person slipping and falling on a banana peel

Who is Liable in a Slip-and-Fall Accident?

Date Posted:

April 27, 2023

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    Slip-and-fall accidents are a common occurrence in Ontario. According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), slip and falls are one of the leading causes of lost-time claims, as victims often suffer serious injuries in these situations. In such cases, determining who is liable for the accident is crucial in pursuing a personal injury claim. 

    This blog will explain the legal concept of liability and the factors that determine liability in a slip-and-fall case. It will also cover damages and compensation that can be claimed, statutory requirements and deadlines, and the importance of seeking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer in slip-and-fall cases.

    The Legal Concept of Liability

    In the context of a slip-and-fall accident, liability refers to the legal responsibility of the property owner or occupier for injuries sustained by a victim on their property. To establish liability, the victim must prove that the property owner was negligent in maintaining their property, and this negligence led to the accident and their fall injuries.

    Under the Occupier’s Liability Act, this means that the property owner must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their property, including preventing or warning of hazards that could cause harm to others. 

    Factors that Determine Liability

    Several factors determine liability in a slip-and-fall accident, including the victim’s conduct, the hazard, the property owner’s knowledge, and their actions, or lack thereof, in preventing or warning of hazards.

    The Victim’s Conduct

    In some slip-and-fall cases, the victim’s conduct may contribute to the accident. For instance, if the victim was running, intoxicated, or distracted at the time of the accident, this could reduce the property owner’s fault in the matter. However, the property owner must prove that the victim’s conduct was the primary cause of the accident and not their own negligence.

    The Hazard and Property Owner’s Knowledge

    The significance of the hazard and the property owner’s knowledge of it are crucial in determining liability. If the hazard was trivial or insignificant, the property owner may not be liable for the injuries sustained by the victim. That being said, if the hazard was significant, such as poor lighting, broken stairs, or uneven pavement, the property owner may be liable if they were aware of the hazard and did not take reasonable steps to stop the accident from happening.

    Property Owner’s Actions, or Lack Thereof

    The property owner’s actions, or lack thereof, in preventing or warning of hazards can also determine liability. For instance, if a grocery store owner fails to put up a “Wet Floor” sign after mopping the floor and a customer slips and falls, they may be liable for the victim’s injuries.

    Responsibility of Landlords, Tenants, and Contractors

    Landlords, tenants, and contractors may also be liable for slip-and-fall accidents, depending on their level of control over the property. For instance, a landlord may be liable for a tenant’s slip-and-fall accident if they failed to maintain the common areas of the building. Similarly, a contractor may be liable for a slip-and-fall accident that occurred during construction if they failed to maintain a safe work environment.

    Damages and Compensation

    In a slip-and-fall case, victims may be entitled to recover damages of various types, such as medical expenses or lost income. The amount of compensation awarded to a victim depends on the severity of their injuries and the extent to which the property owner is liable.

    Factors that may affect the amount of compensation awarded include the victim’s age, occupation, and health prior to the accident. The victim’s ability to prove the extent and duration of injuries suffered can also impact the amount of compensation awarded.

    Seeking Legal Advice

    If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, seeking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer should be a top priority. As mentioned above, these types of accidents can result in serious injuries, leading to substantial medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

    A skilled slip-and-fall lawyer can guide victims through the complex legal process of filing a fall injury claim and help them obtain fair compensation for their losses. The lawyer can also gather evidence, including medical records and witness statements, to support the claim and negotiate with insurance companies to reach a settlement. In the event that a settlement cannot be reached, a slip-and-fall lawyer can represent the victim in court and fight for their rights.

    Statutory Requirements and Deadlines

    In Ontario, there are specific requirements and deadlines that must be followed when filing a personal injury claim. Failure to adhere to these regulations can result in the claim being dismissed, and the victim being unable to pursue compensation for their injuries. 

    For instance, a victim must provide written notice of the claim to the property owner within 10 days of the accident, and a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the accident.

    It is essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a slip-and-fall accident to ensure compliance with these requirements and deadlines. Legal representation can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the slip-and-fall claim and can help the victim obtain fair compensation for their injuries.

    Get the Help You Need After a Slip-and-Fall Accident From McNally Gervan

    Slip-and-fall accidents can cause significant harm to victims, and determining liability in these cases is essential to obtaining fair compensation. Property owners have a duty of care to those who enter their premises, and failure to fulfill this obligation may result in legal liability. Victims of slip-and-fall accidents should seek legal advice to ensure compliance with statutory requirements and deadlines and to receive guidance on pursuing their claim.

    At McNally Gervan, we understand the challenges slip-and-fall victims face, and we are here to help. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers will work tirelessly to protect your rights. When you work with us, you can trust that we will be there for you every step of the way, guiding you through the legal process and ensuring that your voice is heard. Don’t wait any longer to take action. 

    Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you with your slip-and-fall case.