Usually, after you have been injured due to an accident caused by another, the road toward obtaining compensation is often rather clear cut since you know who to sue. But when the one to blame is a municipality or city, things quickly gain in complexity.
Under normal circumstances, you have exactly two years throughout which you can file your personal injury lawsuit. Lawsuits against municipalities, however, give you ten days following the accident during which you have to file a notice. If you file to meet this deadline, you will lose your right to file a lawsuit against them.
The Municipalities Obligations In Regards To Bridges And Roads
In Ontario, the Municipal Act dictates that both highways and bridges are within the jurisdiction of the local government, meaning that it is a requirement to keep citizens safe by performing scheduled maintenance and repairs.
This means that, if an injury is sustained do to badly maintained or damaged bridges or roads, the plaintiff or their Personal Injury Lawyer in Richmond Hill is entitled to sue the municipal whose jurisdiction the bridge or road is under. That is, unless the municipality was unaware of the dangerous conditions, or could not have reasonably been expected to be aware of it. Furthermore, if the municipality has already taken reasonable steps to amend the unsafe condition, or has already met the local minimum standard of safety, then they can also not be held accountable.
In regards to snow and ice on public sidewalks, different rules apply as stated in the Municipal Act. Therein it is said that, unless the plaintiff can provide evidence to prove gross negligence, the municipality cannot be held liable, and does thus not owe any compensation to the victims of slip and falls.
Providing Ten Days’ Notice
Should the plaintiff have sufficient evidence to establish the municipality guilty of (gross) negligence, then there is still hurdles to be overcome. For one, the plaintiff’s attorney will not be able to file a lawsuit against the municipality as they would against a regular citizen. Instead, they will need to provide a notice to the municipality which includes certain information, including the time and date of the accident, the exact location of where it took place, how the accident occurred, and which injuries were sustained by the plaintiff.
This notice will then need to be mailed within the first ten days after the accident to the municipality’s clerk by registered mail. Failure to serve the notice on time, or failure to provide all the required information could mean the loss of the right to sue the municipality.