Under the Occupier’s Liability Act, any property owner or occupier of premises or land in Ontario must take reasonable care to safeguard those lawfully entering the property. The critical phrase here is “reasonable care.” While a landlord is not expected to clear away ice and snow all day long, leaving it to accumulate may not be reasonable. When the court determines liability in a premises liability lawsuit, it will establish whether the hazard was foreseeable and whether reasonable steps were taken to eliminate dangers that allegedly led to damages such as financial losses and pain and suffering.
While weather-related hazards are prevalent at this time of the year, premises liability lawsuits can also arise in cases of slippery or wet floors, poor lighting or dangerous staircases with missing handrails. Also damaged flooring or walkways, unexpected changes in elevation — not only inside but also outside in parking lots. If a visitor to the premises falls after encountering a slip or trip hazard and suffers injuries, the victim may file a claim against the property owner.
Damages that an injured person could claim include medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income and any other harm suffered. If the incident caused injuries that prevent the victim from returning to work for some time, such as a fractured leg, lost income could be sought. Any level of suffering can also be added to the claim, along with the loss of life enjoyment.
However, establishing negligence on the part of the property owner or occupier to show liability for damages such as pain and suffering can be a challenging endeavour. For this reason, many victims of slip-and-fall accidents in Ontario seek the support and guidance of an experienced premises liability lawyer. A lawyer can make sure that evidence is preserved and that legal deadlines are met in pursuing financial relief on behalf of the plaintiff.