Making a Claim Against the City - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Friday, 15 September 2017

Making a Claim Against the City

#AskMichaelBlois

As a general rule, if you are injured due to the negligence of another person or entity, you have the right to make a claim for compensation against that party. If the entity you wish to sue is a city or municipality in Ontario, you must speak to a personal injury lawyer, and you must do so right away. Waiting could leave you with no recourse and without compensation.

The Ontario Municipal Act and how it controls your claim

Whether your claim for compensation is for personal injuries or for damage to your personal property, such as your car, the process of filing a claim against a municipality in Ontario is controlled by the Municipal Act. If you slip and fall on your neighbor’s icy sidewalk, you should see a lawyer right away, but you have up to two years to sue the property owner. When the city is responsible for the sidewalk, there is a step you must take right away.

If your fall happened on a sidewalk maintained by the city of Toronto, you had better get to your lawyer’s office immediately because you only have 10 days from the date of your accident to serve the city with written notice of the claim. Yes, you read that correctly, your lawyer has only 10 days from the accident to send a formal, written notice to the municipality by registered mail to protect your rights.

Failing to comply with the law by giving notice to the city or other municipality within the 10 days might destroy your claim for compensation. Judges have the authority to forgive late notice as long as there is a reasonable excuse offered for failing to follow the legal requirements, and there is no prejudice to the city. The best course of action, however, is to file the required notice within the 10 days and not be forced to seek relief from the courts.

Different standards depending on the type of claim

When an accident occurs and you file a notice, the city or municipality will conduct an investigation to determine if it was at fault. Negligence on the part of the municipality is required when the claim is for damage to personal property, such as the following:

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Bicycles
  • Buildings
  • Fences

If the claim is for personal injuries from falling on a snow covered or icy sidewalk maintained by the municipality, the standard rises to gross negligence in order to recover compensation. Cases decided by the Supreme Court of Canada have defined gross negligence as being far greater than ordinary negligence. Whether gross negligence exists on the part of a city has been left to a review of the facts on a case by case basis. However, it appears as though knowledge of the condition by the municipality is a factor, but not necessarily a controlling factor, in cases in which gross negligence has been proven.

What to do to protect your right to sue

If you have been injured or suffered damage or losses to property, you should take pictures of the condition causing your accident; note the date, time and location; and obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses. This information can be used by your lawyer to prepare the written notice to send to the city or municipality.

Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately for claims against the city

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond know the laws pertaining to claims against municipalities and cities for property damage and personal injuries and will file the notice required under the law to protect your right to sue for compensation. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Remember, delaying could cost you the right to compensation. Our consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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