OTTAWA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
Free Consultations   ■   No Fee Until You Win   ■   Call Us Now: 613-315-4878   ■   CONTACT

Article Details

Can you sue for falling in a restaurant or pub in Ottawa, Ontario?

Falls in Businesses - When Can You Sue? 

 
In the case of Kania v 1618278 Ontario Inc (c.o.b. Heart and Crown Irish Pubs), 2015 ONSC 7042, the Court addressed the issue of Occupiers Liability.
 
The Occupiers’ Liability Act of Ontario imposes obligations on owners and occupiers of premises (such as restaurants and pubs) to take reasonable steps to protect the users of the premises from accidents and suffering injuries.
 
Occupiers and owners have an affirmative duty to take reasonable care to ensure that people are safe while attending on their premises.
 
In this case, the plaintiff fell at the Heart and Crown Irish Pub in Ottawa. The plaintiff was injured and sued the pub seeking compensation for his injuries. The trial Justice had to address issues of liability (who is responsible for the accident) and whether the plaintiff somehow contributed to his accident and injuries sustained (called contributory negligence).
 
The plaintiff fell while walking down stairs with varying elevation and fractured a bone in his foot. It was alleged that the stairs were defective. A mechanical engineer provided expert evidence for the injury victim on the defects of the stairs and his opinion was accepted by the Court. Since the defect was something the owner of the property should have recognized, failing to repair the defect resulted in the occupier/owner being liable. The danger was forseable and could easily have been fixed with the application of grip tape. The Court found that the pub breached its duty of care to keep the patio reasonable safe for the plaintiff.
 
The pub argued that the plaintiff was simply not looking where he was walking and should be held to have contributed to the accident and his injuries. In the end, the Court found that the plaintiff took reasonable steps to watch where he was walking and since there was no way for  the plaintiff to anticipate a step given there were  no warning signs or cues as to the change in elevation that caused the fall, the plaintiff acted reasonably. The plaintiff was not contributorily negligent.  
 
The plaintiff was awarded judgment in the amount of $212,659, broken down as general damages of $100,000, pre-judgment interest of $21,250, special damages of $5,509, loss of earning capacity / competitive advantage damages of $50,000 and future care / housekeeping and home maintenance damages of $35,900.
 
This article is provided for information purposes only and each case must be considered based on their own facts. Legal advice should be obtained in each case to determine the applicable law.
 
Marc-Nicholas Quinn,
Ottawa Occupiers Liability Lawyer
613-315-4878