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January Thaw Could Lead to More Slip and Falls

Mother Nature is playing havoc with the snow in Simcoe county! Today, we woke up to significant rain/freezing rain instead of snow and the forecast is calling for even warmer temperatures tomorrow. While some may welcome this break from colder temperatures, the combination of rain, freezing rain and snow can lead to some treacherous conditions – resulting in the potential for slip and falls.

Duty of a Property Owner

What do these icy conditions mean for property owners in Ontario? In general, property owners who are in physical possession of their premises are obligated to keep their premises safe for visitors.  This applies to both businesses and to individual homeowners.  This duty is set out in the Occupiers’ Liability Act  in section 3.(1):


An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons  entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.

So – in practice what this means is that if you have a very icy driveway, under the law you have an obligation to take reasonable steps to make your driveway safe for visitors to use.

What are “reasonable” steps?

Ultimately, it is up to the court in any slip and fall case to decide what was reasonable in your particular case.  However, some of the factors the court would likely consider in reaching a decision would include whether the danger was foreseeable, whether the property owner had a system for inspecting their premises, how long the danger had been there and how easy it would have been to remove the danger.

Have you been injured in a slip and fall?

Of course, not all slip and falls in Ontario in the wintertime are the result of negligence on the part of a property owner.  However, if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, a personal injury lawyer can help assess whether or not you may have a claim at law.  Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers can take the time to listen to the details of your accident, what expenses you may have incurred and how your injuries have impacted your day to day life.

Contact us today through our website or call toll free at 1-800-563-6348 for a free initial consultation.

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