John Wakelin has dealt with trip and slip and fall injury cases for over 25 years. If you trip on a surface that is not even or slip on a surface that is slippery you may have a claim.
In the Canadian winter all occupiers of property, including homeowners, municipalities, renters, residential and commercial landlords, mall owners and manager, and the people they employ to maintain the premises, amongst others, are all obligated to meet reasonable standards of care in keeping the places where pedestrians travel free of hazards. They have access to weather data and know when it is expected to snow and when they need to put down salt and/or sand in anticipation of dangerous weather conditions. And they have an obligation to inspect and clear hazardous conditions in a reasonable time frame once they occur.
And all occupiers are responsible for keeping surfaces flush and clear of tripping hazards, and/or to post warnings of any hazards.
If you suffer an injury from a trip or slip and fall on someone's property you may be able claim compensation. The value of your case could depend on various factors.
These claims typically arise from people slipping on ice, or tripping on uneven pavement. But we have dealt with compensation claims for everything from tripping on a raised unmarked door sill to slipping on muddy pathway.
If you are injured on private or public property and feel that another party was negligent in causing your injury, you may be right.
Many of our clients need personal assistance and a variety of expert medical assessments that OHIP may not provide to correctly diagnose and treat their orthopaedic injuries. We provide support from start to finish of the case, ensuring that our clients have a team of medical and legal professionals who will ensure both their medical and economic recovery.
Not all uneven pavement is sufficient to sue over. There is case law defining how high the change in level can be before one can make a claim that it is negligent and hazardous. The more significant the change in level the more likely it would be found negligent. It is also relevant whether or not the hazard was marked or unmarked (for example with a coloured safety strip or a warning sign).
In slips and falls it is important to have evidence that the areas was not properly maintained. Evidence that the area had not been recently cleared or sanded and/or salted is very important. It is important to show that the occupier was negligent in not taking care of the property. Get proof that they did not salt for many hours. Remember to take your photos before you tell the occupier about the hazard or they may clean it up or salt the area or fix the uneven pavement before you obtain photos to prove your case.
If you fall down and are injured, call attention to yourself immediately and take the name and contact information of totally independent witnesses if possible. Once you leave the scene there may be no proof you were ever there and the responsible parties may deny it.
It is extremely important to obtain photographs of:
a) the hazard you tripped on; and
b) the condition of the surface (presence of snow or ice, absence of salt/sand)
c) lack or warning signs or markings (where relevant).
The best evidence are photos obtained immediately, at the time of the fall itself. But if evidence of the hazard still exists, then it would be important to obtain photos of it no matter how much time has passed.
The main defence to these types of claims is for the occupier to argue that the hazard did not exist. As soon as the responsible occupier finds out that someone has been injured they may quickly clean up, salt, repair or place warning signs at, the location in question.
You need to prove the hazard did exist on the date that you were injured. A picture is worth a thousand words.
You can sue even if no one saw you. Witnesses are very helpful. An independent witness who was a stranger is the best. Workers at a commercial location are often witnesses. A family member or friend witness is better than no witness. And even if no one saw you fall you can still make a claim. There may also be video evidence in public spaces which we may be able to obtain and access. Be sure to have your lawyer follow up and obtain any helpful CCTV evidence forthwith as it is often purged within hours or days.
You must prove that you had on appropriate footwear, which should be rubber sole with good tread for walking on slippery surfaces. If you had on the wrong footwear (flip flops, flat leather soles) then you may be found to have caused your own fall. You will need to provide us with photos of the appropriate footwear taken around the time of the fall or as soon thereafter as possible.
REMEMBER TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE HAZARD (AND LACK OF SALT/SAND/SAFETY) IMMEDIATELY, BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE SCENE
AS SOON AS YOU CAN (PREFERABLY THE SAME DAY BEFORE IT IS CLEANED UP OR REPAIRED, BUT AS SOON AS YOU CAN).
IF YOU ARE TOO INJURED TO ATTEND AND GATHER THE EVIDENCE PLEASE ARRANGE TO HAVE A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER DO SO, OR ONE OF OUR TEAM CAN SEND SOMEONE.