Slip-and-Fall accidents in winter

Region: Ontario Answer # 3401

In winter, pedestrians risk slip-and-fall accidents when walking in icy or snowy conditions. These incidents can lead to severe injuries, and navigating the legal landscape to seek compensation can be complicated as it involves determining liability, the premise’s maintenance responsibilities, and effective litigation strategies.

What is liability in slip-and-fall accidents?

The central part of a slip-and-fall case in icy conditions lies in establishing liability. In Ontario, property owners and occupiers have a legal duty to ensure their premises are safe for everyone. This duty extends to both public and private properties, including sidewalks, parking lots, and building entrances. During winter, property owners must take reasonable steps to clear ice and snow and mitigate the risk of slip-and-fall accidents where possible.

Determining liability in these cases often hinges on the concept of ‘reasonableness’. Was it reasonable for the property owner to have known about the icy condition? Did they act promptly to address the hazard? These are key questions that will guide the legal proceedings.

How should you document incidents and injuries?

Just like in car accidents, documentation is vital in slip-and-fall cases. If you have had a fall, taking photos of the site where you fell, showing the icy or snowy conditions, is important. If anyone was around at the time of the accident, gathering witness statements can also be beneficial. Additionally, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial, not just for your health, but to get help documenting your injuries in the context of the accident by a medical practitioner.

Understand the premises maintenance responsibilities

Whether you are a property owner, a pedestrian or both, understanding the responsibilities of property owners is essential. Specific bylaws and regulations dictate the timeframe within which snow and ice must be cleared from public walkways. For private properties, the standards may vary, but the underlying principle remains the same – the property must be maintained in a safe condition.

What is involved in a slip-and-fall lawsuit?

Successfully litigating a slip-and-fall case requires a well-structured strategy. This involves the following four steps:

  1. Establishing negligence: Prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to take appropriate action.
  2. Quantifying damages: Like car accident claims, damages in slip-and-fall cases can include medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering.
  3. Navigating insurance claims: Many property owners have liability insurance that covers slip-and-fall accidents. Navigating these claims can be complex and often requires legal expertise.
  4. Settlement vs. trial: While many slip-and-fall cases are settled out of court, being prepared to go to trial is essential. A strong legal argument can lead to a better settlement offer from the insurance company.

There are limitation periods for slip-and-fall lawsuits. View 478 Slip, trip and fall: Who can you sue? for more information.

Navigating slip-and-fall cases can be complex, but with the right legal advice, victims can successfully claim the compensation they deserve for their injuries.

Get help

This answer is brought to with the expert assistance of Bergeron Clifford, a personal injury law firm with over 20 years of experience.

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a winter-related or other accident, contact our preferred experts, Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers. They offer a free consultation and do not charge up-front fees.

Neinstein June 2017 Ontario Personal Injury 474Neinstein June 2017 Ontario Personal Injury 474


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