New Ontario law will allow only 60 days for possible slip and fall claim
TORONTO -- Every year thousands of Canadians are hurt after slipping on icy stairs, steps and sidewalks. Now if it happens in Ontario you’ll have a lot less time to sue for damages.
If you have a bad fall on ice and want to file an insurance claim you used to have two years to do so, but that is about to be changed to just 60 days.
Ontario's Bill 118, the Act to amend the Occupier’s Liability Act, recently passed and will soon become law.
The changes mean if you slip and fall on private property you must serve the owner with written notice within 60 days. On municipal property it must be done within 10 days.
Rajiv Haté a personal injury lawyer with Kotak Personal Injury Law feels in some cases 60 days may not be enough time to file a claim.
“This could lead to the barring of a number of legitimate claims," Haté said, adding "being able to identify the appropriate parties that need to be put on notice within 60 days is not always possible.”
The change in the law comes as good news for many in the snow clearing business.
Snow plow operators have been complaining that even one slip and fall accident can cause their insurance premiums to triple.
Dave Fraser, president of DHF Contracting in Oshawa has 20 employees plowing commercial properties and school parking lots. He says last year his insurance premiums jumped from $16,000 to $60,000 for the same coverage.
Fraser believes two years is too long to allow someone to sue and says 60 days will bring more fairness into the system.
“One slip and fall claim nowadays will get your insurance canceled. They just don't want to be bothered anymore, it's just too much risk,” Fraser said.
Fraser said that often many slip and falls claims are served on a company just weeks before the two years is up.
”It was right at the last minute and that's the lawyer's tactic hoping we have no paperwork and then they would have a field day with us. With 60 days that allows us to better prepare," Fraser said.
Property owners must make an effort to keep their walkways and parking lots in a reasonably safe condition. Fraser says the reduced time to sue will help some snow plow operators remain in business.
“It does make me feel better that we're not going to get hammered two years later with something that may or may not have happened," Fraser said.
If you do slip on private property and get hurt you're advised to note the address and the time and take photos of the ice and your footwear.
If you do plan to seek compensation for your injuries realize that now instead of two years, you'll only have two months to file a claim.