When the cold weather comes around in Ontario, it opens up a realm of opportunity for accidents to happen. This is especially the case when it comes to slip and fall accidents in or around your home. No matter the weather or situation, we know accidents happen. This is why having adequate home insurance coverage is crucial. According to CTV News, thousands of Canadians are hurt each year due to falling on icy stairs, steps and sidewalks. So, what exactly happens if someone falls on your property? Let’s take a look below.

What is considered a slip and fall injury?

A slip and fall injury is exactly what it sounds like. These occur when someone sustains an injury due to slipping, tripping, stumbling or falling. Generally, injuries include head trauma, fractures, broken bones and spinal issues as the result of slip and fall accidents. These can occur on a flat surface or with multiple levels, such as falling down a flight of stairs. When defining exactly what a slip and fall accident is, it tends to involve the circumstances that led to the fall. Some areas where accidents occur include:

  • Houses
  • Apartment complexes
  • Grocery stores
  • Retail stores
  • Parking lots
  • Gyms and restaurants
  • Parks and playgrounds

What are the most common causes of slip and fall accidents?

There are many different situations that can cause slip and fall accidents. These types of accidents can occur anywhere, from work places to your own front porch. So, doing your best to stay on top of regular maintenance and removing hazards is crucial to avoid injury or a hefty lawsuit. Some examples of situations that can lead to a slip and fall include:

  • Potholes and cracked surfaces
  • Broken handrails
  • Liquid spills
  • Uneven flooring
  • Cluttered floors
  • Snow/ice and sleet
  • Improper lighting
  • Age or illnesses that cause balance issues

Do I have legal liability regarding slip and falls at my home?

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), you are held accountable when it comes to keeping your property free from hazards. This means that if you fail to ensure your property is safe, you will be held accountable for what happens as a result. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to make sure your guests or passersby are free from any danger. This includes clearing snow from your walkways and driveway, salting slippery surfaces and clearing all potentially-dangerous debris. Additionally, in warmer seasons, it is your duty to ensure there is no tripping hazards or excessively wet surfaces poolside.

It’s important to note that even if you do not own your home, you aren’t off the hook. As a renter, you share the liability with your landlord to make sure your guests are safe. According to the IBC, your best bet is to always make sure your property undergoes regular maintenance. This is the case, no matter the season.

What are some Ontario slip and fall statistics?

Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents are far from uncommon. In fact, slip and fall injuries represent over 40% of the preventable injuries that happen in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. To put this into perspective, over 42,000 Canadians are injured every year due to slip and fall accidents. This number accounts for just accidents in the workplace, which is the most common area for slip and fall accidents to occur. About 17% of all time-loss injuries in Canada are due to slip and falls.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, 34% off falling accidents occur from a higher level to a lower level. 66% occur on the same ground level.

How can I avoid liability surrounding slip and fall accidents?

Your home insurance policy will, in most cases, protect you in the event someone injures themselves on your property. If you rent, it is important to inquire about the details of your tenant/renters’ policy to make sure you have sufficient coverage. The liability portion of these policies will help you cover claims in case someone sues you for injury.

When someone slips and falls on your driveway, it can cause a huge amount of money in damages. Something as simple as not salting your driveway or shovelling can be a costly mistake if someone hurts themselves. If someone injures themselves in a slip and fall accident, your insurance will likely cover things, such as medical bills, rehabilitation, loss of income or any other additional expenses. You will first need to be found legally liable for any damages that occur to the third party for your insurance policy to respond.

In terms of damages, what can I expect if I file a claim?

When it comes to the damages you can expect during a slip and fall claim, it can vary greatly.

To fully understand, we must first go over what “damages” are exactly. Damages is a reference to the amount of money that is received in a lawsuit to help a person recover from their injuries or other payments that need to be made. This can include ambulance bills, other types of bills as well as money compensation for work they may have missed.

The damages you can expect can range from the thousands to even millions of dollars. This will depend heavily on the severity of the injury as well as the losses that occurred. They might be off work for a week or several months, so it ranges greatly.

What if I don’t have insurance?

If you don’t have insurance, expect to potentially pay a large sum of money out-of-pocket in the event a slip and fall accident occurs. According to the laws in Ontario, you are responsible to pay out the damages to the individual who is suing you. Depending on the severity of the injury, these costs can vary, and can even add up to $1 million in some cases. Due to this, most insurance providers offer liability coverage of $1 million-$2 million dollars. It is important to know that these accidents can happen at any time, no matter the home. Even if you are generally on top of maintenance, accidents can still happen. This is why it is crucial to protect yourself from situations by having adequate homeowners’ or renter’s insurance in place.

It is absolutely crucial to have slip and fall liability coverage within your home insurance policy in case an accident does occur. Failure to do so will result in a large amount of money out of your pockets, which nobody wants to happen. If you are unsure of your home insurance policy details or are looking to receive a quote, contact us today!

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