If you are injured due to an unsafe condition on a property or due to a product that is unsafe in terms of its design, construction or installation, you may be eligible for compensation for your injury and losses. Owners and occupiers of a property are responsible for keeping anyone coming onto their property reasonably safe from harm, under Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act. This means that businesses, government bodies such as municipalities, homeowners, landlords and even tenants may be found negligent if someone is injured by a hazard that the property ‘occupier’ should have known to be potentially dangerous.
Private contractors who are responsible for projects such as construction or garbage pick-up, may also be held liable if they caused damage or were otherwise negligent in causing foreseeable injury to a person. In some cases, multiple defendants may be held liable for injuries that resulted from an unsafe property or infrastructure, such as in the case of the Elliot Lake Eastwood Mall collapse, where the plaintiffs have launched a class action law suit against the Mall’s owners, several engineering professionals and multiple levels of government.
Defendants found liable for damages caused by an unsafe sign, in Parent v. Janandee Management Inc. (2016)
In March 2002, a husband and wife were hit by an A-frame sidewalk sign that was lifted by the wind while they were walking near King and Bay streets in Toronto. The sign violently hit the woman, Dr. Parent, a Toronto paediatrician, in her face and knocked her unconscious, and she suffered a minor traumatic brain injury. Dr. Parent filed a civil claim for damages against the owners of the sign as well as the businesses responsible for the placement and pick-up of the signs. The claim stated that the latter parties owed a duty of care to the plaintiffs, in terms of constructing, maintaining and ensuring a safe condition of the sign. The plaintiff’s husband, Mr. Hendrix, received minor injuries but he abandoned his claim just prior to the trial.
In the 2016 trial, Parent v. Janandee Management Inc., the plaintiff was awarded almost $3 million in damages, plus costs. The total in damages included the following compensation:
- $223,000 in general damages (for pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life)
- $1,350,000 for past loss of income
- $1,310,000 for future loss of income
- $10,000 for an OHIP subrogated claim
- $7,169.60 in medical and rehabilitation expenses
- $8,150.00 to her husband, Mr. Hendrix, under the Family Law Act
The owner of the sign, Janandee Management Inc., was found 94 per cent at fault for a failure to take sufficient and appropriate steps to ensure public safety, when it was aware of a tunnel effect that could result in potential tipping over of the sign. Upright Signs was found 6 per cent liable for setting up the sign on a day when very high winds had been forecast and also, when they were aware of a similar prior incident.
If you or a loved one suffered injury caused by an unsafe property, infrastructure or product, talk to a personal injury lawyer at Kotak Injury Law to find out about your legal rights in the matter. We offer a free initial consultation to enable us to learn the unique facts of your case so that we can provide you with informed advice about your best legal options for obtaining owed compensation.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to supply general information to the public. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, as laws change quickly, the reader should always ensure the accuracy and applicability of such information with respect to their particular case. The information contained in this article cannot replace a thorough and complete review of the reader’s situation by competent legal counsel who has had an opportunity to review all of the facts.