If you have been injured in a slip, trip or fall accident, there are a few things you should know. If you make a claim in an Ontario court, you will need to prove that the defendant was negligent in some respect, which negligence led to the accident. A defendant is termed negligent if he or she fails to keep property in a reasonable state of repair.

In the province of Ontario, the Occupier’s Liability Act is central to any legal analysis or assessment of a slip and fall claim. The Act states that an “occupier”, or someone who is in control of a property, must take reasonable steps to see that people are reasonably safe while on the premises. This duty applies to the owner or occupant of any residential dwelling or any commercial premises.

Slip, trips and fall incidents regularly occur on private properties like parking lots, driveways, and within stores, all of which fall under the purview of the Occupier’s Liability Act.  The owners or “occupiers” of these properties are obligated to take reasonable steps to make their premises reasonably safe.  That is to say, the standard of care on the property occupier is one of reasonableness, not perfection.

The concept of “contributory negligence” is also often applied in slip and fall cases.  In those cases, the property owner will often argue that the injured person was in some way at fault for the injuries sustained.  Usually, the property owner will argue that the injured person was careless or was not paying attention.  For example, in slip and fall incidents on an icy walkway, the defence will often argue that the injured party was wearing inappropriate footwear or was not being careful in traversing across the snow or ice.

If you have been injured as a result of a trip, slip or fall, it is essential to prove the condition of the premises at the time of the accident.  Therefore, it is very important that photographs and measurements be taken at the place of the accident as soon as possible after the accident has occurred.  Otherwise, if the conditions later change, it can be very difficult to prove that the premises were in a state of unreasonable repair at the time of the accident.

The law related to occupiers’ liability is tricky.  If you have been injured on a premises and are considering a claim, you should consult with an experienced person injury lawyer.  This is definitely not an area in which you should try to represent yourself.

Mackesy Smye’s personal injury legal team in Hamilton is well versed with the ins and outs of the slippery subtleties of laws surrounding these types of incidents.