Many people are familiar with the 2-year limitation period that applies to most personal injuries. When an individual is injured in a car accident, dog bite, slip/trip and fall, etc., they have (in most cases) 2 years to file a claim with the court in order to preserve the right to obtain compensation.
What many people may be unfamiliar with are notice periods. Exactly how it sounds, a “notice period” refers to a period of time during which an injured victim must notify an at-fault party about a potential claim. If you have a slip and fall on ice accident, it’s important to keep this notice period in mind.
What’s the Significance of the Notice Period in a Personal Injury Involving Slip and Fall on Ice?
Generally speaking, notifying at-fault parties is very important because it allows all parties involved to preserve evidence, including camera footage, witness statements, and other records.
In some cases, providing notice is mandatory and is a prerequisite to filing a claim with the court. For example, under section 44(10) of the Municipal Act, 2001, SO 2001, c 25,if an individual slips on a municipal sidewalk or roadway, the individual must notify the municipality within 10 days of the incident, including the date, time, and location of the incident.
On December 8, 2020, the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2020 came into effect, enacting similar legislation to section 44(10) of the Municipal Act, 2001, in relation to all personal injuries caused by slip and fall on snow or ice not on municipal properties.
This new legislation requires victims of “personal injury caused by snow or ice” (i.e., slip and fall injuries) to provide notice of their intent to claim damages within 60 days of the incident.
Who Must You Notify?
If you are involved in a slip and fall or any “snow- or ice-related injury”, you must personally serve or send a letter by registered mail within 60 days either to an occupier of the property where the fall occurred (e.g., owner of the property, front desk at a business, etc.) or to the winter maintenance contractor. You only need to notify one party. You do not have to notify all possible parties.
Make sure you keep the receipt if you send a letter by registered mail.
After a slip and fall on ice, you should retain a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you satisfy all your obligations and that you provide proper notice.
What Happens if the 60 Days Expire?
In many cases, injured victims may be unaware of the notice period, or their injuries may not fully materialize until after the 60 days expire. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible as there are some limited exceptions to the 60-day period. For example, if you are hospitalized after a slip and fall for an extended period of time and are unable to contact a lawyer, the court may exempt you from the 60-day notice requirement.
Other Steps to Take
If you are able, take photos of the area where you had the slip and fall accident on ice. If you are unable to take photos, ask a witness to take photos. Try to obtain contact information from any witnesses. If you are hurt, you should seek medical attention immediately whether at a hospital, your family doctor, or a walk-in clinic.
At QTMG, we understand the realities that victims face after slip and fall injuries. Please call us at 613 563-1131 for a free consultation to discuss your slip and fall on ice.
Lorinc Mucsi, Associate at QTMG Personal Injury Lawyers