I Slipped and Fell or Tripped and Fell – What Do I Do Next?

Slip and falls or trip and falls are similar. They both involve a person (by no fault of theirs) who falls because of someone or something’s negligence. For example, one can fall for many reasons, such as a raised sidewalk, an icy pavement, a slippery floor, or an unsafe ledge inside a restaurant. However, no matter what you tripped over or slipped on, you should remember these five steps:

  1. If you fell on City sidewalk or property, you must notify the City in writing within 10 days of the fall: If you know the location where you fell was on the sidewalk, near to the sidewalk, or it is possible that the property may belong to the City, then write to the City Clerk’s Office or send an email (for City of Toronto: “clerk@toronto.ca”). In your letter or email, include your full name, address, the date of the fall, describe in detail how you fell, describe in detail the exact address and specific location where you fell, describe your injuries, and attach any photographs showing where you fell. In other words, write about who, what, where, how, why, and when. If you fail to notify the City in writing within 10 regular days after your fall, then a court may later deny awarding you any compensation.
  2. Take multiple photos or videos of where you fell or what caused you to fall: In our pockets we possess the fruit of human intelligence: a smart phone. Why not use it when you are injured? We know a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth much more. In a potential lawsuit, photos and videos of the scene of your fall and injuries serve as valuable evidence. No matter what the other person or company who caused the fall may falsely say about what happened, a photo or video is irrefutable. It may be a good idea to even obtain measurements of the hazard, substance, liquid, or object that caused you to fall in the event that the area is later changed. You should also mark the photos with an X to pinpoint exactly where you fell.
  3. Preserve Any Footwear: The shoes, boots, or footwear that you were wearing at the time of your fall is important. Do not throw them away. They will be used as evidence. In addition to preserving the footwear, it is a good idea to also take several photos of the footwear in question and send those photos to your lawyer.
  4. Ask witnesses for their contact information: How can you resolve a dispute involving he-said or she-said? Use “they”-said. By “they”, I mean an independent witness who saw how you fell and why you are injured. After a fall, you may understandably be preoccupied with your injuries and what happened; however, you should also take a moment to think ahead. By preserving the contact information of any witnesses, your lawyers can later contact the witnesses to provide critical evidence about what they saw and what really happened. The witnesses may even have photos or videos too.
  5. Talk to a lawyer: Most lawyers who help injured people allow free initial consultations. It does not cost any money to call or email a lawyer to find out what are your rights and any next steps. In personal injury cases, you have a limited time period to take certain important steps, and if that time period passes, then you may be prevented from obtaining any compensation. Further, a lawyer can help you navigate through the complex legal process to obtain treatment, benefits, and compensation.
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