What you need to know if you slip and fall
Walking on ice-covered Albertan streets in the winter can be dangerous. According to the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta, slips and falls on ice send almost 14,000 people to the hospital each year. If you have come down hard on the ice and suffered an injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
What snow clearing is expected in Calgary?
Though sidewalks are city-owned, homeowners are required to clear the snow and ice on sidewalks and public pathways adjacent to their homes. Citybylaws state that snow and ice must be removed from public sidewalks bordering private property within 24 hours of a snowfall ending.
Are owners liable for injuries on their property?
Generally speaking, no, though a homeowner could be liable if there were “special circumstances” that created a hazard of a city sidewalk. Those could include allowing water to pool and freeze on the sidewalk. That could be caused by water coming from a downspout or not clearing debris and plant waste from the property.
How do I succeed on a slip and fall claim?
Two key elements are needed to build a successful case. First, you have to be able to show you suffered an injury on someone’s property and that injury caused you pain or financial suffering. Second, you must be able to show the property owner’s actions, or inaction, put them at fault. If they were aware of the dangers posed to passing pedestrians but did nothing to correct the situation, they may be liable for damages.
What injuries arise from slip and falls
Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury, which can lead to seizures, mood changes, cognitive impairment and other debilitating symptoms. Broken hips are also very common, often requiring surgery or the implantation of an artificial hip. Spinal cord injuries are also often seen after a fall, especially among adults age 65 and older. Fractures and sprains of the knee, ankle or wrist round out the list of common injuries and each can require physical therapy or surgery to repair the damage.
What if it is a city-owned property?
Liability issues change when a slip and fall occurs on a property owned by the municipality. First, you must show the municipality is guilty of “gross negligence,” which can be difficult to prove. There are also special limitation periods that apply when an individual is making a claim against a municipality. In Alberta, you must inform the municipality of your injury within 21 days of the fall (with limited exceptions) if you are claiming the municipality is grossly negligent about clearing a road or sidewalk. If you have missed that 21-day window, a personal injury lawyer can assess your chances of qualifying as an exception to the rule.
What to do after you slip and fall
The first priority is to seek medical attention for your injuries. If possible, use your phone to take photos of the accident scene to show that the ice or snow posed a danger. Make a note of the footwear you were wearing and if possible get the contact information of any witnesses. Once you see a doctor, keep pertinent notes or documentation from the meeting as well as receipts for any medication you had to purchase. That is especially true if you had to rent crutches or buy prescription drugs.
Why work with a personal injury lawyer?
Proving negligence on the part of the property owner is a difficult task. Just because you suffered an injury does not automatically make someone liable for your slip and fall. Our team of lawyers knows what evidence is needed to win a claim, the time limitation involved and what documents are needed by the court. Call us. We are here to help.