How to Deal With the Property Owner After a Trip and Fall Accident
Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act grants you the right to pursue financial recovery in the event of a trip and fall accident on another’s private or commercial property. You should exercise due caution when dealing with the property owner involved in your accident, should you move forward with a tort claim.
This party will be the defendant in your case and will be watching out for his or her own financial interests. Below are tips to help you safely communicate with the property owner – and/or the insurance company – involved in your case.
Tip 1: Be Prompt
You should inform the property owner of the accident and trip and fall hazard in a timely fashion. This way, you can initiate your claim within the statute of limitations. The time limit to file generally is two years.
A prompt notification also provides the property owner with the opportunity to correct the public hazard and prevent further injury. Just ensure you’ve photographed the accident scene and hazard before the owner removes visual evidence of his or her negligence.
Tip 2: Be Courteous
Remain calm and polite in all communications with the defendant and his or her insurance company, no matter how upset you are about the situation. This is true even if the property owner says inflammatory things or blames you for your own injury. Anything you say to a defendant or insurance representative can come back to haunt your claim. For example, the defense may try to cast you in a negative light if you engage in any verbal confrontations with the property owner.
Tip 3: Limit Communications
Do not engage in extraneous conversations with the property owner or his or her insurance company. Instead, funnel all communications through your personal injury lawyer.
Tip 4: Do Not Disclose Medical Records
The insurance company representing the defendant may request your medical records or history. Do not disclose this information without talking to your lawyer. If released, the defense can use information about pre-existing conditions or previous injuries to undermine your claim.
Tip 5: Do Not Agree to Sign Anything
Do not sign any releases or settlement agreements without first reviewing them with your lawyer. Doing so could jeopardize your ability to make a full and fair financial recovery.
Tip 6: Do Not Agree to a Recorded Statement
It is not unusual for a defendant’s insurance company to request a recorded phone interview. Decline such requests, as a recorded statement can later be used against you in your case.
Tip 7: Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
A lawyer can offer personalized information on how best to deal with the property owner involved in your case. Our firm handles trip and fall and similar personal injury claims in Ontario. We are familiar with the tactics defense lawyers and insurance companies most commonly use. Schedule a free case consultation by calling our offices at 1-800-JUSTICE® or fill out our online case evaluation form.