‘Tis the time to be jolly, but how many people in Ontario will spend the holidays in the hospital this year? It is easy to focus on festivities and overlook the personal injury risks. Anyone should know their rights when it comes to injuries suffered on the property of others, even the homes of their best friends.
The owner of the property where celebrations occur has a responsibility to protect against known risks on the premises. Typical hazards over the next couple of months are those that could cause slip-and-fall injuries. If a guest is injured, the homeowner might be held liable for medical expenses as well as other financial damages.
Hazards the homeowner must address
The following risks are so common that homeowners might overlook them:
- The use of shovels and salt can remove the risk of slippery walkways.
- Cracks, gaps and unexpected changes in elevation could cause falls.
- Using non-slip floor coverings can prevent slips on wet floors or slippery tiles.
- Wet leaves and other debris could be as slippery as ice and snow on driveways and walkways.
- Loose or missing handrails could cause a fall in the blink of an eye.
- Insufficient lighting on stairways and walkways causes severe fall hazards.
The fact that all these dangers are so common is likely the reason many homeowners overlook them. However, a few insignificant steps could save the homeowner from being found responsible for significant damages if a guest should suffer slip-and-fall injuries. If the incident caused back or head injuries, long-term therapy and multiple surgical procedures might form part of the documented claims against the homeowner in a premises liability lawsuit in an Ontario civil court.