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Built playgrounds: Minefields of potential child injuries

The safety of property in Ontario is the responsibility of the owners or occupiers. They are obliged to ensure that their premises are reasonably free of hazards or dangers that could cause harm to others. Business establishments, private homeowners and even municipal governments have such obligations. While slip-and-fall incidents make up a significant number of civil claims against property owners every year, other hazards could cause serious injuries. Built playgrounds are examples of potentially hazardous areas at which equipment such as climbing bars, swings and slides all pose risks to children. Surfaces below the playground equipment should be covered with sand, wood chips, pea gravel, rubber mats or any other soft material instead of grass, gravel or dirt. All the equipment must be fitted with railings or other barriers to prevent children from falling, and they must have secure handrails. Hazards to look out for include small spaces and other strangling risks that might trap a child’s neck or head. These include the spaces between railings and between the steps of slides or other elevated areas. Sharp edges and protruding bolts can cause serious injuries, as could garbage, broken glass and other sharp objects. Parents in Ontario whose child suffered serious injuries at a playground on the property of someone else might be entitled to pursue financial relief through the civil justice system of the province. If a child is severely injured at a young age, he or she could suffer life-long consequences. Obtaining monetary recovery for past and future financial and emotional damages might be best left in the hands of an experienced premises liability lawyer.

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Hosts could be liable for injuries caused by intoxicated guests

‘Tis the time to be jolly, and alcohol is served at almost every social gathering in Ontario. Hosts and servers could land themselves in a lot of trouble if they allow a guest to overindulge and that person then causes injuries to someone else — even after his or her departure. A host would be wise to keep a close eye on guests to not serve them past the point of intoxication to avoid being held liable in a premises liability lawsuit. Hosts might avoid such charges if they get to know which of the guests are the designated drivers and make sure that non-alcoholic beverages are available for those individuals. Making sure that guests get something to eat, and serving tea, coffee, water or other non-alcoholic drinks for an hour or so before guests start to depart might be a good idea. However, there will likely always be someone who does not know his or her limits, and having an extra bedroom ready or cash to pay for a cab might be smart. Individuals who could be held liable along with the host for any injuries in cases in which alcohol plays a contributing role include servers who fail to stop serving guests who appear intoxicated. The occupier of the premises, which could be the person owning or renting the property, is responsible for protecting guests from harm. Employers are responsible for the safety of employees at staff parties, and the same applies to the sponsor of a gathering at which alcohol is served. Anyone in Ontario who has to cope with the consequences of car accident injuries that were caused by a drunk driver might pursue financial relief. An experienced personal injury lawyer can launch an independent investigation to determine whether other parties might have negligently contributed to the blood alcohol level of the impaired driver. Those individuals could also be named as defendants in a civil lawsuit in pursuit of financial and emotional damage recovery.

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Can you recover damages after suffering slip-and-fall injuries?

Property owners in Ontario have a duty to take reasonable care to keep their properties safe. Consumers visiting stores and couriers, repair technicians, delivery persons and babysitters visiting private residences must be protected from suffering injuries in slip-and-fall or other accidents. Property owners who fail to take due care might be held liable for damages. Areas that could pose dangers include walkways, driveways and stairs, and many more hazards need attention during the winter months. Walkways must be free of accumulated snow and ice, with particular attention to surface gaps or cracks and elevation changes. Wet floors and tiling also pose slip hazards that must be addressed, and wet, slippery fall leaves can be equally hazardous. Inadequately lit areas might also be dangerous. If a lawsuit is filed against a property owner, the court will consider specific criteria, one of which is whether the danger was foreseeable and whether it existed for an unreasonable length of time. Was the threat preventable, and how difficult would preventative measures have been? The court will also determine whether the property owner’s conduct was within acceptable practice standards. Seeking recovery of damages through the Ontario civil justice system could be a complicated process, which might be best left in the hands of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Legal counsel can assess the circumstances that led to the injuries and determine the viability of a lawsuit. The lawyer can then provide valuable support and guidance throughout ensuing legal proceedings in pursuit of relief for financial and emotional damages sustained.

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