We tend to feel silly or embarrassed when we trip or fall. But make no mistake—slip and fall accidents are not a joke and nothing to be ashamed of. They can cause very serious injuries, including concussions/brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and in the most serious cases, death.
You may be entitled to compensation for damages if you've been injured in a slip and fall caused by someone else’s negligence. Damages can include lost income, lost future earning potential, reimbursement for medical bills and other out of pocket expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering.
In today’s article, our personal injury lawyers will explain some common causes of slip and fall accidents and how to prevent them.
Common causes of slip and fall accidents
Under Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act, anyone who owns or occupies property is legally obligated to keep people reasonably safe from harm while on the property. That includes residential property, commercial property, and public property. If the owner or occupier fails to take reasonable steps to keep a person who comes onto the property reasonably safe, they can be liable for injuries caused to that person.
Slip and fall accidents—sometimes also called “trip and fall accidents”—can happen so quickly but produce devastating, long-lasting injuries. Here are examples of causes of slip and fall accidents our Oshawa personal injury law firm have come across:
Slipping and falling on icy or snow-covered sidewalks, stairs, pathways, entryways, driveways, or parking lots.
Slipping on dropped food or spilled liquids in a grocery store or restaurant.
Tripping on uneven floors or walkways of a home, condo, apartment building, or business.
Tripping on clutter or other hazards such as power cables or extension cords in the aisles of a store or business.
Tripping or falling on an unmarked step.
Tripping on a wrinkled or curled up mat or carpet.
Falling from stairs or a balcony due to poor maintenance, poor design, and/or lack of a railing or similar barricade.
Slipping or falling due to inadequate lighting (or no lighting).
Tripping on a cracked sidewalk or pothole in the road or a parking lot.
Slipping on an unmarked wet floor such as a just-mopped hallway.
Falling due to unmarked construction or inadequate warning signs.
How to prevent slip and fall accidents
There are steps you can take to prevent slip and fall accidents. The best way to prevent a slip and fall injury is to always be on the lookout for hazards. If you see water, ice, or snow, or notice poor lighting, for example, you should be extra cautious and consider avoiding the hazardous area altogether. Part of being on the lookout means avoiding distractions. Put away your cell phone so you can pay attention to your surroundings and avoid risks.
Another great way to prevent a slip and fall injury is to wear proper footwear. What is appropriate depends on the given conditions and the weather, but generally speaking, you should aim to wear shoes with good support and slip-resistant soles.
You may be wondering, why do I have to take steps to prevent slip and falls when it is the property owner or occupier who has a legal duty to keep the premises safe for me? There are good reasons for you to be alert and cautious. First, of course, it’s best to not be injured at all. Second, if you are injured and bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent property owner, your conduct will be scrutinized.
In Ontario, contributory negligence can be used as a defence in a personal injury case. In a slip and fall case, the defendant property owner will almost invariably argue that your actions contributed to your own injuries. For example, the defendant may say you contributed to your own injuries by failing to wear proper footwear, not using a handrail on stairs, ignoring warning signs, and/or walking while distracted by your phone.
If the defendant is able to prove that your own actions or negligence contributed to your injuries, the damages you receive will be reduced by your degree of fault. That means you are still entitled to receive compensation for your injuries, but you won’t get the full amount. Your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you (e.g. if you’re apportioned 15% of the fault for the slip and fall, you are still entitled to receive 85% of your damages).
Important note on tight deadlines to start a slip and fall claim
In December 2020, Ontario’s slip and fall regulations were updated. Before the update, anyone injured in a slip and fall accident had two years from the date of the incident to serve the property owner, manager, or landlord with written notice of the accident. Under the new regulations, for a slip and fall on private property, you must now serve the owner with written notice within 60 days of the incident. Additionally, if the incident took place on municipal property, you must provide the city with written notice within 10 days.
Reach Out To Our Oshawa And Lindsay Law Firm For Slip And Fall Help
It’s important to take prompt action when filing a slip and fall claim due to the tight time limit imposed by the statute of limitations and the new notice regulations. Our Oshawa slip and fall lawyers can expertly guide you through the complex legal process and make sure all deadlines are met and paperwork is completed on time. We’ll collect the information needed to build a strong case, push back on contributory negligence allegations, and pursue all the types of compensation you are entitled to.
Our team of personal injury lawyers has an outstanding record of bringing our client’s slip and fall claims to a successful conclusion in a timely, cost-efficient manner. We have achieved exceptional results both through out-of-court settlement and the court process.