“You should have watched where you were going.”
Last year, 21,000 Ontarians attended emergency wards after falling on ice or snow. Some were drinking. Others were wearing Crocs. Still others were running like it was a summer day. Some injured victims do attract blame. But thousands were injured solely due to the failure of store owners, apartment building owners or towns do to the decent Canadian thing: They failed to take a moment to inspect their walkway; they failed to shovel; and they failed to sprinkle salt and sand as needed.
This is not rocket science. And the results can be devastating. We have a client who smashed his head on black ice and is now a quadriplegic who cannot communicate. Extreme? Perhaps, but over the years I have seen another pattern all too often: An older woman slips on ice, fractures her pelvis or hip, and is on a slippery slope (excuse the pun) from independence and weekly bridge with the ladies to a wheelchair/walker-bound life which in turns leads to the loss of the condo, to assisted care, to depression, and to the end of life as she knew it.
All for want of a two minute inspection and a five minute sanding job on a threshold. Sloth explains some of the negligence, but I am convinced that too many businesses and landlords run a cost-benefit analysis – it costs money to have a contractor de-ice a walkway, so they skip the contractor and set up a slip shod “system” of inspection or no system at all.
The law is clear: If you fail to have an adequate inspection or maintenance system, you are liable for harm to your friends, your customers, and your tenants.
Oh, and by the way: If you slip and fall on a town or city walkway, you must – absolutely MUST – send a written notice to the municipality within 7 days. Talk to us.