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When Is a Property Owner Responsible for a Person's Injuries?

After being injured on someone else's property, the first thing on your mind is likely the pain of the injury. Then you may wonder what sort of medical treatment you'll need and for how long. Will the injury affect your ability to work? How might your family be affected? These are all natural considerations after an injurious accident.

At some point, you may realize all too clearly that your injury was preventable and not your fault. If that is the case, then you should be aware of your options under the Occupiers' Liability Act. With that in mind, let's consider the duty of care a property owner owes to people who enter on the premises.

An occupier is a person who owns the premises or has control over the condition of the property. The property could be a wide range of things, including restaurants, stores, amusement parks, swimming pools, parking lots and residences. An occupier doesn't necessarily have to own the property to be liable for injuries suffered on the premises.

An occupier's duty of care applies both to the condition of the premises and to the activities that take place there. For example, there is the risk of a slip-and-fall accident if liquid has spilled from a broken jar onto the aisle of store. The store has a duty to clean up the liquid in a timely manner to protect customers from injury.

Likewise, the owner of a recreational facility must ensure that people who use the premises are not subject to undue risk related to other users' actions.

Often in occupiers' liability cases, there is the question of whether the property owner was aware of the unsafe condition of the premises. There may also be questions of whether the person who was injured willingly assumed the risk of entering the property. If these matters arise, a thorough investigation of the injury can determine the exact cause and who is responsible.

From our Toronto and Niagara offices, our firm handles cases involving occupiers' liability. If you want to learn more about liability claims, then our personal injury website is a good place to start.

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