premises liability laws in Ontario relating to slip and fall

Every property owner has a responsibility to keep their abodes safe and hazard free, not only for the people living there, but also for the visitors. However, in worst case when an injury occurs at a home, the responsibility falls on the homeowner for all the problems that the injured person has to go through.

And, in case of slip and fall, the most common question that pops up in mind is who’s responsible? This is where the legal term premises liability comes into picture.

The definition goes somewhat like this ‘The legal responsibility of property owners to ensure that the property is free from hazardous conditions and safe to say is known as premises liability.’ In simpler words, when some personal loss occurs to the person visiting a property, be it domestic or commercial, it becomes the responsibility of the owner of that property to cover the consequences of the problem faced by that person.

Now, the question that arises here is what all is included under hazardous conditions. Well, here is the list:

  • Tripping hazards
  • Slippery floors
  • Lighting of outdoor areas
  • And similar other conditions

When it comes to premise liability, apart from everything that’s mentioned above, here are some factors that play a key role:

  • Dangerous conditions such as a spill, or other slippery, hazardous surface caused by the negligence of home owner.
  • Ignorance and negligence by the property owner even after knowing about the condition. For instance, snow-covered walkway that wasn’t cleared in a proper time.
  • Even after being notified, the property owner didn’t correct the hazardous condition such as notifying of a broken step, they don’t fix it, pertaining to which a tenant or guest gets injured.

And, if we go by the law, then premise liability has been further categorized into:

  • Homeowner Liability, when you get injured at a property because of the homeowner’s negligence.
  • Renter and Landlord Liability, complicated situation when you fall on a property rented by someone, i.e. occupied by someone other than the homeowner.
  • Business Owner Liability, falling at commercial places such as restaurant, office building,a clothing store, movie theatre, or anything in between.

Considering the fact that suffering an injury can be extremely expensive and frustrating, especially when it happens because of another person’s negligence, it becomes important to understand that anyone can recover compensation for their medical bills, lost time at work, and more if he/she manages the situation properly and goes for liability claim.

So, here are some of the most common situations when you can become eligible for premise liability claim:

  1. For Home Owners Liability Claims: when you talk about home owner liability claim, here are the conditions that fall within code violation:
    • Unlit pathways or stairwells
    • Unmarked slippery lobbies and floors
    • Crumbling, unsafe stairs and handrails
    • Unmarked construction areas
    • Downspouts that pool water and create ice patches
    • Uneven curbs and walkways
    • Slippery entrances without weather mats
  2. For Business Owner Liability Claims – when we talk about business property liability claims, then here are the most common conditions wherein you can ask for the property owner for a claim:
    • Stairs with broken or missing handrails
    • Crumbling steps and warped, rotting wooden stairs
    • Improper maintenance of escalators and elevators
    • Snow and ice that has been neglected or left untreated
    • Insufficient lighting by stairs and curbs
    • Downspouts that pool water and create ice patches
    • Absence of slip-resistant mats on slick surfaces
    • Uneven curbs that lack proper warning
  3. For Rental Property Liability Claims: lastly when we talk about rental properties, then here are the most common situations that fall within the eligibility for getting a claim:
    • Untreated ice and snow in parking lots and curbs
    • Unsafe, warped, or broken stairs
    • Slick surfaces without warning signs
    • Unmarked construction areas
    • Lack of lighting within stairwells
    • Uneven curbs

That’s all about the situations in which you can apply for a slip and fall claim. Coming to the next question that might pop up in your mind to see what are the options.

What a person who slips and falls may be eligible for?

  • Medical Expenses – the first thing that comes along with incidence such as slips and falls is the injuries. And, in order to recover from those injuries, you need to go for medical treatment. So, the first thing that you can file for in your claim is the compensation for the medical expenses that you had to pay. No matter in which category does the premise liability claim falls, if you have faced hassle and paid money for medical expenses due to someone else’s negligence, then you are liable to get a compensation for the same in a legal manner.
  • Missed Salary Checks – and, if you have suffered serious injuries because of which you were unable to go to work, or carry out your business activities and had to face monetary loss, then all those conditions also fall within the premise liability claim. Under all the conditions mentioned above, you can apply for a financial claim and get reimbursed with the amount that you have lost. So, in case you face any slip and fall injury and have to suffer financial loss because of not being able to work, then a premise liability claim can come to the rescue.
  • Emotional Distress and Pain – last, but not the least, factor that comes here is the emotional distress that you had to go through. Emotional and mental trauma can contribute to cause ill-effects on both personal as well as professional life, and hence one can suffer huge losses because of these. This is the reason that Premise Liability Laws in Ontario have a solution for that as well. A person going for mental and emotional distress due to other property owner’s negligence can claim for pain and suffering loss as well.

Under all these conditions mentioned above, a person can apply for a premise liability claim and go to the legal institution for getting the appropriate compensation.

All that being said, as a claimant who is applying for these claims, there are certain important things besides all the factors mentioned above that one needs to keep in mind. What are those factors? Well, here is a sneak peek:

Whom to file a claim against?

The first and the foremost thing that you need to know is the correct information about who you are suing. This is imperative to prepare and serve your claim, and in order to enforce a judgment. And, by correct information what we mean to say here is that you need to know about the legal name of the person or business against which you are going to file the claim. In case of claim against commercial property or business, you need to have the exact name of the corporation. Having Ontario corporation number can also serve the purpose.

What is the evidence in favor of your claim?

Now, coming to the most important part, what is the evidence that you have? Evidence can be anything, from written document to any eye witnesses. Copies of documentation such as a contract, any payments, returned cheques, etc. or even a clear recollection of what happened can prove your cause and get you the claim. However, you must keep in mind that the other party is also able to respond to your claim and give evidence against your claim that may or may not affect the judgement.

Enough about the claims and related things, now let’s move to the next question.

How can a personal injury lawyer help you in all these conditions?

Here is a look at the answer to this question:

  1. The personal injury lawyer can guide about the institution, such as Small Claims Court, where you can sue the person or business. For instance, only a legal professional will able to tell you that Small Claims Court can help you with money or the return of personal property valued at $25,000.00. However, going to these courts for cases above the amount mentioned is also a good idea simply because they are quick, simple and less expensive.
  2. These attorneys can also help you with the location where you can file the case. For instance, when going for Small Claims Court, you can either go for location where the incident happened, where the party lives (business owner or home owner) or a place of court’s sitting (courtroom).
  3. Not just the location, but time also becomes important in such conditions. And, this is where the legal professional can be the guiding light. By helping you know about the time limit in which you can file the claim, according to the Limitations Act, a lawyer can save the day for you and get you ready for the claim within the specified legal time frame.
  4. Most important of all, under the guidance of a legal professional you can eventually get to know about the exact expenses that you will have to incur during the process of claim filing and other formalities associated with it. There are certain charges associated with claim filing such as:
    • Claim by an infrequent claimant
    • Notice of motion served on another party
    • Issuing summons
    • Fixing of a date for trial

Besides all these, there is certain amount of fee that you need to pay to the witnesses as well in order for them to travel and come to the court. (In case the witnesses require any interpreters, then you have pay for them separately).

So, when stuck in critical situation a legal professional can help you in all the ways mentioned above and help you to get the claim.

To end the entire discussion, we would like to put forward the list of legal resources that can help you with a Small Claims Court claim and help you get a compensation for the losses that you suffered. Here is a look at those resources:

  1. Law Help Ontario at Small Claims Court – if we talk about free lawyer services who can help you with these claims, then Pro Bono Law Ontario Duty Counsel is the one name that emerges on top. Offering limited services to the public at the Toronto Small Claims Court, these guys can be more than just your best friend in such situations.
  2. Law Society Referral Service – with the help of this service, you can find a name of a lawyer or paralegal in your vicinity. The professional can provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes, as per your convenience.

The importance of these services lies in the fact that you can always go to court for legal assistance, however, when it comes to filling up of forms and similar other conditions, you need to have an expert by your side which the court will not provide. And, this is where these legal services can come to your rescue.

Apart from that, there are numerous legal service providers out there in the market who can assist you with the process of filing a claim and similar other disputes, making the entire process a hassle free one for you. The choice is entirely yours.

After going through the article, I am sure you would have an answer to majority of the questions that might have been popping up in your mind about the premise liability claims. So, next time you feel perplexed about these claims and losses because of someone else’s negligence, then you must get in touch with a legal professional right away and explore about the options that stand in your favor for the claim.

After all, there is no point in facing trauma because of the negligence caused by someone else. And, why face so when there are legal options available to tackle the situation in your support. Isn’t it so?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip, trip or fall accident and needs top-level representation and care, please call slip and fall lawyers at
1 (844) 722-5246 or Book your FREE consultation.

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