Beware of spring slip and fall hazards
By Kirsten McMahon
With spring just around the corner, it’s not uncommon to see wild temperature swings, flash flooding and freezing leading to icy conditions on the roads and sidewalks. Pedestrians, who may not be adequately dressed for shifting weather, should be cautious and know what to do in the event of a slip and fall.
Last year, the Ontario government passed Bill 118 to amend the Occupiers’ Liability Act. Practically speaking, this legislation means that if you slip and fall on someone else’s property, you now have 60 days to serve the owner with written notice or lose your right to make a claim.
As one Ottawa personal injury lawyer tells CTV News, “For a slip and fall on private property that is due to ice and snow, you must serve the owner/occupier with written notice of the fall, the time, the date, and the precise location within 60 days of the incident by personal service or by registered mail.”
Before these changes, a personal injury victim had up to two years to file a claim if you hurt yourself because a store owner, for example, did not clear snow or ice outside their premises. That limitation period remains, but there is the additional step of serving notice within 60 days — unless the injury occurred on municipal property, which has a 10-day timeline.
If you slip and injure yourself on ice or snow, remember to do the following:
- Write down details of the incident, including the date, time and location.
- Snap a few pics on your phone of the condition of the location and any visible injuries.
- Document what shoes or boots you were wearing at the time of the accident.
- Find out who the owner/occupier is. Sometimes it’s obvious; other times, it may be more convoluted. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you with this step.
- While you should seek immediate medical attention for a broken bone, don’t forget to schedule a visit with your GP if you suspect a soft-tissue injury or concussion.
The 60-day deadline doesn’t give a slip and fall victim much time to take a wait and see approach to injuries or legal advice. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your options and next steps when in doubt.
When it comes to the Atlantic provinces, there is no notice requirement, and there is a general limitation period of two years. That said, you should still take the steps outlined above. In addition, speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that time limitations do not act as a barrier to your access to compensation.
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