POLL: Woman who slipped and fell on icy sidewalk hits city with $447,000 lawsuit

A Rivière-des-Prairies woman who was badly injured after slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk last year is suing the city for $447,000.

On the morning of Jan. 25, 2018, Nadya Mirarchi was on her way to a doctor's appointment when she fell on the icy sidewalk, breaking her ankle in three places. She spent six months in a cast after the accident, and needed two rounds of surgery to set the bones right again. A year later, she's unable to stand up straight for more than 15 minutes at a time, or walk for more than 20 minutes at a time.

The suit is asking she be compensated for the expenses she incurred, her husband's lost wages, and her ongoing pain and suffering.

The suit claims the city fielded numerous complaints from her neighbors about the dangerous state of the sidewalks in the days before the accident, but failed to act on those complaints by making the sidewalks passable. Even the ambulance workers who were called in to tend to her had to spread their own salt on the sidewalks to get to her.

Mirarchi's fall was caught on a neighbor's security camera.

City waited to launch snow removal operation

Days after Mirarchi's fall, mayor Valerie Plante publicly admitted the city took longer than it should have in launching a snow removal operation, in the hopes that above-freezing temperatures would take care of the snow and ice from the streets and sidewalks.

That month, 10.2 centimetres of snow fell on the 22nd, three days before the accident. Temperatures shot up above freezing on the 27th and 28th before plunging back into the minuses again on the 29th.

An investigation by La Presse suggests that while some people have managed to win similar cases in court, many others get rejected. The online news outlet pointed to a precedent-setting 1965 decision which stated that cities and towns simply can't protect "every inch and every foot of sidewalk at all times" — suggesting at the same time, that municipalities do have an obligation to do their due diligence in keeping streets passable.

In 2017, roughly 7 per cent of claims fielded by the city resulted in the claimant getting financial compensation.

Should Nadya Mirarchi get compensation from the city for her fall?