If you have suffered an injury because of defective or slippery steps caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have a right to seek and obtain compensation by way of a personal injury claim. With the advice of your Ottawa personal injury lawyer, you can take steps to increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation.
In Ontario, every owner or occupier of property must take reasonable steps to make sure their property is safe for persons using it. This includes making sure steps are free of ice and snow and are not defective, so that there is no cause for an accident. Owners and occupiers should also have a regular inspection program in place to identify any potential hazards on their property and take immediate steps to repair any defects.
Have you been injured because of defective steps? You can commence a court action, or what is called a lawsuit by Americans. Your personal injury lawyer will draft what is called a statement of claim which sets out the material facts about your incident, how much compensation you are seeking and what law and facts you rely on in support of your claim.
Consider A Court Action if You’ve Been Injured Because of Defective Steps
The person or party you are suing will have 20 days from the date they are personally served with a copy of your statement of claim to file what is called a statement of defence. In that defence, they will specify why they do not believe they are responsible for the fall incident.
In Ontario, if you allege someone was negligent because of defective property like defective stairs, you have two years from the date you fell to formally commence a court action. If you wait beyond this period, you likely will forever lose your right to sue and seek compensation. While there are exceptions to this general rule of “limitation period”, it is always recommended that you start a court action before the two years expire. If you are unsure about what limitation period applies or whether you fall within one of the exceptions, you should consider contacting an accident lawyer right away.
Once a court action is commended, your lawyer will gather all important documents and include them in an affidavit of documents. The defendant will also provide an affidavit of documents and provide copies of all relevant documents they have, to your lawyer. After those affidavits of documents are exchanged, the next stage is to attend an examination for discovery which is an opportunity for your lawyer to ask the defendant relevant questions about the case. In turn the defendant would be also able to ask you questions. This examination is conducted in an official examiner’s office and is an out of court process. Transcripts from the examinations can be used at a trial to show any admissions made by a party and to impeach a witness when being inconsistent in their answers.
Once examinations are completed, the parties usually attend a mediation. Mediation is mandatory in certain parts of Ontario, like Ottawa and Toronto. If mediation fails and you do not reach a settlement, the next stage typically is to attend a judicial Pre-Trial where a judge tries to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. If settlement is not reached at the pre-trial, your court action is scheduled for trial and you wait until your turn for a trial comes up, which depends on the availability of the courts.
In Ontario, typically it takes 3-4 years from the date you start a court action to reach a trial date.
When injured in a fall case, trip and fall, or slip and fall because of defective steps or some other reason, it is very important to take photos of the defective property or stairs. It is important to obtain the names and contact details of any witnesses. It is also very important to obtain medical care and ask your doctors to take good notes of your injuries and treatment in their files as your lawyer will need that medical evidence to prove your case. An injury lawyer will help you with every step in your case.
If you have been injured because of falling on defective steps, contact a personal injury lawyer who can advise you on your rights and interests and develop a solid plan to obtain the evidence you need to obtain compensation. Our team at QTMG is here to help, and we offer a no-fee guarantee. So, you don’t pay anything until you settle. Request a free case evaluation today.