It doesn’t matter the season, the weather, the time of day, or the conditions. Slip and falls happen. Sometimes there are no injuries. Sometimes there can be very serious, even catastrophic injuries. When a bad slip and fall does happen, people often seek out the services of a personal injury lawyer to get them the compensation which they deserve to restore some form of dignity to their lives. The compensation recovered by your personal injury lawyer cannot only help make ends meet for the present, but can also provide a degree of future care support moving forward.
Today’s edition of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog will focus on “Brian Goldfinger and the case of the Bad Slip and Fall”.
Once upon a time, there was a nice elderly man. Let’s call him “Fred“. Fred lived a semi-retired life in a rural property just outside of Peterborough, ON. Fred is a fictional character.
One day, Fred headed in to town to do some grocery shopping and some banking. It was a normal fall day in September. The weather was cool, and the skies were sunny.
Fred was in no particular hurry that day. Fred entered the grocery store and walked down the canned goods aisle. Fred was looking to buy some canned tomatoes and canned mushrooms. He found what he was looking for, put the items into his cart, and continued walking down the aisle.
As he was walking, Fred’s footing gave way. He slipped on something very slippery, and found himself flat on his back. He landed hard on the ground, directly onto his tailbone. Fred could not get up. He called for help.
Quickly, two grocery store customers came to Fred’s aide, and tried to get him up. But Fred was in too much pain. Soon staff arrived at the store and they called for an Ambulance.
Fred was taken to hospital. X-rays were done on his back and tailbone which showed fractures. Later, an MRI showed bulging discs in his back from the fall as well. Things were not looking good for Fred. He had limited mobility. He could not manage his normal care activities, or activities of daily living. He needed a PSW to come to his home and help him daily. Fred was worried about his recovery, and concerned about his health.
Fred needed massage and physiotherapy. But neither were covered by OHIP. While there was an OHIP funded clinic in Peterborough which covered part of the fee; the treatment wasn’t very good and the individual sessions didn’t last very long so it wasn’t very effective treatment. I suppose that you get what you pay for in the world of physiotherapy. But any form of treatment is better than no treatment at all; so Fred sought help. Unfortunately for Fred, there was a long wait list to get physiotherapy treatment at the OHIP Funded clinic, so Fred had to wait. Adding to his problems was the fact that the personal support services offered through the LHIN were short, inconsistent, and the workers were unreliable.
That’s when he found Brian Goldfinger and Goldfinger Injury Lawyers.
In a car accident case, benefits get paid intermittently, prior to settlement. Ontario’s accident benefit system offers a framework of benefits which are supposed to assist the injured accident victim with their wellness and rehabilitation. Those benefits are also supposed to ease the burden of care and treatment on the publicly funded OHIP system.
In theory, this is a good idea and works.
In practice, it doesn’t work. Insurers take their liberty in denying benefits for treatment at the first instance without properly appreciating the severity and seriousness of the injuries or the claim. The insurer has nothing to lose in denying a claim, and stands everything to gain. The notion of caring, or looking out for the best interest of an insured and treating them in good faith are words only. It does not happen in reality.
But accident benefits are available, even if the system is not perfect.
Accident benefits are NOT available in a slip and fall case. In those cases, there is no money available for a Plaintiff until a settlement is achieved, or a judgment is secured. This can take years. There is no way of sugar coating it. Ontario’s civil justice system for personal injury cases was always slow. Compound that with the backlog created by COVID; along with limited funding and resources which go in to hearing civil cases; and you have a recipe for disaster for personal injury claimants.
Slip and fall cases can prove be be very tricky.
It’s clear that Fred sustained very serious injuries as a result of his slip and fall accident. And it’s also clear that those injuries were caused as a direct result of his slip and fall. This is called “causation“. So, at law, we have established damages/injuries, and we have also established causation. Two of the three factors towards establishing a successful personal injury case have been met.
But there is a third factor towards establishing a successful personal injury case. This third factor is called “negligence“. The Plaintiff has to establish that the Defendant was negligent; or that his/her actions or lack thereof (negligence), caused the accident.
In poor Fred’s case, establishing negligence is not so clear. What we know from Fred is that he slipped and fell in the aisle of the grocery store on something slippery, but he could not tell what is was. Fred does not have any pictures of the area where he fell. This would have been very helpful, but we cannot go back in to and get those images.
There were also two witnesses who helped Fred when he was down after the fall. Unfortunately, Fred did not get their names or contact information. Tracking these witnesses down will prove to be difficult. Getting their recollection of the events surrounding Fred’s fall, and their commentary about the state of the floor where Fred fell would also be helpful. But, without any names or contact information, we have an uphill battle.
The facts and circumstances around a slip and fall case are very important. Plaintiffs such as Fred (who is a fictional character) may think that their case is very straight forward. Unfortunately, these case aren’t as straight forward as you may suspect. There is a lot more required towards establishing liability, damages and causation (the three factors of a case) in order to get accident victims the compensation which they deserve.