Ontario law setting 60-day deadline for slip-and-fall claim notice added burden on plaintiff: lawyer
Harding says he “can speculate” that many of the changes to personal injury law in recent years, including this new time limitation for slip and fall claims involving snow or ice, result from lobbying by corporations or insurance companies.
“There really isn’t as strong of an injured persons’ lobby, and in my opinion, this latest limitation is very consistent with all the legislative changes we’ve seen in the past five or six years,” he says.
As one example of this trend, Harding notes that the significant amendments made in 2016 to Statutory Accident Benefits for automobile accidents in Ontario have made it “much more challenging for injured people to have access to these benefits.” The purpose of the SABS is to allow an insured individual access to necessary treatment and benefits in a timely manner. However, general exclusion clauses can limit a claimant’s rights, and the level of benefits offered may not be enough to deal with severe injuries, Harding says.
Harding adds the new changes to the slip and fall claims process against private property and commercial enterprises will mean acting more quickly – a complete statement of claim can be filed after 60 days. However, it is still longer than the ten-day notice period for slip and fall claims involving municipalities, as outlined in the Municipal Act. The initial draft of the Occupier’s Liability Act changes had the same 10-day period as the Municipal Act, but the final legislation extended the period for notification claims against private property or commercial defendants to 60 days.
Still, Harding says this change to slip-and-fall claims on private property will make it “more difficult” for injured people to make legitimate claims. The 60 days may not be enough to accurately reflect the true extent of damages or collect the necessary information, like who the defendants are and title searches.