Premises Liability: Who's At Fault?

Often in a premises liability/slip-and-fall case, there is some question as to who is responsible for the injuries and whether the responsible party did anything wrong. At Lang Lawyers, we have years of experience fighting personal injury claims in Ontario. Come in and talk to us about your situation. Let our lawyers answer your questions and help determine questions of fault.

Who Is Responsible?

One of the many terms used in slip-and-fall cases and falls in retail stores is "occupier's liability." The "occupier" refers to the person who is "occupying" the premises. This can be a number of different parties, including:

  • Property owners: The owner of the property has a certain responsibility for making sure that the property is maintained in such a way as to minimize the possibility of injury.
  • Renters: Often a renter of a property has the same responsibilities as the owner, especially if they run a business on the premises.
  • Managers: The manager is expected to not only make sure that the premises are kept in good repair but to ensure that employees and outside contractors also consider safety.
  • Staff: Employees are expected to follow safety regulations, but managers or owners have a responsibility to hire and supervise reliable employees.
  • Outside contractors: Snow removal, cleaning and maintenance companies may be brought into a lawsuit.

A common defence in these cases is that the injured party (you) acted carelessly. It is also not uncommon for judges to find that although the owner or occupier was at fault, your own behaviour contributed, lessening the amount of compensation you can get.

Standard of care is where we usually concentrate. For example, if there are no procedures in place for prompt clearing of snow or spreading of salt or sand on icy steps, or if there had been plenty of time to clear snow and the owner simply hadn't done it, your case is likely to be stronger.

Standards Of Care

Different premises have different standards of care, depending on their uses and the likelihood of people being injured on them. On one end of the spectrum, hospitals, day cares, schools and nursing homes are expected to take safety very seriously, since they are filled with vulnerable people.

On the other end, empty lots surrounded by fences with "Do Not Enter" signs are not generally expected to make safety their top priority.

In between, there are a wide variety of types of premises, and different standards of care expected of each kind. Some are purpose-specific. For example, bars are expected to be careful about drinking, and sports arenas are expected to keep equipment and bleachers in good repair.

Call Us For A Free Consultation

If you have been hurt in a slip-and-fall, call our Toronto office at 800-653-6513 or fill out our online form to set up a free consultation.