Slip, Trip and Fall: Who can you sue?

Region: Ontario Answer # 478

If you fall and injure yourself, you may be entitled to sue for compensation for your injuries under Ontario’s Occupier’s Liability Act. Generally, you can sue the owner of the property where you fell, such as a retail store, a school, a hospital, a municipality or city, or a neighbour.

Common examples of slip-and-fall incidents include falling on walkways that have not been cleared of snow or ice, or that have not been repaired, falling on dirty or slippery floors, tripping on objects on the floor, or falling as a result of poor lighting. If you have suffered a slip-and-fall accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Limitation periods for slip and fall lawsuits

In most circumstances, the law requires that you start your lawsuit for a slip-and-fall injury within two years of:

  • the day that your injury occurred; or
  • the day on which you reasonably should have known you were injured

However, you must notify the owner/occupier or the municipality of your intent to sue within a certain period of time. It is important to get expert help quickly to ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines. To get help, ask a lawyer now.

The limitation periods are as follows:

Private property

If a slip and fall on private property is due to ice and snow, you must serve the owner/occupier by written notice of the fall within 60 days of the incident. Include the time, the date, and the exact location of where the fall occurred. Notice can be made by personal service or by registered mail.


If a slip-and-fall occurs on municipal property, you must provide the city with written notice by of the fall, including the time, the date, and the location within 10 days of the incident. Notice can be made by service on the City Clerk or by registered mail.

Other limitations may apply if the property belongs to the Crown. If you miss these deadlines, you may not be able to recover any compensation for your injury or loss.

Suing a municipality over injury due to snow removal activities

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in October 2021 that people can sue municipalities over injuries resulting from city snow removal services. Canada’s top court ruled that municipalities are “not immune from negligence or liability claims stemming from snow removal”.  The seven Supreme Court justices had to decide on the legal distinction between “core policy decisions” made by governments, which are immune from liability and negligence claims, and “operational decisions” that are made while implementing policy, which are subject to liability claims.

Ultimately, the Court decided that snow removal is an “operational decision”.

What to do if a fall occurs on private property

In order to ensure you have all the necessary information to begin a claim, there are a number of things that should be done if the slip-and-fall occurs on private private, including:

  • Ascertain who is the legal owner of the property.
  • Find out if there is a tenant responsible for maintenance.
  • Ask if there is a property manager, and a snow removal contractor.
  • Put all parties on notice of a claim.
  • Take photos of the location right away (if possible).

Compensation for slip-and-fall lawsuits

If your lawsuit is successful, you may be able to recover money to compensate for your general pain and suffering, loss of income, expenses such as prescriptions and travelling to and from your doctor, and for future loss of income.

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on how serious your injury is and how it affects your life. The court will often take into account your age, whether you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions, and whether you contributed to your own injury.

Get help

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, contact our preferred personal injury experts and see who’s right for you. They offer a free consultation and do not charge up-front fees: 

Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers

Nicola (Nick) Giannantonio Legal Services

If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident it is important to get expert help quickly to ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines and that you receive all the compensation you are entitled. To get help, ask a lawyer now.

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