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Slip and Fall Near Car Not “Accident” for SABS Coverage

In Namin v. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, 2022 CanLII 70251 (ON LAT), Vice-Chair Maedel of the Licence Appeal Tribunal held that an incident wherein the applicant slipped and fell on snow and ice after exiting her vehicle was not an “accident” under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.

The description of the incident is as follows:

[5]        On December 7, 2019, the 53-year-old applicant drove her Honda CR-V to an address in Aurora, Ontario, with the intention of viewing the residence for sale with her real estate agent. She was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle.

[6]        After arriving at the property, she stopped the vehicle in the shared common driveway between the town-home style units, placed it in park, and turned the engine off. After waiting for approximately two minutes, she received a telephone call from her real estate agent. Her agent arrived and parked on the street in front of the residence.

[7]        Prior to parking her vehicle, the applicant observed snow on the ground on the asphalt driveway. The driveway was not shovelled nor salted.

[8]        The applicant was seated in the driver’s seat, opened the car door with her left hand, and placed her right hand on the door, placing both feet on the ground and stood up on the driveway.

[9]        With her right hand on the driver’s side door, she stepped out of the way of the driver’s side door in order to close it. She was facing the residence when she tried to close the driver’s side door of the vehicle. After closing the door, she intended on walking towards the front door of the residence. She did not have any articles or bags in her hand when she exited the vehicle.

[10]        As she tried to close the door, she slipped and fell on ice that was underneath the snow on the driveway. She fell onto her left side. She did not impact the vehicle during her fall.

There is two-part test in determining whether an incident is an “accident”:

  • Did the incident arise out of the use or operation of an automobile?
  • Did this activity directly cause the impairment?

The first stage is a determination of whether the incident involves the “ordinary and well-known activities to which automobiles are put”. The second stage then requires the adjudicator to determine if these “ordinary and well-known activities” were the direct cause of the impairments.

Vice-Chair Maedel was satisfied that the applicant met the first part of the test but held that the applicant did not meet the second part of the test, stating:

Slip and fall incidents that occur within close proximity of a motor vehicle after an occupant has exited and ceased using the vehicle are not a foreseeable risk that should otherwise be covered by contracts of automobile insurance. In this case, I am satisfied that the risk associated with using a vehicle had shifted to the risk of standing or walking on icy ground just prior to her fall.

Therefore, the applicant is not entitled to receive statutory accident benefits from her automobile insurer.