Public and Private Property in Slip/Trip and Fall Cases
Were you injured in a slip/trip and fall in Ontario? Are you a property owner wishing to be informed? Or are you merely curious about this area of the law?
The applicable rules differ, depending on whether the property on which the injury occurred was “public” or “private”. Public property – for example, boulevards, roadways, sidewalks, community centers and public parks – is property owned by the government. Although various divisions in a municipality may be responsible for maintaining these different areas, they are all owned by the municipality. Private property, in contrast, is property owned by an individual or corporate entity.
If the injury occurred on public property, the Municipal Act applies. Section 44(10) imposes a 10 day period within which to give the city or municipality notice of your claim. This notice must be served on the municipality or city clerk. The office address at which to perform the service can be found on the municipality’s website. If you are severely injured and cannot perform the service within the 10 days, section 44(12) provides that no claim is barred for not giving notice, or giving insufficient notice, if you have a reasonable excuse. The phrase “reasonable excuse” is not defined the Act, but has been developed in case law. For instance, it is generally accepted that, if you could not make your claim within 10 days because you were hospitalized, it is not reasonable for your claim to be barred for missing the deadline.
If the injury occurred on private property, the Act does not apply but it is nevertheless important to give notice to the property owner to protect your claim for prejudgment interest. Regardless of where the injury occurred, there is a two-year limitation period within which the injured person must commence their lawsuit.
We invite you to watch this video, where Toronto personal injury lawyer and litigator Ben Azimi explores these important legal considerations in more detail.