the notice is not provided to the municipality within ten days of the accident, you then must convince a judge there was a reasonable excuse and that the municipality is not prejudiced.
It is important to consult a lawyer as soon as possible after a slip and fall accident to ensure your rights are protected. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, call Reybroek Law today for a free consultation.