Slip-and-fall accidents can cause significant injuries and might even result in a loss of income.
Under the Occupiers Liability Act in Ontario, an individual is eligible to receive compensation if an injury occurred on private property as a result of the property owner’s negligence.
Oftentimes, it can be determined that people have slipped due to their own clumsiness or lack of precaution which can be very damaging to a case. The most important aspect of these cases is to establish the property owner’s liability. Make sure you have plenty of evidence to prove your fall was due to the property owner’s negligence and not your own.
Here are a few tips to increase the chances of success in your slip-and-fall case:
1. Prove that there was a hazard.
This is often easier said than done, but nevertheless is a critical component in winning your case. At the time of your accident, you should inspect the area that caused your slip or trip and take as many pictures as possible. We also recommend that clients mark an “x” exactly where they fell, as soon as possible. Knowing the precise location will likely help your case and help your lawyer identify what party is responsible for the area in question.
If you slipped on a patch of ice, for example, take pictures of that ice patch (marked with an “x”) with as much of the surrounding area as possible – this proves that the patch of ice was, in fact, where you say it was.
2. Find witnesses.
In many slip-and-fall cases, there is often little proof that an accident actually occurred the way the victim says it did. Therefore, if any people in the vicinity witnessed your accident, ask those people right away for their names and contact information. We have seen countless clients come in saying there were witnesses all around with no way of finding them to corroborate their stories. This can make all the difference in winning a slip-and-fall case.
3. Prove that you are faultless.
This can also seem like a difficult task, but it is possible. Two important aspects to focus on when you’re proving your own faultlessness are:
- The type of footwear you are wearing at the time of the accident. For example, if you’re wearing a pair of very high heels on an icy walkway, the municipality is going to have an argument that you were wearing improper footwear and are at least partly at fault for the accident. Most clients in these cases, however, are wearing appropriate footwear. To ensure that this does not become an issue, it is safest to take pictures of the shoes you are wearing at the time of the accident. If possible, put the shoes in storage and stop wearing them until your lawyer says it’s okay.
- Like with footwear, if you were wearing or carrying somethingthat made it difficult to walk, this may be another opportunity to establish your fault in the accident. As such, we always recommend that clients take detailed pictures of all of their clothing and whatever bags etc. that they were carrying.
4. Report the incident ASAP.
If you choose not to hire a lawyer right away, we recommend that all slip-and-fall victims report the incident to the municipality and/or owner of the property as soon as possible. There are strict 10-day notice requirements in certain cases against municipalities, and often clients wait more than 10 days before they contact a lawyer. Giving notice right away protects you in the event you decide to make a claim.
When contacting the city, be ready to provide the following details:
- Date and time of the accident
- Precise location of the accident
- Cause of the fall (a patch of ice, a pothole, limited visibility etc.)
5. Seek medical treatment.
Your health should be your top priority following a slip-and-fall accident. If you’ve been hurt, it’s important to see a doctor so that your injuries can be properly taken care of and documented. These medical records will be important pieces of evidence in your case.
6. Call a lawyer.
When considering legal action, the best person to have on your side is an experienced attorney. Since cases can become complex and difficult to prove, your best chance at succeeding will be through the resources and expertise of a lawyer.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, contact us right away and we can help you determine the merits of your case and claim the money you deserve.