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Hamilton Premises Liability Lawyer

Experienced Premises Liability Law Firm in Hamilton, Ontario

Being injured on someone else’s property can leave you feeling like you have nowhere to turn for help. But you don’t have to worry about your financial security any longer—simply get in touch with a Hamilton premises liability lawyer in Hamilton.

If you’ve been hurt on someone else’s property, contact us today to get the compensation you deserve.

Ontario law places an affirmative duty on residential and commercial property owners (called occupiers) to make their premises reasonably safe for visitors.  What does this mean, exactly? The owners of all properties, whether it’s your neighbor’s home, an airport, a restaurant, a home improvement store, a shopping mall, a bar, a parking lot, a hotel lobby, or a hospital, need to take reasonable care to make their premises safe and protect you from foreseeable harm caused by situations involving disrepair, hazards, and defects.

When property owners fail in this duty and injuries result, victims can seek compensation for their damages. If you find yourself in such a situation, a Hamilton premises liability lawyer from Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers can help.

The following accident types and circumstances commonly spark premises liability claims in Hamilton:

Slips and Falls

This is perhaps the most common premises liability accident. Millions of people will suffer falls each year. It is even more common in the Ontario weather when ice and debris make walkways more dangerous.

Anything can cause a slip and fall. Even floors inside of buildings can be dangerous when there is a foreign substance. These are not always easy cases to prove because the owner is not automatically responsible for every accident. Instead, you would need to prove that they acted unreasonably, either by causing the dangerous condition themselves or by failing to fix the condition in a reasonable amount of time.

Trips and Falls

Debris left in walkways can make them far more dangerous. Store aisles can get cluttered with equipment with no warning of the dangerous condition. Even floors inside of buildings can be hazardous when nothing is on them.

For example, a loose piece of carpet can make the floor uneven and cause someone to trip. Trip and fall victims will commonly suffer broken limbs and sprains from the incident. One common tripping injury is torn ligaments in the leg. This can require surgery and extensive rehabilitation.

Uneven Ledges

Ledges must be properly demarcated and maintained to avoid causing injury. If there are any uneven steps, owners must clearly mark them with a warning sign to alert the general public to any danger that they may face.

Any uneven parts are a significant fall risk that could cause someone to fall over the edge. Even falling just a few feet leads to serious fractures and permanent injuries that can have lasting effects and need ongoing medical treatment.

Loose Handrails

People depend on handrails to safely make it up and down stairs. When they are holding on to a handrail, and it gives way, it can often cause them to fall down the stairs. This could cause serious head and neck injuries. Building owners need to periodically inspect the handrails to ensure that none of them are loose. This could also be an issue when people are holding on to handrails to make it up ramps that are slippery during the winter or on escalators or moving walkways.

Escalator Accidents

People can fall down escalators when they suddenly stop or start during operation. In addition, they may become trapped between stairs and the side of the escalator if there is a gap. Passengers may have hair or articles of clothing that become caught in escalators. Slippery surfaces also cause falls when people are on the stairs.

Building owners must regularly inspect escalators and shut down to make repairs when there is the slightest sign of a problem. Escalators are particularly dangerous because people can fall from heights and suffer serious injuries. For example, in mass transit systems, escalator accidents happen on practically a daily basis, often resulting in serious injuries.

Elevator accidents

You may hold many people liable for an elevator accident. Most often, it is the building owner who is responsible for keeping and maintaining a safe elevator through regular inspections. In addition, the elevator maintenance company that is responsible for inspecting the elevator and the company that built the elevator can face liability if someone suffers injuries in an accident. Elevator accidents can occur due to faulty wiring, lack of maintenance, misleveling, or many other causes.

Toxic Fumes or Chemicals

In the cold winters, people may develop illnesses due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Their building’s heater or appliances may be defective, or the owner failed to properly inspect them. Alternatively, the owner may fail to install a carbon monoxide detector in the first place to alert residents that toxic fumes are escaping.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that causes severe illness in people within minutes, and they may never even know that they are in danger. Building or property occupants can get sick due to other toxic chemicals to which they have exposure. For example, people may develop cancer after years of being around dangerous substances, such as asbestos, that enter their bodies. Some chemicals can attack the body and cause someone to develop conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

Hazardous Sidewalks

Property owners and municipal governments have a legal obligation to maintain their sidewalks in reasonable condition. They must repair things like cracked and broken concrete before it causes someone to trip and fall. In addition, they must keep debris cleared from sidewalks that threatens the safety of people walking. This is a common injury in residential neighborhoods, especially because the concrete on sidewalks can break down and degrade in harsh weather conditions.

Left unrepaired, sidewalk injuries can cause serious falls by unsuspecting people walking by in front of homes and on city pathways. Those who own the sidewalk owe the duty of care to people walking on them.

Icy Driveways

Homeowners must clear their driveways from snow and ice, not just for their own safety but for people who may be on their property. If they are going to invite people onto their property, they must plan to ensure safe conditions. Icy driveways are also a fall risk when people are getting out of their car to walk to other’s homes.

Potholes and Ice in Parking Lots

A parking lot is a part of the property for which the owner is responsible. Their legal obligation to provide reasonably safe conditions does not end at the store door.

They must keep their parking lots in good repair.

  • First, they must make any necessary repairs to the concrete and surface for cars.
  • Second, they must clear ice from the parking lot in a reasonable amount of time if the parking lot is open to the public.

Customers can hold the owner legally responsible if they fall on the ice or have a car accident because of the slippery conditions that the property owner did not address.

Inadequate Lighting

One common reason why people slip may have little to do with something on the floor. Often, people cannot see where they are going, and they can miss a step. Not only must the floor itself be clear of debris, but property owners must provide adequate lighting for people to navigate their way through hallways and walkways. Lighting can also be an issue in negligent security cases when unreasonably dark premises makes it easier for criminals to operate under cover of relative darkness.

Shallow Diving or Swimming Pool Accidents

Children are more likely to suffer injuries in swimming pool accidents. Property owners must keep their pool in good repair and ensure that nobody can access the swimming pool when there is no supervision.

This means that they must check the equipment regularly and ensure that the water is clean and sanitary. They must also provide lifeguards when the pool is open. Otherwise, children may drown when there is no supervision. In addition, lifeguards must prevent diving in shallow areas because children can break limbs or suffer spinal cord injuries when they hit the concrete bottom of the pool.

Negligent Security

Owners have a legal obligation to provide a reasonable amount of security on their property for residents and guests. The obligation becomes heightened when the owner is on notice of crime in the area.

Then, they must have even more security. For example, if a store is in a higher crime area, the owner should have at least a security guard posted at the door. They may even need security cameras in the parking lot to protect people going to and from their cars. In a residential building, this could mean extra measures, such as additional protection for windows and doors to prevent break-ins.

The key is that the property owner has prior notice of the conditions in the area. They may be able to escape liability if there have been no prior incidents on the property or in the general vicinity.

Stairway Accidents

Stairways are particularly conducive to bad fall accidents. The descent means that people can fall headfirst down the stairs, causing severe injuries. This can result in traumatic brain injuries, head and neck injuries, and even death. The condition of the stairs themselves can cause people to fall when they are cracked or broken. In addition, broken railings are also a common cause of stairway accidents.

These problems can become even worse in the winter when people come into buildings with wet feet. Property owners must take extra care to keep the stairway dry for people’s safety because they can easily slip on the stairs.

Balcony Defects

Defective balconies are a particular problem in residential high-rise construction. These balconies are built hundreds of feet in the air, presenting a danger for people who walk out on them. There are several possible defects.

  • First, the material can be substandard, causing the balcony to collapse when people are on them. This could be a problem in businesses where people congregate on balconies.
  • Second, the design of the balcony itself can be defective. This could cause someone to fall over the railing because it was not built high enough or to prevent falls.

Window Defects

Windows can be dangerous in buildings for several reasons:

  • First, defective windows could allow criminals to access the building and damage people and property inside.
  • Second, windows that give way and break could cause people to fall through them, causing death and serious injury when they fall from height.
  • Third, the glass from a defective window that breaks may result in severe lacerations.

Often, builders and building owners try to save money by using less expensive windows because the costs can add up, especially when a large building has hundreds of windows.

Drownings

Drowning is one of the most common causes of death among young children. Anyone who owns a swimming pool should take measures to secure the property to keep children from wandering onto their property and using it. In addition, they need lifeguards on duty to supervise swimmers. One who has water on their property, such as a pond, should have it fenced off to the greatest extent possible to keep people from playing on it and falling through the ice.

Ice and Snow Hazards

While property owners do need to clear ice and snow during or immediately after a storm, they have a reasonable amount of time to remove them. Otherwise, they could be held liable when someone slips on their property and is injured. This is the case with both residential properties and stores.

Store owners are responsible for the condition of their parking lots and every place else where a customer walks between their car and the store. They should even have something in the front of the store where customers can wipe their feet after coming in from the outside. Municipal governments must also clear snow and ice from the streets in a reasonable amount of time.

Falling Merchandise

Store owners may jam or carelessly stock shelves in the hurry of trying to keep items that customers need. There are heavy items on shelves and other dangerous things such as glass. These could fall off the shelves and hit customers on the head. Other falling merchandise can cause hazards in store aisles and cause customers to slip. For example, a falling jar or bottle could spill contents on the floor and cause slippery conditions. Customers could then fall and suffer injuries like broken limbs or traumatic brain injuries.

Building collapses

Recent events, both in Canada and the U.S., led to a renewed focus on building safety. Buildings can collapse both during initial construction and when people are living in them. Aging infrastructure and builders taking shortcuts during construction are primary causes of collapses. In addition, construction workers sometimes suffer injuries or death when the building collapses during construction.

Property owners must frequently inspect their buildings for safety and take immediate action to correct structural deficiencies. They should close and evacuate dangerous buildings so people do not suffer harm or death in collapses.

If you have been hurt on someone’s property, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim. There is no doubt that unsafe conditions can result in slip-and-fall accidents that can cause serious injuries, including paralysis, orthopedic injuries, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or even death.

If you have been hurt on someone’s property, what rights do you have?

While most slip-and-fall accidents are preventable, many people are hurt because other people were simply not paying attention. A slip-and-fall injury occurs when someone was hurt because of the negligent actions of a person or company.

In Ontario, the law imposes a positive and affirmative duty on property owners to be proactive and inspect their premises to ensure that visitors are protected from harm. This duty never stops. In a perfect world, most property owners would have some system of maintenance or regular cleaning or inspection program in place. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Often, property owners are disorganized with their cleaning, repairs are rarely documented, there is poor communication between management and staff, or there is little compliance with any type of cleaning schedule. This is why accidents happen and people are hurt.

Apartment Injuries

An injury that happens in or around your apartment or rental unit may not be your fault. As a tenant in a rented house or apartment, you should be guaranteed a certain level of safety, security and be free from hazard and dangers. Landlords have a direct responsibility for the maintenance and repair or your unit, and have a duty of care by law to ensure that the premises you rent is safe for use.

Have you been hurt in or around your rental unit? It may not be your fault.

If you’ve suffered a serious injury in a rental unit or apartment it’s important that you contact a Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer to learn your rights as a seriously injured tenant.

Landlord and Rental Unit Maintenance Laws

In Ontario, most rental units are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act. The act sets out the Province’s laws in relation to the responsibilities of landlords and the rights of tenants who rent properties.  The RTA covers such issues as rent, rent increases, ending a tenancy (eviction) and dispute resolution.

There is also an accompanying Ontario Regulation which prescribes the maintenance standards for landlords with respect to the rental units. The law is clear that if a landlord rents a unit to a tenant, that unit should be maintained in sound condition and safe for tenant use. Landlords are required to maintain the condition of both the interior and exterior of their units, including all structural elements, yards, porches, balconies, parking areas, pathways and storage areas. Landlords are also mandated to maintain floors and foundation walls to reasonably protect against deterioration due to weather, rodents or insects. The exterior rental units should also be properly graded to prevent ponding of water on a surface, in order to prevent slip and falls. It’s also important that landlords always maintain adequate artificial lighting in all rooms, stairways, halls, core doors, grudges, basements and parking lots.

Most municipalities have their own property standards bylaws which sets out the repair and safety standards for all dwellings, structures and properties. Hamilton’s property standards bylaw sets out the obligated maintenance requirements for property owners in the city, including landlords. Hamilton’s property standards bylaw makes it clear that property owners must keep their premises safe and in good repair.  The property standards by-law covers both the interior and exterior of properties, as well as all staircases, landings, balconies and porches.

What other laws protect renters from injury?

The Occupiers’ Liability Act is an Ontario law that is an Ontario Act, that codifies the common law obligations and duties that occupiers of premises owe to persons entering into or onto their premises.  The law mandates that all persons who own or control a premise or property in Ontario need to take reasonable care for the safety of visitors onto the property. Reasonable care means that there needs to be some positive effort on behalf of a property owner to put into place regular procedural safeguards to protect visitors on their property. If reasonable care is not maintained, your landlord will be held liable for your injuries.

What types of apartment and rental claims can our Hamilton Lawyers help with?

Tragically, apartment and rental units injuries occur frequently because apartment complex owners neglect the responsibilities they have to their tenants. Since 2003 we have been representing injured victims in Hamilton and all over Ontario who have been hurt in rental apartments and rented houses, some of which are caused by:

Porch and Balcony Dangers – such as missing boards, collapsed boards, inadequate construction and or repairs.

Outdoor Staircase Dangers – such as missing boards, have loose boards, have loose or faulty railings, railings at improper height, are without railings, inadequate construction or repairs.

Pavement and Parking Lot Dangers –  parking lots that are not cleared, left icy, unsalted, inadequately sloped, have drainage issues, potholes, cracks, trip ledges or flooding issues.

Flooring Damage – issues such as exposed nails, floorboards which are in disrepair, loose and torn carpet.

Stairs – indoor stairs which are left in a state of disrepair, defective, have loose boards, holes, missing boards, uneven rise and run (dangerous stair riser), improper lighting, loose carpeting, defective handrails, or handrails that are not of proper height.

Windows – defective windows, improperly installed windows and screens which can allow children to fall through them.

Falling Objects – such as loose ceiling tiles and other parts of neglected buildings that can fall on unsuspecting tenants, causing serious head, face, and eye injuries.

Other issues that can cause tenant injury include

  • defective wiring
  • missing smoke alarms
  • faulty smoke alarms
  • broken tiles
  • defective swimming pools
  • missing or malfunctioning locks
  • apartment fires
  • improper fire escape exits.

Can a lawyer help if I was hurt on someone else’s property?

If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall as a result of poorly maintained property, such as in a mall, restaurant, hospital, or in your neighbor’s driveway, feel free to give a Hamilton premises liability claim lawyer a call to discuss your options. We have extensive experience representing individuals who were severely injured by property hazards. We can determine who is responsible for your injuries and losses.

Over the past fifteen years, Matt Lalande has obtained favorable results for injury victims and their families in Hamilton and throughout Ontario in slip-and-fall cases. We’ve helped victims who have suffered major orthopedic injuries and broken bones, rotator cuff injuries, spinal injuries, chronic pain injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and paralysis.

If you have been hurt on a property because of someone else’s negligence, an experienced property hazard lawyer at our Hamilton firm can help.

No Fees Until We Win Your Case

You don’t often need a lawyer in your life. We understand that seeking legal help can be overwhelming, particularly when it comes to how much it will cost. Even if you are confident you will obtain a settlement or good verdict, you may fear that hiring a premises liability lawyer in Hamilton will cost too much.

But Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers will never ask clients for money up front. If somebody is seriously hurt or killed because of a property owner’s negligence, the last thing the family needs is a legal bill. There are no up-front legal fees for you to pay to get your case started. Your legal fees are paid upon the successful conclusion of your case.

The Law Extends to Residential Homeowners

Most Ontario homeowners don’t give much thought to the fact that someone could be seriously injured on their property. Like commercial property owners, homeowners also have a legal responsibility to keep their premises reasonably safe for all who visit.

Property owners have a duty to ensure that their property is in good condition and free from danger and potential hazards that could injure visitors. If the homeowner’s property is in a state of disrepair, he or she should give adequate warning of anything that could be reasonably expected to cause injury to others, such as the following:

  • Unsalted walkways and driveways
  • A shallow swimming pool and potential diving accidents
  • Loose electrical cords
  • Broken steps and stairs
  • Uneven ground
  • Trip ledges
  • Rotten or broken decks
  • Faulty pool fencing and locks

What is your personal injury claim worth?

This is a question most of our clients ask. Unfortunately, putting an exact dollar amount on your case is difficult, mostly because every case is different. It is simply not possible to accurately estimate or determine what each case is worth until we are approaching resolution or trial. There is no formula or magic chart to determine a range of compensation.

What we can tell you is that our Hamilton property injury lawyers are dedicated to obtaining the maximum compensation for you and your family. We never recommend resolving a case without a full investigation, a proper prognosis for your injuries, and full compensation.

While insurance companies are dedicated to minimizing your compensation, an experienced premises liability lawyer from Lalande & Company will present your case in a professional and persuasive way. Factors that will be important in determining your compensation are the severity of your injuries, your medical treatment, the estimated recovery time, the amount of your lost wages, and, more importantly, how much insurance is available under policy limits.

Equally important is the reputation of the insurance company involved in your case. While all insurance companies are more than happy to withdraw monthly premiums from the bank accounts of their policyholders, several insurance companies have a reputation for paying out as little as possible.

Our occupier liability lawyers in Hamilton are highly experienced in assessing premises liability cases. Each client’s case is handled with the utmost attention to detail. Every effort is made to ensure our clients receive the maximum available compensation under the law and insurance policy limits.

It makes no difference if you slipped and fell, your loved one suffered a life-changing injury from shallow diving, you were assaulted in a bar, or you tripped in a shopping mall or on uneven sidewalk slabs—we ensure that every aspect of your injury is properly evaluated.

Different cases will require different types of analysis, medical investigation, and accounting valuation, but no matter the case, our qualified lawyers are dedicated to providing for our clients who were injured as a result of another’s negligence. That means we’ll fight for full and fair compensation in a diligent, professional, analytical, and caring manner.

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Consult with a Premises Liability Lawyer in Hamilton

We understand that dealing with an insurance company on a property-related injury matter can be a complex, confusing, and aggravating time for accident victims and their families. We also understand that many people have never dealt with a personal injury lawyer before.

A lawyer from our firm will make it easy. We encourage any inquiries and will discuss your legal options thoroughly. And there is no cost to contact us. Our consultations are free, without obligation, and confidential.

The team at Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers is flexible and can arrange a consultation at a time that is convenient for you and your family. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. To meet with a Hamilton premises liability lawyer, fill out a contact form, chat with out live operator or call us at 905-333-8888.

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