Slips and Falls on Properties in Ottawa and in Ontario – Who Bears the Onus of Proving The Case?
In Ontario, if you are injured on someone else’s property (falls, falling objects, other types of causes of injuries), chances are the Occupiers’ Liability Act applies. That Act sets out the responsibilities of occupiers (such as tenants) and owners. Those responsibilities include ensuring that all reasonable steps are taken to make the property safe. The Courts have set out the various principles applicable to Occupiers’ Liability Act cases, including the following:
The onus is on the plaintiff (person injured) to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the defendant breached the applicable duty of care;
The fact of injury does not create a presumption of negligence under the Occupiers’ Liability Act; and
The plaintiff must point to some act, or failure to act, on the part of the defendant, which resulted in the injury and constituted a breach of the defendant’s positive duty to take reasonable care to ensure the plaintiff was reasonably safe while using the premises.
How do owners and occupiers defend these cases under the Occupiers’ Liability Act?
Owners and occupiers can show by way of clear evidence that they established (at all material times – such as the day of the injury for instance) compliance with appropriate maintenance standards and had a reasonable regular system of maintenance and compliance with that system. Owners and occupiers will often show records detailing their maintenance, usually records that are contemporaneous with the date of injury (date of loss). Without such important maintenance records, it can be very difficult to convince a Judge or Jury that the maintenance program in place was reasonable and that it was complied with at all material times.
In deciding if the maintenance program in place was “reasonable”, the Court will consider all the circumstances, including whether the applicable maintenance standards were met.
Our lawyers have nearly 20 years of experience dealing with all types of accident and injury cases. We have handled hundreds, if not thousands of fall cases throughout Ottawa and Ontario.
If you have been injured in an accident, we can provide you with free consultations and we only get paid if you win.
Ottawa Accident and Injury lawyers Marc N. Quinn, Injury Lawyer and Mediator 613-315-4878