City of Toronto Slip and Fall Accident: Who Is Liable?April 16, 2019
In the city of Toronto slip and fall accidents happen. Icy sidewalk areas a fact of life in Toronto; consequently, tens of thousands of people slip and fall on city sidewalk every day. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reports that more than 653,808 people report to emergency departments and 152,504 are hospitalized every year for unintentional falls.
If you slip and fall on a patch of icy pavement you can seriously injure your hip, head, back, or other parts of your body. Serious injuries cause more than 15,000 deaths annually in Canada and over 60,000 people are left with permanent physical or mental disabilities.
Slip and Fall Settlements in Ontario
We are often asked, can you sue if you fall on a sidewalk? According to the Municipal Act, when you slip and fall on city sidewalk in Canada, you can claim compensation from the at-fault party for:
- Medical treatment
- Pain and suffering up to $340,000
- Loss of earning capacity
- Compensation for your family for “loss of guidance, care and companionship.”
Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act
The Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act states there is a duty of care on property owners to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their property. This includes an obligation on their part if they are the business owner to maintain the sidewalks in front and around their business.
This includes, but is not limited to retail stores, shopping malls, schools, office buildings, and hospitals.
Claiming for Compensation
To successfully sue for damages, you need first of all to file your claim within two years of the date you were injured. You also need to prove the following four components of negligence:
- The property owner has a duty of care to keep you safe.
- The defendant violated their duty of care.
- The violation was a direct cause of your injuries.
- Your injuries caused you significant damages.
If you happened to slip and fall happened on a sidewalk maintained by the city and due to ice and snow conditions, you must report it in writing under the Municipal Act within 10 days of the accident. Not reporting your slip and fall in writing could cause you to lose the right to sue for compensation.
Slip and Fall Cases in Ontario: Guy v. Toronto
In Guy v. Toronto (City), the plaintiff was walking to her place of employment in 2008 when she slipped on a thick patch of ice lying beneath a carpet of freshly fallen snow. She was left with a Colles fracture to her left wrist and injuries to her head and buttocks. She required a cast on her left wrist, follow-up visits to the hospital fracture clinic and a course of physiotherapy. But that was not all it cost her to slip and fall on city sidewalk in Toronto.
Enrolled as a student at York University at the time of her injury, Ms. Guy was unable to complete her studies that year because of the wrist pain and headaches. In addition to her tuition for the semester and associated costs for textbooks, university fees and student cards, Ms. Guy had to pay for housekeeping help and care for her son in the immediate aftermath of her fall.
In her effort to recover the expenses incurred by her fall, Ms. Guy claimed that the City of Toronto had been negligent in maintaining the path where she experienced her slip and fall on city sidewalk. The City countered that since the road was designed for vehicle traffic and not for pedestrians, they had met their obligation in making the road safe for vehicles.
Plaintiff maintained that as the road serviced two schools, a public transport station, an old folks’ home as well as various commercial premises, they should have known that it was in frequent pedestrian use. The judge determined that the City had been grossly negligent in this case and awarded $33,948.39 in damages.
City of Toronto Slip and Fall Accident: Do You Need a Lawyer?
You can sue if you fall on a sidewalk, but your chances of a successful claim for compensation increase significantly when you work with an experienced professional injury lawyer. Insurance companies represent their clients and will fight a plaintiff aggressively to avoid paying compensation. It is harder for them to win a case when you are represented by a lawyer. A professional lawyer may also obtain a better settlement for you outside of court than you would receive if the case goes to trial.
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