Regardless of your age or fitness level, there is a good chance you have tripped, slipped, or fallen unexpectedly – and likely more than once. An unsuspecting wobbly step, wet floor, or icy sidewalk blanketed under a sheet of snow are often to blame. A trip and fall accident might cause little more than some surprise and embarrassment if you’re lucky. On the flip side, these types of accidents can result in very serious injuries such as broken bones and concussions, or even loss of life. Statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reveal that out of every 100,000 Albertans who visit a hospital for slip and fall injuries, approximately 41 are hospitalized, and approximately 219 die each year. The rate for trip and fall accidents is especially high in Alberta, with our province ranking second highest in Canada. In many cases, the cause of injury is the result of another person’s negligence. If you have been injured in a trip and fall accident that was not your fault you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. At Litwiniuk & Company, our Calgary trip and fall accident lawyers can help you get access to the treatment and benefits you need, so you can get your life back to normal.
Common Causes for Trip and Fall Accidents
Alberta weather is undoubtedly a significant contributor to trip, slip, and fall accidents that occur outdoors. But this is just one factor and these types of accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. The most common causes include:
- Lack of ice removal or salting of walkways, driveways, or stairs;
- Sidewalks, driveways, and steps that have not been cleared of snow;
Stairs that are uneven, unmarked, or not up to code;
- Wet floors in stores, restaurants, or other public establishments; and
- Uneven or damaged sidewalks or paths.
If you have been injured in a trip and fall accident, your health is the number one priority. Even if you feel fine, you should seek medical attention right away. It may take hours, days, or even weeks to realize the full extent of your injuries. At the time of your accident, adrenaline may be running high and you may not be able to feel where you have been injured. Internal injuries often go unnoticed at first and must be found through diagnostic tests. The results of these tests, along with your doctor’s records, will not only help you get proper medical treatment but may also provide proof of injury and valuable evidence should you decide to make a claim.
If and when you are able, gather information about the accident as soon as possible. The evidence provided by witnesses and photographs from the scene can be crucial to the success of your case. Take lots of photographs, get the names and phone numbers of witnesses, and report the accident to the person in charge of the property. In the case of a business, this may be a manager or owner; in the case of a residence, it may be an owner, landlord, or property manager. Write down as much detail about the incident as you can think of – from a thorough description of the accident to the exact location, time of day, and anything else that may be important No detail is too small. If you weren’t able to collect evidence at the scene, that’s okay too. Our trip and fall accident lawyers are experts at gathering evidence after the fact, such as medical records, important names, security camera footage, and more. The sooner you call a Personal Injury lawyer, while evidence is easier to collect, the better.
How Can a Calgary Trip and Fall Lawyer Help?
Depending on the degree of your injuries, you may need hospitalization, surgery, chiropractic care, physiotherapy, crutches or other medical supplies, and prescriptions. Many of these services are not covered by Alberta Health Care (AHC) and may only be partially covered by your insurance or benefits provider, if such coverage is even available. You may have to pay personally for certain medical expenses. You may also be required to take time off work while you recover, which could mean further loss of income. If you were injured in a trip and fall accident that was not your fault, you shouldn’t have to suffer financial loss or pay out-of-pocket to get treatment. A Personal Injury Lawyer will be able to determine if you are eligible to make a claim for compensation. It won’t cost you a thing to get expert legal advice from our Calgary trip and fall accident lawyers. And if you do choose us, we don’t get paid until you get paid.
Injured in A Trip & Fall Accident? Who’s liable?
If you were injured in a trip, slip, or fall accident on someone else’s property – including your neighbour’s sidewalk, a shopping centre, your workplace, a home you rent, and other public use areas – you may be able to make a claim. It is ultimately the responsibility of the owner or the person in charge of the property to take precautions against slips and falls by maintaining safe premises. Alberta’s Occupier’s Liability Act states that:
“An occupier of a premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that each person entering on the premises and the property brought on the premises by that person are reasonably safe while on the premises.”
The Act goes on to define an occupier as:
- a person who is in physical possession of premises, or
- a person who has responsibility for, and control over, the condition of premises, the activities conducted on those premises and the persons allowed to enter those premises, and for the purposes of this Act, there may be more than one occupier of the same premises.
People who might be “occupiers” and therefore might be held liable for a trip and fall include:
- Property owners;
- Property managers;
- Construction companies or workers;
- Property service companies or workers such and landscapers or snow removal companies;
- Business owners;
- The Municipal, Provincial, or Federal Government.
This list is not exhaustive; many other persons or companies can be considered “occupiers” and help liable for a trip and fall accident depending on the exact circumstances of the case. Our experienced trip and fall lawyers know and understand the law. They will find all negligent parties and hold them accountable.
Calgary’s bylaws require homeowners to remove snow and ice from their sidewalk within 24 hours. However, simply failing to remove snow or ice within the 24-hour window is rarely sufficient grounds to hold the homeowner liable. There must be proof that the occupier was negligent in the maintenance of their property. For example, the house at the end of your block has an eavestrough that has been leaking and freezing on the sidewalk for months, but the owners left the drip resulting in you slipping and falling. If it can be proven that they knowingly left the hazard, the homeowners may be held liable.
Worried that your friendly (albeit careless) next-door neighbor will have to pay out-of-pocket?
Let’s say you were injured while crossing your neighbor’s sidewalk and you suffered a broken arm and a concussion. As a result, you are unable to work for several weeks and have additional costly medical expenses to worry about. You want compensation for your injuries but feel guilty making a claim against your neighbour who you presumably might also be friends with. The good news is almost all homeowners carry home insurance, which includes coverage for personal injury liability, meaning your neighbor likely doesn’t have to pay you anything out of their own pocket if you decide to make a claim. If your neighbour rents, insurance coverage will still likely be available. If there’s coverage, we’ll find it.
Wondering if you can still make a claim if you are partially at fault?
If you are partially at fault for a trip, slip, or fall accident, your amount for compensation may be reduced relative to the degree to which you are at fault. Our Calgary trip and fall accident lawyers will review all the evidence and ensure you are compensated fairly.
In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of a trip and fall accident to make a claim in court, or your right to do so is lost forever. But it’s important not to wait as there may be other important deadlines or other circumstances that may affect the deadline or your claim. If you have any questions about the limitation period for your claim, call or email us for a free consultation with one of our Calgary trip and fall accident lawyers today.
Our Calgary Trip & Fall Lawyers are here to help.
An unexpected injury can leave you feeling knocked down and powerless. We’re here to balance the power – to make sure you are treated fairly. Have questions? Our Personal Injury Lawyers will take the time to ensure you get answers to all your legal questions – at no cost to you. We hate to see people get taken advantage of. Knowing and understanding what your options are can make all the difference. As Calgary’s boutique Personal Injury Law firm since 1976, we’ve successfully resolved thousands of cases, and recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. It won’t cost you a thing to get a Calgary trip and fall accident lawyer on your side, because we don’t get paid until your claim is resolved. At Litwiniuk & Company, you get a caring team that’s dedicated to your success. If there’s anything we can to do make your life a little (or a lot) easier, we’ll do it.