Although it may not appear so to the unsuspecting eye, hazards that could lead to slip and fall accidents exist all around us. Slip and fall accidents are common occurrences. In many situations, the accident victim may be able to walk away from an accident with little more than a bruise or a scrape. However, depending on the circumstances of the accident, hazards that have been left unaddressed can cause unsuspecting people to sustain serious injuries.
Anyone who has experienced winter in the province can most likely understand how snow and ice are among the hazards that most frequently cause slip and fall accidents. When snow is allowed to accumulate on public sidewalks, outside residential buildings, in parking lots, or around the exterior of commercial properties, people trying to maneuver from Point A to Point B can easily lose their footing and fall to the ground. Similarly, if property owners or occupiers fail to salt or remove slick patches of ice on their premises and do not adequately warn passersby about the hazardous conditions, serious accidents can occur. Accidents caused by improperly cleared ice and snow could lead to injuries requiring hospitalization, and even long-term rehabilitation.
Regardless of the season, though, the negligence of a property owner or occupier may create opportunities for accidents to occur on their premises. When the people responsible for ensuring the safety of their guests, customers, residents, and staff allow hazardous conditions to linger on their property without adequately warning people about them or taking steps to address them, they may be liable for accidents that take place as a result.
Oftentimes, hazards of this nature include a variety of maintenance issues. When a property owner, manager, or occupant fails to properly identify, remove, or adequately warn people about hazardous maintenance issues on their property, people can get seriously hurt. Some common maintenance-related hazards that often lead to injury-causing slip and fall accidents include:
- Spilled liquids
- Recently mopped floors
- Uneven surfaces
- Loose tiles or carpeting
- Cluttered walkways
- Poor lighting
- Broken or missing handrails
- Improperly maintained sidewalks
- And more
If you have been injured in an accident on another party’s property, an Ontario slip and fall accident lawyer may be able to help you recover financial compensation.
Slip and Fall Accidents Can Have Serious Consequences
The physical repercussions of a slip and fall accident can be serious. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, including the age of the accident victim, their physical health, the height of their fall, and the velocity of impact, the consequences of a slip and fall could be disastrous. For example, if an inadequately addressed maintenance issue like a faulty railing leads an unsuspecting senior citizen to fall down a flight of stairs, the injured accident victim could require lengthy periods of hospitalization. They may, in fact, sustain permanent disabilities, and could even lose their lives as a result.
Senior citizens are at the greatest risk of being severely injured in a slip and fall accident. Across Canada, falls are the most common reason seniors are admitted to the hospital. In fact, 81% of Canadian seniors’ injuries requiring hospitalization were the result of a fall. Even minor accidents that might not cause a younger person any harm whatsoever could seriously impact a senior’s quality of life. Often, injuries sustained by seniors in slip and fall accidents have long-term or permanent repercussions.
For seniors who break or fracture a hip in a slip and fall accident, life may never be the same. Fall accidents are the cause of 95% of Canadian seniors’ hip fractures, and as a result of their injuries, accident victims may endure prolonged pain and loss of mobility. Total hip replacement surgery may be required for seniors to recover from their injuries. However, even after receiving hip surgery, many senior victims of slip and fall accidents permanently lose their ability to walk independently.
In addition, seniors could suffer fatalities due to complications following hip replacement surgery. According to reports from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 30% of seniors who receive a hip replacement die within one year following their surgery.
Regardless of the accident victim’s age, slip and fall accidents caused by poorly maintained hazards on someone else’s property can lead to other severe injuries. Other injuries slip and fall accident victims commonly sustain include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Soft tissue damage
- And more
If injuries caused by slip and fall hazards cause permanent physical injury or require lengthy rehabilitation processes, accident victims may not be able to return to their jobs. That means that, in addition to the physical consequences of a slip and fall hazard, injured accident victims could face frightening financial repercussions as well.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
It can be difficult to know what steps to take following a slip and fall accident. Your first thought may not be about potential litigation. In fact, it is common for accident victims to automatically blame themselves for their fall and assume they alone were at fault. However, if your accident was caused by a hazard on someone else’s property, it is possible that the negligence of its owner/occupier was the ultimate cause of injuries you sustained.
If your slip and fall accident was caused by ice or snow, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. In accordance with new provincial legislation, anyone injured by snow or ice who decides to pursue legal action against the at-fault parties must provide them with a written notice of claim within 60 days of the accident. Accident victims have a two-year period in which to act, but if they have not informed the responsible property owner/occupier of their intention to do so during this narrow window of opportunity, they may find themselves with no options for recovering the financial compensation they are owed from the negligent parties.
At the scene of any slip and fall accident, regardless of the season, a few simple actions may benefit future legal action you may wish to pursue in the future. If you are able to do so, after your accident, consider doing the following:
- Take photos of the accident scene.
- Collect contact information from any eyewitnesses to the accident.
- Record notes about the time and weather conditions while they are fresh in your mind.
- Submit an incident report to the property’s management staff.
- Seek medical attention, even if you do not feel as though you have sustained serious injuries.
- Take photos of your injuries and maintain written notes about your level of pain.
- Keep accurate records of any medical assessments, appointments, and treatments.
- Track any lost income as a result of your injuries, including medical expenses and missed work.
Accurate and thorough documentation of the physical and financial ramifications of your slip and fall accident during the days or weeks following your injury may arm you with crucial evidence needed to prove another party’s negligence. If your claim is refuted by the negligent parties, your records could help accurately illustrate the total cost of damages you have incurred.
Determining Negligence in Ontario Slip and Fall Accidents
The province of Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act defines an “occupier” as someone who:
- Is in physical possession of premises, or:
- Has responsibility over the condition of the premises or its activities, or controls who is allowed to enter the premises
In accordance with this legislation, a building’s landlord, property manager, tenant, or other individual who oversees or controls the premises must exercise a reasonable duty of care to the people who interact with the space, both indoors and outside. Because occupiers owe this statutory duty, they are legally obligated to maintain, remove, repair, or adequately warn people about potential hazards on their premises. A failure to identify and address possible slip and fall hazards on their property could make them liable for accidents that occur as a result.
With the assistance of a premises liability lawyer, Ontarians who have been injured in a slip and fall on someone else’s property may be able to file a tort claim against the negligent property’s occupier to recover damages they incurred as a result of their injuries. For a claim to be successful, a lawyer must be able to prove that the occupier’s negligence was a cause of their client’s accident. To do so, a lawyer may compile and present various forms of evidence, including:
- Video surveillance footage of the accident
- Photos of hazards at the accident site
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Police reports, or other incident reports
- And possibly more
By obtaining and presenting these types of evidence, a lawyer may be able to prove that their injured client had a legal right to be on the property; that a hazard existed on the property that its owner should have known about; that this hazard caused their client to slip and fall; and that their injuries were a direct result of that accident on the premises.
If an Ontario lawyer is able to prove these facts through a presentation of evidence, their client may be eligible to receive financial compensation. A successful claim will allow for the recovery of various types of damages, including:
- Pain and Suffering
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers if You Have Been Hurt in a Slip and Fall Accident
If you were injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for damages you incurred. To discuss the circumstances of your slip and fall accident and learn if you’re eligible to pursue damages, contact us today.
For a free, initial consultation, call Preszler Injury Lawyers today at 1-800-JUSTICE.