Liability of home owners and property owners for fall accidents in Ottawa, Ontario
Home owners can be held responsible for many types of injuries sustained by their guests on their property. While there are ways to reduce risks of injuries, the test in law is reasonableness. In other words, the Court is likely to ask: did the owner take such reasonable care in all the circumstances to avoid the accident?
Home owners are at greater risk of liability when hosting activities on their property such as parties, pool parties, poker nights, holiday parties, birthday parties etc… Serving alcohol to guests also increases the risks of incurring liability for injuries sustained by guests and others.
There are many ways a home owner can be held civilly responsible for injuries sustained by their guests and others such as slip and falls, trip and falls, falling objects, over serving of alcohol. In some cases, the home owner’s liability does not end when the guest leaves the property. Home owners have been held liable to guests who leave their property intoxicated and injure themselves or others.
While alcohol is many times part of festivities, it can result in home owner liability in certain circumstances. For example, an intoxicated person who falls and gets hurt in your home can sue you just as the person who is injured by your intoxicated guest can also sue you. This may be the case even if the person was hurt outside your home. The home owner should take steps not to over serve and provide transportation options for intoxicated guests. Home owners should also ensure that the property – home is safe for users such as making sure there is adequate lighting, ice and snow are cleared, safe steps, non-slippery surfaces, handrails are properly installed, steps are safe to use, debris and items in stairs and hallways are removed, pool surroundings are safe and nobody is swimming drunk and kids are supervised, etc…
As a home owner, you’re responsible for the safety of all your guests and must make sure your guests are safe. The legal obligation exists at common law but also under the provincial Occupier’s Liability Act.
In most cases if you are sued, your home owner’s liability policy will likely cover the claim and losses. To better protect yourself, speak with your insurance company and insurance broker and make sure your policy is up to date and includes all perils such as falls, alcohol related incidents, outside structures and activities such as cabanas, swimming pools and swing sets, play structures and dog bites or attacks, etc… You can also obtain additional insurance to cover intentional acts such as assaults and batteries occurring on your property. Many insurance policies exclude coverage for injuries intentionally caused by you or a guest.
In the event illegal activities occur on your property, this can result in claims being denied. Examples include underage drinking or manufacturing and selling illicit drugs.
If you were injured on someone’s property or in their home, our lawyers are experienced personal injury and property lawyers. Our lawyers offer free consultations and work on a no fee until you win basis.
Marc-Nicholas Quinn, BA LLB, Mediator and Injury Lawyer
QTMG Personal Injury Lawyers
Ottawa home liability lawyers