The occupier of a property has an obligation to ensure that persons entering on the premises are reasonably safe. On private property, the occupiers of the premises will generally be liable for damages resulting from their failure to ensure that the premises were reasonably maintained and safe in the circumstances.
Common causes of slip and fall accidents on private property include wet and slippery floors, holes or other defects, damaged and raised carpets, degrading or cracked asphalt driveways, unlevelled and poorly maintained interlock brick walkways and poorly maintained concrete sidewalks and steps.
In the case of a commercial property, like a grocery store or shopping mall, the occupiers of the premises are generally required to have in place a reasonable system of maintenance and inspection, in accordance with industry standards. If a commercial occupier fails to have a reasonable system in place and their failure to maintain the premises results in injury to a member of the public, they could be liable for damages.
It is anticipated that the law in Ontario in 2021 will change to protect the occupiers of private property against bodily injury claims, arising from the accumulation of ice and snow on their property, by requiring the injured party to place any occupier or winter maintenance contractor on written notice, within sixty days of the accident. Failure to do so will likely be fatal to the right to bring the claim.
If the slip and fall occurs on property owned by a municipality, the time limit to put the municipality on notice of a potential claim must be strictly complied with and the legal standard of negligence may be different from that which applies to other types of property. For example, if you are injured on a city sidewalk as a result of ice, you will have 10 days to provide proper written notice of the claim to the municipal authority. In any subsequent court action, you will have to prove the municipal authority breached the standard of gross negligence in carrying out their winter maintenance responsibilities, as it relates to the sidewalk.
In addition, the municipal authority will have several possible defences to the action, as set out in the Minimum Maintenance Standards, under the City of Toronto Act or the Municipal Act, depending on the location in Ontario of the accident. For example, if the municipality, by their required weather monitoring, determines there is a substantial probability of ice formation or icy sidewalks, the standard of patrolling the sidewalks is at intervals deemed necessary by the municipality itself. Strict compliance with the Minimum Maintenance standards can be a complete defence to the claim.
Brian A. Horowitz has extensive experience and a proven track record of resolving the claims of individuals who have suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident on private, commercial and municipal property. While he will make every effort to settle your claims, Brian has the experience and expertise to take your case to trial if necessary to ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled under the law. Contact us today for more information on how we can help with your slip and fall claim.