What you need to know about Ontario premises liability - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

What you need to know about Ontario premises liability


The sight of someone slipping and falling during a scene in a movie or television show can be funny, but there is nothing funny about the injuries produced in real-life slip-and-fall accidents. Accidents resulting in concussions, fractures and other serious injuries caused by icy or broken sidewalks, loose carpeting, broken floor tiles or other conditions caused by a property owner’s failure to provide proper maintenance and repairs are within a category of personal injury law known as premises liability claims.

What is premises liability?

If you are injured at someone’s home or place of business, you could have a claim for compensation against the owner or party in control of the property under the legal principle of premises liability. The Occupiers’ Liability Act imposes a duty of care on owners and occupiers to maintain and care for their properties to ensure the safety of anyone entering them.

A common application of premises liability to hold a property owner or occupier, such as a tenant, responsible for injuries a person suffers in an accident has to do with stores and businesses. For instance, a shopper has the right to be reasonably safe from harm caused by conditions existing at store caused by the failure of the owner of the building or the business occupying the store as a tenant to repair and maintain it. Conditions that might result from a failure to repair and maintain premises include the following:

  • Broken sidewalks
  • Loose rugs or torn carpeting
  • Debris left on the floor
  • Loose floor boards or tiles
  • Broken stairs and railings
  • Poor or missing lighting at entryway
  • Poorly lit parking lots or parking facilities

Premises includes more than just buildings. The law defines premises as lands and structures, including ships, trains, vehicles and airplanes. An injury caused by a condition that was not corrected or repaired by the owner or occupier could entitle the injured party to filing a claim for compensation against the party having the duty to maintain the premises.

Limitations for trespassers and criminals

A trespasser entering premises without permission of the owner or occupier assumes the risk of being injured. The same rule holds true for someone entering someone’s property to commit a criminal act.

There could be other limitations on the duty a property owes to people coming on to his or her property. There are certain risks that you assume when you enter upon someone’s property. For example, if you play ice hockey at a skating rink, you assume the risk of being injured by participating in the sporting activity. You do not assume the risk of being injured by a dangerous condition the owner of the rink allowed to develop and cause you to be injured.

Proving an owner or occupier is responsible

The law does not hold the owner of a building responsible under premises liability law for risks that he or she cannot foresee. For example, if a stray dog wandered into a backyard during a children’s party without the homeowner’s knowledge and bit a child, the homeowner could not have foreseen such a danger. However, a homeowner might be responsible if he or she saw the dog and took no steps to get it out of the yard before it endangered the children.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation by people injured through the negligence of others. If you suffer an injury on premises owned by another party, you might have a premises liability claim for compensation and should speak to one of our lawyers. Call the Diamond & Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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