Imagine walking into a supermarket, and as you head to your office, you slip, fall, and sustain an injury. Did you fall due to your carelessness, or was there another cause? Was the floor slippery? Who is liable for any damages you incur?
When you slip and fall and sustain an injury, there’s a possibility that the accident that caused your injury was not your fault. When you’re on another person’s property or public space, a third party, such as the property owner or the city, has a legal duty to protect you from hazardous conditions. Accidents can occur when they neglect this duty, resulting in serious injuries. But how do you prove that your injuries occurred due to another party’s negligence?
In this article, we offer advice on how you can prove liability and show that the slip and fall accident that caused your injuries occurred because of another party’s negligence. Note that to get the compensation you deserve in a slip and fall claim, you must prove liability. If you’re looking for a lawyer to help you prove your case or assess it for viability, our personal injury claims team can help. Call (416) 665-2000 or visit us online 24/7 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Before we look into how one can prove liability, let’s first explore slip and fall accidents, including the causes and types of injuries one can incur.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
No matter how much we take care of ourselves, sometimes we can’t stop accidents from happening as we’re not in control of others’ actions. This is how most slip-and-fall accidents occur; due to others’ actions or lack of action.
As you can imagine, there are many hazards that can cause slip, trip and fall accidents. Let’s take a look at some of them.
- Slippery floors: most modern floors are sleek and polished, which gives our homes and workplaces an excellent look. Problems occur when fluids and foods spill on them and are not cleaned up immediately or labelled appropriately, e.g., with a “slippery floor” warning sign. The floors can turn from shiny and beautiful to slippery traps capable of causing serious slip-and-fall accidents and instant injuries to employees, visitors or potential clients.
- Workplace hazards: as per Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act, every employer has a duty to keep and maintain a safe working environment. This means taking all the necessary precautions to safeguard your employees from accidents and injuries. Also, employers are required to inform employees about any hazards on site and train them to perform their tasks and handle materials properly. If an employer fails to provide and maintain a safe working environment, hazardous conditions such as exposed cables, tools, and wet floors could cause employees to slip, trip and fall, sustaining injuries. Note that approximately 60,000 workers get injured yearly due to slip-and-fall accidents. About 17,000 of these accidents occur in Toronto.
- Icy sidewalks and parking lots: slipping on ice is common in Toronto, and we should walk carefully to avoid slip-and-fall accidents. However, according to the Occupiers Liability Act, every property owner or occupier has a duty to ensure that the people on their premises are reasonably safe. This includes removing ice and other hazards on pathways and parking lots. The municipality is also expected to provide safe walkways and pathways for its people by clearing ice and snow on roads and pathways.
- Poor lighting. Poor lighting on and around properties can cause serious slip, trip and fall accidents. When walking in a poorly lit shop, warehouse or other premises, it’s easy to trip over obstacles or miss a stair and fall badly. According to the Occupiers Liability Act, a property owner or occupier has a duty of care to people entering the premises.
Common Injuries in A Trip & Fall Accident
Slip, trip and fall accidents don’t sound all that serious, right? Well, when you slip and fall, you can be lucky enough to escape with only a bruised ego or a small abrasion. However, this is not always the case. Slip and fall accidents are ranked among Canada’s leading causes of injuries, accounting for about 1/3 of all injuries.
Depending on how you fall, what you land on, your age, and other factors, a slip-and-fall accident can cause severe injuries, including:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Dislocated shoulder
- Torn ligaments
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal code injures
- Soft tissue injuries
If you’re injured in a slip-and-fall accident because of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Our Toronto injury lawyers can help determine if you have a viable case and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Call us at (416) 665-2000 to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation.
How Do You Prove Liability in A Slip and Fall Injury Claim?
Now that we’ve explored slip and fall accidents, how can you prove that someone else, such as a business owner or the city, is legally responsible for the accident and resulting injury?
In Canada, there are three elements to proving that a property owner, manager or occupier is legally liable for damages resulting from a slip and fall accident.
Duty of care
Under Canadian Law, a property owner or manager has a legal obligation (duty of acre) to keep their premises safe and maintain this safe environment. They have a duty to inspect the premises for unsafe conditions and fix any issues properly or place a warning sign to inform others to avoid the area.
One must prove that the defendant or party at fault owed them a duty of care.
Breach of Duty of Care
Breaching a duty of care means that the property owner or occupier was negligent and did not ensure a safe environment for people that entered their premises. Negligence can be shown in one of two ways:
- The property owner or manager failed to identify and fix a dangerous condition in time. In this case, the court asks, “would a reasonable person in the same situation identify the dangerous condition and remedy it in time?”
- The property owner, occupier or manager caused the dangerous conditions that led to your accident and injury. For example, waxing the floor and making it slippery.
Breach of Duty Caused Your Injury
This means that the property owner’s breach of duty led to your accident and subsequent injury. For example, when a business owner fails to provide proper lighting in their store and you trip on exposed cables, they may be held liable for resulting damages.
At Bergel Magence Personal Injury Lawyers, our team of legal professionals can help you prove liability in a slip and fall accident claim. Get in touch today for a free assessment of your case.
Gathering Evidence to Prove Slip and Fall Injury Claim
Proving your slip and fall injury claim requires ample evidence. This helps to prove that the property owner’s carelessness or negligence led to your accident and resulting injury. Therefore, it’s important to start collecting evidence as early as possible.
Some of the evidence your lawyer can use to support an accident claim includes:
- Photographs of the accident scene and the surrounding area. These include photos of the dangerous conditions that caused your slip, trip and fall accident.
- Security footage. If the property has a surveillance system, request a copy of the security footage showing your slip, trip and fall accident.
- Eyewitness statements. Any information from persons who witnessed the accident will boost your compensation claim.
- Photos of your injury. Photos or videos of your injury can help prove how much you were hurt following the accident.
- Medical records and medical bills. Medical records document your injuries, and medical bills show the expenses incurred in medical care and treatment. Always save the records and bills as they strongly support your injury claim.
At Bergel Magence, our slip-and-fall accident lawyers can help you gather all the evidence required to support your case as you focus on recovery. Call our lawyers today for trusted and compassionate legal advice and representation.
Identifying Responsible Party
In most cases, the property owner or occupier is usually liable for your slip and fall accident. If the owner fails to rectify hazardous conditions and you get hurt, they are liable for damages. If a business owner fails to correct their employee’s mistakes and you suffer an injury after a slip and fall accident, the business owner can be held liable for the accident and resulting damages.
In some cases, a third party can be liable for the accident and resulting injury, i.e., third-party liability. For example, if you slip and fall while working on a property that doesn’t belong to your employer, the property owner (third party) may be responsible for your accident and damages.
Building A Strong Slip and Fall Case
Are you looking to file a slip and fall injury claim? If so, it’s important to consider working with an experienced lawyer in Toronto. Here’s why:
An experienced slip-and-fall accident lawyer can help you build a strong case and prove liability, ensuring that the insurance company offers a favourable settlement or that the award offered in court is substantial enough to cover your damages.
A personal injury lawyer will protect your rights and prevent insurance adjusters from taking advantage of you. As an injury victim, you can refuse a low payout and file a compensation claim to fight for what you deserve.
A personal injury attorney takes up the legal fight so that you can focus on your medical treatment and recovery journey. By doing so, they give the case complete individualized attention and fight for your compensation.
At Bergel Magence Personal Injury Lawyers, we have more than 50 years of experience building strong cases for injury victims in the GTA. We can do the same for you. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.