Find Out If You Are Protected Under Ontario Premises Liability Law - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Find Out If You Are Protected Under Ontario Premises Liability Law


The concept of premises liability, holding the owner or those in control of real property responsible when a guest or other person on the property is injured, offers protection for individuals injured due to unsafe or dangerous conditions. The failure of owners to properly maintain their property can make them liable for the payment of compensation to someone who is injured, but there are exceptions to just how far the law in Ontario goes in protecting people when they are on someone else’s property.

Common premises liability cases

The term “premises liability” is a broad one encompassing a number of different ways in which a person can be injured when on the property of others, including:

  • Slip and fall: These types of cases can be caused by wet floors, loose carpets, loose or broken tiles, broken concrete, ice or snow conditions or the use of the wrong type of wax on floors.
  • Swimming pool accidents: Diving boards, drownings where there is no lifeguard on duty, defective pool equipment and failure to install fencing to keep children out of pool areas are some examples of causes of swimming pool accidents.
  • Defective property conditions: Poorly lit stairways, loose or broken handrails, improperly installed electrical wiring and structures built in violation of building codes can give rise to premises liability claims by visitors who are injured.
  • Dog attacks: Under the provisions of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, someone injured when attacked by a dog has the right to sue the owner for damages. The owner of the dog cannot avoid liability by claiming he or she was unaware of the propensity of the animal to bite. In essence, this eliminates a defence available in some jurisdictions in which a dog-bite victim must prove the owner knew the dog might attack. This is the so-called “first-bite rule.”

Amusement park rides, fires and toxic fumes are other circumstances under which property owners might be held liable for injuries suffered by a person lawfully on the property.

Ontario law pertaining to premises liability

Owners of property in Ontario can be liable for injuries to people on their premises under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. The law makes a person in actual possession of property or someone in control of its maintenance and upkeep responsible for injuries suffered by individuals lawfully on the property. The law, however, does not extend protection to everyone. There are exceptions depending upon what the injured party was doing or how the person came to be on the property, including:

  • Criminal acts: Someone entering property with the intent of committing a criminal act is deemed under the law to assume all risks associated with the property.
  • Trespassers: A person trespassing without the knowledge or permission of the owner or occupier of the property assumes the risks associated with the property.
  • Risks freely assumed: There are certain types of properties having known risks associated with their use. Individuals entering hockey arenas, for example, do so knowing that a puck could make its way into the crowd during play and cause injuries.

Regardless of why someone is on another person’s property, the owner is prohibited from creating a condition designed and intended to cause injury. For example, an owner who digs a pit in the backyard of his home and installs spikes at the bottom to injure trespassers could be liable if someone is hurt.

Experienced Toronto premises liability lawyers can help

If you have been injured on the property owned by another person or entity, you might be entitled to compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have the knowledge and experience to determine if you have a claim against a property owner. We offer free consultations, so you can have your case evaluated and find out what we can do for you. Contact us 24/7 by calling our injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit us at our website.

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