Spring Update: Trip and Falls on Private Property
This article is about trip and falls that happen on private property like someone’s home, their driveway, walkway or lawn. For more information about trip and falls on Commercial Property or on Public Property, please see related articles.
Common causes of trip and falls on private property
Spring thaw brings with it the potential for uneven footpaths, loose steps, cracks in the ground and obstacles like fallen branches and other yard debris. Spring also marks the start of the renovation season and the dangers of temporary construction projects. There are other year-round dangers within the home as well, like slippery floors or poorly placed furniture.
A person taking all reasonable care can trip and fall and injure themselves because of any of these conditions. Injuries from falls can have severe and long-lasting effects which may require professional treatment. A visit to a physician for an assessment should always be an immediate priority after a trip and fall.
Homeowners have a legal duty to keep their property reasonably safe
The law requires homeowners to take such care as is reasonable to ensure that any persons on their property will be reasonably safe. What is reasonable in the circumstances is largely based on common sense. For example, a homeowner who is aware that their porch is in a dangerous condition and does nothing to fix it will be responsible if a visitor is later injured on that porch.
If the injured person did not act reasonably in the circumstances this may reduce potential compensation. This is called contributory negligence and is best assessed through consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer. Please see the relevant article for more information.
Homeowners (or home insurance) can compensate victims for their injuries
If the homeowner’s negligence resulted in the victim being injured they are then responsible for compensating the victim. The amount of compensation will depend on the injuries suffered and the treatment required. Often the homeowner’s insurance plan will include personal liability coverage which will compensate the victim directly.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trip and fall it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer right away.
 Sauve v Provost,  71 O.R. (2d) 774 (ON Sup. Ct.).