Municipal Liability in Personal Injury Cases

Woman falling on stairs

In Ontario, municipalities can be held liable for personal injuries under certain circumstances. Liability can arise from various incidents including slip and falls on municipal property, motor vehicle accidents involving municipal vehicles, negligent maintenance of roads or sidewalks causing injury, injuries resulting from inadequate lighting or security, injuries resulting from unsafe road construction or maintenance, and injuries resulting from the failure of municipal employees to properly maintain or supervise public areas.

As with most other personal injury claims, a claim can be brought against a municipality within two years of the accident. However, section 10 of the Municipal Act, 2001, SO 2001, c 25, stipulates that you must also provide written notice of your claim to a municipality within 10 days of injury. This is a very short timeframe and can impact your ability to pursue a claim, so it is imperative to seek counsel immediately if you believe you were injured as a result of the negligence of a municipality or one of their agents.

Municipalities owe a duty of care to the public to ensure that their properties, roads, and facilities are reasonably safe. This duty includes taking reasonable steps to maintain and repair municipal infrastructure to prevent foreseeable hazards. For example, if a municipality with jurisdiction over highways or bridges fails to keep them in a reasonable state of repair pursuant to s. 44(2) of the Municipal Act, 2001, then they may be liable for any damages a person sustains as a result of the municipality’s failure.

The law offers some protections for municipalities in Ontario that exempt them from liability in certain circumstances. For example, pursuant to section 44(8) of the Municipal Act, 2001, no claims for damages shall be brought against a municipality caused by the presence or absence of any wall, fence, rail or barrier on or along any highway, or by any construction, obstruction, erection, sitting, or arrangement of any earth, rock, tree, or other material or object adjacent to or on any untravelled portion of the highway. Pursuant to section 44(9) of the Municipal Act, 2001, no municipality will be found liable for a personal injury caused by snow or ice on a sidewalk except in cases of gross negligence.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of the negligence of a municipality, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact our team at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LLP for a free consultation.

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