Occupier’s Liability (Premises Liability)
Occupier’s Liability is an area of law that is meant to hold property owners (or occupiers) responsible for any damages or injuries that occur on their property. Also called premises liability, it maintains that the owner or occupier of a property has a responsibility under the law to keep the property reasonably safe for persons entering onto it. Common types of injury covered under occupier’s liability includes slip and fall injuries, swimming pool accidents and electrocution, though they can vary significantly. Premises refer to properties including, but not limited to residences; commercial buildings; hotels; bars and restaurants; schools; hospitals, retail stores; grocery stores; shopping malls and so forth.
In Ontario, the Occupiers Liability Act governs occupier’s liability. The Act defines occupiers in the following way:
- A person who is in physical possession of premises, or
- A person who has responsibility for and control over the condition of the premises, or control over the people allowed to enter the premises
Thus, it is not only property owners who can be held legally responsible for accidents or damages that occur on the property, but other occupiers like landlords, tenants and property managers can also be liable. In many cases, there is more than one occupier that may be liable. In addition, many property owners hire independent contractors to carry out general maintenance activities and snow removal, which may also give rise to a separate claim for negligence against the contractor.
Exceptions under the Occupiers Liability Act
The Occupiers Liability Act includes exceptions wherein premises liability does not apply, including:
- Cases where risks are willingly assumed
- Cases of illegal trespass
- Injuries sustained as a results of criminal activity, such as robbery
Other considerations that may affect the degree of liability include the location of the premises, the condition of the person who was injured, as well as the activities that led to the injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured on another’s property, there may be grounds for a claim under occupier’s liability. The experienced team of Toronto personal injury lawyers at Futerman Partners LLP can help you pursue your occupier’s liability claim and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today!