Celebrate Safely at the Cottage This Canada Day
Cottages and campgrounds will be busy this long weekend as Canadians celebrate the 150th anniversary of confederation. Unfortunately, a careless moment at the cottage can sometimes result in a serious injury, leading to weeks or even months of recovery.
Who is responsible for an injury that happens at the cottage? In some cases, an accident could have been prevented, and the person that owns or rented the cottage could be liable.
Liability of cottage owners and renters for injuries
In Ontario, the Occupiers’ Liability Act requires the occupier of a property to keep a property “reasonably safe” for the people who enter the premises. An occupier can be liable for damages if they fail to take reasonable steps to ensure the property was safe, and someone is injured.
Any owner, tenant or other party that has responsibility and control over a property can be considered an occupier under the Act. This includes anyone that is responsible for the cottage for a period of time, even if it is just being informally borrowed for the weekend. Although many rental agreements include waivers of liability in favour of an owner, these are limited, and do not apply in all cases. In many circumstances, both an owner and renter can be liable simultaneously.
Steps cottage owners and occupiers should take to avoid injuries
Before welcoming guests or tenants, owners should inspect the property, check for hazards, and remove any debris. With many cottages only accessible during the summer months, properties are often in need of repairs come springtime. Owners can be liable for slips, trips and falls that are caused by badly maintained stairs, decks, railings and fences. If an area is potentially dangerous, a prudent owner will place warning signs or otherwise block off access to avoid any injuries.
Alcohol is another common contributor to serious injuries at the cottage. Owners that serve alcohol, or allow it to be consumed, could potentially be liable for any injuries that result. Having firm rules about consumption, including not boating or swimming while intoxicated, can help prevent accidents.
What to do if someone has been injured at the cottage
An injury can ruin a great weekend in an instant, especially if the cottage was owned by friends or family. At Derfel Injury Law, we understand the challenges faced by injured victims. Our lawyers handle cottage accident claims with care and skill, working to ensure you get fairly compensated for your injuries.