Maintenance of Ontario’s bridges and highways is supposed to be handled by local government bodies. If the responsible municipality fails to care for a given bridge or highway, the affected driver can sue the appropriate municipality.

Factors considered as such a lawsuit proceeds

The municipality’s prior knowledge of the problem: Had someone already reported a defect that needed to be fixed? If no such report had been received, there could be no basis for any claim regarding the municipality’s responsibility for a defect-related accident. If the municipality did know about the problem that caused a given accident, then the issue focuses on a different question: How quickly did the government body respond to the reports about a dangerous defect?

Local governments tend to move quite quickly, if some motorist has discovered a problem along a bridge or highway. That fact should not be ignored by any motorist that has thought about suing a specific government body, owing to its failure to maintain a highway’s surface or a bridge’s structure. The problem might get corrected before any concerned citizen has taken action.

How to proceed with making a claim against a municipality?

Put the complaint in writing. In that written complaint include details on the date when the defective highway/bridge was discovered. If the discovery resulted from the occurrence of an accident, report the date of the accident.

Make clear the location of the issue that triggered the sending of the complaint. Explain what happened, if anyone was injured as a result of the reported defect(s). Offer details on the nature of any injuries.

Make sure that your written complaint gets to the correct government official no more than 10 days after the date that has been stated in writing. If necessary, call a government office, or go online and seek information on the department in charge of maintaining the roads in that one local region.

A possible difficulty

It could be that the incident that you plan to report took place on a bridge that linked 2 different municipalities. In that case, it might be best to send a written complaint to offices in each of the 2 municipalities. Still, you could consult a lawyer, and see if performance of all that extra work was really necessary.

If you were to suffer the effects of a roadway’s defective condition at some point close to an election, your complaint might get seen by someone that is about to leave office. In that case, you would need to make sure that any newly-elected official saw your complaint. This would be another difficulty that might push you to consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Brampton. Obviously, you should search for an experienced lawyer.