You have chosen to walk to your office in downtown Halifax. Along the way, you take a fall on an icy sidewalk. You end up with a fractured bone and headache that last for days. This is familiar to many slip and fall victims. Many end up with broken bones, concussions, sprains, and other trauma that can have severe effects, especially to the elderly and vulnerable.
If your injury occurred on a municipality’s public street, you could be wondering who is liable for your injuries. In Nova Scotia, the one responsible for clearing the road and making it safe for pedestrians is liable. But it gets complicated than that. That’s why you need a slip and fall lawyer at McKiggan Hebert to advise you.
What Are the Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall accidents often occur suddenly without warning when least expected. The cause of such an accident can be evident in hindsight, but the risk was not easy to spot at the time.
Here are a few common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Ice on driveways, sidewalk, etc.
- Potholes or cracks in pavement
- insufficient lighting
- stray wires
- broken handrails
What Are the Common Injuries on Public Streets?
Slip and fall incidences have a wide range of injuries. While some people can rise and walk away without injuries, some may need hospitalization for several days, weeks, or years. Other victims may never recover while some cases are fatal.
Common fall and slip injuries include:
- Damage of internal organ
- Neck and back injuries
- Fractured bones
- Joint damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Can I Sue if I Fall on a Sidewalk?
The drastic changes in Canadian weather can cause huge potholes and racks on pavements. Similarly, icy sidewalks can be a slipping hazard. You can sue property owners with sidewalks under their control if they are found liable. Besides, you could also sue the property owner if conditions on his or her property flow to the sidewalk or street and cause an injury.
How Is Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident Determined in Nova Scotia?
If you fall and injure yourself, you might be entitled to compensation from the municipality or a property owner. However, this liability will be determined by the Occupier’s Liability Act. This act states that an occupier or property owner is required to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of accidents.
The standards are not necessarily supposed to be perfect but the occupier should make an effort to address foreseeable risks. Nova Scotia has adopted the test of negligence by considering these factors:
- Was an unusual danger present?
- If a danger existed, is it one which the defendant knew or should have known?
- If it was known, did the defendant take reasonable steps to protect the plaintiff from the unusual danger?
- Did the plaintiff take reasonable care in ensuring personal safety?
Determining Responsibility of the Occupier
These considerations will also be used when determining responsibility:
- Age of the person on the sidewalk
- The ability of the person to be aware of the danger
- Efforts by the occupier to warn people of the danger
Can I Bring a Claim Against a Municipality in Nova Scotia?
You may sue a municipality for compensation under the Municipal Act or under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. However, both Acts will need proof of gross negligence on the city’s side, unlike a private property owner.
A slip and fall claim against a municipality is difficult to pursue because you need to prove that the municipality should have known about the unsafe conditions. And if the municipality is taking reasonable efforts to make the streets safe, that becomes their defense. Such cases need the help of a personal injury lawyer in Halifax to guide you through the claims process against the municipality or city.
What Personal Injury Damages Can I Get?
Suppose your lawsuit successfully shows negligence or gross negligence on the parties responsible for keeping the public street safe from dangerous conditions. In that case, you may be able to recover money for compensation, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of future care
- Diminished earning capacity
- Loss of future earnings
- Traveling cost to and from your doctor
- Anything paid out of pocket
How much compensation is awarded will depend on an individual’s injuries and how long the recovery period takes. It is advisable to keep records of all your medical expenses, amount of time you have missed work, doctor’s appointments and any limitations brought by the injuries
What Time Limitations Do I Have in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Generally, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a slip and fall claim in Nova Scotia. This could, however, change if the accident on a municipal property involved a minor.
If your injury happened on a property owned by a municipal, federal, or provincial government, you need to notify them within ten days after the accident. While failure to issue this notice is not fatal to your claim, you should talk to a Halifax occupiers’ liability lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose your right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
A Compassionate Personal Injury Lawyer to Defend You
A slip and fall injury can have a tragic impact on you and your loved ones. That is why you are entitled to compensation from the party that was negligent. The right legal representative will protect your rights and work hard to secure compensation for you or a loved one.
Get in touch with an experienced slip and fall injury lawyer who will help you through the process of determining all liable parties, handle your negotiations, and guide you through the claims process as you focus on your recovery. Call (877) 423-2050 today!