Emergency rooms and doctor’s clinics are most often visited by people who have been injured in slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. These are one of the most common causes of injuries in almost every section of the population. However, the consequences can be very serious if the victim was elderly or in poor health or a pregnant woman.
CBC News Toronto reported in 2013 that slip and fall injuries are on the rise. Toronto’s harsh winters are the culprit in the huge number of people who have been injured after slipping and falling on icy, wet pavements, uncleared snow, hidden potholes and a host of other unforeseen hazards. Summer climate brings its own set of problems, with property owners failing to repair or replace damaged staircases, railings, fences etc. Another huge area of concern is debris and clutter lying in the path of unwary pedestrians. Indoors, liquid spills, freshly washed or waxed floors, unanchored rugs and mats are the cause of many slip and fall accidents.
Establishing Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents
Under Canada’s Occupier’s Liability Act, property owners are responsible to ensure that their premises are kept in a state of reasonable safety for all those who legitimately visit their premises. If there are areas that can be deemed unsafe, adequate warning signs and prior notice has to be given.
In fact, most such accidents are rarely “accidental.” They are caused by someone’s fault or negligence. In many instances, a thorough investigation into the incident can reveal the facts.
The owner or one of their agents themselves may have caused the dangerous situation, or they were fully aware that there was a danger present but they did nothing about it. Further, if the property was being well taken care of and maintained, a responsible owner should have known about the hazard. In such cases, they could have taken steps to immediately correct the situation.
The last instance is the most common one, as many property owners leave the job of maintenance to others or they fail to make regular inspections.
Problems in Getting Compensation
If you or a dear one has been injured in a slip and fall accident that has resulted in loss of income/wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, you are entitled to file a personal injury suit against the at-fault party. You may be entitled to compensation.
In some cases, the injured victim could be partly responsible for the accident. Here, the compensation settlement would take this into account and it would be suitably adjusted.
Slip and fall injury claims have to be filed within a strict statute of limitations framework. The time periods for filing a claim against private entities/citizens and against the government/municipal authorities are different. The procedures may also vary slightly. An experienced personal injury lawyer who deals regularly with such cases can best advise and assist you.
There are several complex medical, legal and insurance issues involved and it’s wise to ensure that your rights and interests are protected by an experienced legal professional.