Slip and Fall Injuries - What to Do Next

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Slip and Fall Injuries - What to Do Next

Slip and Fall Injuries


With the advent of snow and ice, many of us will face challenges to get to where we’re going, whether it’s to work and back every day, a trip to the grocery store, or a special outing. Walking on icy sidewalks, navigating subway platform slick with melted snow, or climbing up slippery steps can be treacherous. Slip and fall injuries often result in serious injuries; if you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, your injuries may affect you very adversely, particularly if you are a senior. However, depending on the circumstances of your fall, you may be eligible for compensation.


Ontario Law


In Ontario, the Occupiers’ Liability Act requires anyone who owns, maintains, or manages a property to take all reasonable steps to keep the people who use the property safe. If the people charged with keeping the property clear of ice and snow or other hazards fail to live up to their responsibilities, you may be able to take legal action.


Slip-and-fall cases generally involve one of the following:

  • Icy conditions
  • Wet conditions
  • Failure to plough, salt, or sand a sidewalk or parking lot
  • Uneven flooring
  • Dangerous stairs
  • Poor lighting
  • Hidden hazards
  • Potholes
  • Newly waxed floors without signage
  • Improperly fastened carpets

In addition to ice and snow causing falls on the sidewalk, there are other locations where slip-and-fall accidents are common, including swimming pools, stores, stadiums or arenas, gyms, restaurants, escalators, and nursing homes


If you decide to pursue legal action after a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, it will be up to you to prove that the person responsible for the property was negligent in some way, and that some kind of hazard caused the fall. The owner, tenant, or entity responsible for maintenance of the property must be proven to have overlooked or created an unreasonable risk. For example, if you slip on a small amount of water because a worker is mopping the floor of a restaurant, you may not be able to take legal action, because the workers are expected to keep the floors clean on an ongoing basis. However, if you slip in a puddle of spilled olive oil that was left on the restaurant floor for a considerable amount of time, you may have a case.


You must show that you were not yourself responsible for the accident. You may be asked whether you were wearing footwear that is appropriate for the conditions, for example, whether you were drinking alcohol, or whether you were running or behaving in an unsafe manner.


What to Do After a Slip-and-Fall Accident


There are some things that can be helpful for your case if you injure yourself in a slip-and-fall accident. Of course, if you are seriously injured, you will need to seek immediate medical attention and won’t be able to do some of these actions. Ideally, you or a friend would:

  1. Seek medical care as soon as possible. Keep copies of all documentation regarding the care you receive.
  2. Gather and record as much evidence as you can at the scene. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses. Write down the name, address, and time where the accident occurred. If possible, take a photo of the hazard that caused your fall – ice or snow, pothole, rickety step, etc. A photo is often the most important evidence you have.
  3. Report the accident to the proper authority. This might be the property owner or manager. If the accident was caused by something dangerous or illegal, report it to the police.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the relevant law, and detail how your injury has affected you. Did you have to miss work? List the dates and times that you were unable to work. Did you lose wages? Calculate how much. Did you have to spend money on medical equipment, taxi rides, or other things that you would not otherwise have purchased? Calculate these expenses, and save all receipts.
  5. In Ontario, you have up to two years to file a claim for compensation after a slip-and-fall injury, but there are other deadlines that may not be as obvious. For example, you only have ten days to notify a municipality if you slip and fall on a sidewalk, and a proposed amendment (Bill 118) to the OLA may shorten other deadlines. If your injury has affected your life, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible and find out more about how you might receive the compensation you deserve.

Remember not to give a statement to any insurer without first consulting with a personal injury lawyer.


Finding a Lawyer


You may have a lawyer who looked after your will or some business interests, but for a slip-and-fall case, you will want to work with a personal injury lawyer. Lawyers who focus on this area of the law know how much a claim is worth, how to file the complex paperwork required for insurance companies, and how to negotiate effectively. Finding a good personal injury lawyer can be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make!