Yes, you can sue someone for getting injured on their property. In Ontario, injured persons have the right to take legal action against a property owner should they be injured while on the premises. This type of claim is known as a ‘premises liability’ claim, and in order to be successful, the injured person must prove that the property owner breached their duty of care by failing to maintain reasonably safe premises and that this breach led to their injury.
At Wynperle Law, our personal injury lawyers are well-versed in personal injury law and the Occupiers’ Liability Act, so they will know exactly how to assess your situation. If it looks like you have a case, we can then give advice on what steps to take next.
This guide reviews everything you need to know about premises liability, so you know when to reach out for a free case evaluation.
What is the Legal Definition of Private Property?
Any property that the government doesn’t own is considered private. Aside from accidents occurring on government roads or buildings, you may have a premises liability case if you’ve sustained severe injuries due to a property owner’s negligence. This includes accidents on private roads, recreational property, parking lots, golf courses, backyard pools and residential property.
Private property owners have the right to decide whether others may use their property. For example, if the owners provide adequate warnings, a trespasser’s injuries may be treated differently in a court than if someone authorized to access the property was hurt. On the other hand, suppose you’ve been injured on someone else’s property. In that case, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer to determine if the property owner failed to provide reasonable care for the property and if they can be held responsible.
What Legal Obligations Does a Property Owner Have?
Property owners are responsible for the safety of anyone invited to use their property. They must keep the property free of known hazards and unsafe conditions. A hazardous condition could include:
- Broken stairs
- Slippery floors
- Inadequate lighting
- Poor security measures
- Unsupervised pool areas
- Uneven pavement
- Frozen surfaces
If the property owner is aware of a potentially dangerous condition, they must respond as soon as possible and warn visitors. For example, if the floors are slippery due to cleaning, proper signage must be present so that people can take extra caution when walking over them.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is the legal responsibility property owners have to take reasonable measures to make their property safe for visitors. Just because someone suffered injuries doesn’t make a property owner liable for a serious accident. Property owners are only held responsible when the property owner’s actions breach their duty of care.
Duty of care is a legal definition for actions experts consider reasonable. For instance, many slip-and-fall accidents occur on sidewalks that haven’t been shoveled or salted after winter storms. An owner might be held liable for injuries sustained in a serious accident if they didn’t remove snow or ice from their property but could be exonerated if they took adequate measures to ensure public safety.
When Can Property Owners Be Sued?
A business owner can be sued when someone suffers injuries resulting in considerable damages or injury, such as an accident that renders the accident victim unable to work or enjoy their usual quality of life. If the damages directly result from the owner’s negligence, the victim may bring a lawsuit against the property owner. It’s best to discuss the details of your case with a premises liability lawyer to determine if the owner violated the law before proceeding with a lawsuit.
What Types of Injuries Can Occur Due to Premises Liability?
Many potential hazards can create dangerous circumstances on a property. The owner is only liable when their actions are considered especially negligent, such as not making repairs after being notified of a safety concern. Some of the injuries caused by premises liability fall under the following categories.
Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip-and-fall accident can result from slippery floors, debris, structural problems or broken stairs. Your injury case could be different than someone else’s depending on your age, physical condition or other factors. For instance, seniors may suffer far more debilitating injuries from a fall than someone who is young and physically fit.
Tenant Security Liability
This type of incident involves inadequate security measures leading to crime on the premises. A tenant may report that the door to the building doesn’t have a proper locking mechanism, for example. Any resulting physical assaults on the property could be the owner’s fault if maintenance didn’t fix the specified door.
Damaged ceilings, awnings, doors or stairs could all pose risks to visitors if any of the building material falls onto someone below. The nature of these injuries is usually more severe because victims are struck on the head or neck, which may lead to long-term disabilities.
The presence of broken glass or sharp objects poses a security threat and safety hazard. It’s the responsibility of property owners to clear the property of these hazards as soon as possible to ensure public safety.
Reasonable measures must be taken to protect others if there’s a pool on the property. These measures include putting up a fence around the pool area, posting warnings if the pool is unsupervised, and ensuring that children can’t access the pool without adult supervision.
Health Code Violations
If the property doesn’t meet current building codes or the health department considers it in disrepair, ownership could be held liable for any injuries that result.
On some occasions, serious injuries could result in death. When this occurs, the victim’s family may be able to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the loss of income and companionship the victim provided their family.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering or permanent disability. Contact us today to learn more about your rights during your free consultation.