Wolfe Lawyers Personal Injury Law
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Things To Do After A Fall

There are some basic things you should do after you have been injured as a result of a slip or trip and fall - even if you are not certain that you have a claim. It is much easier to collect important information and take certain steps at the outset then to try and do it weeks or months after the fall.

  1. Provide Notice Immediately: if you think you have slipped or tripped on City property, notify the City of the circumstances right away (i.e., date, time, and location of fall along with a brief description of your injuries). Most City clerks have email addresses and/or facsimile numbers so written notice can be given this way. This is essential since the Municipal Act, 2001 requires that notice be given to the City within 10 days of the incident. There are some limited circumstances in which this notice period can be extended, but it's better to avoid that problem altogether if possible.

  1. Precisely Identify the Location of the Fall: as time goes by (even just hours or days) the accuracy of our memories generally fade. It is typically essential to precisely identify the location of a slip or trip and fall in the legal context. So make sure to gather as much information as you can about the location of your fall - and do it as soon as you can. This includes the date and time the fall occurred, the street or intersection, the municipal address, and any unique characteristics that might help pinpoint the location - such as the location of doorways, planters, traffic lights, bicycle stands, and so on.

  1. Preserve Your Footwear: footwear in a slip or trip and fall is evidence in a lawsuit. The property owner will often argue that the injured person was wearing inappropriate footwear at the time of the incident in order to avoid being found at fault (e.g., high heels in the middle of winter on a sidewalk during a storm). So it is important to stop using the footwear you were in at the time of the incident and bag those shoes or boots for future inspection. Even if, for example, you were wearing proper winter boots when you slipped on ice, if you continue to use those boots for months or years after, the sole will wear down over time and may not help you as much as they should in resolving your claim.

  1. Take Photographs: at times it is simply not practical to take photographs of where you fell. For example, you may be in excruciating pain and require immediate emergency medical assistance. Taking a photograph is the last of your concerns. However, at other times taking a photograph (or having someone else do so) of the location of the fall is possible - and this can prove to be extremely helpful in resolving the claim at some point down the line. Even returning to the scene of the fall several days later to take photographs can be quite helpful - particularly if the cause of your fall remains present (for example, a broken step, a missing interlock brick, or a crumbling curb). It is best to take many photographs of the area, including close up and wide angle shots, and shots from different vantage points, in order to provide the viewer with an accurate understanding of the circumstances giving rise to the fall.

  1. Collect Witness Information: if someone witnessed your slip or trip and fall, make sure to obtain their contact information (full name, address, and telephone number). A witness' evidence as to what occurred can be quite powerful and, much like photographs, can go a long way toward quickly resolving a claim.

Giving Notice After Falling On Municipal Property

The law in Ontario provides specific procedures for actions brought against a City or Municipality. Clients often find themselves confused by these rules which can create delay and subsequent legal hurdles for potential claims.

Giving Notice:
First and foremost, before suing a municipality you must give notice within 10 days of the incident. Notice must be done in writing and given to the clerk of the municipality. The information that must be included in the notice must meet certain legal requirements. It is best to seek the assistance of a lawyer in preparing the notice and this should be done immediately.

You’ve failed to Give Notice:
There are two circumstances where an injured person would not be required to give notice within the 10 days: (1) the injured person dies; and (2) if a judge determines that there was a reasonable excuse for the "want or the insufficiency of the notice and that the municipality is not prejudiced in its defence."

Claims against municipalities often involve maintenance failures. The typical case is a slip or trip and fall while walking on a damaged sidewalk. These cases can be especially difficult. It is important to seek out proper legal representation. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience in these types of claims. We understand the predicament you are in after sustaining injuries; that ten days is a short amount of time to provide notice; and that your health is of upmost importance. Wolfe Lawyers will ensure that your claim is dealt with professionally and correctly.
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Happy Halloween!

Trick or treat!

It's that spooky time of year again! Children of all ages love Halloween (and by "all ages" we mean adults too!). While everyone wants to have fun, it's worthwhile to take some basic precautions to help ensure the safety of our children. The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs have some great tips to this end. This includes incorporating a flashlight or glow stick into your child's costume, instructing children to walk instead of run, trick or treating along one side of the street and only crossing at an intersection or designated crosswalk, removing trip hazards from your home's entrance, and turning on a light to improve visibility.

Click here to read the Association's full list of suggestions.

Shoulder Injuries From Slip and Fall Accidents

There are many injuries that are possible when you are involved in a slip-and-fall accident. The way that you land and the effects of the jarring motion might lead to shoulder separation. This is a painful condition that can range from minor to severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the shoulder's structures.

A severe shoulder separation involves the ligaments around the shoulder being torn. In this case, the separated shoulder would be easily noticed by looking at the area. A mid-grade shoulder separation occurs when there is some misalignment in the joint due to a slight tear or sprain to the ligaments. A mild shoulder separation occurs when one ligament is sprained and the injury isn't noticed externally. Typically, an x-ray of a mild separation would appear normal.

The treatment for a separated shoulder depends on the extent of the injury and the effects it is having on the patient. Non-surgical treatments are usually preferred; however, if the injury is severe or the pain is persistent after the injury, surgery might be necessary.

Non-surgical treatments include using ice packs, slings and medications while the area heals. Other treatments might also be necessary.

One thing that is universal for shoulder separations is that rehabilitation is required. The goals of rehabilitation are to get back the flexibility, range of motion and strength.

Seeking compensation for a shoulder separation after a slip-and-fall accident might be something to consider. This could help you to get the financial backing you need to afford the rehabilitation and medical treatments that are recommended as part of the healing process.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, "Shoulder Separation," accessed Sep. 23, 2016.

Can I Injure My Tailbone in a Slip-and-Fall Accident?

Falling onto the ground often means that you are going to land on your buttocks. While some people can fall in that manner and not suffer from an injury, it is possible that you could injure your tailbone. Some people might not realize just how much a tailbone injury can affect them until they actually suffer this type of injury.

What types of injuries might occur to the tailbone?

You might suffer from a bruised tailbone, as well as a broken or fractured tailbone. All injuries to the tailbone can lead to pain when you sit, pain in the upper buttocks area and pain in the lower back. You might also notice swelling or skin bruising on the area at the base of the spine. Pain when having a bowel movement can also occur after a tailbone injury.

How long do tailbone injuries take to heal?

If you have a bruise, it can take around four weeks to heal. If you have a fracture or break, it can take eight to twelve weeks to heal. In some cases, surgery might be necessary to remove part of your tailbone. Generally, you will have to wait until at least six months after the injury before you are able to have this surgery done.

If you suffer from a tailbone injury because of a fall, you might not be prepared for the time you have to miss from work. That loss of income might be devastating. Seeking compensation from the person liable for the fall can help to reduce the financial impact that the injury has on your life.

Source: MedlinePlus, "Tailbone trauma - aftercare", accessed July 08, 2016.
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create a lawyer-client relationship.

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