Many people strive toward the goal of owning their own home, struggling and saving for years to reach it. Too often, though, homeowners and occupiers fail to keep up with, or simply fail to understand, the responsibilities that come with their position. The result can be painful for a person who has suffered a serious slip and fall injury.

Perhaps the most contentious and hotly debated topic in slip and fall cases that occur on private property is what the term ‘reasonably safe’ means in Ontario’s Occupier’s Liability Act. The act declares that the property’s occupier is legally obligated to keep the premises or property reasonably safe for everyone who enters onto it.

In the case of a private residence, the occupiers generally have to worry about clearing the sidewalk of snow and ice within a specific timeframe (it can vary by municipality but in Toronto, for example, the person has 12 hours from the end of a snowfall or rainfall to clear it). But that represents only a small part of that person’s responsibility. In fact, they are similarly responsible for clearing their driveway and walkway, a potential source of injury for house guests, newspaper and mail carriers and door-to-door salespeople.

Many people misunderstand or underestimate their rights in such cases because the term ‘private property’ carries such weight in our society. But the reality is that when a serious injury occurs, that individual often faces a series of financial and physical challenges on the road to recovery and someone may be legally responsibile.

A fairly compensated slip and fall claim requires an experienced lawyer who can demonstrate that the injured person’s safety was not in fact reasonably assured. A fall victim’s claim can be delegitimized or dismissed if it’s proven that they didn’t take reasonable steps to avoid the injury. Without the right legal representation, what seems like an easy case could actually fail. To avoid that risk contact us about a free no-obligation consultation.