Slip and fall accidents can cause serious physical and emotional injury. Adding insult to injury is the fact that you will always second guess yourself:
“What if I didn’t step where I did? Could I have avoided the fall? Could I have paid better attention? Would different shoes or boots have prevented my fall?”
Feelings of anger, embarrassment, doubt and even shame can creep up after a slip and fall; because act of walking is so mundane and something we take for granted. How could the act of simply walking cause a devastating injury like an ankle fracture; or a torn ACL/MCL requiring surgery; or a bad concussion? Bad things happen. And when people look for justice and compensation, they reach out the Goldfinger Injury Lawyers.
Unlike a car accident; the police won’t come around to investigate the slip and fall or press charges against the at fault property owner. This is significant when advancing a slip and fall case because it becomes your word vs. their word. There isn’t a police report or set of charges or conviction for the Plaintiff to rely upon to establish liability against the Defendant property owner or winter maintenance contractor.
With this understanding in mind; it’s crucial for an injured Plaintiff to gather as much information and evidence which they can from the scene of the slip and fall accident.
Properly identifying the scene of the slip and fall accident is critical. A few metres off one way, or another can change the identity of the at fault party. Or simply not knowing all together where the fall happened will make things near impossible for your personal injury lawyer to identify who’s to blame for your slip and fall.
This is why we ask all of our prospective clients and clients to take as many photos as they can of the site where the slip and fall took place; along with the hazard which caused the slip and fall. Failure to take photos of the scene of the slip and fall; along with the hazard which caused the fall can be a case killer and we certainly don’t want to see that.
Often our personal injury lawyers tell people that for argument sake we will assume that they have sustained the worst injuries in the world which any Judge or Jury would assess their damages at millions and millions of dollars. The injuries are almost irrelevant if a Plaintiff cannot establish negligence against the at fault property owner, property manager or winter maintenance contractor. No negligence = no claim for damages. In short; it will be a losing case if a Plaintiff cannot establish liability against a Defendant. Simply getting hurt is not enough.
Establishing negligence requires evidence to build the case. Never assume that the Defendant had cameras which captured your slip and fall and which will help prove your case in negligence. Why would a Defendant cooperate to dig their own grave in a case you’re bringing against them? The Defendant will fight tooth and nail to defeat your claim. Those cameras and the footage are their property in the context of a civil slip and fall case. Footage often does not exist for so many reasons including but not limited to:
- The footage conveniently gets “lost“
- The cameras are dummy cameras meant to deter thieves and don’t actually work
- The camera aren’t pointing to the exact spot of your slip and fall. This happens frequently. There is actual footage, but the camera only captures a small clip of the fall which isn’t helpful for anyone because it doesn’t show anything of significance
- The footage is so grainy, it serves little to no use on account of the poor quality
- The footage gets destroyed after 24-48 hours as is their common cycle for keeping footage. If no incident was reported (like a robbery and a fire requiring the police or fire department); then the footage gets destroyed as a matter of protocol
If a slip and fall is not reported to the property owner, they won’t know that it happened; unless they catch word of it. That means there won’t be any incident report, and any CCTV footage will get destroyed. Reporting that the slip and fall happened to the owner, property manager or the security on site is helpful towards establishing that a slip and fall happened the way you say that it happened. Our personal injury lawyers understand that this is not always possible. Not every property has a management team or security staff on site. But if these parties do exist, it’s always a good idea to report the slip and fall to them in order begin papering the trail for your case.
One of the most important things to know after a slip and fall on private property is that there is a new 60 day written notice period under the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act. This means that you must given written notice served either personally or by registered mail to the property owner of your slip and fall and your intention to pursue a claim for damages against them. This notice also needs to be delivered to the independent contractor who is responsible for the maintenance (summer or winter) to the subject property.
Failure to give notice within the 60 day period may result in your case getting dismissed before it even had a chance to get off the ground! This is a terrible law for Plaintiffs, and a fantastic law for Defendants because it provides Defendants a legislative protection under statue which they did not otherwise have before 2021. It’s a brand new law brought in to minimize Plaintiff claims and keep insurance rates for property owners and winter maintenance contractors down. There ought to be a quid pro quo in the sense that the Act ought to have a provision for record keeping by the winter maintenance contractor. All records needs to be authenticated and kept up to date. Often times we see contractors provide log notes and records which are done after the fact to give the appearance that the work had been done as they say it was.