Do You Have A Claim For Your Slip & Fall Injury?
Whether it’s an icy patch in the mall parking lot, or a slip in the grocery store on a fallen grape or spilled liquid detergent, falls can have serious consequences, resulting in serious injuries and even death. Seniors and young children are the most vulnerable, but falls can significantly affect someone at any age. With an aging demographic in Ontario, these kinds of falls can result in serious hip injuries, broken bones and a loss of mobility and costs the health care system significant money. According to a new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) unintentional falls are the most common type of injury. In 2016-2017 over 650,000 hospital visits were due to an accidental fall and resulted in over 150,000 admissions. The average length of a hospital stay due to a fall is over fourteen days, nearly double the average time for other medical reasons. Almost 8,800 of these falls across Canada are related to slipping on ice.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a fall caused because of someone else’s negligence, you may have a claim for losses suffered as a result. The falls described earlier – due to spilled liquids in a grocery store, or on an icy patch in a mall parking lot are examples of situations where someone else may be responsible for your injuries.
Typically, companies who invite members of the public to frequent their establishment have an obligation to take reasonable steps to maintain a safe environment free from hazards. This usually means that there should be a maintenance program in place, whether it be to keep the parking lot free of ice in the winter or keeping shopping aisles inside the store free from trip and slip hazards, like fallen fruit or spilled detergent. If the maintenance program is not properly followed or inadequate for the circumstances, then they may be liable to compensate you for your injuries.
In a typical personal injury claim arising from a slip and fall, your lawyer will investigate the maintenance policies of the store to see whether adequate policies to maintain a safe environment are being maintained and followed by all staff. This would also apply to government municipalities responsible for maintaining sidewalks and even homeowners who have failed to keep their home environment safe resulting in a fall by a guest causing injury. In each of these cases, there is usually a policy of insurance in place to respond to liability claims made by third parties such as guests, patrons or members of the public.
Does this mean you can walk around without due regard to your own safety? It does not, as usually all of the facts surrounding the fall become relevant in such a claim. The persons responsible for the property will raise contributory negligence issues such as the type of footwear you were wearing when the fall happened; where you were looking as you were walking along, and whether you were distracted. This does not necessarily mean that you don’t have a claim, but rather, these facts are more often considerations made to determine whether your damages should be reduced. Unlike injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident, you do not have to prove your injuries are permanent or serious to be entitled to compensation.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries arising from a fall and have lost time from work or are unable to carry on your usual daily activities and responsibilities, it’s important to consider talking to a lawyer about the fall to see whether you have a claim for the impact the fall has had on you and your family.
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