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Liability and the Occupier's Liability Act

If you get hurt while trespassing or entering a property legally, you may wonder if you're able to file a claim for compensation. In most cases, you can, thanks to the Occupier's Liability Act.

The Occupier's Liability Act has created a basic duty of care that applies to all occupants or owners of a property. The goal of this act, which was introduced after 1980, states that the occupier should keep the property in a reasonable condition that would be what you'd expect. For instance, it would be reasonable for a farmer to have bales of hay in a field or piled high in a barn, a construction team would put up fencing around a work site, and so o.

Not everyone owes others a duty of care. For example, if someone enters your home intending to commit a crime, that person is assumed to have considered all possible risks. However, that doesn't mean you have the right to create intentional hazards or to set traps for that person.

A homeowner or business owner wouldn't owe a duty of care to a trespasser on rural property or to non-paying entrants to a rural property. Additionally, people who know an area could be dangerous but still enter aren't protected by this act. For example, if you go to a baseball game, you know that there is a potential to fall in the stands, to be hit by a ball or bat, or to suffer other injuries due to the nature of the game. Therefore, you assume the risk and can't sue if you're injured.

Source: Ontario Federation of Agriculture, "Farmers: Trespass and Occupiers' Liability," accessed March 30, 2016

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