Situated in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country, this not-for-profit camp is the perfect place for children, youth and adults to grow in confidence and learn new skills. The camp welcomes outdoor education, retreat and conference groups, offering overnight accommodations, meeting facilities and outdoor experiential education programs.
One of its visitors served a Statement of Claim on the camp, alleging that they slipped and fell on a patch of ice resulting in a significant ankle fracture.
The slip and fall
The claimant, a teacher attending camp with a group of students, slipped and fell on an uneven pathway covered in ice and snow close to their cabins. This was the fourth time the teacher had exited the cabin area that morning. As a result of the fall, the claimant suffered a fractured left ankle requiring multiple surgeries to reset the fracture. The claimant ended up developing Regional Chronic Pain Syndrome.
The claimant commenced an action alleging, amongst other things, that the outdoor path, a rustic dirt path, was not properly maintained and no salt was applied to prevent the slip and fall from occurring. As a result of the injury sustained, and despite a certain level of contributory negligence, the claimant sought significant damages from the camp owner operator.
A thorough defence
We retained a specialist team to defend the claim that included our in-house claims specialist, independent adjuster, engineer, medical experts, and legal counsel. An interesting aspect of this claim was that the claimant’s lawyer argued the amounts the claimant had received from a collateral health insurance provider should not be deducted from the damages sought, and the amount being claimed was well in excess of $1,000,000. Our specialist claims team conducted legal research on this issue and took the position that failing to deduct these amounts from any future settlement would be contrary to the principle of insurance and would allow the claimant to not only “double-dip” but to benefit from the claim.
After attempting to resolve this matter at various opportunities, including at mediation, we proceeded to present our respective cases before a pre-trial judge.
We were successful in arguing the amounts received from the collateral benefits carrier should be deducted from the damages sought. In addition, we were able to successfully argue a high level of contributory negligence due to the fact the claimant was wearing inappropriate footwear at the time of the loss and had travelled this route on three prior occasions that morning, without incident.
A settlement was reached in the amount of $120,000.
After settlement of the claim, our team worked with the camp to update their risk control communication to the public to highlight the importance of wearing appropriate clothing and footwear for the season when attending the camp.
Slips, Trips & Falls
Did you know that slips, trips, and falls result in thousands of work-related injuries every year? Learn more about the simple steps that you can take to better protect your employees, volunteers and others who may visit your premises.