When someone is at fault in causing an accident, an injured party has the right to make a claim for compensation. Things are not so simple when the party responsible for causing your injuries is a city or other municipality. The law gives you up to two years to file a lawsuit for personal injuries, but if a municipality is
Municipal obligation for roads and bridges
Under the Ontario Municipal Act, bridges and highways fall under the jurisdiction of the government. Repairs and maintenance required to keep the road or bridge safe are the responsibility of the particular municipal entity with jurisdiction over them.
You have the right to file a lawsuit against a municipality for failing to fulfill its legal obligation regarding repair and maintenance. The municipality is not responsible if it did not have knowledge of the unsafe condition or could reasonably have been expected to know of the unsafe condition. It is also not responsible if reasonable steps were taken to make repairs or correct an unsafe condition or if the municipality met minimum standards existing at the time for the condition of roads and bridges.
Different rules under the Ontario Municipal Act apply to municipal obligations for snow or ice accumulations on sidewalks. Unless there is evidence proving the municipality was guilty of gross negligence, it is not liable to pay compensation to someone who slips and falls or is otherwise injured.
Satisfying the 10-day notice rule
Assuming you have evidence proving negligence or, in the case of an accident on a sidewalk, gross negligence against a municipality, your lawyer cannot simply file a lawsuit. The law requires that you give the municipality a written notice of your claim that includes at least the following information about it:
- Date and time of the occurrence
- Description of the occurrence and of your injuries
The written notice must be served upon or mailed by registered mail to the clerk of the municipality within 10 days of the date of your injury. If your notice is not served on time or does not contain the information required under the law, you could lose your right to sue.
Failure to serve the 10-day notice is not a bar to a lawsuit in cases in which the party with the right to sue dies as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident. It is also not a bar if your lawyer can establish that you had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the law and no prejudice was caused to the municipality’s ability to defend against the claim.
Ontario personal injury lawyers
If you are injured as a result of someone violating any of the new laws, the personal injury attorneys at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience handling claims for compensation on behalf of people injured through fault on the part of other parties. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, speak to one of our lawyers right away to learn more about your rights and how to protect them. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We have offices located throughout Ontario offering free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims and their families.