Falling ice (slip and falls) – Spring Brings Relief… And Ice Woes – Ottawa Fall Lawyer – Injuries caused by falls Spring is around the corner! However, with warm weather and the thaw, there may be cause for concern for homeowners who might be negligent and cause injury to others. Melting ice can give rise to slips, falls, and other unforeseen injuries. See the recent case reported at CBC News Ottawa for instance about ice falling on a person seriously injuring them in Ottawa.
Ice formations are caused by heat changes on roofs. Snow on the top of roofs can slowly melt, and trickles beneath snow on the lower part of the roof. As the water reaches the colder part of the roof, it re-solidifies, creating potentially hazardous ice that may fall below causing injury to unsuspecting persons.
Who may be held responsible if someone is injured by falling ice?
In the City of Ottawa, as a homeowner, property owner, or even a tenant, you could be held liable for any injuries caused by ice, whether it is ice falling or ice on the ground. The Occupiers’ Liability Act, RSO 1990, c. O.2. and the City’s Property Maintenance By-Law No. 2005-208 are legislation that are relied upon by Ottawa personal injury lawyers in respect of the legal obligations of occupiers and owners of property as it relates to ice on property. Section 5 of the City’s by-law states that “[e]very owner or occupant of a building shall keep the roofs of the building and the surrounding lands free of accumulations of snow or ice that might create an accident hazard.” Section 3 of the Occupiers’ Liability Act imposes an obligation on occupants to use reasonable care to prevent harm on people entering on the premises. “Reasonable” in this Act means that this duty is not absolute; it is reasonable according to the circumstances of each case. A property occupant is therefore liable only if he did not act with reasonable care.
Will posting a “Caution” sign on your property protect youfrom liability? No! However, a warning sign at the site of an accident will be considered when assessing the issues of liability and also the potential contributory negligence of the person injured and might ultimately impact the amount of damages (i.e., money) awarded.
Warning signs are useful to warn of the danger but it does not protect someone from liability absolutely. If a person is injured on another’s property, a warning sign can be referred to in argument for contributory negligence (a concept that will be explained in following blogs). In short, after an injured person has proven that an occupant failed to reasonably maintain their premises, the occupant can turn around and demonstrate that the plaintiff knew there was a hazard on the property, based on the warning sign. The argument goes that while the property occupant is liable, he or she should not shoulder the full brunt of the injured party’s damages because the injured person assumed some risk knowing of the danger.
Conclusion: injuries caused by falling ice could give you the right to sue for damages.
Our Ottawa personal injury and accident lawyers are specifically trained to handle all types of ice and snow cases such as falling ice, icy surfaces, slips falls and trips and falls. If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident, please contact one of our Ottawa injury lawyers for a free consultation. We work on a no-fee-until-you-win basis. Call us at 613-315-4878.