The frequency of personal injury incidents on municipal properties such as sidewalks and roads are increasing. Unfortunately, victims often do not report their injuries, either because they are unaware of who is at fault or of the limitation period to bring forth notice to the municipality. As such, they may miss the opportunity to receive fair compensation.

Ontario municipalities have a statutory duty to keep our roads and sidewalks in a reasonable state of repair and safety. When they fail in that duty and the result is a personal injury, the hurt party has the right to receive treatment and cost damages.

It is often assumed that most slip and fall incidents occur in winter months. However, personal injury occurrences, such as slip and falls on sidewalks, happen year-round. As the weather gets warmer and city crews launch their summer maintenance blitz of potholes, sidewalk and municipal property repairs, the chances of personal injuries are elevated.

Section 44(10) of the Municipal Act, 2001, stipulates that when such an incident occurs on municipal property, the municipality must be notified within 10 business days. If one fails to provide proper notice within the 10-day time limit, they can be barred from any potential claim against the municipality. Therefore, it is highly recommended that if you or someone that you know were injured on municipal property to seek legal counsel to assist with strict timelines and requirements.

This requirement to give 10-day notice to the municipality applies all year long. So, whether an incident occur in a winter or summer month, this notice period is still the same.

However, all is not lost if you miss this limitation period. In the most extraordinary of circumstances, an injured party is not barred from pursuing their action if they have reasonable and just cause for missing this period. Section 44(12) of the Act provides an exemption clause, which states that:

“Failure to give notice or insufficiency of the notice is not a bar to the action if a judge finds that there is reasonable excuse for the want or the insufficiency of the notice and that the municipality is not prejudiced in its defence”.

Consequently, it is important to note that although personal knowledge of the limitation period is a relevant factor when the court determines what constitutes a reasonable excuse, it is insufficient to stand alone. Thus, the best way to protect your rights is to speak to a lawyer as quickly as possible and the 10-day notice of your claim to the municipality.

If you believe that you may have a claim for personal injury, do not hesitate to contact Arkadiusz J. Empel at Empel Law, by dialing 416-479-8531 (ext. 101).


Po Polsku (In Polish)

Arkadiusz J. Empel urodził się w Polsce, w Katowicach. Jest biegły w języku polskim i gotowy pomóc kliętkom w sprawach lokalnych oraz zagranicznych. Aby zasięgnąć pomoc oraz porade w języku polskim, prosze zadzwonić pod number 416.479.8531 (ext. 101).