Everyone has experienced a fall. Sometimes it is caused by icy conditions and sometimes it is caused by unlevel surfaces. Other times it is totally your own fault.
If you have fallen and have been badly injured, there are a number of things that you should do right away to protect your rights. Below are some key tips to consider.
KEY TIPS TO CONSIDER AFTER A FALL
Why Did You Fall?
In any fall situation the issue of why you fell will be front and centre. To help explain why you fell, it is important to, wherever possible, take photos/video of the location of your fall right after it happens. Since we all carry cell phones these days, we strongly suggest that you take photographs and videos documenting your fall and the circumstances leading up to it. This proof will be instrumental when explaining why you fell and will help a personal injury lawyer evaluate whether or not anyone is legally responsible for causing or contributing to your fall.
Quickly Record Your Memory Of The Fall
Document everything you remember about the accident right away. You should record the where, when and how you fell along with your body dynamics. You should record who you spoke with, what they said, information about any witnesses and your understanding of why you fell. It is also helpful to note things like the shoes you were wearing. You can do this by writing down your recollection or even by leaving yourself a permanent voice message as soon as possible after the accident.
Gathering Witness Information Of Your Fall
After a fall there are often witnesses who come to the person’s aide. Do what you can to get their contact information so that you or your personal injury lawyer can follow up with them about their recollection. If they offer some information that you believe is helpful invite them to email that statement to you so that you have a record of it.
If you fall in a store or plaza the commercial establishment will have protocols that they must follow. That protocol will include them filing an internal incident report documenting what happened. Do what you can to ensure that the person completing the incident report for the commercial enterprise understands why you fell and the extent of your injuries so that they can investigate the cause and determine the validity of your complaints. Importantly, if they have video surveillance you should insist that they preserve it. Where you are able, put something in writing insisting that the commercial establishment preserve their videos of the incident as soon as you can.
Seek Comprehensive Medical Attention
Insurance companies generally believe that injured people seek medical attention. If you are injured, you should seek immediate medical attention and you should make sure that the person providing the treatment is aware of all of your complaints. Too often we obtain the family doctor’s records that neglect to reference things like concussion symptomology or pain complaints on parts of the body that end up surfacing as problems later. Defence lawyers tend to challenge the veracity of complaints that are not documented from the outset even though we all understand that injuries do evolve over time. Continue to follow up with providers to assess and treat your injuries so that the extent of your injuries from the incident are well documented. Keep records of any amounts you spend out of pocket on treatment or care as those expenses can be claimed in any lawsuit.
Legal Hurdles and Crucial Notice Obligations
The law in Ontario has put in place some hurdles to prevent people from complaining at a later date that they have fallen on somebody’s property. The intent of these onerous notice requirements is to allow the person being accused of causing the fall to have an opportunity to investigate the merits of that claim before too much time has passed. There are very strict notice requirements for pursuing claims against City sidewalks, for example, such that it is vital that anyone who falls on a sidewalk consult with a personal injury lawyer immediately to make sure that a notice is sent out immediately (within a few days as, for example, there is a 10 day municipal notice provision) in accordance with the applicable laws. We add that new laws in Ontario have been introduced to increase the scope of these strict notice requirements (i.e. notice within 60 days to property owners), so it is important that you consult with a personal injury lawyer immediately after a fall to ensure compliance with these new notice requirements.
Snow and Ice Issues
During the winter season, many falls are attributed to snow and icy conditions. Property owners have obligations to maintain their property and can be sued for failures in that regard. In addition to following the steps above about documenting the incident, it is often important to document the weather conditions in and around the time of the incident and in the hours or days leading up to the incident. You should try to document or record information about the weather and circumstances in the area where the incident happened as best as possible so that the issue of the property owner’s maintenance in these conditions can be properly addressed later on. In circumstances where a property owner is alleged to notoriously be deficient in their maintenance of their property, then it is sometimes helpful, though not necessarily admissible in Court, to document similar maintenance failures in the days after your fall as this can help undermine any suggestion they make about the quality of their winter maintenance protocol.
The personal injury lawyers at Thomson Rogers have spent decades assisting Ontario residents that have been badly hurt from a fall.
By following the key tips above, you will be in a much better position to advance a claim against anyone that may be responsible for causing your fall.
At Thomson Rogers we offer free consultation so please feel free to reach out to us at any time. We are here to help.
Darcy Merkur is a highly regarded Ontario trauma lawyer helping accident victims such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, who have sustained catastrophic injuries.
Darcy is the first lawyer in Canada to be qualified as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist by the Brain Injury Association of America. In addition, Darcy has been recognized as a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation by the Law Society of Ontario, is listed in peer-reviewed publications – Lexpert® and The Best Lawyers™ in Canada, is ranked AV pre-eminent in Martindale-Hubbell ® and is a partner at Thomson Rogers, one of Canada’s Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firms as selected by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.
Darcy can be reached at 416-868-3176 or by EMAIL.