KRIS BONN’S LETTER OF THE LAW: Don’t wait on slips and falls (New blog)
If you don’t provide the written notice you may lose your opportunity for compensation – even if you are completely innocent and the municipality is completely at fault.
The 10-day notice requirement applies in the following circumstances:
- slip and fall on a slippery sidewalk or municipal parking lot;
- auto collision on icy roads;
- tripping on a sidewalk defect;
- auto collision from road defect;
- auto collision from road design; and
- auto collision caused by lack of maintenance of the trees or bushes along a road that impair a driver’s visibility.
Everyone needs to take reasonable care for their own safety when walking or driving in the winter. We are Canadians and we know that the sidewalks and roads can be covered in snow and ice, creating hazardous conditions.
But we all pay taxes. Part of those taxes are for our municipalities to keep our roads and sidewalks reasonably safe.
Even someone taking reasonable care in walking or driving carefully can get involved in a slip and fall or auto collision and be injured.
If the municipality should have the road or sidewalk cleared, the municipality should be held responsible for not living up to its obligations.
If this happens to you or someone you know, remember, you must give written notice to the municipality within 10 days of the slip and fall or auto collision. If you don’t, you may be out of luck even if the municipality was negligent.
All you have to do to satisfy the written notice requirement is to write down the following:
- What happened
- Where it happened (be precise with street names)
- A description of your injury
After you have recorded the above details, you must deliver the written document to your local municipal city or town hall.
To be safe, you should bring two copies and have the person you speak with sign and date stamp your copy so there is no dispute about when you provided the written notice.
Even if you think you will probably get better, to be safe, you should always submit the written notice. There is no downside.
Indeed, even if you never proceed with a legal action against the municipality, you may prompt the municipality to take some action to make the roads and sidewalks more safe and prevent someone else from getting hurt.
Kristian Bonn is a personal injury lawyer and partner at Bonn Law. He grew up in Trenton, works in Belleville and Trenton and lives just over the Bay Bridge in Prince Edward County.
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