“Slip/trip and fall” incidents happen all too often. But, once you’re able to pull yourself up and brush yourself off, if your injuries don’t dissipate quickly, you should know that you may have recourse. If you can prove that the entity responsible for the condition of the premises was negligent, you may have a right to sue for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and income loss, among other things - due to that negligence.
There are a number of factors that must be evaluated before your bring a claim.
Where the Fall Occurred
If the fall occurred on City property, you have seven days to report the incident. If this is not done, your right to sue may be barred.
Taking photos of the area and collecting the names and contact information of witnesses may assist down the road.
When making a Claim, you need to prove that the property owner fell below the ‘reasonableness’ standard – they are not held to a standard of perfection. You must show that they did not take reasonable measures (inspection, maintenance, warnings, etc) to ensure that the property was safe.
Every situation is different and must be considered on its own merits. A lawyer can discuss with you how the standard may change depending on who owns the property and whether the property owner was responsible for the state of the premises or whether they had contracted that role out to another party.
If you can prove negligence, you can then turn to what it is you can claim.
Pain and Suffering
Referred to as “general damages”, your slip/trip and fall can lead to non-pecuniary compensation. This is a reflection of your loss of enjoyment of life – a consideration of how various aspects of your life have been affected by the injuries sustained.
Family Law Act Claims
Under the Family Law Act in Ontario, the immediate family members of the injured person may be able to claim for loss of care, guidance and companionship that they received from the injured person before – but lost – because of the slip/trip and fall and resulting injuries. If your family member cared for you and lost income as a result, they may be able to recover their economic loss as well.
You will want to advance a claim for medical expenses not covered by OHIP that you are otherwise out of pocket for – including things like the ambulance fee, physiotherapy and other forms of treatment, medical equipment and assistive devices needed for recovery. It is important to keep receipts, and always ensure that a physician or treatment provider recommends the treatment/device before you spend!
In slip/trip and fall accidents in Ontario, you are required to put OHIP on notice that you intend to start a claim. OHIP will often decide to bring a claim along with yours for the expenses they incurred as a result of treating your injuries.
If you missed work short, or long term – or if you are unable to return to work in the same capacity (role, hours) as you worked prior to the slip/trip and fall due to your injuries, you may wish to pursue an economic loss claim. If you are able to return because you have a benevolent employer who accommodates your limitations, you may still be at a competitive disadvantage if you were required to look for a new job. When it comes time to discuss settlement of your claims, it is also important to consider what the future looks like – will you be able to work for as many years as you had planned prior to the slip/trip and fall with your limitations?
Everyone is expected to be careful when walking. They are expected to wear weather-appropriate footwear, watch where they are going, heed warning signs, not be distracted by their phone or earbuds!, etc. Anything you do to avoid a possible incident – or conversely adopt unnecessary risk! – will be taken into account when assessing the value of a claim.
When an incident happens, it is important to seek medical attention right away, and on a regular basis. Not only will the treatment provider assist in directing helpful treatment, it will also create a chronology of symptoms and care that may be important to look back on years later.
With over 30 years of experience at Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP, we have a proven track record of advocating on behalf of slip/trip and fall victims and other personal injury victims. For more information or to have a free consultation, please contact Meghan Hull Jacquin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-361-7561.