As experienced personal injury lawyers, we have seen slip and fall claims arise in many different locations across Ottawa and surrounding towns such as Smiths Falls, Rockland and Winchester. Slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of injury in Ontario and can happen in a variety of locations such as: grocery stores, nursing homes, restaurants, office buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, parking lots and on sidewalks. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, in Canada over 42,000.00 workers are injured annually due to fall accidents.
In order to understand whether you might have a claim, or how you might avoid being sued, we will review some of the common causes of these slip and fall accidents which could give rise to a claim in negligence or under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. Most of the slip and fall claims we handle fall into three broad categories: 1) poor maintenance of property; 2) hazardous surfaces/faulty construction; and 3) patient neglect (nursing home or hospital negligence).
Negligent Property Maintenance
Everyone who owns, occupies or is otherwise responsible for a property must ensure that the property is properly maintained. Whether dealing with a store owner, a residential home owner or those responsible for municipal maintenance in cities such as Ottawa, Pembroke, Cornwall and Brockville, examples of how the failure to maintain property can result in a slip or trip and fall claim include the following:
- Improper storage of material and equipment.
- Having extension cords, cables and hoses cross walking surfaces.
- Slippery surfaces such as flooring covered in oil, ice, snow, water or grease.
- Having employees who are not properly trained to prevent slips, trips and falls.
- Failing to have in place a procedure for reporting maintenance hazards.
- Failing to have in place a sufficient maintenance procedure.
- Failing to make sure mops, buckets, shovels, salt/sand are readily available.
- Inadequate removal of snow and ice from roads, sidewalks, steps and walkways.
- Failing to have in place a proper system for monitoring the accumulating of snow and ice.
- Failing to provide adequate warnings that a floor is wet or otherwise slippery or failing to close off an area that has wet or slippery floors.
- Cleaning or waxing floors in a heavy traffic area at a busy time of day.
- Hazardous Surfaces/Faulty Construction.
If the flooring of a home, building or outdoor structure is not properly constructed, surfaced or repaired, there is a risk that someone could slip and fall. Examples of possible causes of slip and fall injuries due to faulty construction or otherwise hazardous surfaces include the following:
- Loose and unsecured floor mats, rugs, carpets, and coverings or those which do not lay flat.
- Damaged or missing flooring materials.
- Uneven walking surfaces.
- Stairs and ramps with loose or missing handrails.
- Unsafe changes in walkway levels and slopes.
- Inadequate drainage.
- Missing or inadequate guardrails for raised floors, mezzanines and balconies.
Nursing Home/Hospital Negligence
Even when a surface is well maintained and a building has been properly constructed, people who require assistance for their care are at risk for slipping or tripping and falling.
Many seniors are at an increased risk of falling which can result in serious injuries such as a fractured or broken hip. People who are already receiving medical or nursing care may be at greater risk of falling due to their initial injury, such as a broken leg, head injury or stroke.
When hospital and nursing home staffs do not provide proper care, slip and fall accidents are much more likely to happen. These sorts of injuries may happen when patients get out of bed or are being transferred from one location to the next.
Slip and fall injuries for nursing home and hospital patients are much more likely to occur if hospital staff have not been properly trained. Even when hospital staff are trained, if the proper safety and fall avoidance protocols are not in place to start with, an accident is more likely to occur.
If you or a family member have been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident and believe someone else may be at fault, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as early on as possible to protect your rights and receive advice about bringing a claim.
For more information about the slip and fall claims we handle in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, click here.
For a free consultation with an Ottawa slip and fall lawyer to discuss your case, contact us: