Winter brings shorter days, longer nights,cold winter temperatures and the first snowfall of the year. While waking up to the first morning of snow-covered trees and sidewalks can be exciting, itâ€™s important to remember the dangers that come with snow and ice.
With cold and snowy weather, the chances of slip and fall accidents will increase. Whether you slip and fall on a slippery city sidewalk, or slip and injure yourself on a homeowner or business ownerâ€™s property, it is extremely important to know what your next steps should be in terms of seeking compensation for your injuries.
In Ontario, slip and fall injuries must be reported within two years of the accident. Once the injury is reported, you can work with a personal injury lawyer to discuss options for your case and how to proceed.
What the case will come down to is whether or not the homeowner, business owner or municipality was negligent when it came to the maintenance or duty of care that was required of them.
Negligence and Duty of Care
According to Ontarioâ€™s Occupiers Liability Acthomeowners, business owners and property managers have a duty of care when it comes to maintaining areas that are accessed by other people. This duty of care requires those in charge of the premises to ensure all people entering the property are reasonably safe. If you have slipped and injured yourself while on someone elseâ€™s property as a result of icy and/or poorly maintained walkways, you may be able to prove negligence on the part of the home or business owner.
Whether you are living in an apartment building or renting a house, the landlord and/or property managers are responsible for maintaining the property unless otherwise stated in previous agreements. If you have endured a slip and fall injury on the premises of a rental property because the landlord failed to keep up with regular maintenance, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.
Claims Against Cities and Municipalities
There are many lawsuits filed against cities and municipalities each winter because of inadequate snow and ice removal from walkways and sidewalks. While municipalities are responsible for clearing snow and ice to prevent injury and keep citizens safe, extreme weather conditions in Canada makes proving negligence a little tricky.
According to the Municipality Act, a municipality is only liable for personal injuries caused by snow or ice on a sidewalk if there is proof of gross negligence. Gross negligence would require the city or municipality to commit a blatant breach in the duty of care owed, rather than a simple mistake. In most cases where claims are filed against municipalities, the judge will examine the cityâ€™s snow removal policy, and take into consideration factors like the amount of traffic in the area and dangerous situations that may be created by the snow removal process itself.
Regardless of whether youâ€™ve been injured due to the negligence of a homeowner, business owner, property manager or municipality, you may be eligible to seek compensation. The best course of action is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to determine what legal strategies could lead to a successful case.
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