60 Days to Notify: How Bill 118 Has Been Changing Personal Injury Claims

Denis Grigoras

Denis is a lawyer who draws on his background in complex legal disputes and transactions to problem-solve for his clients.

In Ontario, the Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2020, often known as Bill 118, made substantial modifications to the filing process for personal injury claims caused by snow or ice on private property. The modifications to the Occupiers’ Liability Act (OLA) imposed new notification requirements on claimants.

Rising insurance costs for snow and ice management companies as a result of an increase in slip-and-fall lawsuits were the primary impetus behind these modifications. Within 60 days after the date of their injury, those who had been injured by snow or ice were required to provide written notification of their claim to the property owner, occupier, or independent contractor (such as a snow removal firm) responsible for maintaining the property. The former provision allowed claims to be made up to two years after the incident.

The shortened notice period was intended to provide occupiers and/or snow removal contractors additional time to evaluate and manage possible claims. This is advantageous for the injured party and the property owner since it permits a prompt investigation and collection of evidence, which can result in a quicker resolution of the claim.

Notably, for injuries resulting from snow or ice on municipal land, the requirement to notify the municipality within 10 days of the date of the incident remains in effect.

The notification must be in writing and contain the date, time, and place of the occurrence, as well as a description of the injuries received. The owner, occupier, or independent contractor responsible for maintaining the property must be personally served with the notification or receive it via registered mail. To comply with the changes, a party needs only to serve one of the owners/occupiers or independent contractors.

There are, however, exceptions to the 60-day notice requirement. The limitation period does not apply, for instance, if the individual dies as a result of the accident or if there is a “reasonable justification” for failing to provide notice within 60 days.

Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Amendment Act, 2020, brought about major changes to the filing process for personal injury claims arising from snow or ice on private land. The new notice requirements were intended to reduce the escalating insurance costs for snow and ice management businesses and streamline the claim filing process for all parties.

It’s important to note that the new notice period requirements were significant. It is crucial for legal practitioners and property owners to be aware of these new rules, as these developments have had (and will continue to have) an effect on how personal injury claims are addressed.

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