Sidewalk Disrepair Leads to $107,765 Settlement for Injured Woman

By Roger Foisy on March 10th, 2014

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently awarded a $107,765 settlement to Glenda Grayling following a fall on November 25, 2009 on a Caledonia city sidewalk.

Glenda and Kevin Grayling alleged that Mrs. Grayling’s fall was caused by the defendant’s negligence. The defendant in the case was The Corporation of the County of Haldimand, responsible for sidewalk maintenance at the time of the incident.

On November 25, 2009, Mrs. Grayling stubbed her toe due to the difference in height between two slabs of the Caledonia sidewalk. Doing so caused her to take several quick steps forward and fall on her right arm.

A small elevation difference between sidewalk slabs is not always considered “non-repair”, otherwise the city would be responsible for every pedestrian walking on the sidewalks. However, Haldimand County guidelines classify a sidewalk as hazardous if a “major” defect of over one inch exists.

Justice Thomas Lofchik concluded a trip hazard existed, and that the height difference between the two panels was between three-quarters of an inch to one and one quarter inches.

The slip and fall incident resulted in a fracture in Mrs. Grayling’s upper arm at the rotator cuff. Later, an ultrasound discovered a full thickness tear in her rotator cuff. The injury impacted her ability to do her job, as well as tasks around the house.

According to the Justice Lofchik, “the current state of her injury appears to be more or less permanent, as are the significant discomfort and disabilities which the injury causes. … Mrs. Grayling is not able to maintain both work and household responsibilities due to her arm/shoulder strain and fatigue.” 

Due a combination of the sidewalk’s state of disrepair and the reasonable expectation for pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings, the Justice Lofchik found the city and Mrs. Grayling each 50% liable.

Mrs. Grayling’s settlement breaks down as follows:

  • $50,000 for general damages
  • $144,530 for future care costs
  • $9,000 for loss of income to date
  • $12,000 for loss of future income

The total is $215,530, which is then reduced by 50% for “contributory negligence”, leaving Mrs. Grayson with the total due of $107,765.

Click here to see the full case.

We have seen many cases where plaintiffs recover damages for slip and fall or trip and fall injuries – if they can prove that their injuries are the result of the property owner’s negligence. Beyond uneven sidewalks, other potential causes of slip and fall injuries are snow or ice covered driveways/sidewalks/parking lots, poorly designed staircases, stairs without railings, poor lighting conditions, and many others. If injuries are serious, it is important to seek funds for the appropriate care.

>> Roger R. Foisy is an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer. If you have been injured, his team will help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us for immediate support and a free consultation.

Further Reading
Understanding Your Legal Options for Accidental Injuries in Ontario

Using the PQRST to Accurately Describe Pain to Your Doctor [Video]
Pedestrian Death Review Calls for Pedestrian-Friendly Roads

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