Winter is coming.
The North winds are blowing.
We the North.
Snow. Sleet. Ice and everything in between.
Some smile at the prospect of negative temperatures. They love the winter!
Others cringe. Count me in on team cringe. I would much rather have nice and pleasant warm weather any day over the ice, cold and darkness that winter brings. I think it’s the darkness and cold that gets me down the most.
Some people have a hard time transitioning from warm weather where one can get away wearing flip flops everyday, to cold weather where winter boots and indoor shoes are more appropriate. Flip flops certainly require less effort to take on and off, and you can wear them inside; so I kind of get it. But, when one makes the conscious decision to ignore the elements; one must live with the consequences….
You would have no idea the number of winter slip and fall cases our personal injury lawyers have seen on account of people who wear flip flops, Crocs, or other non winter footwear outside on icy or snowy surfaces. It’s mind blowing!
Legal Pro Tip #1: When dressing for winter, dress appropriately. This means wearing footwear that’s appropriate for the weather. That’s a firm “no” to flip flops, Crocs, or high heeled shoes for that matter. Imagine walking over slush and snow in a 5 inch heel. Not easy and not ideal. This means wearing winter boots, even if you think they aren’t cool (which they are). This is also a firm “no” to gym shoes or indoor basketball shoes outside. These shoes are not a suitable replacement to winter boots just because they’re high tops. It looks particularly bad when a Plaintiff is wearing high top shoes, and the laces aren’t done up and dangling on the ground. Not only are the benefits of the ankle support diminished, but the undone laces cause another tipping hazard. The insurer will then question whether or not you tripped and fell on the snow or ice; or whether or not you tripped and fell on your own shoe laces which you were too lazy to tie up. I can appreciate it’s a fasion statement of have a lose high top shoe with undone laces; but it’s a tough sell for your personal injury lawyer to make when you are trying to pin the slip and fall on the Defendant’s negligence and not your own. Don’t be the author of your own misfortune.
Legal Pro Tip #2: If you need to wear a dressy shoe for an occasion, wear your winter boots and pack those dressy shoes in a bag so you don’t need to wear them outside. Put them on once you’ve arrive inside at your destination and safely stow away your winter boots on a mat. Aside from being the safer option, you’re also preserving your indoor dress shoe and keeping them nice and clean for your function! You’ll thank me later 🙂
Legal Pro Tip #3: This may be my favourite pro tip of them all! It relates to the situation where you need to wear a fancier shoe that might not be the best for the winter. How about investing in a pair of galoshes! There is a public Facebook Group devoted to wearing galoshes to keep your feet nice, warm and dry. They will offer better traction then a dress shoe or healed shoe. They will keep your shoes from getting dirty. And they’re easy and convenient. Having a pair lying around your home or office can save an ankle. Did I mention that they’re more fashionable than ever before coming in all different shapes, sizes and colours?
Legal Pro Tip #4: Get photos of the snow/ice or hazard which caused you to slip and fall. With the popularity of cameras on cell phones, this is so easy nowadays. Take video of the hazard as well. The more photo/video evidence, the better. It becomes very difficult of the Plaintiff to claim negligence against a Defendant when they can’t point to, or describe the hazard which caused the fall. It’s not impossible for a claim to succeed without photo/video evidence. But the photo/video evidence helps a lot.
Legal Pro Tip #5: Seek out medical attention and mention your fall! Your doctor should properly document your concerns so that your file is papered. Your personal injury lawyer can then point to that specific notion(s) as evidence of your fall, evidence of your pain and as evidence of the treatment recommendations you received. This evidence is useful for any insurer, Judge or Jury assessing your case. It’s evidence that you were in pain, that the pain was caused as a result of the slip and fall and that you need help. Toughing it out is admirable, but won’t help build an effective personal injury case.
Legal Pro Tip #6: Contact a personal injury lawyer right away after a serious slip and fall. Did you know that there’s a 10 day notice period under the Municipal Act to put the Municipality on notice of their alleged negligence and of your claim? Did you know that the Ontario Government is tabling a private members bill to bring a similar (10 days or 30 days) notice period for slip and fall claims on private property? That means if you wait to reach out to a personal injury lawyer to put the Defendant on notice of your claim, a Judge may dismiss your claim for breaching the law! That’s not fair, but that’s how our laws work. Sitting on your hands waiting for a positive result and for money to fall from the sky isn’t going to happen. Every day you sit on your claim, you are risking having it thrown out on account of delay. This is why consulting a good personal injury lawyer right away is becoming more and more important. A good personal injury lawyer will preserve that limitation period from expiring to make sure that you’re in a position to get the compensation which you deserve before time runs out on your case.