Can You Make a Claim If You’re Injured on Private Property?

Edited by Admin
Can You Make a Claim If You’re Injured on Private Property?

What Should I Do If I Am Injured on Private Property?

Every year people sustain injuries while they walking along the sidewalk, while they are in stores, restaurants, or other places of business, or while they are in other peoples’ homes or yards. If this has happened to you, you may be eligible to make a claim against the property owner. Under the Ontario Occupier’s Liability Act, it’s the duty of a property owner or resident to make sure that anyone entering their property is safe, and visitors have a reasonable expectation of safety. The onus is on the property owner to point out any hazards that may exist, and to work to make sure that visitors are safe. There are many different types of scenarios; for example:

Backyard barbecue. You are at a neighbour’s backyard barbecue party when you fall into a large pit that has been dug in order to install a pool at a later date. The area has not been roped or fenced off, and no one mentioned that it was there. Because the party is in the evening, the light is dim and you were unable to see the pit. You break your leg and your collarbone, causing you a great deal of pain and making it impossible for you to work for six weeks. This results in lost wages, since you are a roofer and are unable to physically do your job. Can you make a claim?

In circumstances such as this, it’s likely that you could make a claim against your neighbour’s property liability insurance. You could claim for pain and suffering as well as for medical expenses, and for the wages you lost due to the accident. The neighbour should have expected that the pit would pose a danger and should have informed you that it was there.

Icy sidewalk. You decide to walk to the corner store half an hour after a storm that dumped a lot of freezing rain on Toronto. The sidewalks are treacherous, and as you pass by a neighbour’s house, you slip and fall. You hit your head on the sidewalk and sustain a concussion. The concussion affects your ability to focus and results in lost work for you, since you are a freelance artist and are unable to take on new jobs. Can you make a claim?

In this case, possibly not. Although it’s a homeowner’s responsibility to clear the sidewalks in front of his/her property, the fact that the accident occurred only half an hour after the storm ended works against your claim. It may not be reasonable to expect that he or she could clear the sidewalk that quickly. (On the other hand, if the slip-and-fall had happened several days after the storm and you could prove that no attempt was made to clear the sidewalk, you might have a valid claim.)

Trespassing. Your nineteen-year-old son decides to cut through a neighbour’s yard in order to take a shorter route home. He has to scale the neighbour’s tall fence in order to do this, and in the process his sleeve catches on a fence rail, causing him to fall. He sustains a spinal injury that requires surgery and leaves him with a permanent limp. Can you make a claim?

Trespassers do not have a reasonable expectation of safety when on private property. In this case, your son has assumed the risk by entering the property without permission. It’s probable that your son does not have a claim. However, there may be extenuating circumstances, such as the neighbour having given him prior permission to make this shortcut, or if this route is commonly used by neighbourhood teenagers.

Amusement park. You are having fun at an amusement park on a ferris wheel when the cable on your car snaps and the car, with you in it, plummets to the ground. Luckily, you weren’t up very high when it happens, but your ankle is broken, and you are traumatized. You don’t lose any wages because your employer allows you sick days, and you’re an office manager so you’re back to work before long. Do you have a claim?


The concept of premises liability in Ontario also applies to non-residential places, so the answer is yes. It’s probable that the equipment was not maintained properly and that the owner of the park is negligent. You will likely be able to claim damages for pain and suffering as well as for any medical expenses.


These fictitious scenarios serve to shed a small amount of light on the way that the Ontario Occupier’s Liability Act operates, but the only way to learn if you have the ability to make a claim is by contacting a personal injury law firm. Talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer, who will be able to assess your situation and tell you whether or not it’s likely that you have a good chance of making a successful claim. If you’ve been injured on private property, call a personal injury law firm today, and find out more about your options.