Injured on Municipal Property? Act Fast




If you are injured on Municipal property in Ontario, there are immediate actions that must be taken failing which you may lose your legal rights to claim against the Municipality.



Beware of the 10-Day Notice Period:

In Ontario, the Municipal Act provides that written notice of a claim and of the injury complained of must be provided to the municipality within 10-days. Failure to comply with this may result in a complete bar to your lawsuit.

While I personally find this notice requirement to be quite draconian and in need of a greater expansion to give claimants more time to provide notice, the court’s are required to apply the law as written. That being said, there are some built in components to the law to allows for some flexibility.


Reasonable Excuse:

The law does carve out an exception to untimely notice if a judge finds that there is a “reasonable excuse”.

 Although the courts have attempted to give a broad and liberal interpretation to “reasonable excuse” to assist claimants getting over this strict notice requirement, courts will not generally to afford you this special treatment unless the delay is related to a physical or psychological reason. For example, being hospitalized or pumped up with excessive amounts of pain medication following the injury may persuade a court to forgive a claimant’s untimely notice beyond the 10-days.

On the other hand, untimely notice to the city because of ignorance of the notice requirement or one’s indecision to bring a lawsuit will not likely succeed as a “reasonable excuse”.


Take Away Lesson:

Following an injury on Municipal property, it is always prudent to err on the side of caution and send a notice letter in writing to the municipality within 10-days setting out the details of the fall including the date, location and your injuries.

Failure to do so may result in the Municipality challenging your right to sue them in the first place, which could result in the dismissal of your case and an award of legal costs against you.

Even if you are not sure about pursuing a claim in the future, sending timely notice can help protect your legal rights should you decide to claim later on.


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