Winter is here and so is the cold, snow, and icy conditions. The freezing temperatures and unpredictable weather mean sidewalks, roads, porches, and walkways are constantly coated in slippery ice, snow, and slush.
Slip and falls on ice are just the beginning. Without proper maintenance during winter conditions, including during constant freezing and thawing cycles can result in:
- Black ice
- Slippery sidewalks, steps and floors
Slip and fall injuries are extremely common in the winter, almost inevitable, so make sure you do everything you can to prevent them from occurring. Property owners including private homes, businesses, and governments have a duty to maintain their properties. If you slip and fall on property that hasn’t been cleaned or salted, you may be eligible to recover damages in order to compensate for any injuries and expenses you have incurred. These expenses include medical bills, disability, lost income, and in many cases you can also receive compensation for pain and suffering.
Types of Slip and Fall Injuries
A slips and fall injury may seem relatively commonplace and even benign, but in fact, they are capable of causing serious damage. Common injuries from slips and falls include:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Cuts and scrapes
- Concussions and head injuries
- Sprains and pulled muscles
A slip and fall can be a traumatic experience for anyone, but they are particularly dangerous for seniors and pregnant women.
Some falls result in obvious injuries like a broken hip, but other injuries are not as obvious. We call these ‘hidden’ injuries. For example, many people with concussions don’t realize they’ve sustained an injury until symptoms become predominant later. Similarly, a sore bruise can quickly turn into a chronic injury.
When it comes to slip and fall injuries it is better to be safe than sorry. Visit your family doctor and don’t leave out any symptoms or complaints, even if they seem mundane.
What Determines Liability?
The Occupiers Liability Act dictates that any person, business, or organization that has control of a property has a duty to maintain it. That means if ice, snow, cracks, or potholes are prevalent then the entity in control of the property has to take ‘reasonable’ steps to ensure that people do not slip and fall.
What counts as ‘reasonable’? Reasonable liability is determined by lawful interpretation, but generally, it is accepted to encompass the following:
- Whether or not the danger was foreseeable: A bunch of black ice in a narrow walkway with poor lighting is a recipe for disaster that could pose a risk to anyone.
- Adhering to established practices: Failing to lay down salt or grit goes against established best practices.
- How long the hazard has been there: Waiting until the morning to shovel your driveway is reasonable, but waiting a week or refusing to shovel at all is not reasonable.
- Is there a system in place to maintain the property: Snow and ice is a part of life in Canada, businesses and organizations need to have the proper protocol in place to deal with weather-related hazards.
What to Do If You Slip and Fall
After any potential injury, your first phone call should be to get medical assistance, but your second call should be to a lawyer. Only a personal injury lawyer can determine whether or not you have a substantial case to get you the compensation you deserve. At Zayouna Law, we specialize in personal injury law. If you’ve been injured by a slip or fall give our experts and professional team a call at 1-866-929-6862 or contact us for a free consultation!